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Jesus: A Theography by [Sweet, Leonard, Viola, Frank]
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Jesus: A Theography Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Description

About the Author

Leonard Sweet is an author of many books, professor (Drew University, George Fox University, Tabor College), creator of preachthestory.com, and a popular speaker throughout North America and the world. His "Napkin Scribbles" podcasts are available on leonardsweet.com Frank Viola has helped thousands of people around the world to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and enter into a more vibrant and authentic experience of church. His mission is to help serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply so they can experience real transformation and make a lasting impact. Viola has written many books on these themes, including God's Favorite Place on Earth, From Eternity to Here, and Jesus Manifesto (with Leonard Sweet). His blog, frankviola.org, is rated as one of the most popular in Christian circles today.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 913 KB
  • Print Length: 409 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00BJENT1S
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (1 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078FA9OW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #204,438 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Hardcover
This is, the subtitle claims, a theography. A biography of God, you might say - more specifically, God the Son. This is the story of Jesus Christ, and yet the book does not begin at Bethlehem but way back into the never-begun beginning of the triune heart of God (my phrase, not the authors'!)

This is an absorbing book that takes time to read (and I confess I have not finished it yet!). The authors' trace Jesus through scripture, both Old Testament and New. Some of their interpretations are challenging and may cause disagreement, some are real eye-openers - heart burners, the stories the disciples on the road to Emmaus must have experienced when an incognito Jesus talked them through the Scriptures.

Having studied theology, I'm familiar with the principle of taking things in context. I have, in the past, been challenged to take off my `New Testament' specs while reading the Old Testament. This book challenges me to put them back on - and it's been at times uncomfortable, like going against a habit I've taught myself to practise. But I remind myself - if Jesus is as important as I claim he is, then it is not strange that he should be vibrantly present in the Old Testament. And I'm left gasping at the beauty of the triune God.

A rich and rewarding read; I recommend it.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have to confess that I am a Frank Viola and NT Wright fan, but this book is tremendous. It opens your eyes to the fullness of Jesus without denying either His humanity or divinity. It is a long read, but well worth it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are interested in truly understanding why Jesus and why christianity this is the book for you. The idea of telling the story of Jesus chronologically is shockingly fresh and new and gives you a better understanding of the reality of Jesus both historically and for believers today.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
it is such a book for bible study not to read once and dropped it is so wonderful having personally. thanks
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x995d168c) out of 5 stars 250 reviews
78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98e6f390) out of 5 stars A Mixed Review 3 Nov. 2012
By A. Jankowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am not a writer, educator or a theologian for that matter,but I did want to make an honest observation about Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet's latest book. I have read all of Frank's books and only two of Leonard's. I must say that I was very eager to get this book. The email previews had me so excited that I purchased three of them in anticipation of giving two away.

I enjoy the writing style of Frank's very much and have really enjoyed his insight in his past books but I do have a difficult time with Leonard's writing style. Knowing this I bought the books anyway. I also have to say that I have enjoyed many of the types and symbols these two authors have used in much of their past writing. However, in this particular book, I found it some what disheartening. By chapter three, I found the book to be some what disappointing.

Chapter 3, pg. 41 takes place in the garden and is called the "microcosm of the cosmos". We are told here, "First God puts Adam there", and "to tend and keep it (the garden)." The authors then express how we are all gardeners, groundskeepers, housekeepers and so on. I get this and don't take issue with this. But when I got to page 43, the idea of (tend and keep) is expanded as our directive to have "dominion over creation" with a foot note on pg. 363 #11 suggesting the words conserve = tend the garden and conceive = till the garden as gentler translations of the Gen. 1:28 command to "have dominion over" and "subdue" the earth. The author then states a question he believes God will ask of us, "Part of each person's divine judgement includes the question: How have you cared for the earth?" This sounds more like a question some environmentalist guru would ask than what God might say.

