To know the work of Bishop John Spong is, it seems, either to love him or loathe him. This book is probably no exception, though in its introduction he comes across as a man genuinely and endearingly excited by the discoveries he's made in researching it. Drawing heavily on the work of English scholar Michael Goulder, Spong describes how the Gospels are effectively Christian midrashim (creative retellings) of existing Jewish scriptural themes, and can be fitted very closely to the Jewish calendar of the time and its `lectionary' pattern of prescribed Torah readings. So far, so consonant with recent readings of Jesus as a first-century Jew. However, Spong then goes on to show how this very literary approach to the Gospels can - perhaps should - be used (as a matter of some urgency) to move us away from literal readings of, for example, the nativity stories, seminal events like the Sermon on the Mount, and the resurrection. Such an approach, inspired as it seems to be by a genuine desire to make Jesus credible to postmoderns who find 'biblical literalism' impossible to accept, will appeal to some, while appalling others. This book definitely adds another dimension to the debate about the precise nature of Christianity's rootedness in first-century Judaism. Spong takes a very different view from that of scholars like Tom Wright as to the implications of those roots for faith in Jesus today, but is none the less thought-provoking for all that.