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Profiles of Jesus Paperback – December, 2002
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What is very surprising, to me at least, is that the viewpoints within the book are not uniform as some might expect. Those familiar with the work of the Seminar will know that this traces back to the manner in which the group decided on the "authority" of various biblical passages (by voting to place the passages into a variety of different "levels"), but when you first realize that each of the chapters features a slightly different portrait (even though differences may be subtle) it comes as a bit of a surprise.
The intent of the book, I suppose, is to spark the interest of its readers to do some research of their own and form their own opions of the subject material rather than take for granted yet another book at face value. In that respect, the text succeeds remarkably for the interested and avid reader. Even those who are unwilling to accept the idea that the New Testament is anything but perfectly accurate history will find a great many things that will spark their own interest, or will give them pause to reinvestigate why they believe what they do.Read more ›
Robert Funk [Honest to Jesus: Jesus for a New Millennium] says, "His language is concrete and specific. Jesus always talked about God's domain in everyday, mundane terms... He would not have said, 'All human beings have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.' He would not have confessed, 'I believe in God the Father Almighty.' It never occurred to him to assert that 'God is love.' Jesus did not have a doctrine of God; he had only experience of God." (Pg. 10-11) He adds, "Jesus may be described as a comic savant. He was perhaps the first standup Jewish comic. A comic savant is a sage who embeds wisdom in humor, a humorist who shuns practical advice." (Pg. 12)
Mahlon H. Smith observes, "Much has been written in recent years to challenge J. Jeremias' thesis [in The Prayers of Jesus] that the Aramaic word 'Abba' was Jesus' distinctive way of addressing God, indicating his unique sense of childlike intimacy with the Deity. Yet Jeremias' observations have not yet been disproved.Read more ›