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JESUS THE CHRIST [Illustrated]

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A Study of the Messiah and His Mission according to Holy Scriptures both Ancient and Modern
by James E. Talmage
One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
1922

The scope of the subject presented in this work is expressed on the title page. It will be readily seen that the author has departed from the course usually followed by writers on the Life of Jesus Christ, which course, as a rule, begins with the birth of Mary's Babe and ends with the ascension of the slain and risen Lord from Olivet. The treatment embodied in these pages, in addition to the narrative of the Lord's life in the flesh comprizes the antemortal existence and activities of the world's Redeemer, the revelations and personal manifestations of the glorified and exalted Son of God during the apostolic period of old and in modern times, the assured nearness of the Lord's second advent, and predicted events beyond—all so far as the Holy Scriptures make plain.

642 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 1915

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About the author

James E. Talmage

198 books116 followers
James Edward Talmage was a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, and a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born Sunday Sept. 21, 1862, at Hungerford, Berkshire, England, the son of James Joyce Talmage and his wife, Susannah Preater. He is the first son and second child in a family of eight. He was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the place of his birth, June 15, 1873, and on the 18th of the following August was ordained a Deacon in the Ramsbury branch of the London conference.
The entire family left England May 24, 1876, landed in New York June 5th, and arrived in Salt Lake City June 14th following. His career in the Church was upward and onward from the time of his baptism. In Provo, Utah, where the family had established a home, he was ordained a Teacher December 17, 1877, and an Elder June 28, 1880. On September 29, 1884, he was ordained a High Priest, and was set apart as an alternate High Councilor in the Utah Stake of Zion.

On December 7, 1911, he was appointed and sustained to be one of the Apostles, to fill the vacancy caused by the appointment of Elder Charles W. Penrose as second counselor in the First Presidency, and on the following day (Dec. 8th) was ordained an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and was set apart as one of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, under the hands of President Joseph F. Smith, assisted by his counselors and members of the Council of the Twelve.

In 1888 (June 14th) he married Mary May Booth (daughter of Richard Thornton Booth and his wife, Elsie Edge Booth), at the Manti Temple, and from this union there came the following children: Sterling B., born May 21, 1889; Paul B.,born Dec. 21, 1891; Zella, born Aug. 3, 1894, died of pneumonia April 27, 1895; Elsie, born Aug. 16, 1896; James Karl, born Aug. 29, 1898; Lucile, born May 29, 1900; Helen May, born Oct. 24, 1902, and John Russell, born Feb. 1, 1911.

` Elder Talmage obtained his early schooling in the National and Board schools of his home district in England, and was an Oxford diocesan prize scholar in 1874. He entered the Brigham Young Academy (now University) at Provo, Utah, in 1876, and followed to completion the high school and normal courses, and in his 17th year was a teacher of elementary science and English in the institution named. His early predilection was for the sciences, and in 1882-83 he took a selected course, mainly in chemistry and geology, at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa. Though a special student and not a candidate for a degree, he passed during his single year of residence nearly all the examinations in the four-year course and was later graduated; and in 1883-84 he was engaged in advanced work at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.

He returned to Utah in the fall of 1884, in response to a summons from the home institution, and served as professor of geology and chemistry, with varied activities in other departments, in the Brigham Young Academy from 1884 to 1888. While still a member of the faculty, he was elected a member of the board of trustees of the Brigham Young Academy. During his residence in Provo, he served successively as city councilman, alderman and justice of the peace.

In 1888 he was called to Salt Lake City to take the presidency of the Latter-day Saints College, which position he held until 1893. He was president of and professor of geology in the University of Utah, 1894-97. In the year last named he resigned the presidency, but retained the chair of geology, which had been specially endowed; and ten years later (1907) he resigned the professorship to follow the practical work of mining geology, for which his services were in great demand. In 1891 he received the degree of Bachelor of Science, and in 1912 the honorary degree of Doctor of Science, from his old alma mater, Lehigh University. In 1890 he was given the honorary degree

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,274 reviews
Profile Image for Josh.
25 reviews9 followers
December 14, 2012
Jesus the Christ is based on the doctrines, ideology and tenets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or the Mormons. It is a critical study and biography of the life of Christ from his pre-mortal existence, through his continuing mortal ministry, and into his role at the end of days.

