"The Gospel in Brief lives at the center of Leo Tolstoy's thinking about the meaning of life. ... Beautifully translated by Dustin Condren. ... Although little known, this book remains hugely important." --Jay Parini, author of The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Last Year
The most celebrated novelist of all time, the author of Anna Karenina and War and Peace, retells the greatest story ever told, integrating the four Gospels into a single twelve-chapter narrative of the life of Jesus. Based on his study of early Christian texts, Leo Tolstoy's remarkable The Gospel in Brief--virtually unknown to English readers until this landmark new translation by Dustin Condren--makes accessible the powerful, mystical truth of Jesus's spiritual teaching, stripped of artificial church doctrine. If you are not acquainted with The Gospel in Brief, wrote the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose life was profoundly influenced by it, then you cannot imagine what an effect it can have upon a person.
"A fresh translation destined to introduce a new generation to a fuller understanding of Tolstoy's mind." --Kirkus Reviews
"Dustin Condren captures, in this fresh idiomatic translation, the dazzlingly audacious achievement of The Gospel in Brief, Tolstoy's daring synthesis the New Testament accounts of Jesus." --Edward E. Ericson, Jr., editor of The Solzhenitsyn Reader
"Newly translated by Dustin Condren, Tolstoy's Gospel in Brief offers us a Jesus stripped of the overlay of Christian dogma and ancient metaphysics: his Jesus confronts readers with a real challenge and a call to change their lives." --George Pattison, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, University of Oxford, and canon of Christ Church Cathedral
A new translation and analysis of one of the most controversial of the apocryphal gospels- Emphasizes an initiatic marriage between the male and female principles as the heart of the Christian mystery - Bears witness to the physical relationship shared by Jesus and Mary Magdalene - Translated from the Coptic and analyzed by the author of the bestselling The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (over 90,000 sold) The mainstream position of the Christian church on sexuality was perhaps best summed up by Pope Innocent III (1160-1216) when he stated that "the sexual act is so shameful that it is intrinsically evil." Another Christian theologian maintained that the "Holy Ghost is absent from the room shared by a wedded couple." What Philip records in his gospel is that Christ said precisely the opposite: The nuptial chamber is in fact the holy of holies. For Philip the holy trinity includes the feminine presence. God is the Father, the Holy Ghost is the Mother, and Jesus is the Son. Neither man nor woman alone is created in the image of God. It is only in their relationship with one another--the sacred embrace in which they share the divine breath--that they resemble God. The Gospel of Philip is best known for its portrayal of the physical relationship shared by Jesus and his most beloved disciple, Mary of Magdala. Because it ran counter to the direction of the Church, which condemned the "works of the flesh," Philip's gospel was suppressed and lost until rediscovered at Nag Hammadi in 1947. Orthodox theologian Jean-Yves Leloup's translation from the Coptic and his analysis of this gospel are presented here for the first time in English. What emerges from this important source text is a restoration of the sacred initiatic union between the male and female principles that was once at the heart of Christianity's sacred mystery.
In two previous books, Neil Douglas-Klotz pioneered a radical new way of translating the words of Jesus---filtering them through the imagistic worldview of the Aramaic language which Jesus himself spoke. Seen through this lens, familiar sayings such as Blessed are the meek come into vibrant contemporary focus as Healthy are those who have softened what is rigid within.
In The Hidden Gospel, Douglas-Klotz employs this approach to decode the spiritual and prophetic messages hidden within key words and concepts in the sayings and stories of Jesus. We learn to our delight, for instance, that when Jesus spoke of goodness he used a word which in Aramaic means ripe and refers to actions which are in time and tune with the Sacred Unity of all life.
The Hidden Gospel aims to bridge the gap between the historical Jesus of the scholar and the Jesus of faith of Christian believers. It will appeal to everyone looking for an alternative spiritual vision of Jesus and his message.
Informally presents and evaluates complex--sometimes troubling--issues in scholarly discussion of Jesus Christ.
-Whatever one makes of these pages, they are the stammerings neither of an apologist nor of a skeptic but instead of an oft-confused Protestant who has come to his conclusions, modest as they are, quite gradually, and who may alter his uncertain mind about much tomorrow. Of two things only do I feel assured. The first is that, as unchanging things do not grow -- rocks remain rocks -- informed changes of mind should be welcomed, not feared. The second is this: the unexamined Christ is not worth having.-
-- from the introduction
In this book, which he describes as -my personal testimony to doubt seeking understanding, - Dale Allison thoughtfully addresses ongoing historical-theological questions concerning Jesus. What should one think of the modern quest for the historical Jesus when there is such enduring discord among the experts, and when personal agendas play such a large role in the reconstructions? How much history is in the Gospels, and how much history does Christian theology require that there be? How does the quest impinge upon conventional Christian beliefs, and what might it contribute to contemporary theological reflection? The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus is the personal statement of lessons that a respected participant in the quest has learned throughout the course of his academic career.
