Jesus

Jesus

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by A. N. Wilson
     
 

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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…  See more details below

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.

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Editorial Reviews

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

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780712606974
Publisher:
Random House UK
Publication date:
05/27/2003
Pages:
288

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Meet the Author

A. N. Wilson is the author of the acclaimed biographies Tolstoy, C. S. Lewis, Jesus, and Paul; God's Funeral, and several celebrated novels. He lives in London.

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Jesus 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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