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Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  584 ratings  ·  68 reviews
From top Jesus expert Marcus Borg, a completely updated and revised version of his vision of Jesus—as charismatic healer, sage, and prophet, a man living in the power of the spirit and dedicated to radical social change.

Fully revised and updated, this is Borg's major book on the historial Jesus. He shows how the Gospel portraits of Jesus, historically seen, make sense. Bor
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by HarperOne (first published 2006)
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Although Borg makes clear in the epilogue that he's offering this reading of the Gospels as a rebuttal to America's religious right, he takes great pains in the text to present his argument with humility and fairness. Public commentators of all stripes could learn a lot about civil discourse from his example, but what is more important is his argument itself. Borg is an articulate and imaginative reader who brings to the New Testament a long career as an historian as well as a heart shaped by a ...more
I grew up in a very conservative Christian tradition. When I heard of Borg he was portrayed as the enemy, as all that is wrong with Christianity. I first read Borg in a book he co-wrote with NT Wright, who is my favorite New Testament scholar. That book led me to want to read more of Borg's work. I am surprised to say how much I have enjoyed it.

My beliefs still line up more with Wright's then with Borg's. Yet Borg gives a vision of Jesus and his ministry that is compelling. I found a lot of goo
I could barely contain my joy and excitement as I read the remarkably thoughtful portrayal and consideration of pre-Easter and post-Easter Jesus and related influences upon Christianity. I didn't know it beforehand, but while reading this I discovered that I have been yearning for this book for my entire adult life. Finally, a discerning consideration of Christ and Christianity that resonates with and fosters living compassionately within a Christian paradigm. Thank you, Marcus Borg, for empower ...more
"I recognize that there are many good and gentle people in congregations of the Christian right who love God and Jesus. But their theological and political attitudes are shaped by the most visible and vocal among them. This is what I am dismayed about." p.300, Epilogue

This is precisely what I'm dismayed (to borrow a word from Borg, which is nicer than the one I would have used had I written that sentence) about, too. I can't really call myself a Christian at this point in my life, but I attended
zaK young
Oct 06, 2008 zaK young rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fundamentalists, atheists, zealots, skeptics
i recommend this book to every literalist fundamentalist christian, also i recommend it to every sceptic doubter and atheist.

Trey Nowell
One of the best books on the life of Jesus I have read. If teaching at the university level, this would be a required reading. Borg does an excellent job at a more4 liberal scholarship that better appeals to the historical Jesus and past remembered, something more beneficial to fact based and not faith based understanding. He makes an excellent outline of the life of Jesus up through the final days, crucifixion, and Jesus after death. This will be a challenging read for fundamental Christians, w ...more
Excellent! A book I very much appreciate. Borg's subdivision into a pre- and post-Easter Jesus and discussing Jesus within the framework of his historical and cultural background are just two of what I consider the many positive points.

In a TV interview Borg was apparently asked to answer the question “What was Jesus like” in a minute and 15 seconds. His answer: “Jesus was from the peasant class. Clearly, he was brilliant. His use of language was remarkable and poetic, filled with images and sto
Michael Arbogast

In previous books, Marcus Borg has stated the importance of placing Jesus within his historical framework, and has emphasized the distinction between pre- and post-Easter conceptions of Jesus. In this newest book, Borg actually gives that elusive history and background. His entire presentation seems much more polished than in any of his previous books, and he provides the most comprehensive alternative picture of Jesus I've seen. Not merely a vehicle for Borg's politics, the Jesus Borg pictures
"Borg's Jesus is more revolutionary and possesses a more exciting moral vision than the church's traditional view. Here we meet Jesus as sage and prophet courageously and surprisingly confronting the social crises of his day. After a lifetime of work and study, Borg also discovers a Jesus that can continue to inspire, inform and guide those who have moved beyond archaic doctrines. Borg argues that there is a movement in the church today that is catching up with where scholarship has brought us i ...more

