• Jesus

  • The Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary
  • By: Marcus J. Borg
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (112 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Come to know Jesus as you have never known him before: as a revolutionary prophet with an exciting new moral vision.

Top biblical scholar Marcus J. Borg, after a lifetime of work and study, presents a historically accurate Jesus unlike any we have previously seen. This Christ is a charismatic sage and healer who courageously and surprisingly confronts the societal crises of his day, a man living in the power of the spirit and dedicated to radical social change. This fresh and innovative vision of Jesus will inspire and guide those who have moved beyond traditional church teaching about the Son of God and who are willing to see our savior in a whole new light.

©2006 Marcus J. Borg (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Jesus

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great for esoteric students

I am an esoteric Christian and I spend a lot of my time reading books related to that realm. This book is written by a mainstream Jesus scholar, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to check in with the mainstream, in order to make sure I hadn't gone off the deep end. What I found in this book was more than I could have hoped for. The first few chapters were a little slow for me because they are dedicated to gradually introducing the radical ideas of the later chapters. The author is very gentle with those who may be reading from a fundamentalist POV. However, by the end we have firmly established that Jesus was mystic and revolutionary, the two critical aspects of the Real Jesus that have only been known to those in more esoteric traditions. Read masterfully.

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Very important book for today

Wonderful book, it will help you to understand the actions of progressive and conservative forms of Christianity today.

4 people found this helpful

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Enlightening and to the point!

This book is for all people who approach Jesus and Christianity with an open hart and mind.
Who was Jesus and why does he matter for Christians an none Christians alike is explained brilliantly.

It provides compelling arguments for being a follower of Christ in this world.

This world needs more people who take the message of Jesus (as outlined in this book) serious.

Prepare to be challenged and changed!

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Missing Marcus

I love the "voice" of Marcus Borg found in his books, and he clearly trusted this narrator. His gentle yet determined and scholarly picture of Jesus, before and after Easter, solidifies and clarifies my own Christianity. I am grateful to have his books. I miss his kind voice.

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A good example of "progressive" Christianity

The problem for the self-styled progressive Christian is to keep the core of Christianity while throwing out all the hard-to-believe stuff, like the virgin birth, Bethlehem, the miracles, and the resurrection. Borg understands these parts of the Christian legend as stories, but really good stories. So good that they are true, and real, even though not factual.

Borg can throw out the hard-to-believe stuff and remain a Christian through a sleight-of-hand. While Jesus's life is a web of metaphors, they are true, in that there is one clear truth that shines through: God was central to Jesus's life. And Borg knows that God exists, for a fact. He even knows God's nature (compassion) and his passion (justice). This God is the one that we first meet in the Hebrew Bible. As so often in the biographies of people like Borg, he was fortunate enough to have been born into a family (strict Lutherans in North Dakota) that just happened to believe in the one true God.

The parables are metaphors, for Borg, but there is again one fact that shines through the metaphors: generally speaking, what Jesus is doing with his parables is decrying the "domination system," a phrase Borg apparently picked up from Walter Wink, perhaps through John Dominic Crossan. The domination system was in place in Jesus's time (the Roman Empire in particular), and it remains in place today. The dominators are the bad guys. So progressive Christians are able to be nice, loving, compassionate people while getting their aggressions out by applying them to evil, in the fine old Christian apocalyptic tradition of the final battle of good vs. evil..

So Borg can have his cake and eat it too. Jesus, he admits, is a legendary character. But even if Jesus is legendary, he points to a God who is factual and real (and Christian). Borg can treat claims of factuality skeptically (excessive concern for the factual is an error of the Enlightenment), but he can still, as is all too usual in political attitudes, find the true political attitude in the factuality of the domination system, then and now. That political fact is not just an Enlightenment error -- it is an Enlightenment fact.

We might, however, be wise to treat these "facts" of Borg's with a certain critical attitude. Borg does not really know what God's nature and passion are. And the God he chooses -- although he makes the usual Christian claim that all enduring religions are pretty much the same (i.e., Judeo-Christian) -- is one that arose in a tiny corner of a big world, and made rather unlikely claims for the religious importance of that tiny corner of the world. And finding Jesus's (and God's) passion in fighting the domination system takes some very tortuous exegesis. Parable after parable is reinterpreted as indicating Jesus's primary enemy -- the domination system.

Thus, all told, we are left with a Jesus that, after discarding the embarrassing bits, is revealed to be very much like a panentheist, left-wing professor of religious studies at Oregon State University; or, to pick a type less exactly like the real Marcus Borg, a political activist in Portland with a Buddhist meditation practice on the side.

Is this really the best Borg can do in his battle with his present bad guys (the right-wing evangelicals who support the domination system)? He calls his proposals part of an "emerging paradigm" in Christianity. Can Christianity work without the magic? This writer, at least, has his grave doubts. Take the biblical story in which Jesus saves the disciples who are being blown out to sea on a boat. He walks on water to the boat. Peter gets out, loses his confidence, and begins to sink. Jesus steadies him. How does this story work if we agree with Borg that no one can walk on water, not even Jesus? Doesn't it become a cartoon, in which Wile E. Coyote runs off a cliff, and keeps happily running on air until he looks down and then falls, creating a coyote-shaped hole in the ground? That is, without the supernatural foundation of the birth, the miracles, and the resurrection, it becomes an absurdity and finally a joke.

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Good read

I learned so much from reading this book. It deepend my understanding of the passion and love of God.

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Best book on Jesus

this is a great introduction to anyone who is seeking an honest and non-doctrinal book on Jesus of Nazareth

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Some annoying mispronunciation

Narrator has odd way of saying “prayer,” “abba,” and “contemplative.” Content is revelatory, relevant, and exciting. Highly recommended.