I will spare you all the transliteration of Gen. 1:28 use of the words "replenish, subdue and have dominion over" but they really lost me in this chapter because of their types and symbols.

I appreciated the new insight given while reading "A Radical View of Women", this is on pg. 142. It was refreshing compared to the usual sermon which preach a "Martha" type person who tends to be overly busy to a more spiritually minded "Mary" type person. The historical information makes this much more sensible.

By chapter 11, pg. 181 - we read: While Jesus was in His hometown visiting a community center, the men there gave Jesus a scroll to read. Jesus reads the familiar passage of Isaiah and upon finishing it He said, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." What takes place next in the authors mind, I found a little disconcerting, when they say, "Jesus' reading of Isaiah was so shocking, so presuming, that Jesus' own family took offense at Him. His wild and prophetic claims had brought so much shame to the family that they schemed to conduct and honor killing to protect the family dignity." (This story is explained later on pg. 227). I get that Jesus was in His hometown but that's all Luke 4:29 tells us. To suggest that His family members and His mother were among the people in the community center (which is probable) AND were INCLUDED with those wanting to throw Him off a cliff, is reading between the lines far more to my liking and might have been more believable with credible historical references but the foot notes fell silent on this one.

I have to say in chapter 13, pg. 225 subtitle: The Third Thief, I struggled with the authors take of such unprecedented symbolization to claim that Jesus was a thief of any kind. Please, I get the idea but I didn't appreciate the terminology to suggest some how that He ROBBED the woman at the well of her guilt and shame to robbing satin of his power, and to further this nonsensical thinking, they paraphrase an old gospel song from 1855, "What a Thief we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to steal." I'm sorry, I think I will rob the authors of my support to this thought.

All in all, this is not to say, don't buy the book or read the book, for there are great nuggets of gold and plenty of "wows". Another praise worthy chapter was: A Stunning Reversal - Jesus Anointed By a Woman. I staggered at such an awesome unfolding of comparisons. It is this kind of extraordinary teaching that keeps me reading much of Franks books.
53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98e6f3e4) out of 5 stars The Story of Jesus Christ 20 Sept. 2012
By Joshua Lee Henry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet's words are just as poetically powerful as they are prophetic. In their new book, Jesus A Theography (2012) the authors articulate how the entire Biblical narrative is the story of Jesus Christ. Just as Elijah, Isaiah, and Jesus for that matter, called people back to the heart of God, Viola and Sweet have written a sequel to their first Jesus Manifesto, once again calling people to fix their attention on the heart of God, the person of Jesus.

Not striving to write a biography, they have instead chosen to convey Christ through the story of God's interactions with humanity from the First Covenant all the way through the Second. From Genesis and the Garden of Eden, to Golgotha, and into the New Jerusalem of eternity to come, every written word we have in Scripture points to the Living Word, the Logos, God Incarnate.

As Augustine said, "In the Old Testament, the New is concealed, in the New, the Old is revealed." Separating the two Testaments is like cutting Jesus in half. As our Lord confidently, and scandalously, declared, "All Scripture points to me" (John 5:39). Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and prophets. The law has been completed in a life laid down with love on the cross. Viola and Sweet beautifully illustrate the majesty of Christ' prophetic and divine, self-actualization of the Bible's first 39 books, including His reenactments of the creation account, Israel's desert trial, and the Davidic lineage proving his Messianic title.

The authors also review Jesus' "mission statement", his question based and parable style teaching, and healing ministry. Though every chapter portrays the biblical and living King of Kings, perhaps my favorites are the last four on Jesus's crucifixion, atonement, resurrection, ascension and future return. I also really appreciated the appendix on Post-Apostolic Witness, including pronouncements by Aquinas, Wesley, Bonhoeffer, and Wright among many others.

I highly recommend Jesus a Theography. It is a testimony of Truth. This revealing of Jesus will benefit new and old Christians alike.

