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Publisher's Summary

This translation of the life and teachings of Jesus creates an image of not only a great spiritual teacher, but of a real person. Eminent author and translator Stephen Mitchell's approach to the Gospels has been widely praised for its depth, clarity, and radiance. This is a stunning work for believers and non-believers alike.
Recording (P)1992 by Audio Literature; Copyright ©1991 by Stephen Mitchell

Critic Reviews

"Very provocative and very thoughtful - a remarkable book." (Studs Terkel, WSMT)

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Unwrapping the Authentic Jesus

"We can't begin to see who Jesus was until we remove the layers of interpretation which centuries have interposed between us and him, and which obscure his true face, like coat after coat of lacquer upon the vibrant colors of a masterpiece." - Stephen Mitchell, The Gospel According to Jesus I'm a big fan of Mitchell's translation (interpretations). So, I was excited to see what approach he would take with Jesus from the Gospels. The first 1/3 of this book (pp 1-97; including about 35 pages of notes) is Mitchell's introduction to the project. He draws inspiration from the Jefferson Bible (aka The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth) where Thomas Jefferson cut the New Testament down to only include the saying of Jesus. Jefferson wanted nothing to get between him and Jesus. In many ways, that too is the approach of Mitchell. He uses modern biblical scholarship and textual analysis to narrow down the "authentic" Jesus from the sectarian passages, the polemical passages and myths added by the early church. One can certainly argue on the edges with what Mitchell includes or excludes, but he does make a viable case for creating a more consistent message out of the often contradictory narratives and teachings of Jesus. I tend to agree with both Jefferson and Mitchell, that "when the accretions are recognized and stripped off, Jesus surprisingly appears in all his radiance. Like the man in Bunyan's riddle, the more we throw away, the more we have." Interestingly, the Gospel left by Mitchell is only about 25 pages (pp 101 to 126). It is followed by about 150 pages of commentary and finally an appendix of about 30 pages with writings on Jesus by Baruch Spinoza, William Blake, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Bernard Shaw, Mohandas K. Gandhi, and Ramana Maharshi. The audio quality in this recording is pretty poor.

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Not Joseph

Wish my first book wasn’t Joseph. That book may have not only changed my life but even, perhaps, saved it. This seemed forced to me, even a bit apologetic. Some excellent and moving parts to be sure, just not as powerful and in depth as Joseph. I think I’ll do Psalms next..then deep dive to his other books.

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Confusing but illuminating

I feel this is a very eastern way of looking at things, but aren't all religions from the east? Being brought up Catholic I've struggled a lot with the myth making of Jesus and the brain washing that ensues. I see now Jesus as a man and a true hero.

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thank you

I enjoyed this abridged version, especially because it was read by the author. I plan to begin the entire printed version immediately. As he did with the translation of the Tao de Ching, I am touched and inspired. this begins the restoration of my faith

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Christians may want to avoid...

I'm floored by the ego of Mitchell in this first chapter. He feels completely confident and justified in subjectively psychoanalyzing Jesus, attributing his life's work to childhood/daddy issues, and internal rage, and time and time again chiding the man and informing us how he could've done better, spoken better, or had a bit more wisdom or maturity. He buys into seemingly every last negative narrative about Jesus, apparently without questioning any of them, and seems to view the man as a just another decent fellow.. perhaps one Stephen would've loved to have as a student, to share the *real* wisdom and truth with this poor lost soul. Of course, he does this with all of the subtle pretentiousness of an intelligent scholar, but any Christian who believes in Christ's divinity is likely to have a reaction similar to mine. Stephen may actually be an ascended master, capable of lecturing and wagging his finger at the greatest teachers in human history, but I tend to think truly lofty minds are completely free from this type of ego.. and found myself so revulsed I couldn't finish this book. Though I loved his reading of the Bhagavad Gita, this was solely due to the lofty content, and in *spite* of his performance. His ending the piece with a sermonizing lecture on subjects such as Hitler and the Nazis brought me down to earth with a thud. I so wish we'd keep our petty modern politics away from discussions on such lofty works and personages of the past, and allow them to speak entirely for themselves, without this type of subjective reinterpretation. I know most of his perspective here merely results from the anti-Christian and anti-Christ sentiment so popular in our age, and that Stephen is ensconced in an echo chamber of like-minds in this regard (academia has essentially shut the door to believers in recent decades), so I don't know whether the word *blame* is fair, as we're all a product of our environments.. but I'll certainly never purchase another one of his works again, and can say without any doubt that this man doesn't resonate with me, and I found his opinions-framed-as-fact here to be rather classless and insulting.

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The Gospel According to Jesus

I enjoyed the meticulous and thoughtful analysis of what Stephen MItchell perceives as what would be Jesus's teachings vs another author that has taken liberty to inject dogma.
In addition to this translation of who Jesus may have been and what he himself taught is the gift of Stephen MItchell's voice. Mr. Mitchell has a voice that is smooth and soothing; I could listen to Stephen read all day

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Sadly, sound quality is poor.

Stephen Mitchell's reading of his eloquent, moving, challenging text is excellent, but the production quality is unfortunately very poor. It would be wonderful if this recording could be remastered to clarify the reading itself.

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The secret psychological life of Jesus - its effects on us personally and societally

Stephen Mitchell's The Gospel According to Jesus speaks much of Jesus's bastard status affecting his psychology, life and gospels. What struck me is it has created our whole culture's diminution of women from his rejection of his fornicating mother, and our adoration of men from his adoration of his "Father in heaven".

Then Stephen offers his translation of what he believes, based on his scholarship, are the real gospels.

I am reminded that we must never forget the religious underpinnings of our culture as they underlie everything, and on a personal level, that I really need to forgive my parents if I want to heal myself and be whole.

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Stephen Mitchell does it again

Another classic by one of my favorite teachers, Stephen Mitchell. A poignant and inspiring look into the life of one of history's most misunderstood men.

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i enjoy stephen mitchell's schollarship and story


telling could have done better with the sections translating from audioliterature. otherwise a+ thank you

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Profile Image for Peter Mercoulia
  • Peter Mercoulia
  • 09-16-16

fantastic

the insight is profound.
the simple messages are beautiful. I highly recommend to all interested in religion and it's place on earth