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A Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus: Reading the Gospels on the Ground [Paperback]

Bruce N. Fisk
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 14.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

29 Jun 2011 0801036062 978-0801036064
This book offers a fresh and imaginative approach to Jesus studies and biblical criticism, providing a gripping fictional account of one student's journey to the Middle East to investigate the New Testament and the life of Jesus for himself.
Norm, a fictional college graduate, undertakes this journey to discover if he can study Jesus and follow him at the same time, and if curiosity will make him a better disciple or no disciple at all. As Norm hitchhikes simultaneously across the Gospels and the land, readers follow his faith journey as well, wondering if he will be able to reconcile his Christian faith with current critical scholarship. A Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus offers readers a creative and engaging way to explore many of the major questions in Jesus studies today and affirms the importance of asking probing questions about Jesus and the Gospels.
The book's lavish, journal-style, two-color interior design--featuring maps, photos, doodles, sketches, and email exchanges between Norm and his professor--makes it interesting to read. Its classroom-tested material will appeal to professors and students in Jesus, Gospels, New Testament, and religion courses. In addition, thoughtful lay readers will enjoy this book.

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A Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus: Reading the Gospels on the Ground + Four Portraits, One Jesus: An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels + Christian Theology
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Product details

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic, Div of Baker Publishing Group (29 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801036062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801036064
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 18 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 640,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Bruce N. Fisk (PhD, Duke University) is professor of religious studies at Westmont College and the author of Do You Not Remember? Scripture, Story, and Exegesis in the Rewritten Bible of Pseudo-Philo and Interpretation Bible Studies: 1 Corinthians. A fresh voice in New Testament scholarship, he travels widely throughout the world of the earliest Christians--Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Greece, and Italy--often with students.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 22 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I chose this rating because of the presentation, content and ideas put forward in this publication. A very good read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful 3 Oct 2011
By Jacob Sweeney - Published on
Both the Christian life and education are rightly described as a journey. In sanctification and education we are going somewhere. There is an end in mind and we are progressing along that path towards our goal. Paul (most likely a highly educated person) knew that knowledge pursued for knowledge's sake actually made people more conceited and proud (1 Cor 8.1). So, for a Christian, even knowledge must be pursued with an end goal in mind.

The single most important piece of information a Christian must come to terms with is the person of Jesus Christ. It is essential that we learn to discern all the many false "Christs" available from the one true Christ of Scripture.

In order to help people correctly understand both Scripture and the person of Jesus many New Testament Surveys and Introductions have been published. Most of them - honestly - are incredibly boring and lifeless. Not everyone should endeavor to write one. In fact, only very few should. Bruce Fisk has bravely entered the NT Survey fray and contributed another volume. His, however, is unique. The Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus presents the usual information in a journal format. You still have your discussions of who Jesus was (i.e. Historical Jesus studies), who he thought he was (Mark's Messianic secret), why he came (Revolutionary? self-identified prophet?) and so on. Instead of being laid out in standard format, these ideas are each presented as entries in the journal of a man exploring both the Holy Land and Christianity itself.

I think there are a few strengths worth highlighting:

First, the unique presentation sets it apart. I have had to push through many a boring Survey textbook of the Gospels and the New Testament. Sometimes the information dump of a survey book is just too much to handle. Fisk has presented us with a similar work that explores the same ideas and concerns but does so in a more "life-like" manner. It is all presented as a young man wrestling through these ideas. It is much more like my own personal exploration than simply a lifeless monologue.

Second, the pictures were extremely helpful. It seems many academics tend to think that pictures reduces the perceived quality of their scholarship. They shouldn't. Few people have had the privilege of walking where Jesus and his disciples walked. Providing readers with pictures of the places that are written about only serve to bring ideas and history to life. They allow us to enter into the story of Scripture more fully. They should be encouraged.

The cumulative pedagogical value of all of this is quite high. It presents information as people usually encounter it. Also the pictures only serve to highlight what is being learned, thus making it more "real". It is also more true to life in that by presenting the information as one person's journal it forces us to think of this study as a personal journey of faith.

The only question I have concerns the quality of the information gained. While the conversational, exploratory tone may make the content much more accessible, I wonder how much content can be grasped. For the average introductory student I can see this text being of great value. However, for more intermediate or advanced students of the Gospels and New Testament its value may be limited to its novelty rather than its interaction with scholarship.

Nevertheless, I think this is a helpful volume that will serve many people in the kingdom of God. We're not all called to be scholar, so we need good books that will help the average Christian in the pew to understand his Bible. I think this one can do that.

NOTE: In accordance with the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission I would like to state that I received a complementary copy of the aforementioned text for the purposes of review. I was not required to furnish a positive review.

Also this review is part of the Blog tour promoting A Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars in "the Land called Holy" 24 Dec 2013
By mmbrown - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An appealing book - witty, readable, often heart-stopping. And a unique genre, I believe, with its journaling/ criticism/ theology. I like it very much and would recommend it highly on those levels. The author's personality is always in play and contributing to his adventure in "the Land called Holy."
Prof. Fisk is a graduate of Duke, and I was introduced to his work through "See My Tears," one of the best essays in The Word Leaps the Gap (festschrift for Dean Richard Hays).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!! 19 Feb 2014
By Brittany Bullens - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has so much to offer..there are lots of sources paired with the biblical text referenced and it's an interesting read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative, faithful, contemporary, engaging 21 Jan 2012
By Jonathan Wilson - Published on
I love this book. I was Bruce's colleague at Westmont College as he conceived and developed the idea for the book. But don't take my word for it. Here is what N.T. (Tom) Wright says:

"The book is obviously designed for today's student world, and as such it works superbly. If I were teaching a course on Jesus and the gospels, this would be at the top of the reading list."

See [...]
4.0 out of 5 stars Very engaging.... 2 Aug 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Here's a snippet of my book review:

Overall, I enjoyed the reading of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus. There are several strengths to this book worth noting: (1) I loved that it was more of a conversational read as opposed to an academic. (2) The storyline was witty and entertaining, as I found myself chuckling in my encounters with the chapters. (3) The charts, pictures, graphs and sticky notes that were embedded throughout the book exposed me to historical sources and allowed for side-by-side comparison of Scriptures. (4) The introduction to the vast amount of theories regarding the Jesus depicted in the Gospels from birth to death to resurrection.
My main reservation about the book was that it could be considered to be a little confusing and misleading for students entering religious studies. Fisk states in the preface that some of the stories are from his own adventures, while others are made up. Confusion can enter the minds of young theologians due to the necessity of trying to “decide when history stops and legend begins” (7). The fact that Fisk admits “shamelessly” placing words into the mouths of contemporary figures in the book can make one question its authenticity. In addition, the book does not reach any solid conclusions to the integrity of the Gospels.
As previously mentioned, I enjoyed reading this book. It was engaging, entertaining, exposing and insightful. I would not recommend this to newcomers of religious studies; however, I would recommend this book to those who have engaged a more thorough study of the New Testament gospels.
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