Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus & the Heart of Contemporary Faith
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HarperOne / 1995 / Paperback

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Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus & the Heart of Contemporary Faith

HarperOne / 1995 / Paperback

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CBD Stock No: WW09176

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Product Description

Borg outlines his own spiritual journey from early naivete to a period of skepticism to a more authentic understanding of Christ that takes into account the findings of modern critical scholarship. He urges his readers not to be overly concerned with creeds and doctrines, but to be attuned to the Spirit. 160 pages, softcover. HarperSanFrancisco.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 150
Vendor: HarperOne
Publication Date: 1995
Dimensions: 8.23 X 5.47 X 0.46 (inches)
ISBN: 0060609176
ISBN-13: 9780060609177

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    4.5 Stars Out Of 5 2 Reviews

Publisher's Description

Of the many recent books on the historical Jesus, none has explored what the latest biblical scholarship means for personal faith. Now, 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."

Author Bio

Marcus J. Borg is canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, and was Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University. Described by the New York Times as "a leading figure in his generation of Jesus scholars," he has appeared on NBC's The Today Show and Dateline, ABC's World News, and NPR's Fresh Air. He is the author of the bestselling books Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The Heart of Christianity, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, The God We Never Knew, Jesus, Speaking Christian, and The Evolution of the Word. His blog appears on the Progressive Christian Channel of

Editorial Reviews

“In this small but eloquent and learned book, Borg… directs his readers, especially those who have found no meaningful image of Jesus, away from confessed doctrines about Jesus (what the gospels and the churches say about Him) and toward a relationship with the Spirit of God.”
“Borg provides an account of contemporary Jesus scholarship-told in simply language for lay readers-and of his personal struggle to find authentic, mature faith. Highly recommended.”
“Just the sort of book on Jesus that we really need--a classy wedding of first-rate biblical research and solid spirituality in beautiful, clear English that makes it a pleasure to read.”
“A book of rare excellence.”
“For many contemporary Christians, Biblical scholarship is seen as the enemy of faith. In a personal and highly readable account, Marcus Borg shows how Christians can explore contemporary scholarship as a way toward a far more dynamic and meaningful faith.”
“It is impossible to read this beautifully written book and remain unenlightened by the results of Jesus research, or untouched by the power of Jesus’ way.”
“Borg has done a great service for all of us in drawing upon contemporary research to present a fresh and imaginative picture of Jesus that has profound implications for contemporary faith.”

Product Reviews

3 Stars Out Of 5
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Meets Expectations:
3 out Of 5
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Displaying items 1-5 of 5
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  1. Sacramento, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Interesting But Flawed
    September 8, 2013
    Philip Tutt
    Sacramento, CA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    The author of this book is an academic, and a member of the so-called "Jesus Seminar". One has the impression that he is attempting to reach beyond the severely impoverished picture of Jesus which the Seminar, in pursuit of the Q hypothesis, endorses. Well and fine, except that, like typical academic writers, he allows basic distinctions, for example, between the pre-Easter and the post-Easter Jesus, to defeat the holistic view of Jesus which makes the gospels so compelling. Rather than improving on the more traditional (and equally abused) distinction between the Jesus of history and the Jesus of faith, the author creates a dichotomy where none exists, and then finds himself having to work around it via an appeal to a concept of "experience" which creates more puzzles than it solves. If faith is a component of my experience of Jesus, then the holism of the gospels is my ground. Surely, therefore, I accept what they say about Jesus, absent a compelling reason not to. This is exactly contrary to the typical present academic approach, which binds its adherents to deny what the gospels say about Jesus, absent a compelling reason to accept. If, on the other hand, faith is not a component of my experience of Jesus, then, not being a resident of first century Galilee, I have no such experience. In that case, I would do better with my time to study something else. Let me just take two examples of the flaws embedded in the propounded distinctions. The author claims that Jesus is a teacher of "alternative wisdom", which is contrasted with "conventional wisdom". The latter demands strict adherence to the "purity laws", including tithing of produce, by which the produce is made pure. So, the author cites Jesus' criticism: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith:" (Mt. 23:23a; the author uses a different version than KJV), as a prelude to radical departure from purity laws in favor of an alternative to be explained. The problem is that the cite is exactly not such a departure, as the rest of it indicates: "these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." (Mt. 23:23b), that is, do both, not do the greater and ignore the lesser. Instead of the author's reading (which omits half of the saying), the better reading is that Jesus is critical, not of all adherents to the purity code, but of those who practice it selectively, or who, arguably, take the easier parts and ignore the harder parts. As a second example, the author claims that "wisdom" (sophia) is essentially reified in certain texts of the Old Testament because it its cast as a female, for example, starting with Proverbs 1:20. This ignores the abstract characterization which precedes it (in this case, Proverbs 1:2), suggesting that the Jewish author(s) of Proverbs intended nothing more than a literary device (wisdom crying out against folly, in particular, based on ignorance of God's law and its practical application to the moral guidance of daily life). So, lo and behold, to the author of this book, "sophia" becomes Sophia, all but God's co-eternal consort. Suddenly, one finds oneself wondering if, in the author's secret heart, the monotheism of Judaism is simply so much window dressing for its polytheistic roots. The analysis degenerates into absurdity when the author insists that "Sophia" may be read in place of "Logos" in the open passages of the gospel of John. I leave the reader to assess this further. Why, then, read the book? There are some points which are informative, for example, Jesus' inclusiveness of "outcasts" (e.g., lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors) as a political statement, as well as a religious statement of God's inclusiveness. Likewise, I find the author's idea of "sketching" Jesus with broad conceptual strokes appealing, even if the results leave much to be desired. I have no doubt that many will be offended by the book. Read it with caveats of the sort outlined above, and take from it at least the idea that traditional theology has buried the authentic Jesus, even if the author has not uncovered him.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 16, 2009
    Paul Browne
    This book is not for those who wish to believe in a literal Bible, it is for those believers who have questions about what Jesus taught to His early followers, what would bring out thousands of peasants to listen to this 'Son of Man' who changed so many tenents of the Jewish law that it lead to a new understanding and religion. It answers questions that many who want to believe have asked or have tried to rationalize on their own with a logical, historical, biblical perspective. Borg is clear and leads to a wholesome understanding of Christianity
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    October 21, 2008
    This book brought me back into the Church in a meaningful way. It accurately described my experience (and perhaps the experiences of others in my generation's cohort) and it provides an understandable and compassionate picture of what had separated me from God's love, and more importantly, how I can continue to experience the good news of Jesus in my life every day! There is a good spirit in-filling the message of this book, and I thank God's Spirit for bringing it to my attention. I'd give it a higher review but I'll wait until I study it in a group setting.
  4. 1 Stars Out Of 5
    October 19, 2008
    As a Biblical Christian, I found this book extremely offensive. Mr. Borge seems determined to discredit the Gospels and replaces it with his own version of how Jesus' life and death logically should have gone. I would have returned it to the store but, I wouldn't want anyone else to read it either.
  5. 1 Stars Out Of 5
    August 19, 2008
    Robert Easter
    Borg is a leading member of a group of arch-skeptics known as "the Jesus Seminar" which claims that the only record, if any, we have that such a person as Jesus ever existing are the words, "give to Caesar what is Caesar's." The "Spirit" to which they are attuned has no time for traditional Christianity or for honest scholarship, but asks questions assuming there is no answer. A very sad case, indeed!
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