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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  5,172 ratings  ·  294 reviews
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. B ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by HarperOne (first published 1994)
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Erin Hello, I just found this one, but it's a bit short on content. I am beginning the book this week, so I also wanted a study guide for reference. If you…moreHello, I just found this one, but it's a bit short on content. I am beginning the book this week, so I also wanted a study guide for reference. If you had success finding something, would you kindly share? Thank you! https://marcusjborg.org/wp-content/up... (less)

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Lotte
Sep 06, 2008 rated it liked it
I will definitely seek out more books by Borg after reading this one. Although I did not agree with every idea Borg presented, I gained new perspectives on several old ideas. Interesting dicussion of the pre-Easter vs. post-Easter Jesus, the ideas of compassion and discipleship, the 3 macro-stories of the Old Testament, etc. This passage towards the end of the book sums up some of what I found important in this book: "And discipleship involves becoming compassionate.'Be compassionate as God is c ...more
Lee Harmon
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this little book several years back, and wanted to make sure it isn’t forgotten. Marcus Borg is one of my favorite writers, and this is what I’ve always considered his “coming out” book. The one that lays bare Borg’s understanding of the historical Jesus, and Borg’s journey from blind belief into a more complete, contemporary appreciation for Jesus and what his message means for mankind today. In this book is a Christianity for the 21st century and a Jesus who can be embraced by everyone. ...more
David
I found myself nodding my head in agreement quite a lot more then I had expected to as I read this book. When I began reading Christian books way back in college, one of the first I read was The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. I am pretty sure Borg, as a member of the Jesus Seminar, was mentioned in that book in a not-positive way. My experience with Borg was limited for many years to mentions in books by those who disagreed with him. Eventually I read a book where he and NT Wright dialogues and ...more
Persephone
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've had a decade and a half of estrangement from the religion of my youth (Christianity), with fits and starts of making peace with it and attempting to integrate it into my current spirituality and worldview. Marcus Borg gives me a way to perfectly integrate Jesus into my spirituality, as well as my work as an interfaith minister. Since finishing this book, I've been (only half jokingly) referring to myself as a Borgian Christian. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone from a Chri ...more
Nora
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
Loads of food for thought. Loved his thoughts on Jesus as a man preaching a compassionate God.
Judithbledsoe
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book shatters everything weird about Christianity and confirms the best: compassionate advocacy for social justice. Please read this book and discuss it with me! Although I do want more details on some of this specific claims Borg makes, he draws an extremely illuminating distinction between the person that Jesus was and the religion created after his death. As I read this book, everything made sense. It doesn't undermine Christianity, but it makes it believable.
Liz
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Struggling and curious Christians
Written by a scholar who is an excellent writer for lay folks, and includes his personal and spiritual growth stories.
This book has it all. Who has grown up in the Judeo-Christian tradition and not wondered what Jesus and his life was really like? Here is a author whose deep curiosity led him to study everything written 'about' the first century, and everything written 'during' the first century, that would impact this middle eastern area of the Roman Empire. His study of the original Greek and
...more
AJ Nolan
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and illuminating book that is both scholarly with some elements of the personal in which Borg chronicles his own evolving Christianity and relationship with Jesus as well as teaching the lessons of his 30 years of work and study as a Biblical scholar. Ultimately, Borg offers an extremely useful and informative book both looking at how beliefs and understandings of who Jesus was have been in a constant state of change since his death, but also of how a historical/metaphorical reading ...more
Lee Razer
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
An exciting book that seeks to explain who Jesus actually was based on the gospels and scripture, stripping away the mythic superstructure that Christians built after Jesus' death, and demonstrating that what has become the dominant mode of understanding Jesus' life through scripture is only one of several metaphorical threads that are present in the Bible and understood by early Christians, and this narrowing of meaning has come at significant cost to the imaging of what religious life for the ...more
Geoff
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: jesus-research
Marcus Borg is a heretic - he denies the orthodox doctrines of the virgin birth, the divinity of Christ, etc. OK, now that's out of the way let me tell you why I enjoyed this book despite its serious flaws.

Borg provides an autobiographical account of his own journey from child-like faith through adolescent skepticism to adult rejection and then back to an identification as, I guess, a "Christian" (although I would argue his view of ideal Christianity more closely represents a New Age spiritualit
...more
Randy
Oct 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
The best I can say about this book is don’t waste your money. My men’s bible study group started reading this book based on the suggestion of one of the members. We did not research it much ahead of time but will be doing that going forward with any materials.
The Jesus Seminar was, in short, an attempt to destroy Christianity, pure and simple. Thankfully their group has essentially disbanded.
Claiming that the JS was a group of “biblical scholars” was a lie to begin with. Only a few of its many g
...more
Rod
Nov 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
At what point is ANY of this crap actually Biblical Christianity?

