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What Jesus Meant

By Garry Wills (Author) & Garry Wills (Read by)
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Item Number 106478  
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Item description for What Jesus Meant by Garry Wills...

In what are billed "culture wars," people on the political right and the political left cite Jesus as endorsing their views. Garry Wills argues that Jesus subscribed to no political program. He was far more radical than that. In a fresh reading of the gospels, Wills explores the meaning of the "reign of heaven" Jesus not only promised for the future but brought with him into this life. It is only by dodges and evasions that people misrepresent what Jesus plainly had to say against power, the wealthy, and religion itself. But Wills is just as critical of those who would make Jesus a mere ethical teacher, ignoring or playing down his divinity. An illuminating analysis for believers and nonbelievers alike, What Jesus Meant is a brilliant addition to our national conversation on religion.

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Item Specifications...

Format: Audiobook,   Unabridged
Studio: Highbridge Audio
Running Time: 240.00 minutes
Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 5.02" Width: 5.64" Height: 0.85"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   Mar 23, 2006
Publisher   Highbridge Audio
ISBN  1598870173  
ISBN13  9781598870176  

Availability  0 units.

More About Garry Wills

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Garry Wills is a historian and the author of the New York Times bestsellers What Jesus Meant, Papal Sin, Why I Am a Catholic, and Why Priests?, among others. A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and other publications, Wills is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a professor emeritus at Northwestern University. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Garry Wills was born in 1934 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Northwestern University.

Garry Wills has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Anthony Hecht Lectures in the Humanities
  2. Emblems of Antiquity
  3. Lives of Great Religious Books
  4. Penguin Classics
  5. Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions
  6. Penguin Lives Biographies
  7. Simon & Schuster Lincoln Library

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology

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Reviews - What do customers think about What Jesus Meant?

Gary Wills is a heretic.  Sep 19, 2008
I'm quite disappointed that there are people in this world who can openly dissent from church teaching yet write and act as though the Church is the one dissenting. Wills thinks of himself as God by interpreting the bible to his own likings and to fit his own beliefs.
Thank God Gary Wills is here to set us right  Aug 18, 2008
As a 26 year old Catholic I love Reading this guys work. It is so comical. He is a poster boy of the old guard still trying to reinterpret Christianity to serve their tired old hippie agenda. Thank God young Catholics and most of all young Priests don't fall for this hogwash. Of all this clowns books this is the worst(well Papal Sin was pretty darn dumb). In it he actualy deigns to tell us what Jesus realy meant. Because you know, two thousand years of scholarship not to mention the gospels have been wrong. The ego mania on this man knows no end. Apparently he fancies himself a lone prophet telling us the truth. Go Gary!!
Will's God  Aug 3, 2008
I am most familiar with the Garry Wills who writes scholarly historical treatises on the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, even Henry Adams (Henry Adams and the Making of America). Lately, he's been busy writing essays on spiritual issues as a devout Catholic, and as I always liked and respected historical work, I took this slim volume for a spin . . .

. . . And a worthwhile use of time it was. Wills explicates the difficulty we sinful humans have in dealing with Jesus as he was, not what we want him to be. With the lone exception of justifying homosexuality as natural and not sinful, through a rather self-consciously torturous argument, Wills makes cogent and though-provoking points. He relies on ideas from masters of the faith such as Augustine, St. Francis, and Chesterton, and his own translations of the "marketplace Greek" of the New testament.

A couple of interesting points. In the Garden, as Jesus returns to where he left Peter and a small set of the disciples with the admonition to stay awake while he prayed, Wills translates the aphorism "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" as a complete sentence that may have applied to Jesus, not Peter as the semi-colon in the NASB translation implies. And indeed, as the God-Man prayed prostrate on the ground and sweat blood in his anguish, His flesh was weak even as His spirit said "Not My will but Thine."

At another spot, discussing the Last Supper and the meaning of the breaking of bread, Wills refers to the "Our Father" and points out the difficulty of translating "daily" bread, as the word rendered "daily" means roughly "approaching" in English, and more literally can be rendered "to come", " or "to be". The "to be" sense is captured in "daily", but Wills links the prayer for the bread "To come" to the Lord's offering of the bread, representing His body, at the Last Supper! Intriguing, and spiritually powerful.

And not very Catholic! His ideas about the Last Supper seem decidedly non-transsubstantiational, if that's a word.
It began okay  Jul 1, 2008
What Jesus Meant began in a promising manner; however, by the time I finished I couldn't help wondering if I had just finished a more modern and cleverly disguised manifesto of liberation theology. If Wills isn't truly embracing liberation theology, then he's certainly giving it a nod, wink, smile and pat on the back. He is also quick to point out that Jesus spent the majority of his time with "sinners" but he forgets to point out that Jesus would heal these people, instructing them to "sin no more" Jesus is reduced to an anti-religious, open minded and liberal hippie. I would recommend spending your money elsewhere.
Garry's Gigantic Nursery School Nanny  Jun 14, 2008
Garry has showed us his Jesus--a gigantic nursery school nanny.

"Now, children, be nice! Share with your friends; and remember, we are ALL friends! And if you get mad at someone, give them a BIG HUG, and think nice thoughts! Because, remember, God loves you!"

So spake Garry's Nanny-Jesus, traveling throughout Palestine.

Garry is the latest of the Annointed, telling us what Jesus REALLY meant.

Thanks, Garry. But, I ain't buyin' it.

As several reviewers have said, your Jesus is astonishingly modern. Quite a Liberal; did he not mention global warming and "liberation theology"?

Garry's interpretation of Jesus leaves me feeling like a powerless toddler. He takes away our drives, our aspirations, our desires, and puts us in the nursery, where we are all friends, we are all the same, and we are all at the mercy of our caring, superior teachers. And is this not what the Annointed want? For us to be ignorant children, sitting at their feet, getting bite-sized portions of their benevolent wisdom? I think so, because, to me, this book dripped with arrogance. Not honest, Nietzschean arrogance, but some other kind--subtle, hiding in the shadows and in the squirrelly, slightly-condescending language.

Why should I believe Garry's interpretation of an interpretation? The gospels are interpretations of Palestinians about Jesus, assuming he really existed. Even more--they are the interpretations of the recollections of those who interpreted Jesus!

Some of Garry's nonsense: "Miracles, as it were, work themselves around such men (reviewer's note: Garry is talking about St. Francis and 'the Baal Shem Tov.' Who?! Never heard of BS Tov. Why not Paramahansa Yogananda or Sai Baba? But continuing:) Jesus is the preeminent example of this. The fact that he seems like other wonder-working holy men--Appollonius of Tyana, for instance--does not mean that he is an imitation of them. Rather, they are a reaching out toward him. They are a hunger and he the food. They are an ache, he the easement. As Chesterton said, his story resembles the great myths of mankind because he is the fulfillment of the myths." (What Jesus Meant, 2006, p. xxvii)

Cheap C.S. Lewis imitation, Garry; it is also total nonsense. Just read what you wrote--total blather. Besides, Jesus is an imitation of them, and they an imitation of him, because they all imitate the myths.


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