This book is like the Book of Mormon, another testament that the LDS church is a Christ-based, Christian church. If in doubt, seek it out, and decide for yourself. Parts may be unfamiliar to mainstream Catholicism, and Protestantism, but the position of Jesus Christ as the leader and head of the LDS church, according to Mormon belief, is undeniable. If you have intellectual difficulty with these concepts, try a more open-minded approach. If you have a challenge of faith, then pray with an open heart and a contrite spirit for personal guidance and peaceful understanding.

The author, James E. Talmage, was a very studious scholar and author, so this is not an easy read. Dedication and steadfastness must accompany any attempt to finish and digest this book.
Profile Image for Karey.
Author 1 book288 followers
November 26, 2007
A friend from a faith other than my own gave me this book in 1983 before I left to do volunteer service. Jesus the Christ is the most complete compendium (that I know of) of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ found in the New Testament. John the Baptist, Herod Antipus, and virtually any subject you would want to study about New Testament subjects is found in this marvelous book.
Profile Image for Lisa.
737 reviews50 followers
December 10, 2018
This book has been on my currently reading shelf for 6 1/2 years. I read it on Sundays for quite a few months but ended up not having enough grit to stick with the book and got distracted and put it down. I still could not take it off my currently reading shelf because it was too heartbreaking for me to take it down even though I could go years between picking it up.

On a wonderful challenge from a girlfriend, I became reacquainted with this book, quite a few months ago. This time I decided to listen to an audio edition on my iPhone. It was still slow going at times, especially in the beginning, but once I got through the first four or five chapters I was hooked. The chapters that covered the end of Christ's life: The Atonement, Crucifixion, and Resurrection were incredibly moving. I found myself in tears several times while listening. Putting on makeup, scrubbing dishes and trying to match up widow socks had suddenly become a spiritual experience. It felt so important and meaningful for me as a Christian and LDS woman to read a book that took such an in-depth look at the life of Jesus Christ. There was so much that I learned about the background and history of Jesus that I never knew before. I just hope that I can retain part of what I learned. Most of all, if this book has not brought a powerful change in how I live my life the fault is all my own. This book was truly beautiful and inspiring in every way. I'm so happy that I can finally move this book to the read shelf and hope that it will make another appearance someday in currently reading.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
522 reviews
March 4, 2014
Absolutely wonderful. It took me seven months to finish Jesus the Christ, but I almost wish that it had taken longer… it’s been a very spiritual experience listening to this book everyday, and I’m going to miss it.

I’m not going to list for you the multiple fascinating things that I learned about Jesus Christ… it would take too long, and honestly, it’s just something you have to experience for yourself. I’m nowhere near eloquent enough to do it justice.

Suffice to say, besides gaining a greater knowledge of the chronological events in the life of Jesus Christ, I gained a stronger testimony of Him, and have a renewed commitment to be more like Him in my everyday life. He was the ultimate example of kindness, love, charity, and obedience.

“I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
 Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
 I tremble to know that for me he was crucified, 
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine 
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
 That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
 Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
 Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
 No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat, 
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!”

(LDS Hymnal page 193 - Text and music: Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-1932)
Profile Image for Shiloah.
Author 1 book165 followers
April 20, 2019
This is a classic I will read again and again. The insights I gleaned about Christ will be forever in my heart and mind. I’m so glad I finished just before Easter as it made my celebration of Holy Week that much more centered on Christ and with a deeper understanding of Him.
Profile Image for Arthur.
24 reviews8 followers
May 31, 2011
Rather than write an in depth review of Jesus the Christ, I’ll just explain why I only gave it one star not five.

First, I’m a little picky about the books that I read and because I’m useually reading at least six at once I tend to not complete the ones that I wouldn’t reccomend. In my ratings one star means that if you are thinking about reading it then go a head I think that’s a fine idea, but if you are coming to me for recomendations I’ve got other priorities for your reading list.

This is the case for Jesus the Christ.

In my reading the book does several things well, but there are other books that do everything it does better.

I’ll go through those in a second. First let me note that because Jesus the Christ has been part of the “missionary library” for more than a generation there it has value as a subtext for much of present mormon though.

