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VINE VOICEon 6 June 2002
It's easy for the evangelical-educated eye to see what those of young or narrow christian faith find offensive in Borg's accessible and readable book. Still, such views also miss the point in insightful humour like "Life of Brian" and social comment like "Brass Eye" (on British TV).
Borg tries to paint a word-picture of the real Jesus, asking what he personally taught and believed and what, based on his own sayings, lay at the heart of his ministry. The distinction is made between the pre-Easter Jesus - the flesh-and-blood man who taught by word and deed - and the post-Easter Christ, the focus of organisation of the new christian church. Borg asserts that Jesus' own view was of the need for compassion derived from a daily experience of the living God rather than legalistic purity derived from the rules of the religious status quo. He bravely asserts that Jesus was less concerned about what people believed than about how they allowed the rule of the Spirit and of compassion in their lives.
His careful, educated and well-supported analysis leads the tired christian to a new view of Jesus that can reinvigorate faith without demanding the legalistic focus of either liturgy or dogma. I'd recommend this book to anyone who has been involved in the christian church but grown weary of the limited scope of evangelicalism yet knows that God is and that the Hound of Heaven continues to pursue them. There are things to agree with, things to disagree with but the style is gentle and you, after all, are an adult who can make up your own mind...
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on 19 April 2002
This book is aimed at any Christian whose belief has grown stale. The author describes a radical new way of looking at Jesus which may appeal to anybody who is sincere in a desire to grow in Christ but feels hopelessly stuck with an unsatisfactory image of Jesus.
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on 27 November 1997
Borg's book develops a powerful intellectual claim about the nature of the historical Jesus. His arguments reveal a Jesus who speaks not of a promised hereafter but who instead develops a powerful, radical critique of his own culture. Borg recovers a Jesus whose message was not about himself ("I am the way and the light") and the end of the world but about the renewal of the world through faith in our common humanity. The book seems to me to offer modern agnostics, fed up with the religious right and its claims for a God who damns sinners and rewards the conservative faithful, a new vision free of the superstitions of 2000 years. Borg's vision allows for the complexities that the right rejects. No need to check your intellect at the door: Borg, a New Testament scholar at Oregon State and a member of the Jesus Seminar, challenges the reader to read-and to believe--with reason and passion. It's an excellent book aimed at a general readership. Borg's _Jesus: A New Vision_ incorporates many of the same arguments made here, and I hope that he plans an in-depth, scholarly treatment of these materials. I begin to wonder if every member of the Jesus Seminar was writing a book in the course of the discussions, given the torrent of recent tomes: Borg's is the clearest and most convincing voice to emerge yet.
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on 2 August 2010
At 20 years old and a year into my theology degree, I was tired of two positions. For a good nine years I was conservative and evangelical in my views and attitudes. After 2-3 years' reflection I realised that this was not the perspective I agreed with or could in all honesty continue to hold.

However, study of the historical Jesus left me with little remaining passion; I believed in Jesus, but was not only now unsure what that meant, but I was also now stuck in a place where I was struggling to accept anything about Jesus that wasn't deemed to be historically accurate (not that we could ever even know for certain exactly what is or isn't).

Marcus Borg, who did his DPhil at the University of Oxford, rescued me from both positions and has brought me to a wonderful new place, where I have a perspective on Jesus that is both a belief I feel I can hold with intellectual integrity, yet simultaneously one that has given me a renewed passion for Jesus.

