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The Unknown Sayings of Jesus Paperback – September 13, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"Hundreds of sayings were attributed to the sage from Nazareth by ancient admirers. More than fifteen hundred versions of five hundred quotations are attributed to Jesus in the New Testament, the Gospel of Thomas, and other gospels found at Nag Hammadi. Marvin Meyer has combed additional Jewish, Muslim, and Christian sources for another two hundred of the most fascinating epigrams and parables ascribed to Jesus. This new resource prepared by a veteran scholar will be invaluable to everyone engaged in a quest to discover the authentic voice of Jesus."—Robert W. Funk, founder of the Jesus Seminar, author of The Acts of Jesus

"First there was the Jesus of history. Then there was the Christ of the Gospels. But third there was the echo of Jesus that reverberated throughout the world in the first centuries of Christian history. Marvin Meyer has attempted to capture the echo. By searching Christian, Jewish, and Islamic sources he found Jesus quoted in sometimes familiar and sometimes startling ways, and he lays them out beautifully. The result is a treasure!"—John Shelby Spong, author of Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism

"Since the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas, Marvin Meyer's exciting Unknown Sayings of Jesus is the major revelation of Yeshua's diverse extracanonical voices—here presented in invisibly deep scholarship and elegantly simple English to give us a spiritual page-turner."—Willis Barnstone, editor of The Other Bible

"A most valuable and fascinating book indeed. It gives us insight not only into what Jesus—peace be upon him—said or might have said, but also into the ways he was admired in different cultures and times."—Muzzammil H. Siddiqi, president of the Islamic Society of North America and adjunct professor of Islamic Studies and World Religions, California State University, Fullerton

Language Notes

Text: English (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Seeds (September 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590302745
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590302743
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,491,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marvin Meyer is one of the foremost scholars on gnosticism, the Nag Hammadi library, and texts about Jesus outside the New Testament.

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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Luther on December 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book as someone raised Christian who now is inspired by most of the world's religions. I'm one of those people who hasn't met a religion they didn't like!
Christianity still holds a special place in my heart. Just like I've discovered sushi & Thai food since leaving home, doesn't mean I still don't like mom's home cooking! And that's what Jesus is for me: plain, good & wonderful comfort food.
This book gives us plenty to chew on and think about, both within a "Jesus only" tradition and without. And it does so without a lot of religious tradition or scholarly jargon getting in the way. If you're poly-religious like myself, you'll contemplate each saying and how it relates to sayings by other sages and masters. And if you're mono-religious, you'll find a lot of inspiring sayings by Jesus that just might cause you to look deeper into your own faith tradition, whether Christian or not.
The main thing to remember when looking at books like these is that Jesus was a revolutionary, aramaic-speaking Jewish peasant (probably illiterate) and for that reason was put to death by the Romans. What he actually said was then written down by many people over the following centuries. Approximately 300 years later the 4 gospels were canonized and some of his words were put in Greek in the allegorical context of the Jewish Messiah. Needless to say a lot of other stuff attributed to him was outside that Christian tradition that developed at the time. Of course, looking back, it's hard to see the Jesus for the Christ!
Nonetheless, his words alone are very inspiring -- and challenging and critical -- and worth reading whether within the Christian tradition or without.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Howard Reid on October 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Contrary to popular belief, no-one went around with Jesus as He traveled through Galilee, recording His sayings as He spoke them. But His words obviously made a considerable impression on His hearers. Peter, for example, not only remembered the saying, "Anyone who does the will of God, is brother, sister and mother to Me!" but the specific circumstances which gave rise to this quote. (See Chapter 3 of the Gospel of Mark in More Bible Wisdom for Modern Times: Selections from the Early New Testament.) Other men who came into contact with the apostles, like Paul and Sylvanus, also wrote down sayings like "It is more blessed to give than to receive", and "Wheresoever there are two gathered in My name, they are not without God; and where there is one alone, I say I am with him." Not all of these recorded sayings made it into the New Testament. In "The Unknown Sayings of Jesus", Marvin Meyer has published sayings attributed to Jesus from a wide variety of early Christian, Jewish and Islamic sources. A few parallel Biblical sayings, while some have an authentic ring ("Truth seeks the wise and the righteous"), and others seem a little fanciful ("Laughing, some people have entered the kingdom of heaven; and they have left it laughing too") because we no longer know whom Jesus was addressing nor the circumstances. But we are given no less than 200 sayings and little stories to choose from in this invaluable collection. There's also an excellent introduction which provides a guide for the reader to sift the probable from the unlikely.
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By Andrew Wahrenbrock on September 10, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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By Michael d. Seelye on August 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
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