• Jesus

  • A Biography, from a Believer
  • By: Paul Johnson
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (256 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Is Jesus relevant to us today?

Few figures have had such an influence on history as Jesus of Nazareth. His teachings have inspired discussion, arguments, even war. Yet few have ever held forth as movingly as Jesus on the need for peace, forgiveness, and mercy.

Paul Johnson offers listeners a lively biography of the man who inspired one of the world’s great religions and whose lessons still guide us in current times. Johnson’s intelligent and conversational style, as well as his ability to distill complex subjects into succinct and highly readable works, makes this book an ideal match of a major historian with a major subject. The result is an accessible biography and an insightful analysis of how Jesus is important in the present era.

©2010 Paul Johnson (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

From this best-selling author and acclaimed historian comes a powerful portrayal of the life of Jesus.

What listeners say about Jesus

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

This is a deeply disappointing book. Paul Johnson is a wonderful writer, and I love his books (although I almost never agree with his politics). He's fearless and iconoclastic in his opinions. His histories of Christianity and of Judaism are chock-full of fascinating information, and his long narrative paragraphs roll effortlessly off the page.

Here, Johnson shows a credulous side I wouldn't have expected. He rejects -- in fact never even mentions -- the vast research done on the composition of the Gospels and the relationships between them. If Matthew and Luke relate the same story in almost the same words, he counts them as two independent witnesses, and even finds it remarkable that the wording is so close: nowhere does he mention the prevailing opinion among scholars, that both are quoting a common source. This isn't a question of faith vs. skepticism. Some of the most brilliant work in this field has been done by Catholic scholars (and priests) like John P. Meier and Raymond Brown. Johnson will have none of it. He's produced not so much a biography as a lightly harmonized interpretation of the Gospels with an occasional glance at the historical background.

The publisher seems to have been of two minds about it. Some editions carry the subtitle "A 21st Century Biography." Others carry the subtitle "A Biography by a Believer." The second is a far more accurate description of the book than the first. You don't write a 21st century biography by throwing out the analysis of anyone who lived later than the 16th century.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

What a great book to listen to. Well organized, wonderfully narrated. Get it.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

My all time favorite sci-fi book

Its very entertaining after 30 years and so coming back to a book like this as a former believer hoping for a different view for a modern 2021 advanced brains, but to realize the vague stories with no backings and childish like concepts that tickles the mind presented in it taught to our virgin minds as a child are far from any sense of intellect to a grown and mature mind of mine to accept them, however a great book for those with blind faith.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting, accurate, thought provoking account!

Interesting, accurate, thought provoking account of Jesus' life and the background around him! Thank you God!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

As told by the Bible

I was hoping for more historical fact from other sources then the Bible. I read this book as a general principle to read every book written by Paul Johnson. I greatly admire him as a historian. This book was a bit too preachy.

1 person found this helpful

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Great fresh perspectives

Truly enjoyed the perspectives:
1. New 10 commandments?
2. The parables, why?
3. The miracles of Jesus, can we do too?
4. The signes or miracles?
5. Was Jesus gregarious or a loner?
6. Who affected the history more than anyone else?
7. Did Jesus speak to jews or universally?
8. …

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    3 out of 5 stars

I expected more from Paul Johnson

This is a touching portrait of Jesus and what he stood for. But in his focus on Jesus, Mr. Johnson’s portrayal is anemic in context of the world around Jesus. In the cases where he does fill in some info, he occasionally errs. For instance, while there were many Jewish sects during this period, Samaritans were semi converts and not historically Jewish as he mentions.
Another important missing element is that contrary to St. Paul, he followed all the Jewish precepts and likely required his apostles and disciples to do the same to the best of their ability. So contrary to the authors insinuation that Jesus superseded the original 10 Commandments with that of his own, he only added his teachings to what was already there.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Jesus, A 21st Century Biography (?)

Really, a 21st Century Biography with scripture quotes given in old English! The NRSV would be more 21st Century than the KJV

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Paul Johnson & Ralph Cosham Tag Team Champs

Wow, I am a new Christian and sometimes I get overwhelmed at the thought of reading the Bible. Mr Johnson has put together an awesome, concise, and manageable book to help me. Mr Cosham’s narration was magnetic, perfect pacing and voice, very professorial. After reading and listening at the same time I am most excited to start on the Big boys version and read the Bible.
I cannot give it a higher recommendation it was awesome

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I learn a lot from this book

I have made attempts to read the Bible in an effort to to gain knowledge about Jesus, but I have to say, this book brought everything together. I am greatfull to have found it. This book was well written and went into great detail in regards to the life of Jesus.