Item description for Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith by Marcus J. Borg...
Overview Argues that recent research into the historical Jesus should help believers reach a new and more sustaining faith
Of the many recent books on the historical Jesus, none has explored what the latest biblical scholarship means for personal faith. Now, in Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Marcus Borg addresses the yearnings of those who want a fully contemporary faith that welcomes rather than oppresses our critical intelligence and openness to the best of historical scholarship. Borg shows how a rigorous examination of historical findings can lead to a new faith in Christ, one that is critical and, at the same time, sustaining.
"Believing in Jesus does not mean believing doctrines about him," Borg writes. "Rather, it means to give one's heart, one's self at its deepest level, to . . . the living Lord."
Drawing on his own journey from a naive, unquestioning belief in Christ through collegiate skepticism to a mature and contemporary Christian faith, Borg illustrates how an understanding of the historical Jesus can actually lead to a more authentic Christian life--one not rooted in creeds or dogma, but in a life of spiritual challenge, compassion, and community.
In straightforward, accessible prose, Borg looks at the major findings of modern Jesus scholarship from the perspective of faith, bringing alive the many levels of Jesus' character: spirit person, teacher of alternative wisdom, social prophet, and movement founder. He also reexamines the major stories of the Old Testament vital to an authentic understanding of Jesus, showing how an enriched understanding of these stories can uncover new truths and new pathways to faith.
For questioning believers, doubters, and reluctant unbelievers alike, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time frees our understanding of Jesus' life and message from popular misconceptions and outlines the way to a sound and contemporary faith: "For ultimately, Jesus is not simply a figure of the past, but a figure of the present. Meeting that Jesus--the living one who comes to us even now--will be like meeting Jesus again for the first time."
Citations And Professional Reviews Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith by Marcus J. Borg has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Century - 10/16/2007 page 40
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Marcus J. Borg is Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon. Internationally known in both academic and church circles as a biblical and Jesus scholar, he was Hundere Chair of Religion and Culture in the Philosophy Department at Oregon State University until his retirement in 2007.
He is the author of nineteen books, including Jesus: A New Vision (1987) and the best-seller Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time (1994); The God We Never Knew (1997); The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (1999); Reading the Bible Again for the First Time (2001), and The Heart of Christianity (2003), both best-sellers. His newest books are Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary (2006), a New York Times Best-Seller; Conversations with Scripture: Mark (2009), and three books co-authored with John Dominic Crossan, The Last Week (2006), The First Christmas (2007), and The First Paul (2009).
His novel, Putting Away Childish Things, was published in April, 2010.
Described by The New York Times as “a leading figure in his generation of Jesus scholars,” he has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” and “Dateline,” PBS’s “Newshour,” ABC’s “Evening News” and “Prime Time” with Peter Jennings, NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, and several National Geographic programs. A Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, he has been national chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature and co-chair of its International New Testament Program Committee, and is past president of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars.
His work has been translated into eleven languages: German, Dutch, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and French. His doctor’s degree is from Oxford University, and he has lectured widely overseas (England, Scotland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Israel and South Africa) and in North America, including the Chautauqua and Smithsonian Institutions.
Marcus J. Borg currently resides in Portland, in the state of Oregon.
Reviews - What do customers think about Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith?
Interesting Read Apr 27, 2008
A very interesting view of Jesus. I highly recommend it if the old paradigm is not working for you. Who was Jesus really? What was the core of his message? Now what? This book answers those questions, and goes beyond. A great book on the historical,and spiritual, Jesus.
Meeting Borg's View of Jesus for the First Time Mar 31, 2008
In 1995, when I was struggling with some of the latest historical Jesus research as a way of re-imagining Jesus, a colleague suggested that I should read this book by Marcus Borg. I was finding that much of the language used to describe Jesus had been imported by the gospel writers from language applied to the Roman emperors and, therefore, to be seen as adjectival descriptions, not ontological. I needed a new perspective for understanding Jesus. I trusted her enough to do exactly that and I was delighted with what I found. When I read about Borg's story, I felt as if his story was my story too. Who had told him about me??? My early faith journey was a replica of that of Borg. Childhood, college, seminary, ministry and beyond. Although I am not the writer he is, I could have set down much of what he says. But the most striking part of Chapter One is what he entitled "Beyond Belief to Relationship." This is true for me because I was raised on a brand of faith that emphasized correct belief. If you strayed from those guidelines then you had moved beyond the boundaries of acceptable Christian life. If dogma and correct belief are important to you then this book will be upsetting and disconserting.
