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Jesus of Nazareth: What He Wanted, Who He Was

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Who was Jesus? A prophet? There have been many of those. A miracle-worker? A radical revolutionary? A wise teacher? There have been many of these, too. In his latest book, renowned Scripture scholar Gerhard Lohfink asks, What is unique about Jesus of Nazareth, and what did he really want?

Lohfink engages the perceptions of the first witnesses of his life and ministry and th
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Hardcover, 408 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Liturgical Press (first published November 8th 2011)
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Irene
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a scriptural Christology and exegesis of the concept of the Kingdom of God by a highly regarded German theologian. I found it in turns, thought-provoking, challenging and confusing. I plan to return to page 1 and start a re-read immediately, not something I usually do.v
Greg
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Review of Jesus of Nazareth:
What He Wanted, Who He Was
By Gerhard Lohfink
(Greg Cusack, Reviewer)

Ms. Linda Maloney has given us an excellent translation of this important work by the German Catholic theologian, Dr. Gerhard Lohfink. Accordingly, the text – while often beautiful but always theological in tone – is quite accessible for even conversant laypeople. I think persons seriously interested in knowing more about Jesus and his times would benefit from this very readable, and often incredibly
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Sophie Carter
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
A surprisingly interesting take on biblical scriptures with an unusual focus on reconciling faith and reason, along with a detailed analysis of Jewish and Christian eschatological beliefs.
Julie Davis
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is going to be my long, "serious," Lenten book. (And I predict I'll still be reading it during the Easter season too.)

Original reflections on it are below.

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I found this because it was continually referenced in James Martin's Jesus: A Pilgrimage which I just reread for a book club discussion.

This book is freaking amazing.

By the time I'd gotten to the second chapter I knew I'd need my own copy so I could mark it up.

It is dense in the way that Pope Benedict or Romano Guardini can be. Ho
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Harry Allagree
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
The only negative thing I can say, not about the book, but about the author, is that Gerhard Lohfink was one of the 7 professors at Tübingen University who, in February 1980, voted to oust their fellow theologian, Hans Küng, from the faculty after a long & brilliant career. I consider that action shameful.

Nevertheless, Lohfink is a fine biblical & Christological theologian: and that's an assessment not from me, but from Hans Küng, even in face of Lohfink's betrayal. This is one of the best books
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Brett Salkeld
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an exceptional work, difficult too recommend to highly. Lohfink's major contribution is to overcome the false dichotomy between the Jesus of History and the Christ of faith by a careful use of historical-critical study that is rooted in the faith of the Church and not a personal agenda. Along the way, he consistently provides shining insights on a whole collection of New Testament issues such as the relationship between the Kingdom and the Church, the relationship between miracles and mo ...more
John
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating work on Jesus with a strong emphasis on the Reign of God. It combines Christology, eschatology, ecclesiology, and some fascinating interpretations of scripture. In some ways it might be considered "conservative" doctrinally because of its positions on Jesus' resurrection and on the Church. But it goes beyond those types of labels in its encounter with Jesus and the Church.
Linda
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this book from some reviews as one of the best biographies of Jesus. I am no theologian or scholar, but I felt like Lohfink really gave me access to a new appreciation of Jesus in the world of 2000 years ago, and how interpretations in more recent centuries have limited us.
Angela
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
What a book to start the new year with!

This isn't one you can breeze through. There were moments I had to sit back to take notes, and to consult the Bible to piece it all together. But it's brilliantly presented. In church, we learn of Jesus simply as Messiah—which he is first and foremost—but this study digs into his humanity. I was consistently caught off-guard about the concept of Jesus studying, and didn't quite believe it at first. Why would the Son of God have to study Torah? But he was al
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David Szatkowski
This is an excellent book, but the scholarship is not as recent as others, which is the reason for 3/5 stars. St. Jerome gives us the famous dictum "Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ." This is as true now as when St. Jerome translated the Bible from Greek (LXX for the Jewish Scriptures) into Latin. However, we live in the 21st century and we have a post-modern, post-Enlightenment outlook on reality. This is not a bad thing but radically alters how we approach the Scriptures and ...more
Paul
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A well researched and academic look into the life of Jesus, written in an engaging and accessible way.
Jan Petrozzi
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Lots and lots of information. Some very interesting. A bit dry for my taste, but again, some very interesting things about Jesus, nonetheless!
Patrik Hagman
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it


I cannot claim to have read a ton of Jesus-books, but this is definetely a book that does what I would want a Jesus-book to do. Solid engagement with the results of historical research combined with theological, philosophical and political sophistication, that produces a picture of Jesus that is theologically relevant. Lohfinks emphases’ are not original: the jewishness of Jesus and the early church, the centrality of the reign of God to Jesus preaching, and the necassity of a commitment to the
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John Larrere
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Author carries a theme of gathering people from the Hebrew Scriptures through the New Testament. He anchors his Christology in Jewish thought rather than in Hellenistic philosophy. As such, it is very liberating. Chapter 19 is particularly interesting as he examines the description of the kingdom coming as a thief in the night linguistically. He shows the tense of the saying as the past that did not happen. If only the owner had known the thief was coming (he didn't) he would have prevented the ...more
David Doel
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd estimate this book uses the word "eschatological" on average about 3 times per page. It's not clear what the word means to the author/translater (beyond end times), but he surely likes it!

I give this book a 4-star rating because of its first chapter which provides an excellent discussion of what it means to describe something as a "fact." I'd suggest that everyone I know read that chapter although the author's conclusion may be unsatisfying.

As for the rest of the book, I see it as an example
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Jeff
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love good books on Jesus. This is one of those. Very good. Lohfink writes with a great deal of thoughtfulness and insight. There's a lot of gold here. Not that I agree with all that he has to say but that's okay. It's not a terribly long read (approx. 350 pages w/o footnotes) and it never bogs down. 'Jesus and Community' is another valuable book by the same author written 25 years earlier so he's been at it awhile.
Nancy Hawkins
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a masterful christology book. While it is a scholarly read, it is also quite accessible. Lofink looks at the usual aspects of Jesus' life, but with a new gloss in many cases. The author is faithful to the historical-critical method and affirms the significance of Jesus' Jewishness. Well done!
Jeff Reed
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Far and away one of the single best theological books I've encountered. Fr. Lohfink's Christology is exquisite.
Judy Olmanson
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The most recent, complete, and insightful discussion of Jesus Christ yet written. Beautifully written, clear and understandable to lay people. The best Jesus book I have ever read!
Matthew Price
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A powerful and stirring book on Jesus, one of the best I've ever read.
Linda
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
His best work to date.
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Rev. Father Gerhard Lohfink was professor of New Testament exegesis at the University of Tübingen. Since 1986, he has lived and worked as a theologian for the Catholic Integrated Community. His many books include Does God Need the Church? (Liturgical Press, 1999).

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“And yet the ethos of the Sermon on the Mount, which is not just for the disciples but for everyone in the eschatological people of God, is just as radical, because it demands that one abandon not only evil deeds but every hurtful word directed at a brother or sister in faith (Matt 5:22). It demands regarding someone else’s marriage (and of course one’s own) as so holy that one may not even look with desire at another’s spouse (Matt 5:27-28). It demands that married couples no longer divorce but remain faithful until death (Matt 5:31-32). It commands that there be no twisting and manipulation of language any more but only absolute clarity (Matt 5:37) and that one give to anyone who asks for anything (Matt 5:42). For a man’s” 1 likes
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