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Who Was Jesus? [Paperback]

By N. T. Wright (Author)
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Item Number 144212  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   120
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.54" Width: 5.53" Height: 0.31"
Weight:   0.36 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 9, 1993
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802806945  
EAN  9780802806949  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This is a penetrating sketch and critique of recent controversial books on the historical Jesus. Showing that much can be gained from a rigorous historical assessment of what the Gospels say about Jesus, this is a book to engage skeptics and believers alike.

Publishers Description
Did the historical person Jesus really regard himself as the Son of God? What did Jesus actually stand for? And what are we to make of the early Christian conviction that, following his execution by the Romans, Jesus physically rose from the dead? N. T. Wright's Who Was Jesus? considers these and many other questions thrown up by the latest wave of controversial books about Jesus, including * Barbara Thiering's Jesus the Man: A New Interpretation from the Dead Sea Scrolls, * A. N. Wilson's Jesus, * John Shelby Spong's Born of a Woman, and * John Dominic Crossan's The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. Each of these books portrays a different Jesus, and each portrait is markedly different from the traditional, orthodox Christian view of Jesus. While Wright agrees with these "Jesus" authors that the real, historical Jesus has many surprises in store for institutional Christianity, he also argues that they "fail to reach anything like the right answer" as to who Jesus was. Who Was Jesus? examines the recent Jesus publications in the context of the many modern Jesus books, dominated by Albert Schweitzer's masterful portrait, The Quest of the Historical Jesus (1906). As Wright shows, the modern "quest" displays many variations on the same themes, so that the latest portraits of Jesus are not nearly as novel as they are made out to be. Wright also outlines the arguments made specifically by Thiering, Wilson, and Spong, and he presents solid reasons for discounting their arguments. Written from the standpoint of professional biblical scholarship yet assuming no prior knowledge of the subject, Wright's Who Was Jesus? shows convincingly that much can be gained from a rigorous historical assessment of what the Gospels say about Jesus. This is a book to engage skeptic and believer alike.

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More About N. T. Wright

N. T. Wright Born in 1948 in Northumberland, England, N.T. Wright is the Bishop of Durham. He was formerly Dean of Lichfield and lecturer in New Testament studies at Oxford University as well as fellow, tutor, and chaplain of Worcester College, Oxford. He has also served as professor of New Testament language and literature in various colleges and universities. With doctorates in divinity and in philosophy from the University of Oxford, N. T. Wright is a member of the Society for New Testament Studies, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Institute for Biblical Research, the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical Research, and the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars. He has published more than 40 works at both scholarly and popular levels related to New Testament studies, especially on the origins of Christianity and Biblical Christology.

N. T. Wright has an academic affiliation as follows - Worcester College, Oxford.

N. T. Wright has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Christian Origins and the Question of God (Paperback)
  2. N.T. Wright for Everyone Bible Study Guides
  3. New Testament for Everyone
  4. Plus
  5. T&t Clark Cornerstones
  6. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (IVP Numbered)

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5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology   [2037  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Who Was Jesus?  Oct 30, 2007
N.T. Wright has a marvelous way of sifting through the many dissonant voices in the debate about the historical Jesus. In his book, "Who Was Jesus?"... Wright dispels of the outrageous claims that have been made about Jesus, while at the same time, he is able to give credit where honest historical work has been done.

With a bit of humor, this respected scholar is able to point out the flaws in the historical and not so historical works done by several popular authors. From Schweitzer's quest, to the Jesus Seminar (Burton Mack, Dominic Crossan, etc.), to the Third Quest (Vermes, Brandon, E.P. Sanders, etc.), to the downright absurd (Barbara Thiering and the DaVinci Code)... N.T. Wright cuts away and cleans up the mess that has been prematurely dubbed as 'scholarship.' He quickly dissects the arguments and brings our focus back to a genuinely historical Jesus that has been revealed to us in the context of the New Testament.

You will appreciate and benefit from Wright's insights and contributions to the discussion of the historical Jesus of Nazareth. His work on first-century Palastinian Judaism and his overall commitment to the context of the New Testament challenges much of the work that has been done on Jesus. You cannot say you have done honest, historical, intellectual, and academic study... until you have read the works of N.T. Wright. "Who Was Jesus?" is a great book to start with for those who are caught up in the many contradicting voices of the quest for the historical Jesus.

"'Jesus' is either the flesh-and-blood individual who walked and talked, and lived and died, in first-century Palastine, or he is merely a creature of our own imagination, able to be manipulated this way and that." (Wright, p. 18)

I also recommend reading:
Paul: In Fresh Perspective
Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder
The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
A short masterpiece of clarity and sense.  Dec 11, 2006
I cannot praise this little book highly enough. Do not be put off by its brevity. Though short - about 100 pages - it contains more substance than many a larger volume, and though written in popular style, never compromises on the quality of content. After summarising the Jesus Quests of the past, Wright brings his discussion into the contemporary scene, brilliantly demonstrating how unlikely are the reconstructions of Jesus by the likes of A. N. Wilson, Barbara Thiering and Bishop John Shelby Spong. He ends by sketching a more plausible picture of Jesus, based on the new appreciation of Jesus' essential Jewishness. Thank you N. T. Wright, this is a gem.
Jesus is All Things to All People.  Nov 12, 2006
Jesus set an example no one else could duplicate, as he was one in a hundred million, the Son of God. This character almost made it in the modern day era as a Christ-like figure. Auburn is a small hamlet in this ficitonal parable about a man of God, or one who was close to it. There were six churches in that small place, predominately Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian, which you will find everywhere and anywhere. It was a tightly knit community which did not accept strangers in their midst. Most had been there since childhood and had nice relationships with each other. You had to have lived there more than fifteen years not be to classified as a stranger.