I received an advanced copy of this book by the author and also through the BookSneeze Blogging for Books Program and was not required to write a favorable review.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98e6f81c) out of 5 stars Does All Scripture Really Point To Jesus? 24 Sept. 2012
By Kelly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I received this Advanced Reader's Copy of Jesus: A Theography from Present Testimony Ministry as a part of Frank Viola's Book Launch Team.

For the first time in a long time, I picked up a book to read on a topic of which I was very unaware: the presence of Jesus throughout the entire Bible. Over the years, I had heard about the idea of the pre-incarnate Jesus (which usually was just a checklist of "here's where Jesus appeared), but had not paid it much mind. Until now.

The back cover of the book states that "Biographies of Jesus generally have been written by those trying to investigate the historical Jesus, with little attention given to the grand narrative of Scripture. On the flip side, those interested in tracing the theology of Scripture are typically disinterested in historical Jesus studies. These two approaches have yet to converge. . . until now."

To combine these two ideas is fascinating to me, and to see how Sweet and Viola weave the narrative of Jesus from Creation to The Return of The King made me want to pick up my Bible and compare notes as I read along (in hindsight, having a Bible and a notebook to jot things down in while reading would be something that I highly recommend--simply highlighting text isn't enough!).

I can't begin to imagine the amount of work that went into creating this book. The endnotes are extensive; there are over 80 in the introduction alone. I greatly appreciated that the authors did this; it shows they are willing to let anyone see what they used and where their ideas originated.

While I can't speak for the veracity of their premise and what actual Biblical scholars (of which I am not) might have to say about it, I found it to be a worthwhile read that sparked my curiosity and kicked my questioning and wondering brain into gear. Rather than just telling someone about the Bible, reading this book encourages one to go to the Bible itself to explore the claims. In this, Sweet and Viola place the focus on Jesus, as it should be.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98e6fbe8) out of 5 stars Simply Amazing 26 Sept. 2012
By David Mullens - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I received an advance electronic copy of this book for an honest review.

I had looked forward to reading this book, but I had no idea what was in store for me. I've heard and read that all of Scripture can be read through the lens of Christ, but I had felt, at times, some of the observations were a bit stretched. I have to admit Sweet and Viola have not only convinced me that Jesus is the center, the point, and focus of both testaments, but they have also inspired me to read the bible differently. A few times I felt a bit overwhelmed by Jesus and Scripture.

There are so many things I could write about this book, but I will limit my comments to the scholarship and vastness of the research. I am more familiar with Sweet's works more than Viola's, but the scholarship is simply amazing. I appreciate the copious notes included in this book. Approximately 25% of the electronic edition were notes. While some may feel end notes bog down the flow of reading, I find the notes are helpful both to check the author's conclusions and to continue one's studies.

I also appreciate how the authors did not limit themselves to their own faith traditions or era. There was breadth to their research and references. For two thousand years and in various faith traditions Jesus has been seen as the center, source, and point of Scripture. The authors have done a magnificent job coalescing these resources into a unified whole which points to Jesus.

I highly recommend this book. While it is still early, I wonder if these book will become a classic, or at least a reference for all those who look to scripture in order to see and find Jesus.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98e6fccc) out of 5 stars Curiously Complex - Bad Flashbacks to 11th Grade English 3 Dec. 2012
By Dirk Drudgler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Jesus: A Theography" is one of many recent books attempting to make Christian Scripture more readable by chopping it up and rearranging it in an easier-to-digest linear form. Most notable of these attempts is The Story which takes the entire Bible and makes it essentially, in form at least, a novel. This book attempts to do much the same thing specifically with the biography or "theography" (a made up word) of Jesus by using material not just from the New Testament (which they refer to as the Second Testament), but also from the Old Testament (the First Testament). Different in this book from others in this category is the incredible amount of analysis which accompanies the narrative.

The authors base their authority on John 5:39 in which Jesus, referring to the First Testament says, "The Scriptures point to me." How exactly, the authors ask, does the First Testament which were the only Scriptures existing during His time on Earth point to Jesus and how do we interpret it into this particular kind of a biography?

