The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind--A New Perspective on Christ and His Message
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The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind--A New Perspective on Christ and His Message

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  280 ratings  ·  42 reviews
If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. Cynthia Bourgeault is a masterful guide to Jesus's vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teachings for yourself...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by Shambhala (first published 2008)
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Bruce
Wisdom is not what you believe about Jesus or even what know about him. Wisdom is when you encounter him, recognize him, and enter the mind of Christ.

Bourgeault, an Episcopal priest, goes through familiar canonical gospel material, the beatitudes and hard parables, and the “Gnostic” gospel of Thomas to explicate how Jesus asks us to free ourselves from our primitive selfish nature and by emptying the self make room for the divine. It is the path of kenosis, the path of self-emptying love.

“The...more
Eleanor Stoneham
What is wrong with modern Christianity? Did Christianity get off on the wrong foot almost from its inception? That is the thesis of this thought provoking and challenging book, a fascinating new take on the Jesus Christ we thought we were familiar with.

The starting point of the book is the Gospel of Thomas, restored to us when it was found among the Nag Hammadi scrolls in the Egyptian desert in 1945. These scrolls date back to early Christianity, being at least as old as the four canonical gospe...more
JoAnn   W.
I found this a very heavy book that takes a lot of concentration, mainly for me because there was so much brand new material in it. The author, an Episcopal priest and mystic, knows her subjects and has a fine intellect, so is not just a "touchy-feely" New Ager.

She uses the latest discovered, ancient texts, the history of Christian mysticism, recent psychological theory and Eastern thought to promote her hypothesis and make her case.

To me this is a book that needs to be read more than once for t...more
Daniel
The notional concept behind this book is one with which I largely agree: namely, that Jesus was a teacher of the wisdom tradition. His heavy reliance upon parables and the mystic quality of many of his pronouncements bear witness to this, and the rich history of wisdom teachers in that age makes this a perfectly reasonable and rational assumption.

Where I strongly disagree with Bourgeault, however, is in her casual dismissal of canonical scripture, her elevation of the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas ab...more
Elaine
I read this last week with a dear friend. Its reading made a mini retreat for bothh of us.

The author is an Episcopal Priest. The basis of her book is Kenoia (being in the mind and heart of Jesus) as opposed to the duality and conflict,dogmatism and doctrinal teaching (some of which are not really doctrine) that most of us have grown up with in our religious training.

Each chapter presents very thoughtful insight (I will read the book again) enough to munch on and meditate upon.

Ms. Bourgeault use...more
Peggy Lo
I really enjoyed her different perspective on Jesus and his message. To borrow a cooking term, it's like fusion. But at the same time she's trying to look back and look what Jesus originally taught. In some ways it's similar to Richard Rohr's the Naked Now but more personal in tone and she walks through several suggested practices at the end.
Matthew Hundley
I like to challenge myself to read books about Jesus that don't necessarily fit with my beliefs. There are points in The Wisdom Jesus, such as Bourgeault's explication of the beatitudes which was brilliant. But most of the time her "all roads" and "zen" laden conversation about Christ got a bit too off the narrow road...at least for me.
Kathleen
A refreshing way of looking at the person of Christ, and his ability to transform through his teachings. If more Christians would follow Bourgeault's interpretations people would be flocking to this faith.
Alonzo
Interesting read. Some of it had a somewhat New Agey feel, but that is probably because it was just a different angle on some of the ideas that are presented. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, just a little different than I'm used to, even when it comes to the mystic ideas.

I really liked her take on the Eucharist: I won't give details, but I will say it breathed fresh life into the idea for me, and it concerns the relationship idea.

If you are interested in the Wisdom and/or mystic side of Chr...more
Kathleen Dixon
Sep 30, 2010 Kathleen Dixon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kathleen by: Anne Moller
As I've written in each of my progress updates, I've really enjoyed this book, and there are insights from ehre that I will be able to use in worship and with study groups.

I'll just note a little from the last chapter:
p.186 {quoting from Gurdjieff, with regards to The Last Supper] Jesus .. opened up a classic "subtle body" channel between himself and them, using bread and wine as the specific vehicles of his presence.
.. the bread and wine became an instantiation, "a specific instance," of his ow...more
Erica
I absolutely loved this book. Cynthia Bourgeault has incredible insight into the deep meanings of Jesus' teachings that go far beyond the literal (and superficial, in my opinion) interpretations of his teachings. She is an Episcopal priest who has a deep intimate relationship with her spirituality which is not limited by concepts and dogma. After reading this book, I became increasingly interested in the Gospel of Thomas (which she quotes quite often). I feel like I have been renewed to the wisd...more
Debora Smith
This is a remarkable book which changes and enhances what you were ever taught about Jesus and Christianity. Jesus did not come to start a church - he came to share his wisdom via a path of inner transformation. Who knew the "New Age" started so long ago!? Challenging and transformative - seeing the Kingdom of Heaven as a state of consciousness....shifting our perception from our minds to our hearts. The end of the book describes Christian Wisdom Practices: centering prayer meditation, sacred re...more
Alan
I lover her premise about Jesus and Christianity--I just don't care for her "orthodoxy," albeit her own orthodoxy. For example, in discussing the welcoming practice, she says, "I would like to explore a practice which, when used consistently and alertly, will allow us to do exactly that: to 'put on the mind of Christ' . . . . I don't care for her that kind of "this way or the highway" thinking.

