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Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary [Hardcover]

Marcus J. Borg
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov 2006
A rounded and compelling portrait of Jesus as charismatic healer, sage, and prophet, a man living in the power of the spirit and dedicated to radical social change. Marcus Borg is an internationally respected expert on Jesus and the Gospels, whose scholarly and popular books are hugely influential throughout the English-speaking world. This is his major book on the historical Jesus and his significance for today.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 343 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060594454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060594459
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.8 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,352,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'In every generation there is a handful of writers of whom it can be said, 'Read everything they write.' Marcus Borg is one of these today.' --Walter Wink, author of Engaging the Powers

'For over twenty years Marcus Borg has been a key figure in scholarly debates over how to reconstruct the life and aims of the historical Jesus. This new major book provides in remarkably accessible form the latest results of his own thinking about the challenge that Jesus originally presented and its relevance today. It is essential reading for all who take this subject seriously.' --Ronald A. Piper, Vice-Principal and Professor of Christian Origins, University of St Andrews --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Marcus J. Borg was Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University until his retirement in 2007. He is now Canon Theologian at Trinity Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of eighteen books, including Meeting Jesus in Mark (SPCK 2010) and three written with John Dominic Crossan: The Last Week (2006), The First Christmas (2007), and The First Paul (2009), all published by SPCK. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lifetime labour of love 25 Oct 2008
Borg's tone and presentation speaks to scholars and laypeople at the same time. He patiently explores all segments of the Gospel accounts, turning them around like gem stones to expose various angles of meaning. His approach highlights the challenging questions raised by Jesus' words. What, for example, are the implications of giving to God what belongs to God, and to Caesar what is Caesar's? What do we say belongs to God? Everything? And what belongs to Caesar? Does anything?

In all the stories, from the Prodigal Son to the various resurrection scenes, Borg stresses the search for intended meaning, without insisting on certainty about historical facts. He emphasizes the difference between believing doctrines about Jesus and actually following Jesus way of living. For modern America he raises an ancient concern: What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus and also a citizen of the world's most powerful empire?

I found the book a pleasure to read. It's a lifetime labor of love, and every page is packed with insight.

--author of Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, read a life times research into Jesus 15 April 2008
This book is thought provoking throughout , however, it has an excellent chapter on the political, social and cultural setting of Jesus. In our modern age of literal and factual thinking it is, to some, insulting to even imply that the bible may have things in it which were not actually spoken, this brings to light the mindset of biblical authors and shows that what we call 'just metaphor' is actually vitally important to the writers actual understanding of Jesus, His works, and Father.
Borg has written works which with his radical style and radical message has rubbed many people up the wrong way. this book refers back to a life times research and publishing but as Borgs manner and style of teaching has matured the message stays as radical but the style far more accessible.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marcus Borg's insight. 30 Oct 2011
A Lutheran Marcus Borg was up at Oxford with Tom Wright, later to be Bishop of Durham. At Oxford J.B.Caird was one of their Tutors. Borg and Wright co-authored "The meaning of Jesus" - a valuable addition to any bookshelf.
Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan (a one-time Roman Catholic priest) co-authored "The First Christmas" and "The Last Week" each of which are insightful and expressed with characterist clarity.
In his "Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary" Marcus Borg draws together, against the backgound of Israel under Roman domination, what influenced Jesus' ministry as a 'Jewish Mystic' filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Borg's analysis is incisive, frequently taking the reader back to the underlying Hebrew or Aramaic meaning of the words found in today's translations from the Greek. Particularly valuable is Borg's expression of his understanding of experiences of the spiritual and the 'numinous' leading, with supportive scriptural evidence, to a closer appreciation of the mind of Jesus and His relationship with 'Abba'. In addition to the scholarship incorporated in his writing Borg achieves a lucid readability in his text which makes it a joy to follow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To be read with caution 13 Aug 2013
Marcus Borg describes the history of the Gospels as documents and the social/political world of Jesus. He then gives his view of the character of Jesus, his teaching about God and the Kingdom of God, and his challenge to the religious and political system of his day. I found much in these chapters helpful and thought-provoking. However, it is odd that Borg does not discuss the significance of the title "Son of Man" by which Jesus referred to himself.
Interestingly, on p164, Borg comes very close to enunciating the well-known "mad, bad or God" trilemma of CS Lewis; Borg says, `you could experience him [Jesus] and conclude that he was insane, as his family did, or that he was simply eccentric or that he was a dangerous threat - or you could conclude that he was filled with the Spirit of God.'

However, I am less convinced about Borg's views on the Gospels as historical/metaphorical sources. Borg claims that many incidents which the Gospel writers report as fact should be understood as metaphor. He considers the metaphorical meaning of Gospel narratives to be truthful and truth-filled independently of whether or not they are historically factual. He uses the phrases "more-than-literal" and "more-than-factual" (p 51). But surely these phrases mean that an event has to be literal and factual before it can also be metaphorical. What does Borg mean? When he says more-than-literal does he actually mean fiction but with a metaphorical meaning? Apparently so; the stories `are symbolic narratives created for their metaphorical meaning' (p57). Did the Gospel writers really feel free to make up stories? And who decides what the metaphorical meaning is? Borg discusses alternative meanings of, for example, the parable of the workers in the vineyard (pp181-3).
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 3 Nov 2009
This book is excellent - quite easy reading but demanding in terms of thought. Keep going until the end, otherwise you could end up thinking that Borg is heading towards heresy. I found the insights gained have enriched my understanding of Christ and the gospel and have spurred me to read other authors who have, recently, been subjected to much criticism by evangelical writers; people like Tom Wright (Justification) and Steve Chalke (The Lost Message of Jesus).
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