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The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man [Paperback]

By Walter Wink (Author)
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Item description for The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man by Walter Wink...

A professor of biblical interpretations uses the epithet "the son of the man" to explore not only early Christology but also the anthropology articulated in the gospels. He explores how Jesus' self-referential phrase came to be universalized as the "Human Being" or "Truly Human One".

Publishers Description
A thorny historical issue handled with artistry and imagination The epithet "the son of the man" (or "the Human Being") in the Gospels has been a highly debated topic. Wink uses this phrase to explore not only early Christology but the anthropology articulated in the Gospels. Jesus apparently avoided designations such as Messiah, Son of God, or God, though these titles were given by his disciples after his death and resurrection. But Jesus is repeatedly depicted as using the obscure expression "the Human Being" as virtually his only form of self- reference. Wink explores how Jesus' self-referential phrase came to be universalized as the "Human Being" or "Truly Human One." The Human Being is a catalytic agent for transformation, providing the form and lure and hunger to become who we were meant to be, or more properly perhaps, to become who we truly are.

Awards and Recognitions
The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man by Walter Wink has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • Book of the Year - 2002 Winner - Top 10 category

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man by Walter Wink has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Christian Century - 05/22/2002 page 43
  • Choice - 05/01/2002 page 1605

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Fortress Press
Pages   368
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2001
Publisher   Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN  0800632621  
ISBN13  9780800632625  

Availability  144 units.
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More About Walter Wink

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! DR. WALTER WINK (1935-2012) was an influential American biblical scholar, theologian, and activist, and was an important figure in progressive Christianity. He was well known for his advocacy of, and work related to, nonviolent resistance. Wink earned his Ph.D. at The Union Theological Seminary where he taught for nine years, and in 2010 was honored with the Unitas Distinguished Alumni Award. He went on to spend much of his career teaching at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. Wink wrote more than sixteen books as well as hundreds of scholarly articles, and is recognized for coining the phrase "the myth of redemptive violence." With his wife, June Keener Wink, he held workshops around the world that combined religious-themed pottery, dancing, and Biblical interpretation. Wink died in 2012 from complications of dementia.

Walter Wink currently resides in Sandisfield, in the state of Massachusetts.

Walter Wink has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Facets
  2. Power
  3. Powers
  4. Society of Biblical Literature Monograph Series

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( W ) > Wink, Walter
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man?

One of the few books that have fundamentally changed my thinking  Mar 25, 2007
The author, Walter Wink, correctly points out that "the quest for the historical Jesus" that has preoccupied New Testament scholarship for over 200 years has actually been a quest for the human Jesus. Wink takes Jesus' enigmatic term the Son of Man, literally the Son of the Man and very persuasively, in my view, argues that it is indeed both his designation of and his aspiration for himself which is of himself as "the fully human one" or, the politically correct, gender neutral "the human being." He was, in effect, designating himself as "The Man." No matter. The point is that, in the author's view, Jesus did not claim that he was the Messiah or Christ, still less that he was the Son of God. These were titles given to him by the early church. Wink's thesis implies that Jesus made no claim to being a one-time-only God Incarnate, but what and who we all may become by living our lives in complete faith in the goodness and love of God.