He comes as yet unknown into a hamlet of Lower Galilee. He is watched by the cold, hard eyes of peasants living long enough at a subsistence level to know exactly where the line is drawn between poverty and destitution. He looks like a beggar yet his eyes lack the proper cringe, his voice the proper whine, his walk the proper shuffle. He speaks about the rule of God and they listen as much from curiosity as anything else. They know all about rule and power, about kingdom and empire, but they know it in terms of tax and debt, malnutrition and sickness, agrarian oppression and demonic possession. What, they really want to know, can this kingdom of God do for a lame child, a blind parent, a demented soul screaming its tortured isolation among the graves that mark the edges of the village?
-- from The Gospel of Jesus, overture to The Historical Jesus
The Historical Jesus reveals the true Jesus--who he was, what he did, what he said. It opens with The Gospel of Jesus, Crossan's studied determination of Jesus' actual words and actions stripped of any subsequent additions and placed in a capsule account of his life story. The Jesus who emerges is a savvy and courageous Jewish Mediterranean peasant, a radical social revolutionary, with a rhapsodic vision of economic, political, and religious egalitarianism and a social program for creating it.
The conventional wisdom of critical historical scholarship has long held that too little is known about the historical Jesus to say definitively much more than that he lived and had a tremendous impact on his followers. There were always historians who said it could not be done because of historical problems, writes Crossan. There were always theologians who said it should not be done because of theological objections. And there were always scholars who said the former when they meant the latter.'
With this ground-breaking work, John Dominic Crossan emphatically sweeps these notions aside. He demonstrates that Jesus is actually one of the best documented figures in ancient history; the challenge is the complexity of the sources. The vivid portrayal of Jesus that emerges from Crossan's unique methodology combines the complementary disciplines of social anthropology, Greco-Roman history, and the literary analysis of specific pronouncements, anecdotes, confessions and interpretations involving Jesus. All three levels cooperate equally and fully in an effective synthesis that provides the most definitive presentation of the historical Jesus yet attained.
New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus's divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church.
The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus's lifetime--and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.
A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus's transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus's followers had visions of him after his death--alive again--did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today.
Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.
C. David McKirachan offers eighteen first-person narratives told in the voices of characters from the life of Jesus, ranging from the Christmas story through the crucifixion and resurrection. In each story we are invited into the Gospel text. We inhabit the stories, and through the voice of each teller, we are drawn closer to the wonder experienced by the first witnesses of Jesus.
Characterizations of Jesus abound: "dying Savior," "monk," or "troublemaker," for example. But who is Jesus? Who was Jesus--really? By surveying literary sources (including the Gospels), historical reconstructions, and aspects of Jesus' life and ministry that have engendered continuing debate, Tatum enables readers to develop a conceptual framework for evaluating the various cultural and scholarly expressions of the Jesus story.
Among the Gospels of the early Christian Church stands a document so provocative that it was banned by the Church and kept out of the orthodox Bible. The Gospel of Thomas contains "secret sayings of the living Jesus" that the politically organized church tried desperately to destroy. The question is: why? Insights from the Secret Teachings of Jesus gives us a powerful clue, and provides guidance in understanding this beautiful and wonderful collection of Jesus' teachings. The book reaches inside the reader and awakens a slumbering spirit. It is like listening to Jesus speak, and in hearing, one comes to understand why his teachings alarmed the ordinary, and enlivened those who longed for a deeper reality.
In June 2000, five internationally renowned biblical scholars and one equally well known systematic theologian traveled to Israel with 60 non-academic pilgrims to share their insights on the Jesus of history and the meaning of the historians' Jesus for Christian faith. The result is a book that provides a succinct summary of what is currently known about Jesus and his times-his setting in Galilee, his relationship to the Qumran community, his sense of mission as an eschatological prophet and miracle worker, and, finally, the mechanics of how the memories of Jesus's words and deeds circulated among his followers and were passed on in oral performance to be enshrined eventually in the written Synoptic tradition. The book concludes with reflections by Elizabeth Johnson on the relevance of such scholarship for contemporary Christian faith. Rather than a challenge to faith, she sees it as a gift.