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The Real Jesus : The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels [Paperback]

By Luke Timothy Johnson (Author)
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Item description for The Real Jesus : The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels by Luke Timothy Johnson...

Disputes the claim of the Jesus Seminar that Christianity is based on the historical figure of Jesus found in the Old Testament

Publishers Description

The Real Jesus--the first book to challenge the findings of the Jesus Seminar, the controversial group of two hundred scholars who claim Jesus only said 18 percent of what the Gospels attribute to him--"is at the center of the newest round in what has been called the Jesus Wars" (Peter Steinfels, New York Times). Drawing on the best biblical and historical scholarship, respected New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson demonstrates that the "real Jesus" is the one experienced in the present through faith rather than the one found in speculative historical reconstructions. A new preface by the author presents his point of view on the most recent rounds of this lively debate.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Real Jesus : The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels by Luke Timothy Johnson has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 80
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1996 page 16
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1998 page 78

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.05" Width: 5.38" Height: 0.48"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 3, 1997
Publisher   HarperOne
ISBN  0060641665  
ISBN13  9780060641665  
UPC  099455014007  

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More About Luke Timothy Johnson

Luke Timothy Johnson Professor Johnson's research concerns the literary, moral, and religious dimensions of the New Testament, including the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts of early Christianity (particularly moral discourse), Luke-Acts, the Pastoral Letters, and the Letter of James. A prolific author, Dr. Johnson has penned numerous scholarly articles and more than 25 books. His 1986 book The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, now in its second edition, is widely used in seminaries and departments of religion throughout the world.

A former Benedictine monk, Dr. Johnson is a highly sought-after lecturer, a member of several editorial and advisory boards, and a senior fellow at Emory University's Center for the Study of Law and Religion. He received the prestigious 2011 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his most recent book, Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity (2009, Yale University Press), which explores the relationship between early Christianity and Greco-Roman paganism.

Luke Timothy Johnson currently resides in Atlanta, in the state of Georgia.

Luke Timothy Johnson has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library
  2. Biblical Resource
  3. Counterpoints: Bible & Theology
  4. New Testament in Context
  5. New Testament Library
  6. Rockwell Lecture
  7. Sacra Pagina (Hardcover)
  8. Sacra Pagina (Quality Paper)
  9. Very Short Introductions

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Product Categories

2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( J ) > Johnson, Luke Timothy
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Jesus > Historical Jesus
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > New Testament Studies > Jesus Studies

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Real Jesus : The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels?

Moving Past History Channel Hype  May 6, 2008
Luke Timothy Johnson's THE REAL JESUS is a refreshing alternative to the tireless proponents of the Jesus Movement, such as Dominic Crosson, who wish to interpret Christ as part of a purely historical movement that can be excavated and analyzed as one would a fossil.

Johnson explains the fallacies of logic inherent in the Jesus Movement by employing first-rate scholarship that reveals the simplistic arguments of New Testament scholars who have become a cottage industry on cable television channels as they seek to de-mystify Christianity.

Johnson's most powerful argument is that the differences among the four gospels, seized upon by Crosson and others, portray a real and complex man--Jesus--who is far more interesting and believable than the static picture advanced by the Jesus Seminar that has, in turn, produced talk of early Christianity as simply a "Jesus Movement." Humanity inherently implies a diversity and complexity in anyone's personality, and the fact that the authors of the New Testament portay Christ from different angles produces a richness and believability within New Testament tradition rather than a one-dimensional portrait of God-become-man.

The gospels, according to Johnson, are models for seeing Christ as a risen, living savior as opposed to a man who can be reconstructed by seminars and pop documentaries based in erroneous scholarship.

If you are puzzled by the plethora of documentaries about the "real" Jesus, Johnson's book explains the origins of the debate and reveals how the gospels were intended to be approached by the early Christian culture that produced them.