When I was in 11th grade, I had an English teacher who I thought was certifiably insane when it came to analysis of literature. As we poured over the year's required reading I was always dumbfounded by the non-existent allusions she was able to draw out of the pages we studied. Sometimes her analysis was so complex that the placement of a period had meaning beyond ending a sentence. Writers like Henry James, Herman Melville, and William Faulkner in her mind clearly worked on a different level of genius because of the structural allusions they were able to work into their stories. The truth is, while some of it was there, the depth of her examination was a reflection of the self aggrandizement of her ability to "see deeper" than anyone else. She would find meaning in a wad of gum on the sidewalk deeper than "don't step on it." What she so often refused to accept was writers often simply mean what they say.

I felt the same befuddlement working through the first 60 pages or so of this book. These are the pages which deal with Jesus in the First Testament. It is here I felt they started to draw some pretty wild assumptions about Jesus in pre-incarnation Scripture. It typifies much of the tone of the rest of the book.

They begin with an analysis of Christ in the story of creation. This is broken down into how Christ's life is alluded to in the seven days God used to create the Earth. I won't list all of them but a random example is Day 2. On the second day God created the firmament (sky) to separate the waters. How does Christ fit into this? The authors claim this would be an allusion to the principle of separation we see throughout the Bible, clean from unclean, earthly from heavenly, etc. They conclude, "Therefore, the second day illustrates the principle of separation which reached its climax in the death of Christ" (pg. 22). This same sort of analysis is applied to every day of creation and even the next few days beyond.

John 1:1-3 says: "In the beginning was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made." This is a very basic truth of how Christ fits into the creation story. He simply created everything. The authors may be correct in their intensive insight into these passages (we won't know the absolute truth until by His mercy we are worshiping at His throne) but why waste time with fanciful allusion when the obvious meaning is so simple, yet so profound? Simply, on the second day Jesus created the sky to separate the heavens and earth. Please note the meaningful period at the end of that sentence.

The creation story as coded allegory is just one example of how the authors place an unreasonable and unnecessary burden on the reader by requesting they accept premises which are at best tenuous and at worst, just strange. During a bizarre discussion of the Garden of Eden, the authors pontificate, "God loves trees and God loves green. The first things the Lord put into the garden were trees which makes one wonder if God's favorite color isn't green. This garden planet called Earth in the garden galaxy called the Milky Way is miraculously conceived so that the waste product of the trees (oxygen) is the life-breath of humans and the waste product of humans (carbon dioxide) is the life-breath of trees. Deforestation is a form of lung removal (pneumonectomy).(pg.44)" To wrap up this ecological allegory they state, "The Jesus life is a dinner party...or more precisely, a garden party (pg.46)." The conclusions you draw from this paragraph will go a long way toward determining if you will like this book.

When the book moves into the safety of the Second Testament, where allusions can be analyzed from their existing point by working backwards, i.e. prophesies fulfilled in Christ, it gets a little better. At some points it becomes a thoughtful, if extraordinarily wordy, biography of Jesus with a linear presentation of his life. My biggest concern with this section, the meat of the book, is at many points the analysis again gets very complicated. Whenever the authors move out of the context of history and culture where they are strong and into grasping at allegorical straws, which is frequent, their writing starts to veer back into wacky English teacher mode.

The book concludes with a generous selection of commentators from Early Church Fathers to Contemporary Christian Scholars on how Christ is presented in the context of the entire Scripture. I found this section to be very well researched, complete, and completely interesting. The book is extensively footnoted and the research is admirable.

I'm sure the writers did not intend this to be a book which has much value for evangelism beyond equipping the laborers. It is clearly written for people who have more than a passing knowledge of Scripture, but within even that sub-group some may find it overly complicated, although those willing to tough it out and sift through the rubble can be rewarded with some very credible insight.
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