My only quibble with this wonderful book lies in its virtually complete reliance on a Jungian archetypal perspective. While at points this perspective is illuminating and it appears certainly to be Wink's preferred position I found it unnecessary and unduly distracting.On the whole though, if you read and digest this book, you will discover an utterly liberating way of understanding and experiencing the humanity of Jesus.
The Human Being  Oct 10, 2005
Excellent book for anyone interested in the picture of Jesus that emerges from careful reading of the Greek text and not from translations. It's a longish book and it requires attention, but it should prove rewarding for all Christians.
Profound and Brilliant  Jul 9, 2005
Surely one of the most perplexing phrases in the Gospels is Jesus' repeated reference to himself as "Son of Man." Let's face it, for most biblical scholars, the term is simply an embarrassment, and they work hard to explain it away. Inconsistent statements such as saying that Jesus is fully human as well as fully divine are used to try to explain it. Or, attempts are made to show that "Son of man" is some divine title. In both the ancient and modern church, the phrase is basically non-existent in hymns, prayers, and liturgies.
Wink researches all the references to the son of man he could locate: in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and in Hebrew literature. For example, he shows that the capitalization of "Son of Man" was added by the translators, to give the impression that "Son of Man" is a title. In fact, there is no capitalization at all in the Hebrew or Greek texts of the bible. In fact, "son of" is a Hebrew idiom (usually appearing as "ben `adam") that means "member of a class," and Wink pulls many examples from the bible itself, examples that would not be obvious unless you return to the Hebrew text (or a literal translation, because the idioms are not translated as "son of," but as "member of," or the translation simply drops "son of " and just leaves the group name.) One example is in Genesis 18:7, which for example NIV translates as "Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf ..." but Young's Literal Translation is "and Abraham ran unto the herd, and taketh a son of the herd, ..."
The exception to this translation of "son of," Wink points out, is when Jesus refers to himself as "son of man." Here, the translators don't appear to be willing to have Jesus call himself a man, so the leave the strange-sounding phrase "Son of Man," and capitalize it to boot.
Wink has a knack for seeing through the fog of Christology and all the baggage that his been built around Jesus by the translators and theologians. Wink explores carefully the historical meaning of Son of Man in Jewish literature. Then he analyses the curious and unique use of Son of Man in Gospel ("bar enash" in Aramaic, which appears as "ho huios tou anthropou" in the Greek NT sources): that nobody else uses this term in the New Testament except Jesus himself, and that it really doesn't mean "I" since among other things Jesus frequently uses "I," and could have used that if he wanted to.
Wink's essential conclusion that Jesus' repeated use of "son of man" is to deliberately emphasize that he is human. Jesus was not claiming to be divine, not calling us to worship him, but calling us to be human, and that is our highest calling. Wink makes the profound observation that Jesus never appealed to God's authority for anything he said or did, and yet divine authority clearly shines through his words and deeds. Wink's interpretation of Jesus' message is not that being "human" is bad, but that our failure is that we are rarely human at all; that we act selfishly, without thinking, without consideration, without reverence for God. It is a compelling interpretation, well analyzed and defended. Wink shows that is the most consistent with what is found in the Gospels.
This interpretation will for many people hard to accept. It is one thing to have Jesus come down from high, to be worshipped, with a huge chasm between him and us. It is another to realize that Jesus was, in fact fully human while we most of us are barely so, and that he tried with all his might to show those around him the way to the Kingdom of God, and that is our calling not to worship Jesus but to share his understanding and worship of God.
The Systems Revolution and Walter Wink  May 17, 2004
I believe that if anyone can prepare the "modern" church for its critical next step into the future, it is Walter Wink. His development of the critical use of scientific theory mostly drawn from the "new" physics and the "new" biology, are extremely helpful in providing a guidepost into the integration of theology and science, using a philosophy of science integration.

The is one point that wish to state clearly. This series of texts is not about "your father's (or mother's) Jesus!" Wink demonstrates a Jesus that is dealing with issues of power and domination. It seems that little "theological reflection about the nature of the church" is present within the current psychological disposition of the American church. Wink provides a necessary corrective to this religious culture of psycho-babble.

It will be a difficult read. Keep a Bible handy.

Hocus Pocus meets Hypocricy  Jan 20, 2003
I am continually amazed at the idiocy that is mistaken for scholarship. Winks latest proffering in search of the "human" might have benefited from a consistant use of reason - a very "human" characteristic (no matter how epistemologically construed).
He is all for the historical\mythical\objective\subjective reconstructions of the "Jesus Seminar" assuring us that Jesus was a sinner,that that mean "ol" historic church has maliciously or ignorantly misidentified and reified the God-Man; but that lo, now he and select others are paving the way for everyone else to become more human.
His previous contributions have analyzed and exposed (with the agreeable nod of JEESUS!- that "hell raiser" - I'm sure!) all those perennially nasty systems of domination and he continues with this heuristic accordingly.
However, upon closer examination, "scholarship" and humanization become chicanery and pomp. If the "real" Jesus can not be known, if historical criticism is so sure now about what the gospels legitimately provide and what not, how with such selective ease does Wink quote from portions that conveniently ,but only, support his position? Hocus Pocus? If truth - as he defines it - is more important then fact (and that's a fact) and revelation is not unveiling the unknown but "what moves one to action" (Winks own revelation - an ironic "unveiling" no doubt) one can never be moved; because according to his own blithering the factuality of history can never really be obtained but rather only provisionally reconstructed. In fairness to consistancy that includes the etymology and employment of words, including the word "action", and since Winks acquisition of human language (which can not be a present actual fact because of its emergence in history - which is at best a productive myth)ethereally floats in this flux - voi la - chicanery!
As to crusading against the "powers" "in the name of JEESUS"? Oh, if he wants to make so many "MORE HUMAN" why charge for such a precious and sacred cause? Surely some liberal charitable trust would love to get in on this anti-domination bandwagon, would'nt they? Oh, and what a vitae. The last time I checked, book publishing was the all or none of academic respectability and promotion; hmmm !What better way to begin to be radical like Jesus (or his ellusive historioMythical impulse)then to "turn dem tables over right where ye at!" Instead of "humanizing" Jesus and Man "in this new time of ours" it sounds like a loss of nerve not meant to disturb.
As a Postmodern Mennonite I was hoping for truth and facts (even if contextually constrained)about Jesus the God\Man and the redemption of man, instead I got an impressive example of the complexity and ubiquity of pompous hypocricy from somone supposedly railing against it.

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