Jesus

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In a book that is as daring and unconventional as it is scholarly, A. N. Wilson, the celebrated biographer of Tolstoy and C. S. Lewis, searches for the elusive historical reality in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. What are the facts about the life of Jesus, as opposed to the myths, or unprovable tenets of faith surrounding the miracles, death, and resurrection? How and when did Christianity become a separate religion from the Judaism into which Jesus was born? To what extent was his power over contemporaries ...
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Overview

In a book that is as daring and unconventional as it is scholarly, A. N. Wilson, the celebrated biographer of Tolstoy and C. S. Lewis, searches for the elusive historical reality in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. What are the facts about the life of Jesus, as opposed to the myths, or unprovable tenets of faith surrounding the miracles, death, and resurrection? How and when did Christianity become a separate religion from the Judaism into which Jesus was born? To what extent was his power over contemporaries political rather than religious? Wilson's answers to these questions will fascinate readers of every shade of faith or skepticism. His starting point is an explanation of how one may sift through the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus to find the sort of eyewitness details that have the ring of everyday reality. He uses archaeological evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the most recent findings of New Testament scholarship to shed new light on the tumultuous religious and political situation in Israel that so influenced the life and teachings of Jesus. And, finally, he weaves all these strands into a gripping narrative leading to the crucifixion, a narrative that for all its learning contains strong elements of the literary detective story and the psychological novel. Wilson's inquiry is not meant to validate any particular creed or version of Jesus Christ. Instead, he enables us to discover the man who became the central figure in western civilization, whose teachings survive in spite of the logical impossibilities of the religion, and whose words, reverberating still, contain a wisdom that has never ceased to trouble the world.

In a book that is as daring and unconventional as it is scholarly, the celebrated biographer of Tolstoy and C.S. Lewis searches for the elusive historical reality in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Wilson enables readers of every shade of faith or skepticism to discover the man who became the central figure in Western civilization and whose teachings have survived nearly 2,000 years.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wilson, who has written biographies of Tolstoy and C. S. Lewis, here critiques the Gospels and offers a lucid and absorbing, if inconclusive, meditation on the historical Jesus: the `` `real' Jesus amid so much religion and folk-lore.'' In Wilson's interpretation, Jesus was a Galilean holy man, an heir to the prophetic tradition, who possessed charismatic healing powers; it is improbable that this monotheistic Jew ever believed himself to be the Second Person of the Trinity or that he instituted the Eucharist. Wilson proposes that the feast at Cana may have been Jesus's own wedding; that the woman who poured ointment over his feet and wiped them with her hair is a detail ``too strange'' to have been invented; that Jesus's cousin John the Baptist came to disbelieve that Jesus was the Messiah; and that the Stranger seen by Jesus's disciples after his death was probably Jesus's brother James. This biography also suggests that Judas was innocent of betraying Jesus, that ``the Pharisees were among the most virtuous men who had ever lived,'' that Jesus was never tried by the Jewish Sanhedrin, and that Paul was the high priest's servant who supervised Jesus's arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Wilson begins the preface of his life of Jesus with, ``The Jesus of History, and the Christ of Faith are two separate beings, with very different stories.'' Wilson, current literary editor of The Evening Standard , novelist, journalist, and biographer of Tolstoy and C.S. Lewis, writes clearly and imaginatively. However, his admittedly speculative reconstruction of the gospels and extrabiblical sources sheds little light on the figure of Jesus. Many of his interpretations reveal a limited familiarity with biblical scholarship. In addition, he frequently lapses into making sensational assertions as insupportable as those he criticizes. Not an essential purchase.-- Cynthia Widmer, Downingtown, Pa.
From the Publisher
“A masterly work of demystifying iconoclasm.” — Patrick Skene Catling, The Spectator

“Many aspects of Wilson’s book will anger or amuse believing Christians and serious New Testament scholars. Anybody who knows the Gospels at all should find their understanding much challenged and enriched by this book.” — Jenny Turner, Guardian

“A very profound and subtle examination of the religious imagination.” — Andrew Brown, Independent

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780006377382
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/2004
  • Pages: 270

Meet the Author

A.N. Wilson holds a prominent position in the world of letters and has been Literary Editor of both the Evening Standard and the Spectator. An award-winning biographer, he has written lives of Sir Walter Scott, Tolstoy, C.S. Lewis and Hilaire Belloc. When Jesus was first published in 1992 it caused a sensation. It was followed by A.N. Wilson’s equally controversial Paul, also available in Pimlico.

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Table of Contents

Preface
I Jesus the Jew 1
II Paul 15
III The Cooked Fish, or How to Read a Gospel 45
IV His Wondrous Childhood 71
V The Fore-Runner 93
VI Galilee 117
VII Shalom: The Loaves 147
VIII The Man on a Donkey 165
IX The Man with the Pitcher and the Naked Boy 189
X The Trial 207
XI Jesus Christ 237
Bibliography 257
Index 263
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Customer Reviews

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