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Jesus before Christianity

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  249 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Jesus Before Christianity published in the year 2001 was published by Orbis Books. View 653 more books by Claretian Publications. The author of this book is Albert Nolan. We have a dedicated page displaying collection of Albert Nolan books here. This is the Paperback version of the title "Jesus Before Christianity ". Jesus Before Christianity is currently Available with ...more
Paperback, 196 pages
Published September 28th 2001 by Orbis Books (Maryknoll, NY) (first published January 1st 1976)
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Sep 14, 2009 Paul rated it it was ok
Shelves: jesus
Albert Nolan presents an image of Jesus before Christianity who is full of compassion and an exemplary willingness to suffer in order to conquer suffering in the world. This theme seems to run throughout the book. This, in itself is very commendable. But Nolan's Jesus has been practically stripped of his divine nature using assumptions that are reminiscent of the Jesus Seminar's questionable scholarship. The miracle stories are matter-of-factly dismissed as embellishments added later by the ...more
Sep 05, 2011 Drick rated it really liked it
Shelves: theological
Albert Nolan was a Roman Catholic priest in South Africa who wrote this book in the mid 1980's when the Cold War was at a fever pitch and it seemed that the superpowers would lead the world into mass destruction. He wanted to know what Jesus was like before he became a religious icon because he saw in Jesus a man who lived in a time and place that likewise seemed on the edge of destruction.

In this very readable book, Nolan paints a picture of Jesus that reveals what a truly revolutionary figure
Erik Graff
Oct 06, 2014 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nolan fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: religion
Like many Orbis publications, this is a better-than-average religious work by the former Vicar-General of the Dominicans in South Africa, prominent in the anti-apartheid struggle. As might be expected, Nolan emphasizes a humane, not a supernatural, Jesus.
Jul 27, 2012 Jonathan rated it it was ok
I had a hard time picking a rating for this book. On one hand, it had a lot of great info that mainstream Christianity has forgotten about. His information about the historical backdrop of Jesus's ministry was good, his analysis of his relationship to the poor, the oppressed, and sinners was strong, and I liked his chapters on healing and forgiveness. He had a ton to say about Jesus and "the kingdom", and I think there was more good than bad there. On occasion he would state things in a new way ...more
Dean Summers
Jun 10, 2014 Dean Summers rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bible, biography
First published in South Africa in 1976, Albert Nolan’s Jesus before Christianity is a vivid portrait of the Jesus I know from the Gospels and a compelling call to follow that Jesus into the new humanity out of a world that is hell-bent for destruction. I especially like the chapters on healing, forgiveness, and faith in Jesus—and Nolan’s emphasis throughout the book on Jesus’ compassion.

Three chapters are a little difficult to follow unless you read them in their historical and political contex
Nov 30, 2011 Brent rated it really liked it
Nolan builds off the research of hundreds of historians and biblical scholars to offer a new take on Jesus. I appreciated his fresh approach which took very little for granted.

Most of the book described what Nolan concluded Jesus actually believed and was influenced by. There is a great deal of cultural and historical context information brought out in this book that illuminates the character of Jesus the man. Nolan used this background to argue that Christ was one deeply concerned with the poli
Mar 03, 2014 Elaine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
Is it important to know of the man, Jesus, before Christianity wrapped Him and His teaching in the dogma and ritual of Christianity? I think so. We have cluttered up the message of this holy and sincere man whose message was simply compassion... for the poor, the marginalized, the sick in body and spirit and the hungry for food and faith.

The book is well documented, historical, but not only historical.

I actually started the book in mid February. I did not read it in one day!!!
Bruce Thomas
Nov 12, 2016 Bruce Thomas rated it it was amazing
By far best book I have ever read on the subject - should be required of all Christians.
K. Lewis
Oct 02, 2016 K. Lewis rated it it was amazing
This was a textbook used in my Systematic Theology class when I was at Gonzaga high school. Rereading it has been a key and essential lamppost on my return to faith. It portrays the person of Jesus as he was (or at least as he appears to have been) before the layers of Church and dogma accreted through the centuries. Much more compassionate, and of much greater substance than CS Lewis' Mere Christianity.
Feb 08, 2009 Hawkgrrrl rated it really liked it
Joseph Campbell said to read other people's myths to really understand what you believe, and in this vein, I tackled this book. It was a great read with insights into both the author's religious views and a turning over of the Jesus stories by taking them out of a post-Jesus worldview. It was more fascinating that imagining the Beatles before they became famous (through Bob Spitz' excellent biography). I would recommend this to anyone interested in gaining new perspectives on Jesus in the ...more
MaryEllen Elizabeth Hart
Sep 19, 2016 MaryEllen Elizabeth Hart rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to MaryEllen Elizabeth by: Pastor David Ragsdale
Shelves: spiritual
This book is a good book to ground yourself in the Messiah as: The Son of Man, The Son of God, The Son of Mary, The Son of Joseph, The Carpenter, The Rabbi, The Healer, The Lover of Souls, The Worm and no man, The Bread of Life, The Cup of Salvation, A man who hung out with people who ate and drank too much, The Rabbi who would feed his disciples on the Sabbath, Healer of the Sick (and on the Sabbath), The Quaker-like everyday man of God who rebuked the Pharisee. ...more
Aug 02, 2009 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly readable account of Jesus' teachings and doings, in a Jewish setting. The author believes that Jesus fit fairly well into the established role of a prophet: he predicted destruction if the people didn't establish a kingdom based on compassion (rather than solidarity with any group other than the kingdom).