Borg would probably agree with me - he doesn't really get his Jesus from the WHOLE Bible. Once again; a NEW and improved secular Buddhist-type Jesus that everyone can love (except those pesky Bible-thumping Conservative Saints. They don't tolerate this cherry-picking cut & paste social gospel theology that belittles their King and Savior.)

I didn't bother to mark this book up - there was WAY TOO MANY problems to even begin not high
...more
Meagan
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Jesus, but unsure about (or put off by) all the implications and beliefs included in Christianity. Borg himself was raised Christian, went through a long period of atheism as an adult, and eventually returned to Christianity. He makes an important and inspiring distinction between what he calls second-hand religion (doctrines you are taught by others, or what you learn from reading scripture) and first-hand religion (the relations ...more
Donald Powell
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A refreshing and interesting proposition about life with Christ. This biblical scholar simply states a theory about what it means to be Christian. His ideas about compassion and community ring a gong in my mind and heart. His analysis seems very sensible and inspired. I am surprised I was not exposed to these ideas before now though on some level his thinking is a form of confirmation of my own beliefs based on my not scholarly view of faith and Christianity. Thanks to my friend John for lending ...more
NancyInWI
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: pbs, non-fiction
Way over my head for the most part. And didn't like the "Jesus Committee" that decides what Jesus said or didn't say. How can one have a relationship with Jesus, which the author concludes is the most important thing, if you don't believe he really said what is attributed to him in the Bible? There were some good points made though regarding the way we look at Jesus. And I do agree that we need to be more like Jesus and the way he lived, using him as an example for our lives.
Jennifer
I do not agree with Borg on everything, but there are still some interesting things in this book.

I don't agree with his strong distinction between the "pre-Easter Jesus" and the "post-Easter Christ". Borg is operating from a skepticism that follows from the Jesus Seminar's take on the historical Jesus and historical accuracy of the Gospels

But I really liked the last two chapters of the book:

Chapter 5: Jesus, the Wisdom of God: Sophia Become Flesh

In this chapter Borg connects the language about S
...more
David  Cook
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
This the second book I have read by Marcus J. Borg. I am a fan! He challenges Christians to move beyond a fideistic image of Jesus as the divine savior and a moralistic image of Jesus as teacher. Instead he proclaims that Christian life is "ultimately not about believing or about being good." Rather, it is about "a relationship with God that involves us in a journey of transformation."

Borg, who was raised a Lutheran and is an influential leader of the group of Biblical scholars known as the Jesu
...more
Shelby Lynne
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: with-laura
When I say this struck me profoundly, I don't mean the language was particularly beautiful or the execution outstanding (the writing was average and the chapters straightforward). What I DO mean is this book took the amorphous, "this feels heretical but also the most close to right" spiritual truths I've gathered over the past four years and assembled them into a book that any thinking person can respect and understand. As a lesbian exvangelical who isn't sure if the Christian label fits most da ...more
Tommy
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting book although a lot of it was material I had encountered before. I studied under a fellow member of the Jesus Seminar so that perhaps explains why most of the ideas represented in the book seemed familiar.

I would not recommend the next to a non-christian looking for academic New Testament texts, as the target audience is clearly a member or perhaps lapsed member of the faith. Rather I would recommend it to open minded christians interested in a more academic reading of the new testa
...more
Adam
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
I had hoped this book would be a thought-provoking examination of the Jesus of history vs. the Jesus of faith, but it's far too brief to adequately cover that topic, and it attempts to branch out to cover the biblical narrative as a whole, which overextends it considerably.

Borg's major premise is that there is a considerable difference between what he calls the "Pre-Easter Jesus" (the man who really existed) and the "Post-Easter Jesus" (the character built up by the early Christian church as it
...more
Teresa
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book involves intelligent and thought-provoking discussion of new biblical scholarship and its ramifications on our relationship with both the historical and metaphorical Jesus. Borg's personal journey of naivety to agnosticism bordering on atheism to mature Christianity resonates deeply with me. Learning about the scholarship and search for truth behind the historical person (and the stories told about him) of Jesus actually is reassuring, not faith-destroying. The need for critical examin ...more
Camden
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
GOD SAVE US FROM ACADEMICS ATTEMPTING TO WRITE FOR THE MASSES. I received this book for Christmas...a year? two years? SOMETIME ago, as part of my laundry list of books I needed to read to Be A Decent Adult Christian. I decided to read the whole thing for Lent last year as a personal effort to like, Be A Decent Adult Christian During Lent. I read like 2/3rds of it and put it down. Well, New Lent, New Me, decided to finish it before this year's Lent so I could read something else and not have fai ...more
Robert
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A fresh interpretation of the historical Jesus, written for a general audience by a leading Biblical scholar. This book is a superb introduction to an important current in modern Christology. Is an accessible, lucidly argued examination of the life and message of Jesus - and the implications that this new understanding of him has on Christian theology and ethics. Borg sees Jesus as a "spirit person", a man in close communion with God, a man centered on God, powerfully incarnating the divine comp ...more
Gideon
Oct 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Amy B.
This is the first book of Borg's I've read, and promptly ordered three more before I even finished.

