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