The amazing thing about this book is that you walk away from it wanting to worship Jesus and follow his teachings, even if a lot of things on which we establish our faith--his miracles,
Elizabeth Huff
May 06, 2012 Elizabeth Huff rated it really liked it
My uncle recommended this book to me the last time I was in the Philippines after one of our many discussions about how the Catholic church has become increasingly corrupt and veered from the fundamental teachings on which it was founded. The description of historical Jesus given in this book is close to the image that I had always pictured, a radical person fighting for the most oppressed within a society. It gives me slight comfort that there are people within the church that also feel this ...more
Amos Smith
Sep 23, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing
Albert Nolan is a wonderful writer. His words are carefully chosen, clear, and precise. He combines a love for the Christian tradition at its best with a social conscience that is fully engaged with the problems of this world. In this way he reminds me of Thomas Merton, whose depth of devotion to the life-giving streams of Christian tradition was matched only by his love for this world with its relentless waves of human suffering. Nolan convinces us that Jesus' teachings are infinitely relevant ...more
Stephen Mortland
Apr 01, 2014 Stephen Mortland rated it liked it
Perhaps my hopes for this book were too high. I read his chapter on "Jesus and money" first, and was thoroughly impressed. In some instances (such as the chapter on money) Nolan has one of the most honest approaches to the text I've encountered. In others places though I felt he assumed his opinion as fact, and was disappointed that he often dismissed supernatural explanation, oftentimes for a more far-fetched natural cause. In instances like these, his extreme attempt at almost scientific ...more
Jeremy Allen Phelps
Aug 13, 2014 Jeremy Allen Phelps rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hummanity
Possibly one of the best books I have ever read! Ever. Mr. Nolan's construction of the man who turned the world upside down in so inspiring that it is nearly magical. It is patient, thourough, informative, thought provoking, and most of all, I believe largely correct. I may not agree with all of his conclusions but his objective is clear and he sticks with that intention - to recover the spirit and mission of the man that set out to bring God's kingdom to us all. I reccomend this book for ...more
Jonathan Ortiz
Dec 19, 2014 Jonathan Ortiz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
He aquí un relato de Jesús inequívocamente claro, convincente, sugerente y distinto. Una presentación del hombre tal como fue antes de ser encerrado en dogmas, doctrinas y ritos, antes de convertirse en objeto de la fe cristiana. Nada se da por supuesto; se permite, por el contrario, que hablen por sí mismos los datos históricos que poseemos acerca de Jesús. Nos hallamos ante un hombre profundamente comprometido con los verdaderos problemas de nuestro tiempo.
Carl Williams
An reasonable survey of the historic Jesus. Flawed in some spots perhaps, but a good read for someone beginning to look at the man that inspired the religion, and planned to explore it through multiple sources. Nolan uses Biblical scholars and other secondary sources, as the basis of his portrait of Jesus--"at the heart of Jesus' mysterious personality there was a unique experience of intimate closeness to God--the Abba experience." (151)
Dec 04, 2015 Connie rated it it was amazing
Stripping off all of the cultural baggage and viewing Jesus in the context in which he lived. This book was inspirational and helped me know the man as opposed to the myth. Perhaps it is best summed up by this from pg. 169: "We do not need to theorize about Jesus, we need to 're-produce' him in our time and our circumstances." There you have it...our job description!
Phyllis Fredericksen
Jan 26, 2016 Phyllis Fredericksen rated it it was amazing
I used this as a daily meditation and found it to be excellent. Nolan provides historical content to Jesus' story. It is interesting to read about the times and to understand how that affected the man. This book is highly readable. I would definitely recommend.
Oct 31, 2011 Annette rated it liked it
This is a very interesting view of Jesus as a man in history and the events & people during that time. It definitely made me rethink some of the "tradition" surrounding Jesus, but doesn't change my basic view of & faith in Jesus.
Charles Kirkwood
May 05, 2013 Charles Kirkwood rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic
Wonderful, thoroughly enjoyed Nolan's observations, insights. He answered many of my questions. He confirmed things that I had guessed. This book is to be reread
Apr 25, 2008 Rita rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
My Christian faith is really centered around Christ as a human, so I find books like this to be really fascinating.
Apr 16, 2010 Irene rated it it was ok
Felt as if Nolan was forcing Jesus into the ideal image he had of a holy man rather than doing good scholarship.
Sep 16, 2010 Wanda rated it it was ok
The book raises some interesting questions, but overall it wasn't in line with Catholic teaching, so I can't recommend it.
Mar 18, 2010 Sarah added it
Read for class.
Angenette Wallace-Coburn
Angenette Wallace-Coburn rated it it was amazing
Nov 10, 2015
Amy rated it liked it
Oct 10, 2007
Jack rated it liked it
Jun 11, 2011
Petty Chen
Petty Chen rated it it was amazing
Dec 15, 2012
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