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Jesus in the World's Faiths: Leading Thinkers from Five Religions Reflect on His Meaning Paperback – 6 Feb 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (6 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570755736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570755736
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 13.7 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,223,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 16 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful text; what an excellent idea to bring together these writings.

Other books that try and present the topic of Jesus 'in other faiths' tend to only select those elements, beliefs, or aspects that fit the author's viewpoint or thesis. Rarely do we actually get to hear from members of those faiths themselves in their own words.

This book provides that. Not only that, but it shows that even within one faith traditions the responses vary. I've read many texts on the Jesus of history, on Jesus in other religions, and on comparitive religion, yet the material brought together in this text is truly unique and refreshing. The text really opened my mind to the diverse responses that exist to the person of Jesus.

The structure is interesting as well; each section starting with an essay on Jesus and followed by other responses within that faith tradition. This allows each section to still present a variety of views, while giving the text an underlying structure.

For me the most fascinating part was the Hindu responses to Jesus. The Hindu faith is the oldest of the mainstream religions today and it was interesting to hear modern reflections and read about feelings of modern day Hindus to the person of Jesus.

I admire the author for embarking on such a project. Bringing together such a rich collection as this is a truly great gift he's given to us all.

I'd highly recommend people read this book and tell others about it too - the world would be a better place if the knowledge contained in this text was shared.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Nothing Else Like It on the Market 22 April 2005
By Paul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What is incredible in this book is the distinction of so many of the scholars Gregory A. Barker has persuaded to write. They are drawn from the top flights of international scholarship. What is even better is that he has persuaded them to write readable short readable essays which go straight to the heart of the matter. I know of no book which covers Jesus in the world religions in the way this does or speaks with such lively immediacy about him.

What is fascinating is that the differences are not solely between religions as inside them. The different Christian responses for example range from those who see the uniqueness of Christ as essential to Christianity and those like Archbishop William Temple who believe that the same word of God which inspired Jesus was also at work in the lives of Isaiah and Plato, Zoroaster, Buddha and Confucius.

Likewise the Jewish responses range from those who say that Jesus has no meaning or place within Judaism to those who hail Jesus as a Jew, as a Hebrew of the Hebrews who did not wish for or teach a new religion,and within whose Gospel teaching all Jews can feel at home.

Similarly in Islam there are those who see a gulf or abyss between Christianity and Islam and those who see the person of Jesus as a bridge across that abyss. Both viewpoints are fully represented here.

The same is true of Buddhism which is represented by writers from very different traditions. They approach Jesus in different ways but all seem fascinated by him. In the Theravada tradition the appeal is to the humanity of Jesus while in the pure-land tradition they may see at work that "the other-power of inconceivable reality transforming the life of Jesus". The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying that Jesus was either a fully enlightened being or a Bodhisattva with a high degree of spiritual realization.

Paul Badham Professor of Theology & Religious Studies and Director of the Alister Hardy religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales Lampeter.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Uniquely Presented and Absorbing 9 Aug 2009
By rowley32256 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gregory A. Barker is a Lutheran minister; this little book is his attempt to compare and to some extent reconcile the view of different religions on Jesus - and it works remarkably well. Barker does not rely on his own interpretations, but enlists the contributions of individuals not only representing the mainstream opinion of each major religion, but illustrating the range of different views.

Barker enlists the aid of Dr. Mary Grey to explore one Christian view of Jesus: "God is not only a transcendent deity about whom we can speak, but a person with whom we can speak. Without Jesus God is only transcendent: "out there", observable, but not communicable. Jesus is the bridge by which the gap is spanned and humanity enters into God's own space, values and dreams ... Jesus is the subject of the Christian religion, but Jesus is not the religion." To express the Buddhist view of Jesus, Barker calls on four different experts. According to former Roman Catholic and now Professor of Tibetan Buddhist studies, Buddhism embraces "Jesus' espousal of a radical egalitarianism: something infinitely more terrifying than contemporary democracy in its repudiation of class boundaries and hierarchies; in its skepticism about institutions; and in its empathy with, and prioritizing of, the cause of the poor and downtrodden in society." Amaratavati Buddhist Sister Ajahn Candasiri explains that because Buddhism is based on teaching, rather than a god-figure, it also embraces the idea of Jesus as a teacher - "a man of great presence, enormous energy and compassion, and significant psychic abilities. He also has a great gift for conveying spiritual truth in the form of images, using the most everyday things to illustrate points he wishes to make: bread, fields, corn, salt, children, trees."

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad comments on the view of the Hindu Swami Vivekananda on Jesus: "He thought of him as a realized soul, whose realization consisted in his recognition that he and God were one ... a culturally specific prophet who had taught this lesson of identity ... like the great figures of other traditions, like the Buddha, and Krishna." He also refers to Gandhi's view of Jesus "primarily in terms of his being the embodiment of sacrifice, in which his personification of love and commitment to truth were made evident; his meaning for us is that we must live such a life ourselves."

The Islamic and Judaic views of Jesus are also discussed by adherents of those faiths; the overwhelming impression that one comes to after reading this excellent little book is that religions have far more in common than in conflict when it comes to the question of Jesus.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Jesus in The World Faiths 18 Mar 2011
By Syd Bill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a long awaited book of essays from scholars of different faiths, to be read by grassroots believers in inter faith dialogue and wishing to learn more about how people of other faiths respect the life and teachings of Jesus.

Easy to read but difficult to put down.

As a Christiian Preacher also active in One World Week and Inter Faith matters, I have learned quite a
lot from this marvelous book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
In depth reflections on Jesus - a unique collection 16 Feb 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful text; what an excellent idea to bring together these writings.

Other books that try and present the topic of Jesus 'in other faiths' tend to only select those elements, beliefs, or aspects that fit the author's viewpoint or thesis. Rarely do we actually get to hear from members of those faiths themselves in their own words.

This book provides that. Not only that, but it shows that even within one faith traditions the responses vary. I've read many texts on the Jesus of history, on Jesus in other religions, and on comparitive religion, yet the material brought together in this text is truly unique and refreshing. The text really opened my mind to the diverse responses that exist to the person of Jesus.

The structure is interesting as well; each section starting with an essay on Jesus and followed by other responses within that faith tradition. This allows each section to still present a variety of views, while giving the text an underlying structure.

For me the most fascinating part was the Hindu responses to Jesus. The Hindu faith is the oldest of the mainstream religions today and it was interesting to hear modern reflections and read about feelings of modern day Hindus to the person of Jesus.

I admire the author for embarking on such a project. Bringing together such a rich collection as this is a truly great gift he's given to us all.

I'd highly recommend people read this book and tell others about it too - the world would be a better place if the knowledge contained in this text was shared.
Introductory 30 May 2014
By Blake Mayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
An introductory book. Good is you have basic knowledge of other faiths, but will not get you very deep in the discussion.
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