Jesus Then and Jesus Now: Looking for Jesus, Finding Ourselves

Jesus Then and Jesus Now: Looking for Jesus, Finding Ourselves

by Gregory C. Jenks


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Jesus Then and Jesus Now: Looking for Jesus, Finding Ourselves by Gregory C. Jenks

This book is written from an intentionally progressive Christian perspective. It draws together multiple strands from the author's personal and professional life: critical biblical scholarship, field archaeology, parish ministry, seminary teaching, and personal religious practice.

In this book you will find a profile of what Jesus may have been like within the context of Second Temple Judaism. This is set alongside selected aspects of the Jesus tradition as preserved in the earliest Christian writings. Neither is ascribed primacy over the other, but each casts light on the other and both inform the final part of the book that traces some of the ways in which Jesus communities now might shape their collective and individual lives.

The book begins with recent research into the diverse expressions of Jewish identity and practice in the early Roman period. These chapters focus on three key issues: the villages of Galilee as the primary setting for the activity of Jesus, the politics of the Herodian succession, and the significance of continued Jewish religious aspirations for divine intervention.

This is followed by a careful consideration of the Jesus tradition in the Gospels. Four issues are considered in turn: Jesus and the kingdom of God; Jesus and the afterlife; friends and opponents of Jesus; and his death by public execution on a cross. The interplay of these four themes, together with the contextual dynamics of the previous section, generates a composite image that blends the various glimpses of Jesus into a more realistic impression.

The third section explores some of the more controversial aspects of Christianity in the contemporary world. How do we celebrate the humanity of Jesus alongside the traditional focus on the divinity of Jesus, this book celebrates the humanity of Jesus. What is the significance of resurrection in a culture where individual survival beyond physical death is becoming increasingly meaningless? What challenges and opportunities do the multi-faith realities of our human community offer for the future of the spiritual tradition that Jesus began?

The book finishes with some reflections on the individual and public implications of Christian discipleship today. This is not a template for a 'new Reformation', but a modest statement of how at least one progressive Christian seeks to fashion a life that is 'holy' and 'true'.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498230537
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 05/12/2015
Pages: 226
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Gregory Jenks is an Anglican priest and biblical scholar. He is Academic Dean at St Francis Theological College, Brisbane and Senior Lecturer in the School of Theology, Charles Sturt University. A long-time Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, and a former Associate Director of the Westar Institute, Dr Jenks is also director of the Jesus Database project and a co-director of the Bethsaida Archaeology Project in Israel. His recent books include The Once and Future Bible: An Introduction to the Bible for Religious Progressives (2011), and Wisdom and Imagination: Religious Progressives and the Search for Meaning (co-edited with Rex Hunt, 2014)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations i

Introduction 1

1 Looking for Jesus 5

2 Among the Villages of Galilee 17

3 Whose Head is on the Coin? 31

4 One of the Prophets 45

5 Jesus and the Kingdom of God 59

6 Jesus and the Afterlife 71

7 Calling Jesus Names 93

8 Crucified under Pontius Pilate 109

9 Son of Mary, Son of Joseph 123

10 Easter People 137

11 Jesus in a World of Many Faiths 149

12 Being a Follower of Jesus Today 165

Glossary 173

Appendix 1 Kingdom Saying in the Jesus Database 183

Appendix 2 Heaven, Hell, and the Afterlife in the Jesus Database 187

Appendix 3 Christmas in the Jesus Database 193

Bibliography 195

Index 205

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