Thus, this unassuming man named Joshua moved into a small cottage on the outskirts of the town and was the focus of everyone's opinion and the talk of the village. The mailman was the first to enter the workshop to see the exquisite wood carvings and statues which Joshua mastered. He mad a wood statue of Moses for a synagogue. His carvings of the apostel Peter for the Episcopal and Pentecostal churches were admired, and made him an icon of sorts. Joshua made a lot of people happy with his good sense of humor, and that was a wonderful thing. He kept to himself with his work; everyone has a right to live in peace. Until, he tried to be a modern Christ but did not succeed. He tried to unify the different congregations including the Catholic and Lutheran, which anyone with any sense knows is impossible. He didn't put on airs or act like a snob, just an ordinary person who seemed to have miraculous powers like the Joshua in the Bible.

It was well known that Joshua frequented the liquor store, which caused some consternation. He seemed religious but why the need for spirits of that sort to create his magic religious symbols and to keep on an even keel. Joshu was told that his attitude lacked the docility and humanity which befits a Christian layman, that in the future he would do well to cultivate virtues for the benefit of the soul and the edification of his fellow Christians. Word spread of the final days of Joshua and the hearts of many were soothed or grieved at the end of that summer he spent among them.

Joshua's memory would linger in their lives as a marvelous messenger of God. Though this novel is fictional, it is moving and feels very Biblical. He went as he came as a mystery who'd touched all of their lives in one way or another. We need more "real" Joshuas in our world of constant turmoil. There are such people in our lives who are truly compassionate and hold no grudges, but we should all strive to follow their example as much as we can. We're all different, with different beliefs, religious and otherwise, but need to learn to live in peace -- not just in Auburn. Nothing can match this first and most important introduction to a modern apostle.
Still Relevant Expose of Bogus Scholars  Aug 5, 2005
Let's be clear that in this book evangelical Anglican theologian N.T. Wright exposes the absurd concocted fantasies of three writers who in 1992 published works on Jesus. The common thread in all three writers is their willingness to invent fantastical portraits of Jesus with no basis in history or Scripture. In the process of his devastating critique of these bogus writers, Wright gives us telling theological insights, especially concerning the relation of first century Jewish monotheism and the emerging Christian belief in the divinity of Jesus and concerning the proper perspective with which to approach the question of the virginal conception of Jesus. In addition, Wright provides an initial chapter that gives the general reader an historical overview of Jesus scholarship and a final chapter that ties Wright's insights together. Reading this small book is like being treated to lunch or dinner with an insightful and witty professor who is generously willing to share his best insights.
Lemonaide from lemons.  Feb 23, 2004
At first glance, this seems a rather odd book. What is a first-class historian like N. T. Wright doing, refuting the likes of Spong and Thiering? Does one need a bulldozer to squash ants? (Wilson, I personally find more intelligent, and thus perhaps rising to the dignity of being run over.) Yet Wright gives their arguments a fair hearing, then a fair and gentle hanging.

But there seems to be method to Wright's mildness. As an alternative to the fumbling and bumbling of his protagonists, he offers a simple and readable description of who he has found the historical Jesus to be. Their errors prove a useful foil for explaining the methods and conclusions of legitimate New Testament scholarship. Wright's critiques of those with whom he disagrees are always a delight -- he shows a sincere appreciation for what is worthwhile, then refutes errors with wit and the gentle precision that comes of great intellectual power matched to thorough knowledge of the subject.

The subject here is Jesus, a fox in pursuit of whom academic hounds have banged their heads on many trees. Wright rightly follows him to the cross. "The Christian doctrine is all about a different kind of God -- a God who was so different to normal expectations that he could, completely appropriately, become human . . . To say that Jesus is in some sense God is of course to make a startling statement about Jesus. It is also to make a stupendous claim about God."

I think Wright over-emphasizes the genius of Biblical scholarship. He tends to give the impression that nobody knew anything worth knowing about Jesus, until the question was brought to the attention of modern academics. Having read many "Jesus Seminar" books, I think credentialed scholars like Crossan, Borg, Mack, and Pagels, are often as foolish as Wilson -- and less truly knowledgeable about the historical Jesus than the average Pentacostal grandmother.

Wright also knocks C. S. Lewis for his "odd" criticism of the "quest for Jesus" as "the work of the devil," in the Screwtape Letters. Aside from the unfairness of ignoring the humor in a satire, I think the substance of Lewis' arguments, made more seriously in Fernseed and Elephants, is entirely sound, and makes an excellent critique of many recent historical Jesus reconstructions. I think Wright's historical reconstruction, and Lewis' literary critique of shoddy skeptical arguments, complement one another nicely.

In sum, I recommend this book both for people who have been bamboozled by the particular works it refutes, and also as an antidote to recent works of a similar nature, like the Da Vinci Code, Jesus Mysteries, The Jesus Puzzle, or perhaps Elaine Pagel's new book, Beyond Belief. I am working on a book that will combine Wright and Lewis' approaches, to answer recent attacks on the Gospels.

author, Jesus and the Religions of Man /


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