As historical, linguistic and cultural contextualization of the Jesus of the Mormon cannon and of Mormon theology more broadly the book is quite good. However Talmadge was a scientist, and the information in his book has aged. I would recommend Nibley and Holzapfel to Mormons, also Givens as authors whose body of work give Mormon theology clear and meaningful context in the narrative of human history which reflects every thing we’ve learned since Talmadge. This recommendation is rather emphatic, because, to paraphrase Holzapfel, we’ve just learned a lot since JC was first written.

As a book that non mormons can turn to for understanding of the theology of the restoration in a historical and cultural context Jesus the Christ is not excellent. The book is written for well read members of the Church. I’d steer readers toward Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling.

For fire breathing testimony apostolic testimony from mormon prophets I’d recommend any number of sections of the doctrine and covenants, as for more misty-eyed and gentle but no less apostolic writing I’d recommend Eyring’s To Draw Nearer to God.

For a thought provoking and life changing discussion of atonement and forgiveness I’d say the cannon of Dostoyevsky (as far as it is translated correctly) does far more far better - my-five-star-read-this-or-die recommendation here is Brothers Karamozov, Pevear and Volokhonsky translation.
Profile Image for Tami.
249 reviews
December 8, 2012
I initially started reading this for a project in college, but never got past chapter 5. I am so glad I finally completed my challenge to myself years ago to read this!

While the language takes a bit getting used to (maybe not for others, but for me), I really enjoyed the in-depth study of the Savior's life and His experiences and teachings in the New Testament. The scripture "feast on the words of Christ" really came to mind as I thirsted and feasted on these chapters every morning. I also think having an older, more experienced mind helped to understand and appreciate the written words of Christ, explained by Talmage.

I think any Christian would truly benefit from reading, studying, and praying with this book as a companion to the New Testament! There are so many questions that are answered and doctrines that become so clear. Many times, I wondered how the world got so confused with Christianity and its doctrine when it is so simple!!!

Loved the book and look forward to reading it again in years to come. Hopefully it won't take 18 more!!!
Profile Image for Sarah.
23 reviews
March 4, 2012
LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I learned so much. I can see that I will want to re-read this again in the future because there is so much great information but I couldn't retain it all! I was always intimidated by this book and have heard (and even still having read it) people say, Oh, that is some deep stuff, hard to get through. If I can read it and gleen so much from it, anyone can! The first bit is hard and a little confusing and I can see how people will give up, but keep going and you really learn so much about the Savior! Amazing! Loved it. Also, it is hard to invest a lot of time reading it, so I read it by reading it on Sundays and then I could read my other books on the other days of the week.
11 reviews
February 20, 2009
I read this for the first time on my mission--and just in time, because even though I had studied the gospels in Seminary, this book lays out so clearly the complete life and ministry of the Savior.

The best part is the footnotes--just knowing the little details makes the life of the Savior that much more real and close, like you were there. So many things about Nazareth and Judea sounded like Paraguay to me that on a long walk through strange places (15 miles a day sometimes) I could look around and say, "This is like a road Jesus walked on."

This book definitely helped me solidify a growing testimony that I could bear to the people of Paraguay. I highly recommend it to missionaries and to anyone who teaches a Sunday School class.
Profile Image for Monica Johnson.
589 reviews3 followers
October 10, 2014
Getting ready to reread this amazing book. It's been 13 years, and I believe I can get more insight during the 2nd reading. Update! I just finished. It took me 18 months to complete, but I took the time to really absorb. It was worth it, Talmage is mind boggling with the amount of knowledge he placed in the pages. This book is one of the best scriptorial resources.
Profile Image for Teresa.
15 reviews4 followers
July 20, 2015
I have never been able to gain such a deep understanding of the New Testament as I have viewing it through the eyes of this great prophet. Jesus Christ's mortal experiences have been brought to life for me. I reverence my Savior even more and understand more of His divinity.
43 reviews
December 4, 2013
Finally finished! Did I learn something? Yes. Was it hard to understand? Yes. Am I glad I read it? Yes. Will I ever read it again? No.
Profile Image for Anita.
1,740 reviews35 followers
June 12, 2016
Seldom do I take a year to read a book. In this case, I am glad I did. As part of a study group we undertook a chapter a week to read, study, and discuss; I would recommend this to everyone attempting a serious study of the book. It is not a read cover-to-cover type book. It would be more correctly classified as a textbook, meant to be taken in in small doses, contemplated, and then moving on.
Yes, his vocabulary is challenging. His sentences are long, complex, and semi-colon ridden (and correctly used each time. As an English teacher, I appreciate such things!) He is so worth the effort. I have grown to love his humor--yes, it is there--his brilliant, but cutting insults to those worthy of them, and his analytical mind. I have read the same New Testament he did, but he has brought such insight to the life of Christ that I often wondered where my mind was when I read it. Even though this was written a hundred years ago, he is such a great teacher that I had "aha moments" nearly weekly. He even empowered me to disagree with him a couple of times (the benefit of 100 years of scholarship he didn't have), that I would never have dared beforehand. In fact, I am contemplating reading Edersheims' Life of Jesus the Messiah, a book he quotes from often. Something that would have been well beyond me with its 1100 pages. But now, after Talmage, maybe I can do it; or at least read sections of it.
Jesus the Christ has become my go-to reference when teaching the New Testatment. His ability to synthesize the gospels into a whole brings new meaning to the sometimes choppy reading that the different gospels present.
Will we ever see his like again: scholarship, scientific approach, spirituality, and literary ability in one author? I hope so, but haven't seen it yet.
Profile Image for Von Sowards.
140 reviews4 followers
July 8, 2012
This has to be one of the most complex and wordy book I have ever read. In order to finish this book I had to listen to the audio narration while reading the printed text, stopping several times to re-read a passage of to simply ponder the beauty and devinity of the life of our savior. Talmage in his strong scriptural experience was able to point out simple passages that tied into so many other things. It was amazing.

