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Bringing Jesus to the Desert (Ancient Context, Ancient Faith) Paperback – February 19, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bradley Nassif (PhD, Fordham University) is a professor of Biblical & Theological Studies at North Park University, Chicago, IL. He is the co-editor of The Philokalia: Exploring a Classic Text of Orthodox Spirituality and general editor of New Perspectives on Historical Theology: Essays in Memory of John Meyendorff.

Gary M. Burge (PhD, King's College, Aberdeen University) is a professor of New Testament in the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies at Wheaton College and Graduate School, Wheaton, Illinois. Gary has authored a number of books, including Who Are God’s People in the Middle East? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians; John and Letters of John in the NIV Application Commentary series; The New Testament in Antiquity (coauthored with Lynn Cohick and Gene Green); and the first three volumes in the Ancient Context, Ancient Faith series, The Bible and the Land and Jesus, the Middle Eastern Storyteller, and Encounters with Jesus. Gary specializes in the Middle East, its churches, and its history in the Hellenistic period.

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Product Details

  • Series: Ancient Context, Ancient Faith
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (February 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310318300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310318309
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Debbie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Bringing Jesus to the Desert" talked about prominent men and women from the third to sixth centuries who lived in the deserts of Palestine, Syria, and Egypt with the hope that doing so would allow them to grow closer in likeness to Christ. The book was full of color pictures of the desert, monasteries, paintings of saints, and more.

The author started by mentioning places in the Bible where people lived in the desert and how it impacted them, and then he moved into a description of the early monastic movement. He described what drew people to the monk lifestyle in early centuries, what they believed, and what their goals were in going to deserted places and living in certain ways (such as a hermit, in a communal monastery, and even on a pillar).

He then described the lives of several monks, their teachings, how their experiences in the desert helps us better understand Biblical narratives & teachings, how their lives and teachings influenced early Christianity, and what we can learn from them. He covered the lives of Anthony of Egypt (chapter 2), Makarios of Egypt (chapter 3), Pachomius (chapter 4), Melania the Younger (chapter 5), John the Little, Moses the Ethiopian, and Simeon the Stylite (chapter 6).

I found this brief overview of these people's lives interesting, and it made me curious to learn more about them. I gained some insights about the early monastic movement and what they believed. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those interested in learning more about early church history.

I received this book as an eGalley from the publisher through netGalley.
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Format: Paperback
Like the Jewish culture, these desert fathers are well known for their stories and wisdom associated with them. They are people who obeyed Scriptures to the letter. They lived out as close as possible the prescriptions in the Bible. In doing so, their years of hard pursuit of God and the strict disciplines have turned them into spiritual guides, counselors, and wise men for the rest of the society then. Nassif makes various references to both the ancient desert monks as well as modern writers such as Darrell Johnson. This explicit reference is for the benefit of the reader who are unfamiliar with the names.

Beginning with the Anthony of Egypt, also called the Patriarch of the Desert, Nassif gives a brief biography of this humble man, and tells of how one life can impact thousands of people, even today. Both the Western and Eastern flavours of Church look to Anthony with much respect. Then there is Makarios of Egypt who is a major player in making Sketis the "Heart Land" of Egypt in the fifth century. Nassif also traces the stories of Pachomius, Simeon the Stylite, and Melania, the only woman in the list.

This book will inspire modern readers that the way forward in the future involves a lot of learning from the past. Not only that, the quality of spirituality is deep and wise. Though the teachings are simple, there are profound. Modern believers who want to grow can take a leaf from the wise experiences and teachings of the desert spirituality. I warmly commend this book to anyone seeking to start a journey through desert spirituality. After all, in our land of technological advancement and scientific progress, there is a deep hunger for something more basic: Food for the heart. The desert is a rich buffet full of wise teachings. Learn from them. Thanks Nassif!
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Format: Paperback
This book serves as a wonderful introduction to the early Christians that inhabited the deserts of the Middle East.

Beautifully written and presented in full color, rich with photographs and quotes of the desert Mothers and Fathers.

Suitable for Christians of all backgrounds, young and old, I highly recommend it.
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