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Knowing Jesus Paperback – 10 Dec 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing; 2nd Revised edition edition (10 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0281052220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0281052226
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.9 x 22 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 664,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By nieszczarda on 18 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
This book, though not big, is not an easy-swallowed work, rather it demands being read and thought through very carefully. Just as with any really good theological text, it challenges the reader to re-consider again and again his/her most fundamental beliefs and ways of doing even obvious things.
James Alison disturbs the reader with a simple, but unusual for a Roman Catholic author, question: What does it mean to know Jesus? Looking for a non-superstitious answer he explores the experience of the apostles, the experience of the death and resurrection of Christ. Alison says that the resurrection gave them an awareness of a non-resentful and non-violent God, forgiving and therefore enabling us to overcome our fear of failure (whatever it may be) and to follow someone who ended in failure. Then, following (i.e. imitating) Jesus is a practical learning of not being violent, i.e. casting out no one, especially in the name of God. Even more, it is a discovery of oneself as someone who is hopelessly contaminated by violence. This discovery, together with the very particular picture of God given us by Jesus, brings a liberating understanding of being forgiven and enabled to forgive and to bring peace, love, and creativity, rather than to participate in rivalry, hypocrisy and hatred. Alison is convinced that the experience of a real (radical, in his words) 'knowing Jesus' must have public consequences of change in ways of relating.
My own experience is that Alison's writings provide an excellent source of learning to be a sincere and determined Christian. If you are encouraged to read this intelligent book, do not overlook the very good foreword by Rowan Williams and the questions after each chapter - they are no less challenging than the text itself. If you find Alison's style somewhat heavy going at the first reading, start with the last chapter - a more practical one, and then jump back to the beginning. This book is worth spending time on.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Stoupe on 2 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a clear, concise and well written book, one which I was able to read straight off, unlike many others in this area. Alison does not presume that his readers are PhD theologians! He takes a conversational approach; ensuring that there is as little room for misunderstanding as possible. I would say that this is a challenging book on many different levels and in many different ways not just for Christians and their understanding of Jesus but, reading between the lines, for society as a whole. The use of questions at the end of chapters is particularly useful to take one deeper into an understanding of his thoughts and to help us develop our own.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By emptor on 1 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those who seek to strengthen the foundations of their Christian faith could find in this book a spiritual and mental work-out that makes them sleeker and fitter. No superficial, slick, syrupy treatment here; rather some good, meaty writing from the pen of James Alison, a serious academic, whose pilgrimage is clearly no delusory blind walk in the dark but a journey on which he has noted landmarks and signposts that other travellers might well find helpful.
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Format: Paperback
Sometimes, a creepy person comes up to you and asks if you ‘know Jesus’. Worse, do you know him ‘as your personal saviour’. In an age of individualism, that takes no account of the Church as community, of the dynamic at work in the relational Trinity, this type of person believes himself to be offering some ‘get out of jail free’ card for life after death. So the title of this book is timely.

‘Justification by faith’ is incapable of an individualistic interpretation because it means ‘being in a right relationship with God’. As God is Trinity and loves humanity, justification implies and involves a change relationship with all humanity.
Becoming a Christian is the result of taking on trust the experiences of other people. If you read the Bible, you are engaging with the experiences of others: some people treat the gospels, for instance, as if they were biographies of Jesus, sort of primitive history books. They are nothing of the sort. They are witnesses to the apostolic experience of the resurrection, and the rewriting of their experience of the last years before the resurrection in its light. Some people treat the Old Testament as though it were a manual of laws and practices. Again, that won't do. We receive the Old Testament because it reveals the pattern of God's dealings with his chosen people, dealings which give models for understanding what God really wanted to reveal when he raised Jesus from the dead.

The resurrection is not a continuation of life after death. Our resurrection is incorporated in his and is part of the transforming of our lives here and now, not in some after-life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book - so easy to read and yet at the same time challenging. Have found it a great help and have subsequently passed it on to others
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