Meeting Jesus again for the first time

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith, by Marcus J. Borg

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  1. Just finished this book by Marcus Borg:

    My favorite part was the discussion of how Jesus replaced the core value of purity with compassion. Nice move, Jesus. Less us-versus-them, more love.

    He also discusses the important difference between Jesus of Nazareth, the man, and Jesus the Christ, the theological creation of subsequent Christian men (mostly), who developed and fought over various Christologies in subsequent centuries (see also the comments on Bart Ehrman’s two books:

    Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
    and
    How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

    which also delve into this remarkable history of the competing Christianities that eventually led to today’s predominant Christology, viz., that Jesus is both human and divine, something that Jesus of Nazareth probably never thought of himself, and certainly seems not to have ever said of himself).

    Back to Borg’s book, he notes the important fact that “Jesus never spoke of himself as the Son of God, as one with God, as the light of the world, as the way, the truth, and the life, and so forth … I am aware that this is still news for some Christians, even though it has been old hat in the seminaries of mainline denominations throughout this century.”

    Another high point in the book is the discussion of the the Jewishness of Jesus, especially important since so many Christians historically and even today have

    “been guilty of conscious or unconscious anti-Semitism, identifying Jesus with Christianity and his opponents with Judaism, and thereby seeing Jesus and the early Christian movement as anti-Jewish.”

    His point that “‘The Jews’ did not reject Jesus” has analogy today: “The Jews” did not reject Jesus anymore than “the Muslims” reject the West, another common and contemporary instance of that type of religious illiteracy in which one holds an entire religious community responsible for the actions of an individual in that religious community.

    Rather, “the few Jewish persons involved in the events leading to his execution were a small but powerful elite whose power derived from the Romans. Instead of representing the Jews, they might fairly be described as collaborating in the oppression of the Jewish people. The separation of Jesus from Judaism has had tragic consequences for Jews throughout the centuries. The separation is also historically incorrect, and any faithful image of Jesus must take with utmost seriousness his rootedness in Judaism.”

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