- Paperback: 246 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; Monotone Edition edition (July 27, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1490550585
- ISBN-13: 978-1490550589
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,325,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chronicle of the Life and Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth: The Greatest News Stories 7 BC AD 30 (MONOTONE EDITION) Paperback – July 27, 2013
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First let me say that the story of how this book came about would make an interesting book in its own right.
Many years ago, when USA Today was new to the market, the author told me about his dream of writing this book. He said the teachings of Christ would come alive as never before if each memorable event could be reported as if it was happening today. And be reported as if it appeared in a USA Today news story. The goal would be to present short news articles, some with news analyses, complete with clear headlines. The stories would be illustrated with beautiful color pictures.
My understanding at the time was that USA Today was created to provide news for the new generation. This approach was designed to appeal to readers who received most of their news from the nightly network tv programs. Even the outside vending boxes were made to look like television sets. The USA Today venture was a daring expression of Marshall McLuhan's assertion that `the medium is the message.'
I loved the idea of such a book. It would be thrilling to read about important historical events as if they were happening today. It would also be very instructive to learn about Jesus' teaching, one by one, as they were revealed to the world. This would be a more direct and intimate learning experience.
As excited as I was about the idea of this book project, I didn't think such a book could be written and actually produced. My first thought was, `why hasn't someone done this already?' Indeed, `this is such a powerful way to present important historical events, someone should have already written a book like this for George Washington or Julius Caesar.'
At the time I saw three major problems with trying to produce this book.
1) A full color book of this type would be very expensive. I thought it would have to be one of those $100 cocktail table books people use to decorate their homes. 2) it would be either impossible or impossibly expensive to get the rights to publish all the required artwork. 3) the biggest problem I saw was the years of painstaking research such a book would require. "You could get a Ph.D in the time it would take to research and write this book," I told the author all those years ago.
Well, for a long time it seemed that I was right. Yet the book still came about - it took decades of dedication but it's now a reality. A big reason for this is that printing costs have dropped substantially over the years. Nevertheless, while acquiring the rights to print the artwork did take almost forever, this seemingly impossible task was accomplished. As for the research, it just had to take the many years I predicted. Just looking at the book today suggests that it took even longer to research and write than I originally estimated.
It's almost a miracle that this book now exists. However, the real miracle may be that anyone would work this hard, this long, and with this many obstacles to overcome, and still make the book a reality. After all, there are many books about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ already on the market.
The best way to get a good feel for this book is to read some of the hundreds of headlines given in the book. Remember: each news article includes a date and location. Stories include the event with facts and background information. Some of the news articles include an analysis of the event. These may show what the man on the street thought of the news at the time.
Below are some headlines from "Chronicle of the Life & Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth".
> Nazareth couple marries
> Will the Messiah restore the throne of David?
>Public Notice: Jewish census ordered
>Executions of children rumored
>Passover in Jerusalem Attracts Record Crowds
>Parents seek missing youth
>Nazareth youth perplexes rabbis
>John Warns Pharisees, Repent
>John baptizes Jesus of Nazareth
>Jesus chooses two more apostles
>"Miracle" by Jesus reported at Cana
>Herod imprisons John the Baptist
>Jesus' teachings gt mixed reaction
>Jesus reaches epic sermon
>Jesus says love takes highest courage
>New `distance healing' by Jesus reported
>Jesus challenges disapproving Pharisees
>Are Jesus and his apostles violating the Sabbath?
>Seaside tent city swells to 1500
>New insights into Job offered by Jesus
>Jesus stuns crowd in new healing incident
>Jesus teaches about a God of Love
>Jesus now teaches with parables
>Experts study parable of Jesus
>Huge multitude fed, seek to make Jesus King
>Popularity of Jesus plummets
>Accused woman is saved by Jesus
>Jesus defiant, eludes Pharisees
>Enemies of Jesus define their position
>Jesus is warned: Flee Perea or face arrest
>Jesus drives money-changers and merchants out of the temple!
