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The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (Plus) Paperback – September 4, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book presents competing views of the historical Jesus by two writers the editors label as "the leading liberal and sonservative Jesus scholars." That might be a bit overbilled, since other scholars such as Meier, Sanders and Crossan come at least as readily to mind. But Wright and Borg are excellent.
The "Liberal" and "Conservative" labels are also a bit overdone. Both scholars accept the discipline of rigorous critical scholarship and, again, both are committed Christians-- so they are not so far apart as these labels might imply. It's not as if a Fundamentalist and an Agnostic are going at each other. But these complaints are with the billing for the book and not for the book itself, which I found excellent.
Wright, the conservative, sees Jesus as a prophet inaugurating the Kingdom of God who indicated at least in a cryptic way that he was the Messiah of God. He sees the bodily ressurection and the empty tomb as historical events that are foundational for the Christian faith.
Borg, the liberal, views Jesus as a social prophet and a healer, a man who called people to a new way of seeing and a new way of living. For him, whether the tomb was empty or not is irrelevent. He believes the Messianic claims contained in the New Testament come from the early Church rather than the historical Jesus. Nevertheless, he sees Jesus as the image of the invisible God.
I recommend this book for anyone sympathetic to Christianity who is sincerely interested in the Historical Jesus debate.
N.T. Wright presents the conservative view, which means that he believes the gospels give us generally reliable history, that Jesus made outrageous claims to divinity, performed miracles, rose from the dead, and is indeed divine as taught by traditional Christianity. Marcus Borg gives the liberal side. He believes the gospels contain far more myth than history, that Jesus did not claim anything out of the ordinary in regards to a unique relationship to God, and that he did not physically rise from the dead.
Neither writer is really able to give detailed arguments for their views because of the large amount of ground they attempt to cover in this book. I did like the book's format. Each section addressed a specific topic (reliability of gospels, divinity claims, etc.), with each writer devoting a chapter to the subject at hand. They then rotated which writer was first for each topic. This prevented one person from always getting the last word.
If you're already familiar with the historical Jesus debate, then I'd give it two stars (and recommend passing on this one). However, if you're new to the issue I'd say its worthy of four stars and suggest it as a good introduction to a fascinating debate.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was for a college course. Wow. Everyone needs to read it no matter if they are christian or not. Written by two of the greatest authors. Its perfect.Published 19 days ago by anon
I found Borgs explanations far more clearly expressed than Wrights. Over all a very good debate of the issues. Altogether worth a pastor's time. Also a good bible study sourcePublished 4 months ago by Popvan
A very helpful exposition of different approaches by two brilliant scholarsPublished 5 months ago by Peter J Sanders
Like the energy of the book.It's the kind of alternative energy that I felt in the gospels describing Jesus and his attitude to life. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Freda Morgan
Reading it with a book study-church group.
Half way through and already causing deep reflection...
Excellent historical information for theological study. Both authors have well presented and authoritative information for study.Published 7 months ago by Ms. Bonnie J. Bentson
This is a fine book by two Christian scholars sharing their views in a cordial and winsome manner. Though they differ on some key issues, they write with mutual respect and a... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Stephanie Anderson
Thought provoking dialogue provided by two respected scholars who provoked me to a a deeper understanding of faith, the role of the man Jesus, and how much we can learn from... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Kay Nichols