I don't agree with everything Borg says (but then again, such an experience with any author or book is rare),but I thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from this book and would strongly recommend it to anyone who is tired with the evangelical position, or left passionless by academic study of Jesus.
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on 28 January 1998
Marcus Borg has struck gold again. Few writers are able to handle such emotive subjects with such a clear and dispassionate eye. His arguements seem balanced and do not ask us to accept his 'authority' on matters that he hasn't lucidly laid out. I find that Borg is one of the few writers , when dealing with the subject of Jesus, that doesn't patronise his audience. I recently read one other author who is perhaps even better than this and that is Richard G. Patton. Patton, in his inspiring "The Autobiography of Jesus of Nazareth and the Missing Years", also presents us with a Jesus that is BELIEVABLE, whatever your outlook of faith. The more Pattons and Borgs there are out there, the more likely people are to seek truth for themselves, rather than have it morally foisted on them. Borg has touched the pulse of revelation and has laid it bare for all to read - AND it's a good read!
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on 9 March 1998
In addition to its insightful and new views of the historical versus Biblical Jesus, Marcus Borg's book serves as an excellent companion to beginning Bible study. What I found most helpful was Borg's explanation of "how" Jesus taught, especially the in-depth study of the aphorism and parable formats. Sermons across the globe have connected Jesus' teachings to life as we know it, but rarely do they explain how Jesus taught. Also, Borg helps us to understand the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), and how and why they are different from John. The understanding of the larger picture, that is, the relationship of the four Gospels and the tools Jesus used to teach, necessarily preceed one's understanding of "what" Jesus taught, and continues to teach. At least one United Methodist Bible study group here in Denver, Colorado, is actually studying Mr. Borg's book in addition to the Gospels. Thanks to Mr. Borg for an outstanding book!
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on 18 November 1998
This book was highly recommended to me by a person with the same background as the author, a graduate of a Lutheran seminary who teaches religion in a secular school, and who is active in his faith. As I read this book I had in my mind the question whether this book would be useful to the average person. The average person today has not even read the Gospels, and they have even less understanding of the rest of the Bible. Here and in corporate worship may be the best place to encounter Jesus the first time. But for those who have been there and done that and still find Jesus a mystery, this is the book. There are many of us who belong to churches where we find forgiveness for our sins (even when we are not really bothered by our sins), and where we find our guilt washed away (even when guilt is not a significant factor in our lives.) We believe we have salvation and are loved by God; but this does not change the way we act the rest of the week. For us there is a need to go back and meet Jesus again. There are two Jesus's we will meet. The first one is the historical Jesus who is truly one of us, but with a difference, he is possessed by a spiritual vision of the boundless compassion of God. This Jesus is a teacher of unconventional wisdom who does healing. We are invited to be moved by this vision and to become compassionate people who share in a relationship with God. The second Jesus is that of John and Paul, the Jesus of theology. One weakness of Borg in this book, from an orthodox point of view, is that he ignores the Resurrection, which was what ignited the souls of both early converts and Christians today. Borg also undermines the uniqueness of the historical Jesus when he makes him one of many spirit persons. I am sure that Borg would judge all other such persons by the standard of Jesus, but making this priority clear is contrary to the spirit of this age. Borg would have us see ourselves as being in bondage in Egypt or in exile in Babylon. This would require us to reject our culture and begin a journey to that place where we are truly at home. Personally I enjoy much about our culture, and being asked to reject parts of it in order to be in a passionate relationship with a compassionate God is a hard thing. But this is where Jesus takes us. Bill Ritter
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on 4 May 2012
If the Bible for you is the irrefutable word of God, and your faith is based on the things your pastor and church browbeat you with on a regular basis, this is not the book for you. If however you are someone who wants to take a thinking approach to the Bible, and are looking for outstanding, well-informed insight into scripture, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time is a must-read. Borg's work has been nothing less than a (very positive) paradigm shift in my faith, and I am glad to be on this journey. I am so relieved that my faith, with the help of this kind of writing, can now advance beyond the worn-thin "praise the Lord!" and "get saved!" rhetoric of people who claim to have the moral high ground.
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on 4 February 1997
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus J. Borg is a scholarly but deeply spiritual and understandable work about the "historical" Vs the "biblical" view of Jesus. The author is a Christian, although he was at various times agnostic and atheist. His work puts a radical spin on who Jesus was and what he had to say about God and while it pokes holes in some more commonly held conceptions of God and religion it is not, by any means, a cynical book. On the contrary it is deeply faith affirming! Borg's basic assertion is that our understanding of God and of the Christian life are benefited by understanding, not just the Jesus of faith but also, the Jesus of history. This book challenged and inspired me.
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on 20 March 2015
This book cleared up a lot of messy areas for me. It is scholarly but readable, balanced and illuminating. I felt it brought my fuzzy image of Jesus into sharper focus - as if I was encountering a real live human being rather than a two-dimensional stained-glass image. My only disappointment - and it's unfair of me to be disappointed - is that Borg doesn't extend his story to include the post-Easter Jesus, and give us some insight about the whole resurrection and ascenscion thing, which is all still a bit problematic for me. I wish he'd written a book about all that. But if you want a book talking about Jesus the man, this is great.
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