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Jesus for the Non-Religious Paperback – February 26, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
John Shelby Spong, the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000, has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard and at more than 500 other universities all over the world. His books, which have sold well over a million copies, include Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy; The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic; Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World; Eternal Life: A New Vision; Jesus for the Non-Religious, The Sins of Scripture, Resurrection: Myth or Reality?; Why Christianity Must Change or Die; and his autobiography, Here I Stand. He writes a weekly column on the web that reaches thousands of people all over the world. To join his online audience, go to www.JohnShelbySpong.com. He lives with his wife, Christine, in New Jersey.
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Top Customer Reviews
Jack Spong has thrown religious clutter overboard in this exciting new book and allowed people of the 21st century to see the wonder and awe which Jesus' original followers must have experienced in his presence. Not superman just a super man!
In the first third of the book, Spong, dismantles all the man-made supernatural rubbish layered on the human Jesus. The reasons why the early Church did these things are many and varied but "modern" scholars, over the past 150 years or so, now know that things like the virgin birth and bodily resurrection were NOT things that the earliest followers of Jesus would have recognized as having anything to do with what Jesus was about.
The middle third of the book focuses on how and why the original evangelists made Jesus look like the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy and/or a figure of importance like Moses or David. Most of us read this stuff in the Bible and just assume that it's "history" but once again, Spong points out that modern scholarship recognizes this as interpretive material to make Jesus the next logical step for Jews and eventually Gentiles in God's "plan" for us.
The final third of the book is really the pinnacle of Spong's thinking regarding where people of a spiritual inclination (Christian or otherwise) can go with this de-mythologized human Jesus.Read more ›
I had hoped that Bishop Spong would further develop what it was about the Jesus of history that made the writers feel compelled to wrap Jesus's story in such complex mythology. The latter parts of the book I felt were weak in this regard. His premise is that a man like Jesus who transcended the boundaries of prejudice, stereotype, and other human frailties was deemed to be a reflection of God and consequently became wrapped into the mythology of the Jewish Old Testament. To my mind, there must have been more than that. There have been other great men of history (Gandhi comes to mind) that did not produce the impact that Jesus Christ did. I could not help feeling that there must have been something more to the Christ story...much more to make the evangelists go through the trouble that they did to produce the gospel stories of this great man.
Despite this shortcoming, I found the book to be well-written, informative, and very interesting. I highly recommend it for Progressive Christians. Orthodox Christians will not like this book and I look forward to their reviews that will undoubtably follow.
We agree that Jesus was an historical figure--but I do not believe Spong has done his research in extra-biblical data that provides evidence that could be understood to document events particularly from Luke's gospel.
Spong's book might be very helpful for persons looking for theological meaning in the Jesus story, but too much data surrounding that ministry is dismissed as creative story telling. I began making a list and quickly found 25 things that Spong dismisses as having no historical identity (no star, no Bethlehem, no Judas, no 12 disciples, no burial in a tomb, no cleansing of the temple, etc.etc).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've seen Spong's youtube lectures, but this was first book of his that I've read. I appreciate his honesty, the integrity with which he wrote, his scholarly approach to the... Read morePublished 16 days ago by A. L. Walton
An excellent source of knowledge for everyone, believers or not. A true inspiration to look at Jesus with a fresh and energetic way.Published 1 month ago by Theo Nephale
This is a great discussion of Jesus as Jesus must have presented himself originally.Published 1 month ago by John Longworth
This is another clear example of Spong's scholarship while dealing with a highly controversial subject, presented in a logical and reader-friendly style. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Poorly printed, looks like greyscale black instead of black black printing. Hard to read due to faintness of printing. The book though is very goodPublished 4 months ago by Thomas K. Leclaire
Thoughtful and carefully researched. Makes sense of development of western christianity.Published 4 months ago by W. Craft..
Our group is discussing this book and its ideas. Makes for a lively hour! I'm pleased with the book & the condition in which it arrived.Published 4 months ago by Barbi's Sister
Rev. Spong is a thoughtful writer whose views of Christianity are carefully nuanced.Published 5 months ago by kinaywa
I really admired the alternative analysis of the Gospels that are present in this work, though I hesitate to give credit to Spong for those analyses as they are mostly presentation... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ryan Mease