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on 18 April 2014
I have been reading this book throughout Holy Week and I can't recommend it enough. It is thought-provoking, thorough, clear and easy to read. I have learned so many new things, and her constant referrals to the meanings of the original language is highly enlightening. It is also easy to dip in and out of the different sections if there is something you are especially interested in or want to refer back to.
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on 9 April 2014
Paula Gooder’s Biblical Exploration might well have been titled ‘the Subversive Jesus’. From Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (ironically turning the traditional Roman ‘Triumph’ into its antithesis – eschewing pomp… acting out of love not status) to the extraordinary ‘triumph’ of the Cross, her account of every part of these Last Days poses unimagined questions, presents radical answers.

While Sunday Readings throughout the Church year offer short Bible passages which thread together the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, how often do many of us read the Bible as we might read a book?

Yet it is the interweaving of – for instance – the three stories of the Cleansing of the Temple, the Widow’s Mite and the cursing of the fig tree, that bring a shock of understanding never present when the stories remain separate.

Or, through the lens of the Vineyard owner’s parable, who would ever now forget that the blood money paid to Judas was actually the Tyrian shekels given for the Temple’s upkeep – God’s house – and at that moment used to ensure His Son’s death.

Art, like Music (via the great Passions) links both Old and New Testament in the route to the Cross. But it is a rare book that digs into the connectedness of words and action, of symbolism and story, to bring such intense insights to inform our Lent.

Rather than harmonising the Gospels (as preachers tend to prefer to do) Paula Gooder lays bare the uncertainties of their writers: ‘Why did Jesus die?’

It is a sharp and startling question to focus our personal Lent reflections.

As the great Canadian songwriter Bruce Cockburn once suggested, “maybe the poet… shows you new ways to see” and in this sense that Paula Gooder is both theologian and poet. This is a book to commend, to read in depth, and to allow to change our whole understanding.
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on 18 March 2015
Tons of information based on academic biblical study written in a clear and well-presented style. Paula asks the question 'Why did Jesus die?' at the start and then helps readers to investigate possible answers. It is rigorous, courteous and never dull. I've used it to lead an ecumenical group in Woking and it has generated a real buzz this Lent. There are so many moments when Paula explains details of the story, such as the tearing of the curtain in the temple, when we have thought 'Yes! Of course! That makes so much more sense now'. We've studied other Paula Gooder books which have all been good - but this is the best of them all.
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on 15 May 2014
It always to read Paula's books.
I think I have most of her books which are not only readable but so helpful in preparing sermons.
Wonderful writer.
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on 1 October 2014
A superb book, written by a lady, who knows her subject at depth. It conveys an interest from start to finish and I would find it hard to scrabble together any objection or complaint .
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on 26 February 2015
Used the book as part of a Lentern review of my faith. Gooder writes with authority and has useful insights I had not previously considered. Recommended.
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on 11 May 2014
Excellent resource. Brilliant background for Holy week preaching. Highly recommended for all leading worship and for those just interested. Thanks
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on 21 March 2016
Biblical text printed saved looking up passages while reading the book. Helpful background was then complemented with personal reflection so inspire and challenge. All in a very easily read style of writing.
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on 4 September 2014
As with all of Paula Gooder's work, this is excellent.
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on 3 July 2014
Excellent - compelling reading
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