Item description for God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning by Stephen J. Patterson...
Overview Adult classes would do well to select this as a text for special weekly study... A truly valuable work!
Publishers Description This book's title conveys its general premise, that is, that the quest for the historical Jesus has always been closely related to the Christian search for God. The author says that this is both good and necessary, provided that one properly understands the relationship between history and theology ("the Jesus of history" and "the Christ of faith") and does not confuse the two. An opening chapter explains the history of the quest for the historical Jesus and how it has always been related to the search for God. It also proposes a scheme for understanding the relationship between history and theology. The remaining chapters focus on various aspects of Jesus' life and teachings, related in large measure to the work of the Jesus Seminar. Patterson also develops a theology that might properly be called a "Jesus theology," and it is here that his input to the discussions of and about Jesus makes its most distinctive contribution. The accessible style of writing in the book makes it useful for lay study groups. It is also suitable for college and seminary classrooms as a beginning book on the historical Jesus. Stephen J. Patterson is Associate Professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary and author of The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus.
Citations And Professional Reviews God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning by Stephen J. Patterson has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 04/15/1998
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Studio: Trinity Press International
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.92" Width: 5.95" Height: 0.86" Weight: 1.14 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 1998
Publisher Trinity Press International
ISBN 1563382288 ISBN13 9781563382284
Availability 0 units.
More About Stephen J. Patterson
Stephen J. Patterson is Associate Professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary and author of The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning (Trinity Press). James M. Robinson is editor of The Nag Hammadi Library.
Stephen J. Patterson was born in 1957.
Stephen J. Patterson has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about God of Jesus?
Simply outstanding... May 8, 2006
I hold fully accredited undergrad and graduate degrees in biblical studies. I can tell you from years of experience, reading a multitude of books, and dedicating the majority of my life to the study of Jesus and the Bible, that this book is the best introduction to the historical Jesus that you will find. Furthermore, I have met Dr. Patterson in person at a Westar Institute seminar in Iowa, and he is as eloquent a speaker and as friendly and down-to-earth person as he is an excellent writer and scholar. VERY highly recommended.
Patterson's Remarkable Book Leads to a Remarkable Jesus and a Remarkable God Oct 20, 2005
Meet a Jesus more strident than Gandhi, more humble than Sister Teresa, more radical than Marx, more revolutionary than King and at least as clever (and funny) as Mark Twain. And in the process meet the God folks experienced through Jesus, and consider how to share such an experience.
If you have a serious interest in Jesus, "The God of Jesus" by Stephen J. Patterson is an extremely well written and thoughtful book that really ought to be on your night stand -- or at least on your Christmas list.
Highly recommended Apr 12, 2005
This is an excellent introduction to research on the historical Jesus, especially for the way it connects those efforts with the concerns of believing Christians. (Marcus Borg also deserves mention for pursuing that emphasis in his work.) There are passages and sections in every chapter where the writing is wonderfully inspiring. It's a book that I'd recommend without hesitation. Having said that, and given that other reviewers have already detailed the book's virtues, let me offer a critique.
Going along with the Jesus Seminar version of research on the historical Jesus is a definite left-wing political slant. That may be appropriate, because Jesus may indeed have been a utopian social revolutionary who preached an early version of Marx's dictum that each should receive according to his needs. But one has to ask whether the research findings are driving the political thinking here, or the other way around. For example:
In an otherwise very good chapter on parables, we find an interpretation of the Wicked Tenants, apparently based on Herzog's highly ideologized, class-warfare reading, that is utterly forced and unconvincing. The exploitative nature of the social system did not need to be "revealed" to Jesus' audience of expendables; it was hardly hidden from them. In a later chapter, the same parable is revisited with a standard interpretation, which is said to be an allegorization by Mark. Perhaps, but no more than the earlier, preferred one was a Marxist allegorization by Herzog.
Jesus' execution is seen to result from the threat he posed to Rome and its imperial system. But there is a huge difference between being a trouble-maker, nuisance, and potential danger to public order among the large and volatile Passover crowds, which Jesus certainly was, and being a serious threat to Roman rule. In the event, Jesus was yanked off the street and executed, and his followers scattered. When militant Jews later actually did launch a serious revolt, it was smashed without mercy. The idea that Jesus and his tiny sect threatened the Roman Pax and its legions is wishful thinking in service of class-conflict ideology, cramming facts to fit a model.
Patterson believes that the mainline churches have declined in membership and attendance because they are not liberal enough, do not sufficiently encourage critical thought, including the sorts of historically-based reformulations he argues for. But if that were true, the Unitarians would be ruling the roost by now. Instead, it's the conservative evangelical churches and TV ministries that are showing the dramatic growth. Wishful thinking again.
Examples like that give the reader the right to assume that in any ambiguous case, Patterson will push the interpretation that best fits his ideological presuppositions. But even assuming that, the book is very much worth buying and reading.
A fantastic Read! May 21, 2003
This highly readable work by Dr. Patterson takes one on a journey back in time to the First Century, a place in some ways so alien to our modern world that visiting it would be like landing on another planet. Dr. Patterson covers a wide range of topics: an overview of the quest for the historical Jesus, the concepts of shame and honor in first century Palestine, the radical wisdom of Jesus, a fresh look at the parables of Jesus, an analysis of the apocalyptic controversy (was Jesus preaching the end of the world?), and the meaning of the resurrection. This text is a good overview and analysis of many of the topics looked at by the Jesus Seminar and provides wonderful insights into the teachings of Jesus.
Deserves a wide readership Jan 2, 2003
Once when attending a local revival as a guest of a friend, I was confronted by the fiery preacher with the question: "Do you know the Lord?" I, somewhat taken back by his zeal, lamely offered the typical liberal response: "Well, yes and no, depends on what you mean by 'the Lord.'" I was immediately "cast into the outer darkness," where "people will weep and gnash their teeth." After reading this book, I replay that scene. This time I boldly reply, "Yes, if this is what you mean by 'the Lord,'" thrusting a copy into his hands. However, I still think that I would end up weeping and gnashing my teeth. As a Christian, I have a serious major flaw. I have difficulty confessing that "Jesus is Lord." In my mind that's like saying that my big bother is Lord, something that sibling rivalry prevents me from doing. You see, I don't want to be enthralled by Jesus; rather, I want to be enthralled by what enthralled Jesus. And close to heresy, I don't want to see Jesus as God; but rather, I want to see the God of Jesus. This excellent book goes a long, long way in that direction. I can't recommend it too highly. And as an added bonus, there were parts of it that actually made me laugh out loud! Read it and see. Deserves wide circulation.