Friday, October 17, 2008

The Meaning of Jesus

I have a book called The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. It's co-authored by Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright. The front cover has a line at the bottom that says "The leading liberal and conservative Jesus scholars present the heart of the Historical Jesus debate". The thing I really like about this book is that it never deteriorates into cheap point scoring. Both authors present their views on a number of topics, including the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, in a mature, clearly articulated manner that brings to light the key similarities and differences in the broadest categories of Christian theology today. Here's a short excerpt from the Introduction that will give you an idea of why I like this approach:
Neither of us is content to let things rest with a cheap and easy suggestion that, since we are both practicing Christians, our two positions are equally valid - whatever that might mean. It might be that both our positions are equivalent and fairly adequate expressions, from different points of view, of the same underlying reality. Neither of us quite thinks that. It might be that we are both wrong, and that some quite different position is truer. Neither of us thinks that, either. It might be that one of us is closer to the truth in some areas, and the other in others, and that by our dialogue we may see more clearly things that the other has grasped more accurately. We are both prepared for this actuality.

Where we do agree, however, is on the following point. Debate about Jesus has recently become acrimonious, with a good deal of name-calling and angry polemic in both public and private discourse. We hope in this book to demonstrate that this is not the only way of doing things... But we hope, and indeed pray, that in this book we will be able to model a way of conducting public Christian disagreement over serious and central issues that will inspire others to try the same sort of thing.

No comments: