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In Search of Jesus: Insider and Outsider Images [Paperback]

By Anthony O'Hear (Author)
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Item description for In Search of Jesus: Insider and Outsider Images by Anthony O'Hear...

After 2000 years, much activity still surrounds the person of Jesus. Scholars, film makers, novelists, artists, Christians, humanists, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and many others have opinions about who Jesus was, as well as on the reliability of the source documents. Writers from inside and from outside the Christian tradition express pessimism about our ability to know very much for sure about Jesus. Others argue that Jesus never existed. Others are optimistic about our ability to reconstruct Jesus' life but paint very different pictures of him. Debate surrounds which sources may be used, why Jesus died, whether he ever intended to depart from Judaism. Paul's role also emerges as controversial. Some turn to alternative documents, or interpretive tools, to decipher the texts. A celibate Jesus, a married Jesus, a rebel Jesus, a Gnostic Jesus, a failed Jesus, a black Jesus, a feminist Jesus, are amongst the many images on offer. This study, which looks at traditional and at alternative sources, traces both the quest of the historical Jesus within the Christian tradition and encounters between the Jesus story and the world beyond the Church. The author asks what agendas, assumptions, human needs do all these writers take to their studies of Jesus? The book analyzes a range of insider and outsider images of Jesus, some popular, some scholarly, some hotly debated. Writers discussed include Marcus Borg, the Dalai Lama, Abraham Geiger, the Jesus Seminar, Barbara Thiering, Vivekananda, and Tom Wright. The book should be of equal interest to students and to general readers.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Continuum
Pages   320
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.2" Width: 6.16" Height: 1.19"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 9, 2002
Publisher   Continuum International Publishing Group
ISBN  0826449166  
ISBN13  9780826449160  

Availability  143 units.
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More About Anthony O'Hear

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Anthony O Hear is a professor of philosophy at the University of Buckingham in England, the director of the Royal Institute of Philosophy (London), and the editor of the journal Philosophy. His books include Karl Popper, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, After Progress, and Plato s Children. He has contributed to all the major national newspapers in Britain, where he is a frequent guest on many national radio and television programs.


Anthony O'Hear has an academic affiliation as follows - Royal Institute of Philosophy, London University of Bradford Universit.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Jesus > Historical Jesus
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology

Reviews - What do customers think about In Search of Jesus: Insider and Outsider Images?

Balanced Survey of academic and faith approaches to Jesus  Feb 27, 2002
In Search of Jesus: Insider and Outsider Images by Clinton Bennett (Continuum) gives a survey of the pious and academic inquiries into both the Jesus of Faith and of history and what is involved in seeing Jesus within the lights of many approaches. As an introduction to the study of Jesus this work offers both respect for faith and tradition as well as a critical and fair account of the many images of Jesus emerging from academic study of religious formation and scripture exegesis. In Search of Jesus is a good introduction to the field and is useful as a guide to current literature and major themes of study.
Liberal Jesus Anthology  Jan 30, 2002
Clinton Bennett is clearly both a liberal Christian believer and a pluralist. Here he presents an anthology of images of Jesus, both historical and current, arranged in insider (Christian) and outsider (non-Christian) categories. The book gets to grips with questions of interpretation and image of pictures of Jesus starting from the belief that Jesus is interpretation from the first. Interpretation, for Bennett, leads to plurality, even if only as an empirical fact. He suggests this mandates an attitude of humility towards Jesus in place of a more dogmatic, and unsubstantiatable, certainty.

Bennett is clearly concerned not to sideline what might be described as marginal voices on Jesus. He writes in a consciously inclusive way. Space is given here to black, feminist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, film and fictional images in addition to more traditional ones and ones more related to the study of Jesus as an historical figure (i.e. that which is academically known as the Quest of the Historical Jesus).

The book is clearly aimed at a general readership. It contains a chapter on sources for the life of Jesus which, to a student or scholar of Jesus, would be largely mundane and uninspiring. Yet Bennett explicitly believes that the sources wrote about Jesus what they already believed to be true. If only he could have written more about this. Indeed, the trouble with this anthology, as with others, is that there is plenty of detailing of various images of Jesus but oh so little critique of these images. At one point Bennett remarks that we need to read not only the images of Jesus but the biography of the imager of Jesus. This is more intriguing stuff but Bennett doesn't really interact any further with his interesting suggestion.

Finally Bennett subsumes Jesus, in his image, under the rubric "a liberated and liberating Jesus". Bennett, who was a Christian missionary in a former life, offers us a liberal Jesus who can bring us peace, love and harmony. He writes, "Only when Jesus is Chinese for the Chinese, Indian for the Indians, will he be regarded as truly FOR these contexts". In this he may be right but he does not discuss this theoretically so much as land the belief in our laps without further discussion. This I regard as an oversight and a lack of persuasion on his part. There is also little attention to the Jesus of history as a constraint on pictures of Jesus (whilst the Jesus of history is discussed as a subject in itself). Indeed, a discussion of constraint more generally seems mandated by the subject matter here. Bennett offers us a tantalising and interesting selection of Jesus images, playing on what he remarks as "Christianity's belief in the translatability of the Gospel", but now I'm looking forward to the day when he can present us with a coherent presentation of how the multiplicity, plurality and translatability he presents might be regarded. Legitimate or legitimate? What controls, what should control, how Jesus is viewed? If Bennett's book be a guide, these questions are highly relevant for millions, if not billions of people.


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