Item description for Rescuing Jesus from the Christians by Clayton Sullivan...
Overview Orthodox Christianity has put Jesus in a dogmatic straitjacket, says Clayton Sullivan. In this work, he proposes strategies to get Jesus out. Sullivan has created a liberating and lively book that challenges all contemporary Christians to reconsider the meaning and purpose of the life of Jesus.
Publishers Description Makes the case that Jesus has been placed in a creedal prison byorthodox Christianity, and offers practical strategies for getting him out.
Citations And Professional Reviews Rescuing Jesus from the Christians by Clayton Sullivan has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 05/01/2002 page 108
Booklist - 04/15/2002 page 1365
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Studio: Trinity Press International
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.96" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.47" Weight: 0.69 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2002
Publisher Trinity Press International
ISBN 1563383802 ISBN13 9781563383809
Availability 72 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 09:18.
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More About Clayton Sullivan
Clayton L. Sullivan Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Religion, University of Southern Mississippi and is the author of Rescuing Jesus from the Christians.
Clayton Sullivan currently resides in Hattiesburg, in the state of Mississippi. Clayton Sullivan was born in 1930.
Reviews - What do customers think about Rescuing Jesus from the Christians?
Good points, but very poor execution and unconvincing Nov 7, 2005
I was expecting that this book could give new insights with intelligent arguments, but unfortunately that is something that Sullivan can't deliver. Sullivan is basing his arguments on selected passages from the Synoptic Gospels while ignoring other passages from the same Gospels WITHOUT any explanation why he thinks one passage is true and the other isn't. And conveniently he usually doesn't even mention the verses that contradict his theory. For example he propose that the sole reason of the crucifixion is the political one. The Romans plotted to kill Jesus because he was a political threat to the Roman Empire. Well, Sullivan doesn't even mention the Gospel accounts of how reluctant Pilate was in crucifying Jesus and he's only doing that to appease the Jewish Sanhedrin.
In other place his arguments are sometime silly and contradictory. In one sentence he claims that Jesus' moral teachings weren't original as they were all derived from the Torah, and then in the very next sentence he quotes several teachings he considered extreme and impractical (refering to 'If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also').
He critizing the apologetics a lot, but he doesn't deal with their arguments either. For example he points out that the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke are contradictory. And he goes on to argue that somehow this fact is proofing that Jesus' birth is not a virgin birth. But he doesn't even mention, let alone counter, the 'standard' explanation for this contradiction (that Luke's genealogy is Mary's, not Joseph).
Actually his main questions are good questions to ask, but we have to find other books that can address this subject in a more intelligent manner.
Very informative and eligthening Sep 22, 2005
Clayton Sullivan's easily accessible work is aimed at people who are interested in Christianity but not in intellectual suicide. Therefore he rightfully questions a lot of dogmas, moral instructions and pious beliefs (not only about Jesus) the church has piled upon through the centuries and helps the reader to get a clear picture of what the historical pre-ressurection Jesus was like and what he was *not* like, what tendencies inside the church force people to silence their intelligence and how one can combat those tendencies. Sullivan doesn't write for academics or priests, his work is aimed at a ordinary persons interested in intelligent Christianity that sets one free instead of trapping one in a complex yet ridiculous set of instructions, laws and, above all, fear and intolerance.
An excellent companion to Bruce Bawer's "Stealing Jesus"!
Courageous Look At The Real Historical Jesus Sep 8, 2005
As an atheist who is very interested in religious history, I expected this book to be your usual liberal Christian attempt to contrast the "wise" teachings of Jesus with the conservative beliefs and actions of fundamentalist Christians. But, in fact, it turned out to something quite different and more interesting.
Sullivan discusses the post-Enlightenment scholarly research that has been done on the historical Jesus. Rather than praising the "perfection" of Jesus, Sullivan depicts a man who had many flaws. For example, Sullivan makes a convincing argument that Jesus, like many Jewish prophets of his time, had an apocalyptic viewpoint and believed that God would, within a generation, destroy the world. So Jesus' primary mission was to convince people to enter the "Kingdom of God" rather than suffer eternal hellfire. Sullivan also quotes scriptures that demonstrate Jesus had a strong prejudice towards Gentiles, even referring to them as swine and dogs. Remember it was Paul, a man who never met Jesus in person, who finally brought Christianity to the Gentiles rather than Jesus himself.
