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Jesus of Nazareth: What He Wanted, Who He Was Hardcover – October 1, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This reviewer has read many books on the historical Jesus, but this one is the best. Why? Lohfink states, "The Jesus tradition is grounded in the interpretive community that is "church."
Father Mark G. Boyer, The Priest



"Crisp and very readable prose. . . .Lohfink has fresh things to say about Jesus' teaching through parables, about his sayings about judgment and, especially, about understanding Jesus' miracles. . . . Having read and studied, Jesus of Nazareth (and squirreled it away as a rich resource for future preaching and having been truly moved spiritually by it), I can agree with Daniel Harrington, S.J. [author of Jesus: A Historical Portrait]: "Lohfink's Jesus of Nazareth is the best Jesus book I know."
John A. Coleman, America: The National Catholic Review


The reader closes this book struck by the Spirit in whom this Jesus keeps working on the -- some would say -- now shrinking, endangered community he left behind. . . .There still may be hope.
Raymond A Schroth, SJ, National Catholic Reporter


Some have said that this book will become a classic. Indeed, it should be so considered. But much will depend on whether or not scholars will dismiss it as lacking uniqueness and innovation, and whether or not non-professionals will invest the energy in reading a scholarly treatment of Jesus. May both groups stretch themselves and give it the attention it so richly deserves!
Michael J. Bowling, The Englewood Review of Books


Grounded in the most careful study of the historical Jesus and enlivened by a deep faith in the Risen Christ, this book will be of inestimable use to everyone from scholars to seekers and will most likely become a classic. It is that rarest of books on Jesus in which the author combines solid exegetical work with a profound sense of the spiritual. On top of that, it's beautifully written (and here, translated). Lohfink's book is in every way a joy.
James Martin, SJ, Author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything


Lohfink’s Jesus of Nazareth is the best Jesus book I know. It is solidly based on sound biblical scholarship, full of fresh theological insights, respectful of the Gospels and their portraits of Jesus, and beautifully expressed. It is especially effective in highlighting the centrality of God’s reign and Israel as God’s people in Jesus’ life and work.
Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, Professor of New Testament, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry


The thread connecting what Jesus wanted, who he was, is the reign of God. Lohfink is concerned with this new thing that came into the world with [Jesus]. The consistency between this reign of God and the revelation of who Jesus is, is the chief message and controlling method of this book. The importance of another book on Christ and on Jesus in the New Testament in particular cannot be ignored or underestimated. . . . Lohfink gives the lie to any separation of what Jesus wanted from who he was. Ultimately, Christology consists in clarifying his relationship to God and humanity.
Kevin O'Gorman, The Furrow


Lohfink's portrait of Jesus is very much worth reading. Because he looks to the Gospels with a sympathetic yet critical eye, he gives a faithful interpretation of Jesus. And because he is faithful, Lohfink offers a portrait that is challenging-especially for the church today.
Thomas D. Stegman, SJ, America Magazine

About the Author

Gerhard Lohfink was professor of New Testament exegesis at the University of Tübingen. Since 1986, he has lived and worked as a theologian for the Catholic Integrated Community. His many books include Jesus of Nazareth and Does God Need the Church?, both from Liturgical Press
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Glazier (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814680585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814680582
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joel Holtz VINE VOICE on October 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is yet another outstanding release for Liturgical Press. Gerhard Lohfink has written a detailed, clear, and easy to follow account of the life of Christ.

Covered are Jesus' parables, his life and death, his miracles, his relation to the Torah, the Old Testament, judgment, and more.

The two chapters on discipleship and calling, 5 and 6, are two of the best in the entire book.

Anyone wanting to grow in their walk with Jesus will do exactly that by reading and studying this excellent book about the life of the greatest person who ever lived.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This new book by Gerhard Lohfink is an excellent study of Jesus. I found his insights on Jesus to be really illuminating and they come from a truly original perspective. I especially found the chapter on the Miracles of Jesus to be of great help to Me. I have always had problems with the miracles. Being a product of our hyper skeptical age, I struggle with this aspect of the New Testament. Yet I know that the Gospels are shredded without the miraculous ministry of Jesus. You can't do what Thomas Jefferson did and still have Christianity. Plus the miraculous is vital for Eschatology and our personal futures. So any writer that can make this most important, yet difficult aspect of the witness to Jesus, more understandable and believable, has done people of our culture a service. The issue of God's power comes into the mix here, in a very pronounced way. Yet the tension is there in the fact that Jesus himself was not keen on relying on having "Signs", as proof in giving him creedence. The chapter on Judgement was also a great part of the book. Throughout the book Lohfink makes a very good point of the Jewishness of Jesus and how the Hebrew Bible makes him understandable. That He is the fullfillment of its main teachings, though He made numerous corrections of its drift into various kinds of legalism. The Covenant has not been revoked! The chapter on Jesus and the Law, is also one of the best I have had the pleasure to read in years. This book is a far superior one to many of the Historical Jesus books that came out in the 90's in my opinion. This author is well aware of the nature of genre and the proper differences between Modern and Ancient approaches to "History". The Gospels are Historical, but not in the way Modern Historical writing would like them to be.Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fresh and illuminating look at an old question. The author's approach is insightful and thought provoking. We view Jesus' words and actions from the perspective of what scriptures he knew, how he interperted them, and what was the overall community's view of faith, God, and worship.
The book is not an easy read. It is quite dense at times as it traces thought patterns back through the religious history of Israel. It is, however, worth the effort as one is left with new insights into Jesus' life, miracles, resurrection, and hopefully a more accurate understanding of the Jesus question.
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If you are serious about understanding who Jesus was and what he wanted, this is your book. It is scholarly and accessible; faith-filled and radical. It is a book that I will read many times with profit. Don't be put off by the fear of a translation-from-German. The translator is a gifted writer as well as a superb theologian.
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The beginning was a little slow but stick with it. As the author deeper into the life of Christ he brought up ideas that challenged me and made me look deeper into who Jesus was AND how He came to know Himself and His mission. I was especially intrigued by the author's perspective on the early followers of Jesus and what they anticipated. A good read.
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When I first saw this book, my initial reaction was, "Oh no, not another Jesus book!" The majority of modern books about the historical Jesus are a dungheap of sensational fantasies and vain speculations. A few of them turn out to be diamonds that rise to the top. This is one of the diamonds.

The author hits the nail on the head by saying, "Modern Jesus literature shows more of the spirit of the writers who manufacture a Jesus who conforms to their own agenda." Lohfink demonstrates throughout this book that Jesus cannot be understood independently of faith in him and cannot be understood independently of the gospels. The Jesus of the gospels is the real historical Jesus. Lohfink also stresses that Jesus cannot be understood apart from the Old Testament and the traditions of Israel in which he was firmly rooted and fully committed to. Jesus didn't try to abrogate the Law and start a new religion. Jesus saw his ministry as the fulfillment of the Law according to God's will.

Lohfink refers to the Kingdom of God as the Reign of God because it was completely centered upon God, unlike any human kingdom.

Lohfink demonstates how the christology of the New Testament can be traced to the historical Jesus and was not the result of Hellenization. In other words, the gospels are an accurate reflection of what Jesus believed about himself. This is hard for many modern scholars to accept because the Jesus of the gospels does not fit into a neat little package and doesn't conform to any previously known stereotypes. The portrait of Jesus as a prophet, sage, or political revolutionary does not do justice to the historical Jesus.
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