Quite simply, this book is excellent and represents a paradigm shift away from the limiting, restrictive beliefs of the Jesus Seminar and Movement.
Very Helpful for the Non-Scholary  Dec 13, 2007
I have never given much attention to the Jesus Seminar and the quest for the historical Jesus. What I know about it comes from reading this book. The analysis of Johnson had the unintended consequence of helping the ordinary Christian understand how he knows what he knows. Discerning the difference between what is real and what is "historical" was very edifying.
Well stated polemic on misuses of History on Faith  Nov 27, 2007
`The Real Jesus' by leading Biblical scholar, Luke Timothy Johnson is not another biography of the ancient religious leader, Jesus of Galilee. The subtitle, `The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels' tells the fuller story that this is a critique of many (but not all) attempts to nail down the flesh and blood founder and savior for the world's Christians.
For what it's worth, as a liberal Lutheran, I agree with all of Professor Johnson's main points, assuming he has accurately portrayed the positions of his opponents, and I have no reason to believe he has not. And, my agreement is based less on religious doctrines, than on philosophical principals which were old before the dawn of this millennium, but constantly forgotten by scholars who should know better.
Professor Johnson's primary target is a scholarly consortium of several dozen mid-level university teachers calling itself the `Jesus Seminar', plus writers with allied agendas such as John Spong, A. N. Wilson, Stephen Mitchell, Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossen and Burton Mack. I say `mid-level' because one of Professor Johnson's less important points is that none of these seminar participants are from the leading Theological schools in the country such as Harvard, Yale, Union (NYC), and Chicago. And, compared to the membership of the country-wide Society of Biblical Literature, their membership is relatively small.
Johnson's argument has two general parts. The first part is the evidence that the `Jesus Seminar', author of the book `The Five Gospels, The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus', adapts several questionable assumptions and agendas before beginning their research. Another criticism of the `Jesus Seminar' is their methodology. In a nutshell, the primary technique is for each member of the Seminar to vote on each statement about or by Jesus, and offer the opinion that the statement is historically likely, unlikely, or indeterminate. Aside from being an unsound scholarly procedure, it has the effect of attracting a lot of media attention to the Seminar's deliberations. And, some pronouncements by the Seminar leaders suggest this attention is actually one of Seminar's objectives.
The second line of argument is much simpler, stronger, and entirely capable of trivializing the work of Johnson's targets. The argument is based on the Seminar premise that a study of the historical Jesus will clarify and improve our Faith. This assumption is simply wrong. The Christian faith based on the resurrection of Christ after his embodying the law, resulting in execution, and creating a new covenant with those who believe has simply nothing to do with whether Jesus argued with a Pharisee named Simon, cured three or thirty epileptics, rode on a donkey or a mule, wore a red or a white robe, and had Joseph of Galilee as his biological father. Of course, Christian statements of faith do include some statements about historical events, but whether those statements are historically true is about as relevant to Christian faith as Lincoln's log cabin childhood and Washington's tree chopping choices are to the lore of American history. On a deeper level, critiquing Jesus statements about Jewish law and using that critique as a determinant of Christian faith makes about as much sense as criticizing Shakespeare's `Henry V' for not giving an accurate transcript of the king's speech before the battle of Agincourt.
To be sure, Professor Johnson presents these arguments in far greater detail and with a much better handle on the proper use of scripture than I can. My primary intention is to line up with Professor Johnson (and many leading scholars) in discrediting this misguided enterprise.
It is important to point out that neither Professor Johnson nor I am devaluing Bible scholarship at several different levels, especially at the level of the accuracy of documents, the meaning of the words, and the historical contexts in which the documents were written. One has a far better understanding, for example, of Luke's concern with the poor of the day when one realizes that virtually everyone was poor, and the government was carried out by a patronage system which today would be equated with graft, extortion, and corruption. Even more important is to realize that Professor Johnson is one of the leading practitioners of this kind of research, having done superior works of exegesis on the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.
I do have two minor criticisms of the book. While I agree with all Johnson's major points, I have to point out that it is a polemic specifically against a class of writers and a trend in scholarship which may be traced back to the Tubingen school of 19th century Germany. This does not mean all Bible scholarship has the same weaknesses. It does not even mean all works on a historical Jesus are equally tainted with theological misdirection. Johnson barely mentions one of the most famous works on this subject, the 1906 `Quest for the Historical Jesus' by Albert Schweitzer (Schweitzer is generally critical of the Tubingen school, especially in his works on Paul). He also makes no mention of important books by leading Biblical historian, E. P. Sanders. His work on the `historical Jesus' has none of the blemishes of those authors Johnson attacks.
As a Lutheran, I also have to chuckle a bit at Catholic Johnson's suggesting that it was Martin Luther who opened the Pandora's Box of critical Bible scholarship. I believe the open discussion of and free access to scriptures is far superior to holding them hostage to interpretation by a few. And, as stated above, Johnson is just as much a practitioner of Luther's tradition as are many other of his scholarly Catholic and Protestant colleagues.
If you find yourself entranced by the siren's song of the `Jesus Seminar' writings, plus similar writings by John Spong, A. N. Wilson, Stephen Mitchell, Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossen and Burton Mack, I strongly suggest you read this book to get an important perspective on their assumptions, methods, and conclusions.
Rating The Real Jesus by Johnson  Sep 2, 2007
These books are being used by a study group. I haave not read the whole book yet. your service was very efficient
RANK PAGANISM RUN AMOK - another consumptive catholic lunger spewed into the face of God !!!   Jul 8, 2007
Timmy openly admits to rewriting milennia of Christian truth in order to accomodate a sinful disaster within his own life - marriage to a divorced woman!

Mark 10:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. OF COURSE TIMMY WANTS TO REWRITE THE BIBLE !!!

To justify himself he pries open clear Bible teaching to make room for homosexuality. Of course he only reveals his own wacky apostate ideas!

The LORD spake unto Moses saying,Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (Lev 18:1, 22)

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Lev 20:13)

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them Rom 1:24-32)

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind (homosexuals), Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1Co 6:9-10)

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Gen 2:23-24)

Any sexual activity, outside of marriage between one man and one women, is an abomination before God worthy of the second death, eternal damnation!

NOTE: Look at Timmy's book cover which is another example of rebellion against God! Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above !!!

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