A Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus offers a fresh and imaginative approach to Jesus studies and biblical criticism, providing a gripping fictional account of one student's journey to the Middle East to investigate the New Testament and the life of Jesus for himself.
Norm, a fictional college graduate, undertakes this journey to discover if he can study Jesus and follow him at the same time, and if curiosity will make him a better disciple or no disciple at all. As Norm hitchhikes simultaneously across the Gospels and the land, readers follow his faith journey as well, wondering if he will be able to reconcile his Christian faith with current critical scholarship. A Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus offers readers a creative and engaging way to explore many of the major questions in Jesus studies today and affirms the importance of asking probing questions about Jesus and the Gospels.
The book's lavish, journal-style, two-color interior design--featuring maps, photos, doodles, sketches, and email exchanges between Norm and his professor--makes it interesting to read. Its classroom-tested material will appeal to professors and students in Jesus, Gospels, New Testament, and religion courses. In addition, thoughtful lay readers will enjoy this book.
This imaginative approach to Jesus studies chronicles the journey of Norm, a fictional college graduate who travels to the Middle East to see if he can study Jesus and follow him at the same time, and if curiosity will make him a better disciple or no disciple at all.
Norm sets out on an adventure to investigate the New Testament and the life of Jesus for himself, hitchhiking simultaneously across the Gospels and the land. His travels offer students and lay readers a creative and engaging way to explore many of the major questions in Jesus studies today. Will Norm be able to reconcile his Christian faith with critical scholarship? As readers follow his faith journey, they learn the importance of asking probing questions. The book's lavish, journal-style interior design--featuring maps, photos, doodles, sketches, and email exchanges between Norm and his professor--makes it fun to read.
Bruce N. Fisk (PhD, Duke University) is professor of religious studies at Westmont College and the author of Do You Not Remember? Scripture, Story, and Exegesis in the Rewritten Bible of Pseudo-Philo and Interpretation Bible Studies: 1 Corinthians. A fresh voice in New Testament scholarship, he travels widely throughout the world of the earliest Christians--Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Greece, and Italy--often with students.
A Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus is a wonderful travel guide for pilgrims perplexed by the multiple maps hawked by recent scholarship. But it is also an invitation for homebound believers to join a journey of discovery to the mysterious places where history meets hope. Bruce Fisk is a wise and imaginative tour guide, and this book will open new angles of vision for readers seeking to investigate the path of Jesus."
--Richard B. Hays,
George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament and Dean of the Divinity School, Duke University Divinity School
"Bruce Fisk has possibly written the most creative, fascinating, and informed book on the Gospels in a generation. My students will love this book. Think Gerd Theissen's Shadow of the Galilean, but in this case the narrator isn't a first-century grain merchant but a hookah-smoking college student named Norm. Norm is an honest inquirer who goes in search of the realities behind the Gospels and all along trades correspondence with his liberal professor. The crisp narrative and the theological points Fisk scores are delicately and effectively knit together. In countless cases, I found myself amused and impressed with how Fisk could illustrate things. 'Genius' could well describe many of the pages in the book. Fisk is a first-rate scholar as well as a brilliant communicator. Every New Testament teacher owes it to his or her students to consider this as a fresh new text on the Gospels."
--Gary M. Burge,
professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
"With warmth, wit, and penetrating insight, Fisk writes for all who find themselves fascinated by the enigmatic prophet from Nazareth yet unwilling to settle either for the naive certainties of 'simple faith' or for the latest 'assured results' of biblical criticism. A Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus provides no pat answers, but in the spirit of faith seeking understanding, it compellingly poses all the right questions, setting the quest for Jesus in its proper context--the search for meaning in a world of beauty and strife, love and loss."
associate professor of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary
"Students often find the academic study of the Gospels disorienting as they discover a previously unexplored world of literary, historical, and theological questions opening up before them. In A Hitchhiker's Guide to Jesus, Bruce Fisk proves himself a reliable guide--knowledgeable, candid, steady, and witty--through this territory. He takes no shortcuts or easy paths as he travels with his readers in the quest to discover faith in Jesus that takes intellectual questions seriously."
--Marianne Meye Thompson,
George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
"I've never seen (nor imagined!) anything like this book. Following trails with many twists and turns, readers traverse the territories of biblical scholarship, Judaism, Greco-Roman religion, and the Christian tradition in a journey of personal and spiritual reflection. It's an expedition that takes us to a deeper understanding of Scripture and Jesus Christ. Fisk has inaugurated a new genre in biblical studies that deftly combines academic study with the human experience. Readers will love it; scholars will wish they'd written it."
--Kenton L. Sparks,
professor of Hebrew Bible, Eastern University
"This volume introduces students to New Testament scholarship by telling them a story--a lively romp that combines travelogue with quest narrative, spun in a style sparkling with wit and replete with idioms of the Facebook generation. Along the way, we are introduced to the key issues that occupy modern scholars, and we discover why those issues would matter to people in the world today, including contemporary college students. This is definitely a creative way of granting students access to modern and postmodern fields of New Testament study."
--Mark Allan Powell,
professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary
"This is really three books in one. It is a (very hip) college textbook written by an expert: an introduction to New Testament criticism, including the quest for the historical Jesus, the synoptic problem, and so on. It is also a kind of handbook to travel and politics in modern Israel. And finally, it is a novel with a protagonist named Norm on a personal quest for a faith that will hold up in the face of honest questions. I read an early draft of a few chapters of Fisk's book and was captivated, but I wondered if he could pull off all three of these books. He did, and what a satisfying read!"
James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology, Regent College
Bible students have long known that there is no substitute for visiting the lands of the Bible when an in-depth knowledge of Scripture is desired. The printed page can take you only so far. Breathing the air and walking the ground serve to bring the Bible story to life. Fisk, associate professor of New Testament at Westmont College in Santa Barbara offers us a lively account of a fictitious traveler, "Norm the Younger." Norm is daring and imaginative, and knows how to make the most of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Sometimes the lovable goof but more often a serious student of Jesus' life and times, readers take a part in Norm's travels in a delightful and always enlightening way. Cleverly intertwining contemporary observation with historic reminiscence, and never failing to reflect on the entire testimony of the Bible as it relates to Jesus' Jerusalem, Norm builds a convincing case for faith not just in the story, but in Him who made that story. This is a top-notch effort by a skilled scholar and writer. (Apr.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.
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