Ultimately, Sullivan shows the historical Jesus to be a "mistaken prophet" who believed that people must choose between a physical heaven he called the "Kingdom of God" or a literal hell with much "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Many liberal Christians prefer to think of Jesus as a social revolutionary or spiritual philosopher. But this book demonstrates him to be closer to a fundamentalist fanatic than many of us would like to believe.
Spot on in his critique of standard orthodoxy Dec 2, 2003
Personally, I would have preferred that Dr. Sullivan had written a longer book with many more scholarly details and explanations. What he has written suggests he shares here only a fraction of his deeper knowledge, understanding, reading and reflections here. But in this he is true to his stated, larger intended audience of "inquisitive Christians."
This is a book for those who want examine some of their beliefs or the dogma of their church, especially those with a Fundamentalist and particularly Southern Baptist bent. Pastor Sullivan successfully argues that many of our beliefs about Jesus are in error, are ahistorical, and were foisted upon us at a later date with precious little biblical basis; indeed, he admits any real examination of Jesus' life and any attempt to make an historical reconstruction of it, will probably only bewilder us and perhaps even repel us. Gentiles are dogs? In some respects, Jesus is not easily understood or even perhaps understandable - a hard truth - but what is wrong with the truth in place of a comfortable set of fictions? Jesus seems to have been clearly wrong on some things, such as the timetable of events. But what he was right about was a revolutionary underlying moral and religious message. Much orthodox belief, only weakly based on the bible, obscures the most important things Jesus did say - it is obscuring to focus on the disputed and disputable issues, such as the virgin birth, the nearly polytheistic idea of the Trinity, and the crucifixition, that horrific human sacrifice to atone to God for the sins of others (many even hold one simply cannot be a Christian if you do not adhere to ALL these tenets - it is NOT allowed for one to beleive in the resurrection and in miracles but doubt the purpose being a bloodbath atonement for human sin; I doubt if Jesus would admit such objections as precluding anyone becoming a follower of his). Sullivan usefully offers four strategies out of these dead-ends and conundrums, not the least of which is to clear disguish between the pre- and post-resurrection Christ. Sullivan clearly understands and knows more than he reveals here, a disappointment to those of us who are theologically-minded, but like a good pastor, he knows and writes to his congregation. I think this is very, very Christian. The many critics of his book, almost to a one, say more about their minds already being made up, than say anything insightful about Rescuing Jesus From the Christians. Their criticisms are all too pat and completely predictable. Ho-hum. So don't read this book if, like such critics, your mind is made up. Why bother? BTW, the 4 stars merely reflects my wish for more details. Otherwise, highly recommended, readable, quickly-read survey of useful questions and possible answers.
Jaundiced view of the Baptist church Aug 17, 2002
As a rule any Baptist church numbers right up there with other erroneous versions of the Christian religion as far as I am concerned. And I am not suggesting that my own views concerning the same Christian religion are free of error. However, some reviwers are giving Sullivan a bad rap because he is a Southern Baptist. I, too, cross to the other side of the street whenever I have to pass by one of these places but in this case, Clayton Sullivan might get a wave from me as I pass by.
It is a rudimentary treatment of some aspects of the Christian religion. In Part One Sullivan presents his views concerning certain questions about Jesus that many uninformed persons want answers to. They may be what he calls "inquisitive Christians." And then he deals with several suggested strategies for rescuing Jesus from some antiquated notions and out-of-date thinking respecting Jesus.
This is truly a good book for the "inquisitive Christian" who has for years thought that some notions about the church and Jesus are downright weird, stupid, or at least confusing. It is not a major intellectual, theological piece but rather a slim paperbound volume of 182 pages including an index and a glossary and the price is right.
A church book study club may find this a good volume to read and study. I liked it and plan on recommending it to my Lutheran (ELCA) book study group. It could help a person move forward into a more advanced study of these and other questions concerning the Christian religion.