Celebrating the Jesus Seminar:
$1.99 E-Books on the Historical Jesus
In 1985, a group of about 150 Biblical scholars and laymen organized the Jesus Seminar in a revolutionary effort to determine the true deeds and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth—the historical figure who changed the world with his gospel of liberation from injustice.
Over thirty years later, their work continues to illuminate and challenge our understanding of who Jesus really was; and to celebrate, we’re offering these e-books from renowned scholars such as Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan, John Shelby Spong, Amy-Jill Levine, and others—all for just $1.99 each!
Offer expires 7/17/2017. Click on the book covers to learn more, and click on your preferred retailer to purchase.
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus J. Borg
In Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Marcus Borg addresses the yearnings of those who want a fully contemporary faith that welcomes rather than oppresses our critical intelligence and openness to the best of historical scholarship. Borg shows how a rigorous examination of historical findings can lead to a new faith in Christ, one that is critical and, at the same time, sustaining.
"Believing in Jesus does not mean believing doctrines about him," Borg writes. "Rather, it means to give one's heart, one's self at its deepest level, to . . . the living Lord."
Drawing on his own journey from a naive, unquestioning belief in Christ through collegiate skepticism to a mature and contemporary Christian faith, Borg illustrates how an understanding of the historical Jesus can actually lead to a more authentic Christian life—one not rooted in creeds or dogma, but in a life of spiritual challenge, compassion, and community.
In straightforward, accessible prose, Borg looks at the major findings of modern Jesus scholarship from the perspective of faith, bringing alive the many levels of Jesus' character: spirit person, teacher of alternative wisdom, social prophet, and movement founder. He also reexamines the major stories of the Old Testament vital to an authentic understanding of Jesus, showing how an enriched understanding of these stories can uncover new truths and new pathways to faith.
For questioning believers, doubters, and reluctant unbelievers alike, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time frees our understanding of Jesus' life and message from popular misconceptions and outlines the way to a sound and contemporary faith: "For ultimately, Jesus is not simply a figure of the past, but a figure of the present. Meeting that Jesus—the living one who comes to us even now—will be like meeting Jesus again for the first time."
The Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan
"He comes as yet unknown into a hamlet of Lower Galilee. He is watched by the cold, hard eyes of peasants living long enough at a subsistence level to know exactly where the line is drawn between poverty and destitution. He looks like a beggar yet his eyes lack the proper cringe, his voice the proper whine, his walk the proper shuffle. He speaks about the rule of God and they listen as much from curiosity as anything else. They know all about rule and power, about kingdom and empire, but they know it in terms of tax and debt, malnutrition and sickness, agrarian oppression and demonic possession. What, they really want to know, can this kingdom of God do for a lame child, a blind parent, a demented soul screaming its tortured isolation among the graves that mark the edges of the village?"
—from "The Gospel of Jesus," overture to The Historical Jesus
The Historical Jesus reveals the true Jesus—who he was, what he did, what he said. It opens with "The Gospel of Jesus," Crossan's studied determination of Jesus' actual words and actions stripped of any subsequent additions and placed in a capsule account of his life story. The Jesus who emerges is a savvy and courageous Jewish Mediterranean peasant, a radical social revolutionary, with a rhapsodic vision of economic, political, and religious egalitarianism and a social program for creating it.
The conventional wisdom of critical historical scholarship has long held that too little is known about the historical Jesus to say definitively much more than that he lived and had a tremendous impact on his followers. "There were always historians who said it could not be done because of historical problems," writes Crossan. "There were always theologians who said it should not be done because of theological objections. And there were always scholars who said the former when they meant the latter."
With this ground–breaking work, John Dominic Crossan emphatically sweeps these notions aside. He demonstrates that Jesus is actually one of the best documented figures in ancient history; the challenge is the complexity of the sources. The vivid portrayal of Jesus that emerges from Crossan's unique methodology combines the complementary disciplines of social anthropology, Greco–Roman history, and the literary analysis of specific pronouncements, anecdotes, confessions and interpretations involving Jesus. All three levels cooperate equally and fully in an effective synthesis that provides the most definitive presentation of the historical Jesus yet attained.
