James's Reviews > Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus J. Borg
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's review
Mar 15, 2009

really liked it
Read in March, 2009

This is the first Borg book that I read for myself (previously my opinion of Borg was mitigated by my reading of N.T. Wright). There is a bunch here that I disagree with, but there were some insightful things as well. I would disagree with Borg that there is a strong distinction between the pre-Easter Jesus and the post-Easter Christ. I think Jesus thought himself the Messiah and was self-aware of his part in the divinity. Borg, as a member of the Jesus seminar, is skeptical of what we can know about the historical Jesus and what his self-awareness was. I don't share Borg's skepticism and agree with Wright that if Jesus saw himself as a Spirit person initiating a movement and re-interpreting and subverting the symbols of the Judaism of his day, he probably also saw himself as the Messiah (as did others like that in first Century Judaism).

But Borg says more than this and some of it is worth pondering. He also paints a picture of Jesus as a teacher of wisdom which challenged the conventional wisdom of the dominant culture. He paints a picture of the compassionate Jesus who included those who were excluded by the practices of the purity codes which developed in first century. He talks about the 3 meta-metaphors(my word) within the Bible: The Exodus, The Exile (and return) and the Priesty Story and the various ways the early Christian community made use of the metaphors.

Even if I do not share his skepticism there are some great insights here which help reveal who Jesus was and is.

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