This book is very properly named because ever word in it is not just a testimony of the need for a Christ but that Jesus was/is that Christ. As Dr. Talmage taught me about Jesus I saw that he was no ordinary man. Jesus Christ was the son of the everlasting Father of Creation. Jesus Christ is the only hope to ever be with and become like The Almighty God. After the author spends 735 pages showing the magisty and power that is in the man who's birth marked the center of our timeline, he shows the hope of all Christians:

"This earth shall pass to its glorified and celestialized condition, an eternal abode for the exalted sons and daughters of God. Forever to reign, kings and priests to the Most High, redeemed, sanctified, and exalted through their Lord and God JESUS THE CHRIST."
Profile Image for Denni.
117 reviews
April 10, 2015
I began this book in 2010?? Sister Nichols challenged me to finish the book sometime in November I think, so off the shelf it came ..again. It was perfect timing; Sadie left in Nov. I got sick in December and then again in January (flu A, flu B, sinus inf.) and didn't feel like doing much for weeks. So, I read...and read and read some more and finally finished it. For me, the footnotes were nearly as valuable as the text. I wonder what it was like to attend the author's lectures? (which lead to the writing of the book) I've increased in knowledge, understanding, faith, and testimony of Jesus, the Christ.
Profile Image for Ruth.
468 reviews1 follower
October 8, 2008
I love the meatiness of this book. Very satisfying.
Profile Image for Beth.
1,200 reviews31 followers
April 28, 2022
2008 REVIEW: One of my resolutions for 2008 was to read Jesus the Christ — and look, I made it! ;-) This is not exactly light reading — besides the sheer number of pages, the writing was scholarly and the words densely packed onto the page (especially in the footnotes, which I included in my reading). In fact, it took me a couple months of dedicated study to make my way through it (my friends might notice I haven’t been posting many reviews lately!).

But what a wonderful subject to consider! I actually really appreciated the comprehensive scope of this book, which not only outlined Christ’s life from Bethlehem to Golgotha (and to the Garden Tomb and beyond) but also Christ’s roles before and after his mortal existence: as the creator of the world; as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; as God of Israel, Jehovah; and as the glorified Christ who appeared to the Nephites in the Americas, to Joseph Smith, and to the world at some future time during his glorious Second Coming.

The bulk of the pages, however, still focused on Christ’s mortal ministry. I found that these chapters read almost like a story: Talmage would usually set up the story with some narrative, then quote directly from the scriptures, then summarize what happened and add a few of his own insights. Reading about the life of Christ in this way helped me gain a more complete understanding of His teachings; stories were placed in context and further explained so that I might better understand them. I highly recommend this book for this very reason.

