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Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age Hardcover – November 13, 2014
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“With well-researched clarity, Carroll explores the question posed by anti-Nazi Lutheran pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer: who actually is Christ for us today?... Because Christ actually is meaningful in some way to a billion Christians around the globe, this heartfelt investigation is of interest to many.”
“Carroll…strives to reconceive Christ for a secular, post-Holocaust, post-Hiroshima era….readers
seeking a faith responsive to the zeitgeist will find it here.”
“An in-depth, thought-provoking challenge to two millennia of Christian interpretation.”
“Written in the brisk, argumentative style that has won James Carroll a broad popular readership, Christ Actually avoids the interminable maundering of academic prose, even as its extensive footnotes indicate attention to advanced, if radical, scholarship. Conservative Christians may well be shocked and annoyed at Carroll’s configuration of Jesus. Nevertheless, for its pushback against the boundaries of conventional interpretations and, above all, for its passionate presentation of the sinfulness of Christian anti-Semitism, his book deserves serious attention.”
Praise for Constantine’s Sword
“Monumental…An eye-opening journey through twenty centuries of history..This is a book for everyone.”—Christian Science Monitor
“A triumph.”—The Atlantic Monthly
“A deeply felt work, a book that measures the sweep of history against [his] experience as a man of the church.”—Floyd Skloot, San Franciso Chronicle
“Remarkable . . . A book of a deeper sort.”
—Andrew Sullivan, The New York Times Book Review
“A masterly history . . . fascinating, brave.”
About the Author
- Publisher : Viking; 1st Edition (November 13, 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0670786039
- ISBN-13 : 978-0670786039
- Item Weight : 1.35 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.25 x 1.06 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #861,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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There is much in Christ Actually that I find interesting and important. In particular, I appreciate Carroll’s acknowledgment of the role that the church has played in obscuring Christianity’s Jewish roots and providing a philosophical foundation for anti-Semitism.
The problem that I have with Christ Actually is this: at the beginning of his chapter about the human quest for meaning, Carroll writes, “I have outgrown my childish faith. About time, for a man my age. I’ve left behind naive assumptions about reality irreparably divided between the material world and a separate spiritual world, the bifurcated realms of nature and grace, this life and afterlife.” So Carroll begins with the assumption that any belief in a spiritual world is childish. But as Carroll surely knows, the materialist view that he espouses here has been rejected on logical and scientific grounds by a rather impressive array of contemporary theologians, philosophers, and scientists. The philosopher and Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart comes to mind as a contemporary thinker who has quite persuasively dismantled the materialist argument.
The words “plausible” and “plausibility” occur with remarkable frequency in Carroll’s book, and he uses the concept in two ways. On the one hand, he uses it to defend highly speculative assumptions about the New Testament narratives. For example, he posits a rivalry between John the Baptist and Jesus for which there is no evidence at all--but which he describes as “plausible”--although many readers will find the account of the relationship described in the gospels as equally plausible.
Carroll also uses the “criterion of plausibility” to discard elements of the New Testament narratives which he finds incompatible with his materialist view. Obviously If one uses “plausibility” as the criterion by which to accept or reject the account of a miraculous event, few will make the cut.
One can certainly empathize with what Carroll refers to as his quest for a “plausible and morally responsible faith.” But one also must ask at some point whether what survives can plausibly be described as faith at all.
I am humbled by how much I came to appreciate about war's impact-Carroll's well-developed arguments carry his opinions into the realm of compelling insight. Plausibility gains throughout...
My copy of the book arrived a few days early.
I still recommend this for any Christian who is already well formed.