On Jesus (Wadsworth Philosophers) (Wadsworth Philosophers Series) 1st Edition
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Groothius begins with making the case for Jesus as a philosopher. He adeptly puts both philosophers' and anti-philosophy Christians' minds at ease. From there, he does something I have never seen in print. Groothius outlines Jesus' use of philosophical/logical argument in His teaching. This section is superbly done and I would love to read more on the topic. Overall, Groothius shows how Jesus uses modus ponens, a fortiori and reductio ad absurdum arguments along with splitting the horns of a false dilemma and appeals to evidence. Truly an outstanding section.
From there, Groothius outlines Jesus' worldview including who He claimed to be, His view of women, criticisms of Jesus due to his apparent support of slavery and Jesus' resurrection. Throughout the text, Groothius refers to other authors such as major writers like Aristotle, Plato and Kierkegaard while alos tackling more recent issues broughtup by mowdern philosophers like Morgan. Grooothius, a seminary professor of philosophy, answers many questions skeptics raise about Jesus in this book to the point where this text almost qualifies as an apologetics text.
This is an introduction to these topics and he cuts the discussion off a little earlier than I would have liked at times. But, these books are intended to be short introductions, and On Jesus provides much more than a basic introduction to the philosophy of Jesus.
Highly recommended book!
His strongest chapter was "Jesus' use of argument". He pursuasively showed how Jesus logically handled objections based on Biblical dialogues and that Jesus valued rationality. Some of the other chapters were not as convincing. For example, he looks at Jesus' ethics by simply describing Jesus' position on various issues and how they are similar to modern philosophical categories such as virtue ethics and deontology. There are real connections there, but this method wasn't as convincing to show that Jesus was a Philosopher.
A better method might have been to show these connections, but to argue that the Biblical authors were not interested in focusing on the philosophical aspects of Jesus. One gets the sense that Jesus did have developed philosophical ideas which shine through at different times in the gospels. A more modest claim might have been that Jesus was a deep philosophical thinker, but that he focused more on theological and scriptural issues given his Jewish context. (I think these are philosophical issues but it depends on how you define philosophy and what things count as "doing philosophy") Moreover, if you really were the son of God, how might that change the way you would do philosophy?
This book would definitely be great for a class that is studying Christian beliefs and Jesus' philosophy. Even though Groothuis could have framed his thesis more pursuasively it is still a helpful introduction to the worlds most influential thinker.