Every chapter was full of interesting insights, but a few were things I had never considered before and made special note of. First:

“The comparison between effective faith and a grain of mustard seed is one of quality rather than of quantity; it connotes living, virile faith, like unto the seed, however small, from which a great plant will spring, in contrast with a lifeless, artificial imitation, however prominent or demonstrative.” (p. 381)

I was certainly familiar with the comparison of “having faith as a mustard seed,” but yes, I had always thought that referred to simply having a tiny amount of faith. I like thinking of it instead as faith that was active, fertile, ready to grow. It made me realize that it doesn’t matter if I have a long way to go to perfection (i.e., if I’m a tiny mustard seed) — as long as I’m cultivating my faith as best I can.

Second:

This one was in the footnote to the story of the Savior casting out a particular sort of evil spirit: “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Here’s what Talmage inquires of the reader in regard to this story:

“Have you some besetting weakness, some sinful indulgence that you have vainly tried to overcome? Like the malignant demon that Christ rebuked in the boy, your sin may be of a kind that goeth out only through prayer and fasting.” (p. 395)

An interesting principle, one I hadn’t really considered before, and one I might have to experiment on. (Man, I’m glad I didn’t gloss over the footnotes. There’s some good stuff in there!)

Third:

This insight is in regard to the story of Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary, whom Christ raised from the dead. Thought Christ was the one who performed the miracle, He also commanded others to participate inasmuch as they could: he inquired where he was laid, he asked someone to roll away the stone from the tomb, he commanded that he be loosed from the burial clothes. Obviously if he could reunite body to spirit, he could have done these smaller tasks, too. Talmage points out this principle:

“All that human agency could do was left to man. In no instance do we find that Christ used unnecessarily the superhuman powers of His Godship; the divine energy was never wasted; even the material creation resulting from its exercise was conserved, as witness His instructions regarding the gathering up of the fragments of bread and fish after the multitudes had been miraculously fed.” (p. 495)

Between reading this and the fictional Kingdom and the Crown series by Gerald Lund, I feel like I have gained such a deeper knowledge of the life of Christ this year — something I’ve wanted for a long time. I highly recommend Jesus the Christ for those who are looking to get more out of their study of the New Testament gospels.

====================

2014 UPDATE:

I have a friend who is amazing and reads this every Christmas (!), and this year she invited me to read along with her. I was daunted (I mean, this is a brick of a book, during one of the busiest times of the year!), and I sort of felt like I'd checked this book off my bucket list already. But when I heard that she had formed a Facebook group to discuss our insights, I wanted in! I can't resist a good discussion about the gospel. Or books. :-)

At first I thought I would just listen to the book while I folded laundry or something (there is an audio version available through the Gospel Library app), but I soon realized that I could not focus enough unless I read along while I listened. I did that through most of the book, although there were a few chapters I just read.

Reading this book at this unrelenting pace (I devoted between 30-60 minutes per day for about six weeks) was, actually, really rewarding. What better way to celebrate Christmastime than to immerse myself in the life of Christ? I felt like I had a jump on the season (since I started in mid-November) and, when the hustle and bustle hit, I felt happy to know that I had dedicated some time for true celebration and dedication in my life. As I sang hymns and listened to Christmas talks and devotionals, I felt as if I could understand and appreciate them more deeply than I would have otherwise. I had a daily reminder that "He is the gift."

There were so many insights I had this time around that I shared with my friends on the Facebook group -- too many to detail here (though I guess I still have another 10,000+ characters left on this review?!). It truly was rewarding to have the opportunity to articulate my thoughts on each chapter, because it helped to me solidify and remember what I had learned.

My favorite sentence from the book this time around: "Mothers brought their little children to Jesus, reverently desiring that the lives of those little ones be brightened by a sight of the Master and be blessed by a touch of His hand or a word from His lips." When I read that, I felt the Holy Ghost testify to me that I, as a mother, need to do all I can to lead my four little children to Christ, that they also may be blessed!

Highly recommend that everyone read this book, either quickly or slowly -- you will be richly rewarded if you do!

---

2015 UPDATE:

Read this again with my inspiring friend. This time my husband read some, too (he listened while commuting). I fell a little behind but managed to catch up in this limbo-week between Christmas and New Years.

This year, one of my favorite parts was when Jesus fed the five thousand. The disciples searched the multitude and found only five loaves of bread and two fishes -- it would not be enough to feed such a crowd. But Jesus took it, brake it, and there was plenty for all to be filled -- in fact, the leftovers were more than what had been started out with! So many times we come upon a trial thinking that what we have to offer will never be enough, but through Christ, our efforts will be multiplied to overflowing.

