Meeting Jesus for the first time

by Marcus J. Borg

The historical Jesus & the heart of contemporary faith

by Marcus J. Borg

Book review by the Dubious Disciple
March 7, 2012

I read this little book several years back, and wanted to make sure it isn’t forgotten. Marcus Borg is one of my favorite writers, and this is what I’ve always considered his “coming out” book. The one that lays bare Borg’s understanding of the historical Jesus, and Borg’s journey from blind belief into a more complete, contemporary appreciation for Jesus and what his message means for mankind today. In this book is a Christianity for the 21st century and a Jesus who can be embraced by everyone.

One quote sums up the book well: Borg describes Jesus as a “spirit person, subversive sage, social prophet, and movement founder who invited his followers and hearers into a transforming relationship with the same Spirit that he himself knew, and into a community whose social vision was shaped by the core value of compassion.” I’m uncertain if Borg would use precisely the same words today, sixteen years later, because the wheels of Jesus scholarship continue to turn, but I’ll bet he wouldn’t change much … he has found the core Jesus. Meeting Jesus again for the first time, we are invited to appreciate Jesus’ beauty against a backdrop of dominating religion, and share in Jesus’ struggle to help compassion overcome purity. It was this very purity system of the Jews which led to social injustice, and which Jesus found most constricting.

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