>Officials try to cope with Jesus problem
>Sanhedrin members attempt to match wits with Jesus
>New parables confound scholars
Even these headlines represent only a few of the many news stories that make up this book. Reading these short news articles is a breeze. You can pick up the "Chronicles of the Life & Teaching of Jesus of Nazareth" at any time and read any story that strikes your interest. You can also read the book in any order you like. You can even scan the headlines and read the news articles in any sequence that you feel will make the most interesting reading.
Lots of Bonus Material Included
In addition to chronicling the life and teaching of Jesus, the book also provides "what happened to" sections for many historical individuals. For example:
Mary, the mother of Jesus
There are dozens of reports on what eventually happened to many of the people who played a part in the life of Jesus. I found these to be most fascinating.
As someone trained to be a philosopher, I was particularly interested in the reporting of philosophical issues in the chronicles. I was not disappointed. Chronicles actually presents what philosophers might have been saying about Jesus' teachings. I found these insights to be among the most thoughtful and interesting parts of the book.
While the "Chronicles" is easy to read, it is by no means a lightweight work. The level of ideas and research that went into this book is truly awe inspiring. What we read here is not just a biblical scholar writing about the bible or a historian writing history, or a sociologist writing about the people of that period, or even a philosopher showing Jesus' teachings from a philosophical point of view - no, what you have in this book is all of these things and more. That is why this work is awe inspiring and a true creative tour de force.
On a personal note: I have only seen the author once in the last twenty years -- at his daughter's wedding -- and that was many years ago. I also had no input into the creation of this book. It came in the mail as a total surprise to me. The author also does not know that I am writing this review.
I must point out, however, that as fascinating as this book is, not everyone is going to enjoy reading "Chronicles of the Life & Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth". Therefore, I think I should spell out who should read it:
1) Admirers of the Urantia Book should truly love this book. It provides the easiest access to the comprehensive life and teachings of Jesus that they will probably ever have an opportunity to read.
2) Admirers of authentic historical fiction (fiction which is heavily supported by historical facts and research) should also enjoy this book. The "Chronicles" presents an amazing look at history from a different frame of reference. I actually think this is just the first of many books written in this format. (What some might call a docudrama.) I can envision many more books like this one being written about famous people and events.
3) People who are curious or just want to know more about what can be found in the Urantia book (without having to read its over 2000 pages) will find this book a joyful relief. (This is where I stand.)
I might reemphasize here that what makes the Chronicles such a refreshing reading experience is the fact that Jesus' teaching are presented in a `real time' lineal fashion. Followers at the time of Jesus didn't start off knowing all his teachings at once. They learned about his message as Jesus expanded his teaching and ideas over the course of his three year ministry.
Just think what it would be like to know nothing of Jesus and then to learn his teachings, one at a time, over a period of years. New teachings would be like new books being published by a favorite author today. Believers and the curious would be looking forward to what Jesus was going to reveal next. The Chronicles give the modern day reader this unique insight that is not available in any other way. This experience is made even more real because the reader is going to be told much about Jesus that is not in the bible. This brings us now to those who should not read the Chronicles:
Readers who will be offended by reading about events in Jesus' life, that are not found in the bible, may not want to read this book. It's as simple as that.
The events that are not in the Bible are well researched. Dates and locations are given. Everything seems very possible and logical.
For example, if Jesus expresses point A in a gospel and later he also expresses point C, then it would not be much of a stretch to say, at some time between A and C, that Jesus expressed point B - even though B is not represented as such in the bible. This logical extension of Jesus' actions and thoughts makes the story read like one seamless organic whole. Many readers will be hard pressed to determine which facts are in the bible and which are not.
So there you have it. My take on a book I never thought would see the light of day. A book I believe to be very different in kind than any history book I've ever read. The "Chronicles" is not just another book. It's a book that breaks new ground and may serve as a paradigm for similar books written in the future.
One last thing: While the artwork displays very well in this black and white edition of the "Chronicles", I would still strongly recommend obtaining the full color version. This is how the book was envisioned many years ago and how it may be best experienced today. Of course, the monochrome version contains all the same information that makes this a paradigm changing book. Look inside both books here on Amazon and make your own choice.