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On Being a Christian Paperback – February 2, 1984
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The figure of Jesus has always been of utmost interest to me, particularly his human side -- and now of late, his spiritual significance. Jesus is without a doubt the most influential person who ever lived in Western society, witness the countless buildings and institutions that exist today in his wake. And yet it is extremely difficult to separate the mythical from the factual aspects of his life and death. This is where this book and a previous one I reviewed, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" by mathematical physicist John Davidson, have come to my sorely-needed rescue.
Kung's book is a thorough, brilliant, and ultimately convincing attempt to get at the heart of the motivation and end result of Jesus' short life on earth. I was led to Kung by a sermon I heard a number of years ago at a Unitarian Church in Ft. Collins, CO in which an excerpt from Kung's book described the difference between the end of Jesus' life and the deaths of other religious leaders. That sermon was powerful to me then, and still speaks to me today. It pointed out with Kung that whereas others died in old age, surrounded by their disciples and wives after satisfactorily accomplishing their mission, Jesus' early death was stark, brutal, and utterly cheerless. He was tortured, deserted by his followers -- seemingly even deserted by the personal God of whom he so ardently and sincerely spoke.Read more ›
Read it. You will enjoy it.
eloquently.Always mindful of the need for comrades in a defence
of faith, he presents the last 100 pages of this book as endnotes
from noted theologians from Lewis to Luther. Though a catholic, Kung presents
a defense that will challenge believers of all denominations.
A note of caution, this is not representive of the more approachable
writings of CS Lewis, it is a difficult read and often Kung's
greatest insights come in the midst of pages of hard and impersonal
When this book first appeared in the 1970s, I hesitated to read it. Aside from the intimidating length of the work, I had the thought--if Kung is on the margins of Catholic theology, then what impact could his work have? Suffice it to say that I was neither a theologian nor a very astute young Catholic. However that may be, I was surprised to find that, except, perhaps, for matters pertaining to Church governance, Kung is hardly a leftist firebrand or a Bishop John Shelby Spong-like skeptic; Kung, essentially, is a fairly orthodox theologian, it seems to me. As a committed Catholic Christian, he's devoted, though, to scraping away the barnacles that have adhered to the mother ship of Roman Catholicism over the past two millennia.
Kung does not shy away from the difficult issues: in the course of ON BEING A CHRISTIAN, he tackles thorny issues like Karl Rahner's "Anonymous Christian" concept, the Resurrection, the Trinity, liberation theology, and a Christian's response to war, among many, many problems. I was often in awe of Kung's deft handling of these issues, but other times felt somewhat lost in the theological discourse. For instance, Kung accepts the "reality" of the Resurrection, but rejects the theological and historical necessity of the Empty Tomb.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extraordinary theologian - excellent book.
For every thinking man - religious or not !
Book is in fine condition, as described. The only surprise?? The book's length-- I didn't realize just how thick the book was; quick shipping. Very satisfied.Published 14 months ago by D. Lohman
This book was terrific when it came out a loooooooong time ago; and it's still a classic for Catholic--and other Christian--reading. Read morePublished 18 months ago by William Powers
Brennan Manning told me this was his favorite book of all time. I don't know if he was joking, for this is a rough read... haha. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Chad C.
Written for both the sacred and the secular, the scholar and the educated laity, scientist and common people, this monumental work will take you on a journey that will help you... Read morePublished on April 15, 2014 by Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha
Hans Kung is one of those authors that other authors envy simply because of the enormous depth of his knowledge. Read morePublished on June 27, 2013 by Richard de Meath
This book met, and exceeded, my expectations.
Kung has dug deep and shares new viewpoints that I'd never contemplated. Read more