I also loved reading about the resurrection this year. I was turning pages like it was a gripping novel. Isn't the story of Christ the "greatest story ever told?" It was definitely true here. So grateful for the good news of the gospel!

If you want to feel closer to the Savior, let yourself be immersed in this book!!

---

2016 UPDATE: Thanks to my friend, I read this again this year.

I did a lot of listening on audio this time around, because I didn't have a lot of time to sit and read. I know I missed a lot this way. But I do think that taking the time to learn of Christ, in whatever imperfect ways I can, helps me feel closer to Him.
Profile Image for Mark.
239 reviews8 followers
March 26, 2021
I began reading this because of Elder Neil L. Anderson's comments about President Russell M. Nelson in General Conference last October. President Nelson began a study of the Savior's life and it changed him. The invitation was for us to begin that same study that it might change us. My decision was to read Jesus the Christ. Each day as I have read this book I've realized so many things about myself and about the Savior. He truly is the Son of God. His magnificent plan, His life and works, and His regeneration in the resurrection all point to His divine nature and character.

As for Elder James E. Talmage and his book, I am astounded by his scriptural knowledge. He was an assiduous reader of the scriptures, paying attention to the minutest detail. Not to mention that he wrote this book without the aid of a computer and electronic searches. He was a scholar. In addition to his scholarship is the divine insights that were given to him about the Savior in His life. If you have not read this book, set aside a little time each day the study the words of a great Apostle about the Savior Jesus Christ, and you too can come to know Him better in all of His glory and majesty.

As one would expect for a book that was written over a hundred years ago, we have learned a few things since then, primarily I am thinking about Native Americans and their role in the people of the Book of Mormon. We are not as sure of the location of the Nephites and Lamanites as Elder Talmage presented. Nor are we as confident about which Native Americans were or are the descendants of the Lamanites. This error is easily forgiven. Without knowledge gained through DNA evidence it would have been difficult to have made the corrections that have been made since the publication of Jesus the Christ. Regardless, the topics page on churchofjesuschrist.org (DNA Evidence and the Book of Mormon) makes clear that the specious claims about the Book of Mormon and DNA evidence need not be accepted as a conclusive refutation of the Book of Mormon's authenticity.
Profile Image for Nancy.
1,164 reviews23 followers
April 7, 2017
What I most appreciated about this book is how Talmage made the experiences and life of Christ come to life for me through explanations and added descriptions. It is a great testimony of the Savior of the world. I managed to read it in 42 days - one chapter per day - as part of my (version of) Lent observance. While many/most? of the scriptures referenced are included in the text, I am sure that reading all of the scriptures cited while reading the corresponding commentary would be a great practice and experience, too.

Written at the beginning of the 20th century, the language is often different from what we use today. And Talmage was a great scholar, so I used the dictionary app on my phone a fair bit.

The edition we have isn't listed here on Goodreads. It is a leather bound volume, much thinner than all the others because of the paper used, even though it is 804 pages. My husband's grandmother gave him the book in 1975 before his LDS mission. It has gone with 4 of our children on their missions. And now I've read it. It's such a lovely edition, it's too bad it isn't published in this form anymore.
Profile Image for Dave.
167 reviews7 followers
November 7, 2019
I would normally give this book a higher score, but the preponderance of glowing reviews leaves me with an overpowering urge to temper the average. A well-known anecdote in the LDS world claims that a visiting general authority piled a table with popular scriptural commentaries, discussing their different merits, before abruptly flinging them all to the ground with a sweep of his arm and replacing them with the Standard Works...and Talmage.

In popular Mormon culture this book straddles the line that separates the canon from other books. Written in a room within the Salt Lake Temple, ratified by all of the Brethren, and containing a serious quantity of citations and references for its time, JTC is considered by many to be near-scripture. My apologies for the elitism here, but the average rank-and-file Mormon considers reading JTC in its entirety as the pinnacle of acceptable LDS scholarship.