This Hebrew Lord by John Shelby Spong
From the bestselling author of Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: John Shelby Spong's original groundbreaking classic, now newly revised, reveals the Jesus "behind the language of myth, magic, and superstition."
"In this study I found a Lord, a center for my being. Behind the supernatural framework of the first century . . . I discovered a life I wanted to know; a life that possessed a power I wanted to possess; a freedom, a wholeness for which I had yearned for years."
Illuminating the "figure who stands at the center of all the Christian Church is," John Shelby Spong explores Jesus under the light of the Hebrew tradition into which he was born. Candid, personal, and soundly argued, this is Spong's spiritual and intellectual pilgrimage to the Christ he discovered in Jesus of Nazareth.
The Misunderstood Jew by Amy-Jill Levine
In the The Misunderstood Jew, scholar Amy-Jill Levine helps Christians and Jews understand the "Jewishness" of Jesus so that their appreciation of him deepens and a greater interfaith dialogue can take place. Levine's humor and informed truth-telling provokes honest conversation and debate about how Christians and Jews should understand Jesus, the New Testament, and each other.
From Jesus to Christianity by L. Michael White
L. Michael White, one of the world’s foremost scholars on the origins of Christianity, provides the complete, astonishing story of how Christianity grew from the personal vision of a humble Jewish peasant living in a remote province of the Roman Empire into the largest organized religion in the world.
Rather than reading the New Testament straight through in its traditional, or “canonical” order, From Jesus to Christianity takes a historical approach. Looking at the individual books chronologically, in the sequence in which they were actually written, readers can see what they divulge about the disagreements, shared values, and unifying mission of the earliest Christian communities. White digs through layers of archaeological excavations, sifts through buried fragments of largely unknown texts, and examines historical sources to discover what we can know of Jesus.
The Lost Way by Stephen Patterson
In this rigorously researched and thoughtful study, a leading Jesus Seminar scholar reveals the dramatic story behind the modern discovery of the earliest gospels, accounts that do not portray Jesus exclusively as a martyr but recover a lost ancient Christian tradition centered on Jesus as a teacher of wisdom.
The church has long advocated the Pauline view of Jesus as deity and martyr, emphasizing his death and resurrection. But another tradition also thrived from Christianity’s beginnings, one that portrayed Jesus as a teacher of wisdom. In The Lost Way, Stephen Patterson, a leading New Testament scholar and former head of the Jesus Seminar, explores this lost ancient tradition and its significance to the faith.
Patterson explains how scholars have uncovered a Gospel that preceded at least three of those in the Bible, which is called Q. He painstakingly demonstrates how historical evidence points to the existence of this common source in addition to Mark—recognized as the earliest Gospel—that both Matthew and Luke used to write their accounts. Q contained a collection of Jesus’s teachings without any narrative content and without accounts of the passion, though being the earliest version shared among his first followers—scripture that embodies a very different orientation to the Christian faith.
Patterson also explores other examples of this wisdom tradition, from the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas; to the emergence of Apollos, a likely teacher of Christian wisdom; to the main authority of the church in Jerusalem, Jesus’s brother James. The Lost Way offers a profound new portrait of Jesus—one who can show us a new way to live.
Saving Jesus from the Church by Robin Myers
“Scholarly, pastoral, prophetic, and eloquent. The invitation to follow Jesus instead of worshiping Christ could not come at a more important time, or be issued by a more credible source.” —Desmond Tutu
“Robin Meyers emerges in Saving Jesus from the Church as a national voice for a new Christianity. He is a well read scholar and a superb communicator. He writes with a refreshing honesty and a disarming authority. This book is a treat.” —John Shelby Spong, author of Jesus for the Non-Religious
Robin Meyers, a rising star of liberal Christianity, restores the true mission of the faith that captures the heart of Jesus’s concern for people over “right belief.” Saving Jesus from the Church will resonate deeply with those who enjoy the works of John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, and John Dominic Crossan.