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Jesus: An Historical Approximation Paperback – 1 Jul 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Convivium Press; 1 edition (1 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934996092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934996096
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Pagola has a simple message to convey. God must be understood as compassion, not power. In his book he set out to depict, in clear, accessible layman's language, as much as the historical sources allow, a comprehensive picture of Jesus of Nazareth. Just who was he? What was his contemporary world really like? Why did he want to go beyond complex religious codes and ritual practices? And why did he end up on collision course with the local Jewish authorities and the delegates of imperial Rome? --Mark Dowd, The Tablet

This is an extraordinary work of scholarship. Beautifully written, it is also an expression of the author's profound faith commitment... the author nevertheless presents a compelling 'approximation of that life'. In so doing, Pagola has written a highly readable book that deserves a wide readership in the Church and the academy. --Roberto Goizueta, Boston College, Former President of the Catholic Theological Society of America

One of Pagola's most controversial stances is that Jesus never described his death in theological terms and did not understand it as a sacrificial atonement for the sins of humanity. 'The Father doesn't need to preserve his honor with anyone's destruction,' Pagola writes. His love for his sons and daughters is gratuitous, his forgiveness unconditional. Rather, Pagola says, 'Jesus viewed his death as a service to God's reign for the benefit of all.' Jesus: An Historical Approximation may frustrate conservatives, who fault Pagola for departing from traditional formulas of faith, as well as liberals, who wonder how a follower of Jesus can analyze the historical sources objectively. --Darrell Turner, National Catholic Reporter

This is an extraordinary work of scholarship. Beautifully written, it is also an expression of the author s profound faith commitment... the author nevertheless presents a compelling approximation of that life . In so doing, Pagola has written a highly readable book that deserves a wide readership in the Church and the academy . --Roberto Goizueta, Boston College, Former President of the Catholic Theological Society of America

One of Pagola's most controversial stances is that Jesus never described his death in theological terms and did not understand it as a sacrificial atonement for the sins of humanity. 'The Father doesn't need to preserve his honor with anyone's destruction,' Pagola writes. His love for his sons and daughters is gratuitous, his forgiveness unconditional. Rather, Pagola says, 'Jesus viewed his death as a service to God's reign for the benefit of all.' Jesus: An Historical Approximation may frustrate conservatives, who fault Pagola for departing from traditional formulas of faith, as well as liberals, who wonder how a follower of Jesus can analyze the historical sources objectively. --Darrell Turner, National Catholic Reporter

About the Author

José Antonio Pagola was born in Spain in 1937. He completed his theological studies in 1962 at the Papal Gregorian University in Rome and his studies in Sacred Scripture at the Papal Biblical Institute in Rome in 1963. He also studied Biblical sciences at the École Biblique in Jerusalem. Pagola is a professor at St. Sebastian Seminary and at the Faculty of Theology of Northern Spain. He has dedicated his life to Biblical studies and Christology and has done research on the historical Jesus for more than 30 year.


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Format: Paperback
Jose A. Pagola, a Roman Catholic priest is a learned man, who has also a long pastoral experience in the very difficult Basque setting. A place crossed by nationalist conflict (Basque nationalism, but also forms of Spanish intransigence), terrorist nationalist violence, eclesial dissent and a rapidly changing world. Remeber that Franco died in 1975, a dire economic crisis worked havoc in society, ETA killed about 800 people.

In the middle of it all, Pagola has sustained an outstanding literary production both of learned (as this book) and more practical, pastoral matters. He has also been part of the privy council of the Bishop of San Sebastian, the very polemical JM Setien.

This book is an outstanding intent to understand the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the man who was also God, the man who was "equal to us in all, but in sin". The man who "walked the world doing good". Who resurected.

Pagola brings us back 2000 years, to the Palestine where Jesus lived and walked, to his culture, his traditions, the politics, the economics. Based on that research and information, Jesus - person shines in another light, more human, more divine. All those layers of senseless tradition, of actually dressing Him in other clothes are taken away. After reading his comment on the "Our Father", that prayer is said in a more sincere, authentic way; women are given their true place in revelation, the miracles are ripped of their magical connotations and seen in a more powerful, faith based light... As the Church, as christians.

This is a very readable book, but written with passion and learning. Pagola doesn't pretend to make things softer, or more complicated.
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For the first time I felt I understoood the actual historical context in which Jesus was born, lived and died. But more than a biography, the spirit of the times and what moved him and in that context how radical he actually was, especially in his mystical comprehension of the world, stood out like a blazing bonfire. After studying, praying and encountering Jesus all my life, this writing gave me new and blazing experience of knowing him differently.
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This book is so good that I keep giving this book away to friends, so this is the third time I have bought it! It is superb - lucid, erudite, griping and thoroughly absorbing. I came away feeling I know and understand Jesus much better than I ever did before - and I now see the true radicality of his life and mission in four dimensions. It is at once comforting and deeply unsettling. Probably the most life-changing book about Jesus - other than the gospels themselves - you are ever likely to read.
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This is a book which brings Jesus to light and gives many insights into his life as a carpenter / builder in Galilee at the beginning of the 1st century. For instance the prevailing attitudes towards women, the poor, the Romans and the relationship between Galilee and Jerusalem. The description of the crucifixion is historical and harrowing. The author is a Spanish scholar and Catholic priest who backs up his statements with references - the footnotes are essential. The translation (? by an American) does not grate to English ears.
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This is an absorbing read. It lends itself to meditative refelction on each few pages as the author takes the reader through the various phases of the life and work of Jesus. There is a wealth of historical detail presented in a reader friendly manner. The author does not intrude, but allows the reader to deduce her/his own conclusions. For example, he points out that Jesus did not quote the Torah, but rather encouraged his listeners to be like the father, compassionate. He does not try to draw a lesson from this, but leaves us to respond accroding to our understanding. There are footnotes aplenty for the scholar to peruse, but the ordinary reader doens not need to try to absorb the information imparted there. It is a most enjoyable read, ideal for the Lenten and Holy Week season which has just passed.
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OK, I'm biaised, but there are books on this subject - and books. This is one of the best. The punctuation is a little strange for the English reader but the content is riveting to the extent you fail to notice it after a very short while. It is easy to read because the reader can dip in and out of it and every chapter is appealing and the unusual physical properties of the paper and binding make it very attractive to handle.
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Putting the Jesus ministry into the context of his day's conditions is a surprise for very many members of the ordinary Anglican congregation who typically ask very few questions about the eighteen years of Jesus' adult life before his ministry began. Neither do they link St John the Baptist's ministry as the kick start to his so that the contrast in both style and message is not really thought about. Pagola's book is hugely valuable for preachers and, in that way, to the congregations. If you accept questions as well as comments I'd like to know how to follow up the Roman Catholic reaction - their initial response was quite inevitable but in an odd way it seems to have contributed to the book's value to the everyday Christian.
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