This is the sort of comprehensive book on the life and meaning of Jesus that I had been hoping to find. Those who tell us that the purpose of Christ's life was simply to serve as a human sacrifice for the sins of mankind do not appreciate just what a remarkable person the living, breathing Yeshua Ben Yosef Was - how radical his vision for the world. I think the world still isn't fully ready for Jesus's message. In the Kingdom of God, there are no rich or poor people. There are no wars. There are
Using historical criticism, Borg takes us into the social and political times of the Gospel narratives to find out who Jesus really was. What emerges is a charismatic Jewish mystic, teacher and healer who's life was deeply embedded in The Way, a concept familiar to other major religions and taken to mean, in this context, the spirit of God. Through this, we see his life and teachings primarily focused on the passion and compassion of God for this world, particularly the disadvantaged and disposs ...more
Joel Wentz
Marcus Borg is viewed as an "enemy" by many evangelicals, as a member of the much-hated Jesus Seminar and a prominent Historical Jesus scholar. All that being said, there is much to enjoy about this book, even for us Evangelicals. Borg admittedly brings a pretty low view of the "historical-factual" nature of scripture, which will definitely make most mainstream Christians uncomfortable. However, he goes to great lengths to assert that he is fine with readers who believe in the factual nature of ...more
Geoff Glenister
Since Dr. Marcus Borg passed away two weeks ago, The Marcus J. Borg Foundation, set up after he passed, asked people to say a little about what kind of impact Dr. Borg had on their lives. I thought my reply might be appropriate as part of this review:

"I was in a period of my life in which I felt I needed to deconstruct everything I believed in. I had seen something very ugly in the faith I'd inherited, and it had troubled me to the point where I was experiencing a dark night of the soul. So I fe
Pete daPixie
I purchased this book from Amazon, without really knowing the author. When I read the front cover that he was the bestselling author of 'The Heart of Christianity', I thought I was straying away too much from the historical Jesus.
Actually I have really enjoyed reading a very large part of this work. So Borg becomes the second Christian writer, after Elaine Pagels that I can read and mostly agree with. Once Borg gets stuck into The Gospels the book takes off, with his study of the historical Jesu
Borg explains in the preface that he began this book, thinking it would be a revised edition of his 1987 book, Jesus: A New Vision. However, he winds up with so much new material that it goes even past being a “new edition” to becoming a replacement book. If you really want to read the earlier work, you can still find it on, but Borg doesn’t seem to list it on his website any longer.

In the first chapter, Borg describes the large footprint of Christianity in American in general and the
Jan 05, 2015 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who want to have a better sense of who Jesus was, not who the Church says he was.
I'm having a hard time remembering a better book than this one! From the moment this book came to my house in a box from along with several others, it was calling my name. I picked it up and it basically read itself to me.
This book is powerful! This book is a bridge to a new emerging paradigm made of people who are questioning the strict literalism and exclusivism of the modern Christian Church. This book takes a new look at who the person of Jesus was in history, what he taught, wha
Historical Jesus works are endlessly fascinating to me, and this book was particularly so. Borg's focus on the revolutionary, anti-imperial aspects of Jesus' ministry added to my understanding and interpretation of many Biblical events. The chapter on Jesus' prophetic acts in week leading up to his execution gave me an entirely new vantage point to read from. Previously, reading from a post-Easter perspective (knowing how the story ends) many of Jesus' acts had less-than-obvious meaning, but wit ...more
Another inspiring, well-writen book about liberal Christianity by Marcus Borg. This book tells the story of the life of Jesus, his teachings, and how he relates to God. I think Borg gives a good reminder not to forget about the "pre-Easter Jesus" the man on earth, who was "a Jewish mystic, healer, wisdom teacher, and prophet of the kingdom of God." This is all separate from the "post-Easter Jesus" but is too often forgotten in the trend to only think of Jesus's death as important.

