I have been reading historical Jesus books for many years, as an Australia pastor to encourage informed exploration of both Jesus and the gospels.
I must say that I enjoyed much of the content of this book, and Reza's vivid description of Jewish & Roman politics in the 1st century CE. He offers a very interesting reading of Jesus which clearly separates a an understanding of Jesus in his matrix with the Christ of faith ( blamed largely on Paul). Perhaps this is because his own faith story - becoming Christian and then returning to Islam??
However, there are a number of excellent of theologians who need to be read alongside "Zealot" e.g. John Dominic Crossan & Tom Wright to look at the impact and theology of Paul in the emerging Christian movement.
Reza argues ( and reads) persuasively and interestingly, but in the end I had a whole lot of questions about his purpose in constructing this interpretation.
I gave it three stars overall because of these hesitations. It would be a good discussion book though.
I really have profited from Marcus Borg's work over the years. His earlier work had plenty of verve and vivacity. I really wanted to like this book as he reflected on some of the theological themes and issues that shaped his life.
However ... in the past years I have thought Borg is simply rehashing ideas, concepts and issues that he has treated well in the past. I really wanted to like this book, but in the end found it a little disappointing, as he didn't break any new ground.
The reader was fine, but unmemorable and often s/he can really lift a book from the page. Not this time though.
I took the opportunity of borrowing Strange Glory from a library, and listening to Paul Hecht's reading and switched from one to another, depending on circumstances.
It is one of the most engrossing biographies that I have read in a while, and Mr Hecht certainly brought the text to life in his capacity to read with understanding and sympathy.
Over the past three years I have read Eric Metaxas' retelling, F. Schlingensiepen's version and now Marsh's account and this has been fascinating in itself, but Charles Marsh really conjures up the world, witness and relationships of Bonhoeffer which sing.
I was disappointed in this as an audiobook. Wright reads well, and is engaging, but too much is given to lengthy psalm quotes. I am sure that more conventional believers will love the book, but it just didn't work for me despite the brilliance of the ancient poetry is is addressing.
Rabbi Kushner has written extensively on the problem of suffering from his own deep experience. He reads his book with warmth and clarity, and revisits the broad outline of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" with 30 years more experience and reflection. It still doesn't solve the problem, but great insights into both the Book of Job and life.
How many times can one man's life be interpreted?
There have been many bios of C.S. Lewis, this one written for the 50th anniversary of his death. The author is an Oxford scholar, and Anglican clergyman and positively disposed to his subject.
I found it doesn't add much to those who know a deal about Lewis' life, but his exploration of his subject's work as a Christian apologist, and his later theological writings are well- explored and helped me to understand Lewis through his life and writings.
There was little hagiography, but the continued publication of Lewis suggests that he will be an influence within mere Christian circles for the foreseeable future.
The reader voice was a little flat, but kept me engaged once I got accustomed to his cadences.
I have only listened to the first in this quintet, but it's a total delight. The reader is quite brilliant in his use of voice, and draws out colours in the book which never noticed in reading it years ago. The Sword in the Stone is quirky, anachronistic, and whimsical.
Only 38 years old when is is written and nothing much in one sense to write about except she is a very funny woman. The trick of speaking to her 18 year old self is illuminating, and carries some great insights into growing up. Her humour is very "British", and a sense of the absurd in everyday experiences. Great fun!
I have enjoyed several of Brian's books, but this had a ring of truthfulness, as he tackled one of the most important issues for the future of the world - living as a neighbour as a Christian with people of other faiths.
The added bonus was hearing him read the book which added depth, and meaning for me. One of the best audio books I have listened to, to which I will turn again, and highly recommend to religious and non-religious listeners.
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