My only contention with the book is its well-noted reliance on the works of Farrar, Geikie, and Edersheim, three Protestant writers from the Victorian era. A lot of time has passed since Talmage, and many lifetimes of serious, but accessible scholarship have taken place since then (and I'm not talking about McConkie's stilted derivatives of nearly every Talmage work). Look up just about anything coming out of BYU in the last 20 years for an updated, albeit orthodox treatment of the life of Christ.
Profile Image for Heather Harris.
103 reviews8 followers
January 3, 2016
While the New Testament is understandably the foundation for our understanding Christ's life, there is so much that is easily missed without more context of the history and understanding of the culture itself of the time and place. Christ didn't say all that he did with the intent that he was speaking mainly to the people 2000 years later who would read those words in the Bible; He was speaking to the people of that culture and time. I've always loved the teachers at church who have gone into more detail about what was going on at that time and with the people Jesus was speaking directly to because it helps me better understand the full message. It's easy and very common to take all his teachings as individual vignettes, separate and isolated and read with current worldviews, but that removes a lot of the full meaning behind them. I love this book for giving invaluable historical and cultural context to the records of Jesus' life. While it's dense and can be a bit hard to get through, it's because it gives so much more meaning and weight to the original accounts of Jesus' life in the first four books of the New Testament (which, it's important to keep in mind, were also written for a specific purpose and audience by those authors as well).
Profile Image for Kimberly.
162 reviews3 followers
June 22, 2017
I read "Jesus the Christ" while serving my mission. It's an in-depth look at the life of Jesus Christ, and James E. Talmage uses not only verses from the Bible, but also cultural and historical facts of the time as well as The Book of Mormon. To say this book helped me understand my Savior even more is a huge understatement. I hesitate to say this book changed my life, but it helped my understand Jesus Christ on a more real, personal level. I highly recommend reading all of the footnotes and notes at the end of the chapter, too. A lot of the other interesting facts Talmage talks about helped me understand the culture and time period better, too.
216 reviews
May 16, 2015
This book has helped me to become much closer to my Savior. I received my grandpa's copy. It took me over a year to read, reading just a section or two of a chapter each day.
It's a very thorough walk through His life and ministry, starting in the preexistence. The writing is sometimes hard to understand, as Talmage has a large vocabulary and a poetic prose that takes some getting used to. As a LDS member my whole life, I found that I already knew almost all the "stories", but it was interesting and enlightening to read them in the order that they happened and with the additional insights given.
Profile Image for Cam.
267 reviews
August 16, 2011
We have been reading this together as a Relief Society this year. We have a celebration coming up in September and I'm glad I was able to finish in time. Even though I took my time reading, I still feel like there are so many things that are hard for me to grasp and remember, but I did learn along the way {just don't quiz me!} Especially loved the notes at the end of each chapter. Reading about his life and ministry is a great way to feel closer to the Savior.
Profile Image for Cynthia.
17 reviews
March 6, 2020
I thought it was a difficult book to read initially, but absolutely cannot get enough of it now! I have to force myself to put it down so I can fully absorb what I have read. Although I'm only on Chapter 15, I find that instead of reading further, I will read portions of it over and over to more completely put the new understanding of what I've read about the life of Jesus into perspective to what I knew before. This is an incredibly revealing book in the life of Jesus Christ and I love it.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
116 reviews
September 21, 2014
I just finished reading this along with my individual study of the New Testament. It is truly a remarkable experience to study the Savior's life in such depth. The Savior is more real and understood by me with each reading of this book and I look forward to picking it up again in the future. It is well worth the effort!
Profile Image for Jill.
231 reviews
January 21, 2015
I've read this book two times before on my own, and just finished it again; this time reading it aloud with my husband each night. My love for the Savior increases each and every time I read it. This is a book that everyone should read if they have a desire to draw closer to Jesus Christ and develop a deeper, more personal relationship with Him.
Profile Image for Karen Ouska.
74 reviews2 followers
March 7, 2016
This is a detailed explanation of Jesus Christ. It answered many questions I had after reading the Bible. I happened to read Chapter 7, 8 & 9 Christmas eve and Christmas day, these chapters take you through the Mary's conception of Jesus through his birth. I also had great timing to read about the last super, the trial, the death, burial and the resurrection of Christ as we approach Easter.
Profile Image for Tracey.
908 reviews24 followers
June 24, 2019
First read this book 30 years ago. I thought a re-read this year is in order.
42 chapters in all so at the rate of 1 chapter per week I will have completed within the year. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and look forward to drawing closer to Him.
A most excellent work about the greatest man who ever lived.
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