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Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment Hardcover – November 4, 2008

3.6 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chopra's new novel expands on the themes advanced in his recent nonfiction title The Third Jesus. The narrative focuses on the mysterious span of time in Christ's life between the ages of 12 and 30. Chopra portrays the young adult Jesus as a malleable figure at the center of a host of pivotal political, cultural and religious shifts. The threads of his spiritual leadership become evident during these formative years, but Christ must devote himself to growing in enlightenment about the full nature of his identity and message. Not surprisingly, Chopra casts the sources of this revelation to include both Western and Eastern perspectives. Chopra's narration may not always maintain a natural flow of dialogue among characters, but the ethereal power of his voice and the evocative manner in which he sets the stage remain effective. Perhaps the most compelling elements of the story line involve Judas and Mary Magdalene, two of New Testament history's most complicated and controversial figures. A HarperOne hardcover. (Nov.)
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.

From Booklist

In his book Buddha (2007), Chopra pretty much stuck to the accepted outlines of his subject’s life. Here, as he portrays the life of Jesus, Chopra twists the kaleidoscope and offers a very different Messiah than commonly imagined. From his teenage years, Chopra’s Jesus knows that something calls to him, but he is unsure what. He receives signs and portents; profound and profane characters come his way. Still, this restless soul is unsure of his role, even after spending five years among the Essenes before he begins his public ministry. More is learned when he finds in the mountains a holy man, who, we learn, is the story’s narrator. That encounter gives Jesus the knowledge (i.e., the enlightenment) to return to Jerusalem and fulfill his destiny. Although Chopra keeps returning to fiction, it is not really his forte; his philosophical ideas have much more potency when served up without characters, plotting, and dialogue—the latter is a particular problem. That said, Chopra has some intriguing ideas about Jesus and his true message that may prompt worthwhile discussion. --Ilene Cooper

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061448737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061448737
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #939,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his preface to Jesus, Chopra is very straightforward about his purpose in writing the book, saying "[there is] a Jesus left out of the New Testament - the enlightened Jesus. His absence, in my view, has profoundly crippled the Christian faith, for...making [Jesus] the one and only Son of God leaves the rest of humankind stranded...What if Jesus wanted his followers - and us - to reach the same unity with God that he had reached?"

`Crippled' is a strong word, and this book will undoubtedly anger some. Yet Chopra's Jesus maintains the divinity at the heart of mainstream Christianity - he is not just some average Joe who happens upon God. Nor is he simply a spiritual teacher or `guru', as other Eastern teachers have characterized him. The novel mostly covers the 'lost years' of Jesus' life left out of the Bible - the years in which he transforms from a serious and insightful young man into the son of God - and throughout that period he is surrounded by signs of his future divinity.

Chopra's Jesus himself is not comfortable with these signs, but they draw others to him. The early part of Jesus' spiritual journey is dominated by his relationships with Mary Magdelene and Judas - both of whom of course feature prominently in the later part of his life, as told in the New Testament. Chopra's earlier versions of these figures each have delusions about Jesus, and want to possess him for their own purposes. It is through them that he comes to understand the human condition, and the forces - both external and internal - that prevent many from pursuing a deeper relationship with God.

After leaving Mary and Judas, Jesus studies with the Essenes, a mystic Jewish religious community now believed by many to have authored the Dead Sea Scrolls.
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Format: Hardcover
I think the main purpose of Deepak Chopra's Jesus was to be a teaching novel, if I can use that term. A lot of readers will be happy with that, because Chopra's reputation is primarily as a spiritual teacher. But a lot of readers don't turn to fiction for lessons. They want a good story and an engrossing read. I'd like to reassure them that this book is definitely a good read. It might even be that rare thing, a religious page-turner.

I don't think Chopra would be happy with the tag "religious," however, since his ambition is to portray Jesus as someone who belongs to the world, not simply to Christianity. for that purpose, he takes the young Jesus to a far-off mountain setting somewhere in the East, where he meets an enlightened master. Here Chopra is tapping into the lore that has Jesus going to the Himalayas, although he never explicitly mentions if this nameless master is Buddhist or Hindu -- no religious affiliation is given at all. Orthodox Christians may rebel at that, but there's a long tradition of sending Jesus to other countries during his missing years. Albert Schweitzer, among others, speculated that Jesus learned from other traditions, and many Biblical scholars (not the fundamentalist stripe, of course) find many links between Jesus's teachings and the Buddha's.

If those things intrigue you, then this book will prove fascinating. But even if you come to it fresh, the tale holds lots of surprises. Having young Jesus be friends with Mary Magdalene and Judas, for example, throws a new perspective on how those characters fit into the New Testament. There have been many there attempts to write a prequel to the four gospels, but I think Chopra's is one of the most successful, thanks to his deep knowledge of consciousness and his growing ability to tell a riveting story.
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Format: Audio CD
When I read the Fictional book about Buddha's life that Deepak wrote it was amazing!! Deepak also had a great explanation at the end of that book that really ties the whole thing together. Do I think that Buddha is better than Jesus? No, not at all, I read this Book (listened) and I didn't get the same feeling from this book that I got from the Book that Deepak wrote about Buddha and his life. I was waiting for the great wisdom that Deepak possesses to come out and wanted to hear the great insightful summery at the end of the book and it never happened (Disappointed). Deepak almost always has a great concluding chapter in all his books. I know this is a fictional book and I feel this book is catering to western thought. I wanted this book to go deeper because I know Deepak has the knowledge of western thought and I wanted him to actually show some insight on Jesus and his great teachings that he taught his followers in the New Testament in the Book of John. This book only scrapes the surface maybe 1 or 2 times.

I read the Power of Now by Echkart Tolle and I feel that there was more insightful information in that book about Jesus's message to the world and it was amazing how Jesus made the teachings simple and easy to understand or maybe is was Echkarts Interpretation that was truly wonderful. I know Deepak has read "the Power of Now", Deepak wrote a review on the Back of the "The Power of Now" telling how great it is. This story about Jesus is not a great story and at times I think it sells Jesus short and Jesus doesn't get the credit he deserves. Deepak does a great job on making you Hate Judas in this story. At times it was distracting because Judas was so annoying!
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