We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
What Jesus Meant | [Garry Wills]

What Jesus Meant

In what are billed "culture wars", people on the political right and the political left cite Jesus as endorsing their views. Garry Wills argues that Jesus subscribed to no political program. He was far more radical than that. In a fresh reading of the gospels, Wills explores the meaning of the "reign of heaven" that Jesus not only promised for the future but brought with him into this life.
Regular Price:$17.47
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

In what are billed "culture wars", people on the political right and the political left cite Jesus as endorsing their views. Garry Wills argues that Jesus subscribed to no political program. He was far more radical than that. In a fresh reading of the gospels, Wills explores the meaning of the "reign of heaven" that Jesus not only promised for the future but brought with him into this life.

It is only by dodges and evasions that people misrepresent what Jesus plainly had to say against power, the wealthy, and religion itself. But Wills is just as critical of those who would make Jesus a mere ethical teacher, ignoring or playing down his divinity.

An illuminating analysis for believers and nonbelievers alike, What Jesus Meant is a brilliant addition to our national conversation on religion.

©2006 Garry Wills. Recorded by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.; (P)2006 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"A spiritual workout." (Newsweek)
"Engaging and provocative." (Chicago Tribune)
"Fascinating...like a long, rich conversation with a learned friend...[Wills'] is a kind of devotion...that engages the heart and mind, to the benefit of both." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (61 )
5 star
 (21)
4 star
 (18)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
4.1 (23 )
5 star
 (13)
4 star
 (3)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.1 (22 )
5 star
 (11)
4 star
 (5)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jack madison, WI, United States 10-29-11
    Jack madison, WI, United States 10-29-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The best book on Jesus I've read."

    And I've read a lot of books on Jesus (theology degree). A minor corrective to the excellent review below is that Wills is not really after "the historical Jesus" as it is usually meant. "The historical Jesus," as he explains in the book, connotes the quest for a Jesus of history (in our contemporary sense of "what actually happened") behind the narratives in the Bible. Some biblical scholars work out a number of tests to determine what Jesus actually said and then report that as history. Wills is right to challenge a lot of this way of thinking, though these approaches are certainly valuable. Indeed, anyone with experience in the language and culture of the text will likely be familiar with many of Wills' readings, which are often drawn from scholars who rely on methods from the search for the historical Jesus (Raymond Brown, for instance).

    Wills' innovation is to change the terms of the debate from "history" and "faith" to "meaning," which is a brilliant move. What makes this book so powerful is that it actually takes Jesus' words for what they meant (imagine that...). The teachings on non-violence really mean absolute non-violence. The teachings on poverty and against wealth really mean that. Jesus is egalitarian, non-hierarchical, did not come to found a church or a priesthood, and would be saddened by the condition of Christianity today, especially its division and thirst for worldly power. God's love and forgiveness are absolute, and Jesus was an unconditional friend of the outcast, women, and the unclean. He radically changed the codes of cleanness, by shifting their meaning to the heart (not to things like sex, per se), and declared his Father's reign, which was "not of this world." He sent a "Champion" in the Holy Spirit. Later interpretations of atonement theology are a radical misreading of what actually took place. The sections on Judas, who stands for all of us, are moving and well-written.

    One objection might be that Wills minimizes the political impact of Jesus' message. A frequent theme is that Jesus did not come "to found a politics," but announce God's "reign," to be fulfilled at the end of time. This idea might rely a little too much on a modern understanding of a separation between religion and politics, which would have been foreign to Jesus' context. The terms of Jesus' message are political, he placed God's reign against the Roman Empire of the time, and he was killed for political reasons. Living out his message as Wills sees it obviously has political implications today. It might be interesting to contrast these assertions with John Howard Yoder's excellent book, The Politics of Jesus. In any case, a minor point of debate. Another might be that the book is pretty hard on the concept of priests, but, as Wills says elsewhere in books like -Why I Am a Catholic-, he's been inspired by priests too. Finally, Augustine comes up a lot as a positive touchstone, but, paradoxically, he helped introduce many of the things Wills most objects to (the fall, atonement theology, sexual purity fixations, hell, war, etc.). There's a tension there. (See his book on Augustine, by the way).

    Wills reads the work himself and does an excellent job. A book to share, inspire, and return to.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 05-05-09
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 05-05-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1694
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    471
    273
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    532
    0
    Overall
    "A Search for the Historical Jesus"

    Gary Wills in "What Jesus Meant" sets out to place Jesus and his teachings in historical context. People of faith and those who are sceptics all have a lot to learn from Wills' easy style, thorough scholarhip, and careful writing.

    Wills has several other books written, I suppose, to explain his faith, following the same pattern ("What the Gospels Meant:, What Paul Meant). Each is also beneficial in its own way.

    The writing is good and the reading excellent. One may, however, prefer reading the texts in written form or having the hard copy for future reference and study.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Glemby long Island ,NY usa 09-08-13
    J. Glemby long Island ,NY usa 09-08-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    56
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    138
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Watch out for this one!"

    All Catholic and orthodox christians{including othodox Christian Mystics} beware of this clever writer.He clames to be a Catholic and begins by knocking down all secular leftist Bible interpreters[jesus seminar,ect. Then goes on to portray a Jesus so one sidedly radical one is left with a total pacifist,SPIRITUAL communist,TOTAL anti public worship radical..Jesus was a radical Not as narow or One sided as this..I decided to check out a little of this writers bio.and found clear evidence of his folly.He may be a catholic on the outside but uses that to attack all that is both Catholic and orthodox Christian in ALL acual substace..All I ask of you is to take a few minuts and check him out for yourself before buying his books...Good luck..

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.