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The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion To A More Authenthic Contemporary Faith [Paperback]

By Marcus J. Borg (Author)
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Item description for The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion To A More Authenthic Contemporary Faith by Marcus J. Borg...

The author shows how the weakening of religion is due to a misinterpretation of the Bible and God's true nature, and leads readers to an adult understanding of God based on rational, scientific thinking and religious tolerance. Reprint.

Publishers Description

Answering the many "spiritual" questions left unaddressed by such popular historical bestsellers as A History of God and God: A Biography, renowned author Marcus Borg reveals how to embrace an authentic contemporary faith that reconciles God with science, critical thinking and religious pluralism.

How to have faith--how to even think about God--without having to stifle modern rationality is one of the most vital challenges facing contemporary religion. In providing a much-needed solution to the problem of how to have a fully authentic yet fully contemporary understanding of God, Borg--author of the bestselling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time--traces his personal journey. He leads readers from the all-powerful and authoritarian God of his (and their) childhood and traditional faith to an equally powerful but dynamic image of God that is relevant to contemporary seekers and more biblical and spiritually authentic. Borg shows how the modern crisis of faith is itself rooted in delusion--misinterpretation of biblical texts and of God's true nature--and challenges readers to a new way of thinking about God. He opens a practical discussion about how to base a relationship with the divine both immanent and transcendant, here and now, always and everywhere.

Arguing that the authentic Judeo-Christian tradition is that God's being includes the whole world, Borg persuasively shows how this understanding accounts for the whole variety of human religious experience. Ultimately, he introduces readers to a way of thinking about God who is "right here" all around them, rather than distant and remote. This understanding is more intellectually and spiritually satisfying and allows readers to reclaim a stronger sense of God's presence.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.39" Width: 5.13" Height: 0.48"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 19, 2015
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0060610352  
ISBN13  9780060610357  

Availability  159 units.
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More About Marcus J. Borg

Marcus J. Borg 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.

Marcus J. Borg has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars Study
  2. Plus
  3. Seastone

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Reviews - What do customers think about The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion To A More Authenthic Contemporary Faith?

The God we Never Knew  Nov 10, 2006
Marcus works diligently to bridge the gap between faith and reason. He is partial to a panenthiastic view of spirituallity and makes the concept understandable. I find his discription of the highly oppressed 1st. century Jewish community most interesting, making fertile grounds for the roots of Christianity.
Who is he arguing with?   Nov 15, 2005
This is my fifth Borg (not counting Star Trek), and in each he comes across as a likeable person. A conservative NT scholar once told me John Crossan would make the perfect next-door neighbor; one gets the feeling Borg (Crossan's Jesus Seminar colleague) would also cheerfully lend a cup of sugar or the weed-eater in the name of the Lord. He explains himself with a fetching simplicity and naturalness that are all the more attractive for the long, serious study that clearly lies behind his ideas.

As for his main argument, that God is both transcendent and imminent, I do not know whom he is trying to convince. I not only grew up in evangelical churches, I have attended hundreds of them around the world, and found the imminence of God both taught and (often) experienced. God did not seem that far away to me in church -- sometimes dangerously close. Borg's experience might have been different -- though he couches his story in such subjective terms that one wonders if he did not merely misunderstand, or misremember. It seems to me Borg is not arguing with orthodoxy, but with the cold embers of an old deism that may have nested down in some Lutheran church on the plains, or else in his own imagination. My main critique of Borg is that he offers too many false choices. Here, too, his device is to compare wrong, even heretical, views that he took for orthodoxy in childhood with present educated opinions.

"Panentheism" is an interesting term, and I am glad to know the distinction Borg makes between his own position and pantheism. But I am not sure what it really adds to the Christian tradition: God is more than the world, sure, and closer than our brother -- "in him we live and move and have our breath." But what does it mean to say that Pol Pott, say, was "part of God?" I still don't see what such language means, or how it can be verified.

As a student of world religions, I do not always find "spirit" to be the nectar of the gods. Often the shaman who is (as the Chinese say) the most "ling," the most connected in the spirit world, is the most deeply involved in misogeny, human sacrifice, and political oppression.

Borg promotes the idea of a "spiritual resurrection." After N.T. Wright's rebuttal in The Resurrection of the Son of God, it is hard to imagine the bones of that argument coming together again.

I take my shots at Jesus Seminar scholarship in general, and at Borg's naive concept of "spirit" in particular, in my book, Why the Jesus Seminar can't find Jesus, and Grandma Marshall Could; I won't repeat that here. Suffice to say, I think the weight of the historical evidence, fairly considered, suggests that the "Jesus of history" is the Christ of orthodox Christianity.

Nor do I find Borg's discussion of politics helpful. About half of American spending is done by government, which also regulates the rest half to death (ask any contractor!) Borg talks as if "individualistic" Americans barely have a government. He invokes the authority of the prophets to increase government spending, never mind that OT social compassion was the duty of individuals, not the state. One might argue that the religious right, in its fight against the social injustice of abortion, and private support of the poor, sick, and marginalized (yes, conservative churches often do that, too), often does act in the tradition of the prophets.

Obviously, I found a lot to criticize. But I also found a fair amount that was helpful. Borg's discussion of images of salvation in the Bible does provide helpful balance to the usual evangelical emphasis, for example. I found many arguments unpersuasive, but Borg seems the kind of person you can argue the whole evening with, then part friends.
Christianity without Church  Nov 5, 2005
I decided to update my review because I have finished this book. Originally, I only had to read the first two chapters for a class assignment, and I had been skeptical about reading having been to a horrible example of a "religious" school in high school.

While Borg did return to church-going in his spiritual journey, I feel that this book does not suggest that it is necessary. The first college I attended was Winona State University, and when I would overhear conversations about religion, many Christians would say "I'm just a Christian," when people would ask about their denomination. That is an answer I loved. Religion and spirituality are personal journies, and all the stupid differences are just that: stupid.

Many great points are covered in this book, from the sheer unfairness of some of the most greatly believed ideas about Christianity, to the unhealthiness of some of the same ideas. I feel that if I had had this "image of God" presented to me, I would never have abandoned religion.

This is a far more intelligent look at theology than the leap-of-faith requiring Mere Christianity (which I was forced to read) by C.S. Lewis. What I find amusing is as a "pagan", I'm more of a Christian than many who claim the title.
You will want to read every book Marcus Borg has written  Sep 6, 2005
At this time with so many extremist groups claiming their way is the truth and the light, Marcus Borg puts clarity on "The Kingdom of Heaven". Are gays doomed to hell? Did Jesus die for our personal sins or for the social sins that were prevalent then and even more so now? (the slow reaction to Hurricane Katrina by administrations in charge). What is salvation and is it for now or is it for later after death? Is God a God of compassion or a judgemental God only concerned with our personal sins?
Read this book and you will find all the answers to these questions and even more. Furthermore, you just might find your way to understanding a Bible that is more of a human response to divinity than a divine response to humanity.
This book sheds a new and socially political responsibility to everyone who dares to read it. It will literally change your way of thinking about all religions.
Brilliantly written  Aug 12, 2005
I read this book after I read Borg's "Meeting Jesus again for the first time" and was simply amazed at the knowledge Borg has and the way he eloquently can deliver his thoughts. This is a great book not so much emphasizing religion as spirituality. Borg states God can be experienced in many different ways through many different religions, though he focuses on Judaism/Christianity because they are his field of study. The historial information is also key to this book. Many of us confuse early Christian doctrine (set around the middle ages) as to the doctrine around the time of Jesus and this couldnt be further from the truth. Overall, excellent book

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