Borg discusses the "Historical Jesus" which, while certainly not a new topic in religious studies, has gained some steam in the past few years.

It's worth noting that if you're a believer in the Bible as the inerrant, literal word of God - this book may not be for you (but all the more reason you should read it.) But if you want a deeper understanding of what and who Jesus was - this is an excellent
...more
Bob Prophet
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book proved very helpful in gaining a different understanding of Jesus from a scholarly point-of-view versus the typical mainstream beliefs. I especially appreciated Borg's discussion on translations, offering an improved way of grasping the original Hebrew language set in the context of the times, and also his breakdown of the 3 macro-stories of the bible: the Exodus, the Exile, and the priestly narrative.

What I probably liked even more was how well the work is cited throughout, providing
...more
Lisse
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisse by: Megan
I really enjoyed this book. I have grown up within the Catholic church and like many Christians, have heard the Gospel stories so many times that I often think very little about them except that they are just another part of my life that I have grown up with hearing. This book completely opened my eyes to a different understanding of Jesus and the times he lived in. Having both Jesus and the Gospels talked about contextually, made everything seem new and made so much more sense to me. I always k ...more
Kate Ditzler
Jun 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm currently interested in educating myself as an adult in my Christian faith, and I've come to find myself highly attracted to what Borg and others call the emerging paradigm of Christianity. This book is an overview of how historical scholarship into Jesus has implications for our faith -- and to that end, I really enjoyed the discussions in chapters 3&4.

Chapter 3 talked about Jesus replacing the idea of purity with the idea of compassion in religious practices of the day, and the example it
...more
Laura
Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people studying Christianity
The author is a theologian married to an Episcopalian priest. Using his own and others' scholarship he writes about who he thinks Jesus really was. He pretty much discredits the book of John. He gives credence to the Gnostic Gospels. Ultimately the picture of Jesus painted is one that slashes the presumption that Jesus is divine. He believes Jesus had a close relationship with God, describing him as a "spirit man" because he was in touch with the divine. But not any more the "son of God" than yo ...more
Alexa
Nov 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Not an easy read but surprisingly interesting. The key part of this book for me was the way it tries to differentiate between the historical ("Pre Easter") Jesus and the Jesus portrayed in the later gospels ("Post Easter"). As predicted I'm much more comfortable with the former than the latter. The point about Christianity being originally a religion not focused on laws and rules but on the relationship to god (call it belief or worship). This contrasts with Judaism and Islam which are all about ...more
Sue
Apr 09, 2012 marked it as non-fics-read
Shelves: religion
Not sure what disturbs me more, the book itself or the fact that my minister suggested I, being new to the church, read it. I have no problem believing that Jesus existed or what the bible says about him.

This reminds me of a podcast I saw speaking about the devil trying to turn people against God and the Bible not by obvious means but by undermining our beliefs and His word. If this is what they are teaching new ministers in the seminary and they in turn are trying to preach it to us than the c
...more
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Eliot UCC: Getting Started 1 2 Feb 19, 2015 08:32AM  
Christian Theolog...: Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time--Preface and Chapter 1 8 19 Sep 01, 2012 09:28AM  
Interesting read! 2 16 Apr 18, 2012 02:07PM  

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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

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“For Jesus, compassion was more than a quality of God and an individual virtue: it was a social paradigm, the core value for life in community. To put it boldly: compassion for Jesus was political.” 2 likes
“For some people, the central life issue is not sin and guilt, but bondage to or victimization by one Pharaoh or another. For them, what does the message of sin and forgiveness mean? Unfortunately, it often comes to mean "You should forgive the person who is victimizing you," when what the victim needs to hear is "It is not God's will that you be in bondage to that (or any) Pharaoh." Or if the central problem is alienation and meaninglessness, the message the person needs to hear is "It is not God's will that you remain in Babylon, not God's will that you mourn in lonely exile there.” 0 likes
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