Of course, as
Jon Stout
Feb 15, 2012 Jon Stout rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: evangelicals and secular humanists
Shelves: religion
Marcus Borg, a religion professor at Oregon State University, came to my attention through a discussion group at my church. He achieved his reputation as part of the Jesus Seminar, a group working to describe the historical Jesus, with the idea that its conclusions should be equally acceptable to a Protestant, a Catholic, a Jew and and an agnostic. I admire Borg’s work in this book, not only because it is meticulous at discovering what is historically plausible, but also because it attempts to i ...more
Jun 14, 2008 Inder rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Inder by: Linda (indirectly)
Borg's approach to Jesus' parables and teachings is so interesting - truly revolutionary. I still have some issues, as described before, but I definitely got a lot out of this book.

My only (mild) complaints: the book is a bit too long and Borg verges on jargony at times. It is a very intellectual book, and I don't want to belittle Borg's attempt to use very precise language. Still, there were many times when I would have loved to have a chance to simplify and edit his language a little bit. In m
The author portrays Jesus as a real person, and explains many aspects of the biblical scholarship into the historical Jesus in an accessible way. He places Jesus in historical context, and includes many aspects of the time that we as Christians either don't know or don't think about much.

I love his explanation of "For God so loved the world...". Not just the Christians, or the Americans, or the white people, or the people, but the whole world, all of it! And we see through Marcus Borg's interpre
Really, really makes you think about your faith and your conception of Jesus. I did not agree with everything but it provokes great discussion! I have changed my own conception of religion, the Bible, and Jesus through classroom discussion of this book. It's also easy to read and understand for any reader.
Amy Vereggen-goeldner
This book was BRILLIANT! I loved every minute reading this one. It was an easy read and yet Borg delved right into his opinions on the historical-metaphorical method his uses. I have a deeper, more personal understanding of Jesus. The epilogue is worth the entire price of the book. Deeply moving.
In this fascinating book, Marcus Borg explores the historical Jesus -- who he was as a human being and what his life was like, as well as who he has become since his death and resurrection and what it means to follow him today. I love the book's emphasis on Jesus as a revolutionary, someone who challenged injustice and sought to bring personal transformation to his followers and to society. The social justice part of Christianity is what resonates most with me and what often seems to be lost (or ...more
This book taught me that there is more than one kind of truth, and that metaphors are as true as data points. Wonderful book.
Transformative, inspiring, mesmerizing.....this book is a must read for those who have become discouraged with Christianity. Borg speaks in a language one can understand. It is life-changing as he describes a Jesus who is approachable, heroic, and very inspiring.Numerous nuggets to embrace, ponder, and celebrate.
One of the best works on the historical jesus I've read.
I liked the book because it helped me to see the story of Jesus in a different perspective, which I believe was Borg's aim. As a firm believer, I do not need to have historical evidence of the existence of Jesus. It is, however, interesting to see him through varied lenses in order to gain more insight into what Jesus' life meant. I like what Borg said in the epilogue which is that the conversation we have with others about Jesus is what is important. Lets continue the conversation.
I love the way Marcus Borg writes. He manages to bring clarity the some of Jesus' most confusing parables. This book brought meaning and relevance to my own spiritual practice by explaining the historical background in which the Bible was written. I highly recommend this book, but it is not one that should be read in one sitting. I was lucky to be able to read it with a group, and discuss it one chapter at a time.
Despite being a very dense book this overview of the historical Jesus is quite readable and extremely enjoyable. Borg goes through a lot of material but he has organized it such that you can easily go back and re-read chapters to refresh your memory. If you are looking for one book to start your historical Jesus studies I would heartily recommend this one.
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Borg was born into a Lutheran family of Swedish and Norwegian descent, the youngest of four children. He grew up in the 1940s in North Dakota and attended Concordia College, Moorhead, a small liberal arts school in Moorhead, Minnesota. While at Moorhead he was a columnist for the school paper and held forth as a conservative. After a close reading of the Book of Amos and its overt message of socia ...more
More about Marcus J. Borg...
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally The Meaning of Jesus The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem

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“When somebody says to me, “I don’t believe in God,” my first response is, “Tell me about the God you don’t believe in.” Almost always, it’s the God of supernatural theism.” 3 likes
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