But I think that my pilgrimage was one from "faith in the Book" to "faith in a person." If your perception is rooted in a book (whether that book is the Hebrew Bible, the Christian New Testament, the book of Mormon, the Constitution or the book of Islam and 'strict constructionism' or 'papal infallibility' or 'biblical infallibility') the person looks for the rules found in their book, moral guidance in statements, and becomes like that which is at the center of his values. In this case like a judge interpreting case law with a shaking head and a wagging finger of disapproval because some disobey their book. If, however, the center is a person then you look at the behavior of that person and who he associates with and what are his characteristics. When Borg points out the parallels between images of Jesus and images of the Christian life, he is at his best. His description of three "macro-stories" in scripture and how they shaped the message of Jesus helps anyone who is seeking a new grip on faith. In fact, since I have read other works of Borg, the move from what he calls "the earlier paradigm" to "the emerging paradigm" is exactly what has changed my vision of Christianity. I say to all who are on a quest for a vital and fresh perspective then this book is a helpful point to begin your pilgrimage. The book is 14 years old but it is an insightful read.
For Spiritually Adventuresome People Feb 28, 2008
This book treats scripture with great respect. It also invites the reader to use one's common sense in seeking to understand the Jesus story. Faith + common sense is a powerful combination.
Challenging Our Hidden Assumptions about God and Christ Jan 18, 2008
This book is part of a trilogy of short volumes on the same basic theme: understanding our hidden assumptions about God and Christ. If you like this one, you may also want to read Borg's "The God We Never Knew" and "The Heart of Christianity." You'll find considerable overlap among these three books, so skim along if need be.
Marcus Borg first published "Meeting Jesus Again" back in 1995. Twelve years later, it's still a hot seller for three good reasons:
1. The basic message is deeply provoking: How we "think about" Jesus has a profound impact on our personal faith and our overall relationship with God. Is Jesus the "King of Kings, Lord of Lords"...or was he a rabble-rousing prophet fighting against the authorities? Was he a "spirit person" with a special connection to the divine...or an ascetic martyr like John the Baptist? (Insert about a dozen other choices based on your own tradition.) How you answer those questions will ultimately define your own belief system -- like it or not.
2. Borg invites us to find answers that go beyond the tired cliches of established religion. This is both refreshing and frightening for many people because it makes us realize that the "official answers" aren't really answers at all -- just slogans. As a friend of mine says, "We're so focused on why Jesus died that we forget to ask why he lived..." Personally speaking, I'm tired of popular preachers who dwell on the crucifixion as some sort of cosmic "get out of jail free card" -- as if the rest of Christ's ministry doesn't really matter. That's the easy way out. (Joel Osteen, are you listening?)
3. Finally, Borg forces us to see Jesus in an entirely new light. For me, that means Jesus is challenging all of us to move beyond the familiar Pharisee mentality (characterized by purity, obedience, self-defined righteousness, us vs. them thinking, etc.) in favor of an authentic relationship with God. This may sound like a small thing, but it's really quite Earth-shaking when you confront the implications.
BOTTOM LINE: Who really cares what ritual or prayer or doctrine you follow? What really matters is your moment-by-moment openness to the presence of God. The rest is personal preference or just plain window dressing...in my humble opinion. Read the book and decide for yourself.
I end up loving Jesus rather than worshipping him- great book Dec 4, 2007
Here is a book that I can say that I really enjoyed. At it's simplest, the book explains that one cannot take the New Testament literally and instead one must focus on the deeper meaning of what is said. The only other book in recent days that I have read which said something similar was The Rozabal Line, in which the resurrection of Jesus was explained as being the departing of the soul from the body to eventually merge with the divine infinity. I have always found it difficult to understand certain basic tenets of Christianity such as the virgin birth and the resurrection. Borg's book puts these events in context and allows Jesus to emerge as a human being. In fact, I end up loving Jesus rather than worshipping him. We need more books like this one in order to ensure that the vast majority of the Christian flock do not go astray because of a continued disconnect with the religion.