I also found her constant referrals to her own books annoying.

That all said, I love her discussion of E...more
Kathy
This has got to be the most mind blowing book on Jesus I've ever read; I took notes and go back to them frequently. I want to memorize them!
Amy Vereggen-goeldner
This book is a work of art. Cynthia writes so clear. And her ideas on Christ are moving and transformative. This book has brought me back to my childhood religion. I completely see Jesus's teaching very differently now. He definitely was a genius. Cynthia's ideas reminded me of the Buddhist teachings I have experienced over the years.
Alison
Cynthia is a gift and one of the few modern theologians - that I have read - who can bring Christ and his teachings to life and relevance 2,000 years later. I thank her for continuing to breath fresh air into the life of Jesus and revive the true mysticism of his teachings and his ways. There is no forcing of belief with this work...rather a presentation that captures the soul's own yearning to believe and entices the relief of surrender.
Tim Williams
I read this book with a book study group at my new church. I found it challenging in its mystical arguments (and some corresponding jargon) but also helpful in its explanation of "wisdom practices." I have a LONG way to go to sit still and center myself, but this book has helped me see that I might be up for the journey. I should also admit that I found the final chapter (on the Eucharist) at once subtle and mind-blowing.
Mom - Joanne
Just received this book as a gift...it looks to be good
Gives a view of Jesus as a wisdom teacher who comes to enlighten...
I like the idea of updating our operating system from a binary system of either/or; to a unitary system of both/and...
The idea of connecting and experiencing Jesus in the here and now resonates especially in and through other people and experiences...love happens!
Marie Ferrantino
This author has captivated my soul with her brave, innovative look at Christ and Christ consciousness. This book, like all of her books, are meant to be slowly savored in order to allow the new, fresh information to slowly settle within you. Let it become a part of you, and rest in your heart, as you contemplate this unique way of encountering Jesus. Highly recommended.
Harry Allagree
Extremely readable; for the most part, extremely coherent and convincing. Expresses & confirms much of what I have believed for a long time, and is an incentive to dig deeper into the Wisdom approach to Christianity. I heartily recommend it, especially to those struggling with the transition of the "Emerging Church".
Denis Jackson
I found this book,revelatory. Her view along with Richard Rohr that God is One, and that we have to retrain our minds to see the world etc in a non dualistic way. It helps to see what putting on the mind of Christ really means. Cynthia's audio CDs on the cloud of unknowing make so much sense.
Viola
Really liked the different perspective she gives -- broader--- of the teachings of Jesus. She is a bit academic, but also allows her own personal experience to come through. I liked it and would recommend it to anyone who is not afraid of having their theology stretched!
Connie
Cynthia Bourgeault has a way of writing that touches what I already know, put words around it and expands my soul. She is a mystic and an intellect that lives from her heart with wisdom. I am presently re-reading it and discussing it with another person.
Mary Gail O'Dea
This is a beautiful book on Jesus considered through the wisdom tradition. The author draws on the nag Hammadi gospels, especially the Gospel of Thomas. I felt very much like I was in a welcoming room of by personal spiritual home reading this.
Susan Janke


I truly enjoyed reading this book. The author has a very accessible writing style, and did an excellent job describing how ancient wisdom practices can be used to understand and know Jesus and His teachings more completely.
Kyle
Great book to shift one's thinking about the teachings of Jesus and a different way at looking at them. Written by an Episcopal priest, the last chapter on Eucharist is worth the price of the book.
Ron
A very good introduction to Jesus as a teacher, using the best scholarship as well as the author's own experience to elucidate what it was that Jesus offered to his disciples before he died.
Lainie Petersen
A remarkable book that integrates various wisdom traditions (including Gurdjieff's "Fourth Way"). Minus one star because I felt that the transition between theory and practice was a bit too abrupt.
Logospilgrim
A very good and intriguing introduction to the message of Christ understood within what the author views as its original sophiological context -I can only concur.
Lautenbacher
First third is most interesting, about translation errors leading to different interpretations of Christianity. Then is about the life of Jesus, then about meditating.
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“All will come of its own accord in good time and with abundant fullness, so long as one does not attempt to hoard or cling.” 3 likes
“It's not about right belief; it's about right practice.” 2 likes
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