Meeting Jesus again for the first time : the historical Jesus & the heart of contemporary faith

by Marcus J. Borg

Other authorsStefan Gutermuth (Cover designer)
Paperback, 1994



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[San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, c1994.

Media reviews

"Professor Borg challenges as 'inadequate' typical images of the historical Jesus and their resulting images of what it mean to lead a 'Christian Life'. Among Catholic and mainstream (i.e., early- Reformation) Christians, the author's most controversial thesis may be his challenge to the most widespread image of Jesus - seeing Jesus as the divine savior."

User reviews

LibraryThing member DubiousDisciple
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.

One quote sums up the book well: Borg describes Jesus as a “spirit person, subversive sage, social prophet, and movement founder who invited his followers and hearers into a transforming relationship with the same Spirit that he himself knew, and into a community whose social vision was shaped by the core value of compassion.” I’m uncertain if Borg would use precisely the same words today, sixteen years later, because the wheels of Jesus scholarship continue to turn, but I’ll bet he wouldn’t change much … he has found the core Jesus. Meeting Jesus again for the first time, we are invited to appreciate Jesus’ beauty against a backdrop of dominating religion, and share in Jesus’ struggle to help compassion overcome purity. It was this very purity system of the Jews which led to social injustice, and which Jesus found most constricting.

This is one of those books everyone should read before giving up on Christianity.
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LibraryThing member j.m.c.
Clear writer & thinker. I disagree with his assumptions about what could and could not have happened historically and about who Jesus was and is.
LibraryThing member CrosswicksQuakers
In Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, New Testament scholar Marcus Borg attempts to understand how popular images of Jesus connect Christians to their savior and isolate them from him. Borg writes about his own evolving ideas of who Jesus was, considers the scholarly and popular religious evolution of Jesus' public image, and investigates with special care the effects of Historical Jesus research on contemporary images of Jesus. Meeting Jesus Again is written in an affable, gracious, and unflinchingly honest voice. Borg's description of his own faith particularly exemplifies these qualities.… (more)
LibraryThing member heartyheretic
I love this book. Borg lays out the difference between the conventional wisdom of the Roman Empire-dominated Mediterranean world in which Jesus lived, and the subversive wisdom of the teachings of Jesus. A book for both those who think the know Jesus and for those who truly do want to meet him "again for the first time."
LibraryThing member the_awesome_opossum
Marcus Borg is one of the most influential Jesus scholars we have today. His characterization of Jesus is a "spirit person," one who's especially in touch with the divine and connects the power of God to his earthly ministry. He's written at length about it in other books, but here it serves as a backdrop for a different issue: how can we, either as historians or Christians, grasp a relationship with a Jesus who is still living and relevant?

Borg argues that Jesus' understanding of God was not the vast and transcendent deity that we sometimes picture, "a supernatural being 'out there' who created the world a long time ago...from time to time supernaturally intervenes in this world." That leads to a rather bland experience of "belief," that we affirm that something/someone exists that's greater than us and what else are we supposed to do with that information? Jesus instead brings a God who is an "experiential reality," found not only in his supernatural connections but also the extremely mundane (yet extraordinary) ideals of compassion and connection and love.

A relationship with Jesus develops beyond the passive Christian story of sin and salvation (not that it's not meaningful, but it's been done and we play little part in it). Thus God is acted in order to be "believed in," and believers are challenged to work out who God is and effect God's presence in the world.
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LibraryThing member highlander6022
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 group members could lay claim to that description. Most of them were simply secular individuals with no in-depth knowledge of the bible.
The basis of their claims is that nothing supernatural was possible. Therefore, Jesus never rose from the dead, nor did He appear before others after his death. This in itself denies the entire basis for the Christian faith. No matter how the author tries to spin that basic assumption on the JS part, he is unsuccessful. His commentary in the book conflicts with itself in many places – his scholarship ability is poor overall.
After trying to get through the first chapter, many in the group had a sense to just trash it. Instead, we decided that with all of us being very strong in our faith and the chances that this book would shake any of us in our faith was slim, we kept reading. However, one person said they would not go further, one stopped reading after a couple chapters, and I stopped before the end. As a result, our weekly discussion sessions in essence were comprised of one or two comments, with the remainder of our time spent on other Christian topics.
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LibraryThing member JRexV
Powerful book. Insightful and realistic look at who Jesus was and who Jesus has become. Promotes the value and liberation of considering a metaphorical understanding of the story of Jesus

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