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Rabbi Jesus

An Intimate Biography

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Beginning with the Gospels, interpretations of the life of Jesus have flourished for nearly two millennia, yet a clear and coherent picture of Jesus as a man has remained elusive. In Rabbi Jesus, the noted biblical scholar Bruce Chilton places Jesus within the context of his times to present a fresh, historically accurate, and revolutionary examination of the man who founded Christianity.

Drawing on recent archaeological findings and new translations and interpretations of ancient texts, Chilton discusses in enlightening detail the philosophical and psychological foundations of Jesus’ ideas and beliefs. His in-depth investigation also provides evidence that contradicts long-held beliefs about Jesus and the movement he led. Chilton shows, for example, that the High Priest Caiaphas, as well as Pontius Pilate, played a central role in Jesus’ execution. It is, however, Chilton’s description of Jesus’ role as a rabbi, or "master," of Jewish oral traditions, as a teacher of the Cabala, and as a practitioner of a Galilean form of Judaism that emphasized direct communication with God that casts an entirely new light on the origins of Christianity.

Seamlessly merging history and biography, this penetrating, highly readable book uncovers truths lost to the passage of time and reveals a new Jesus for the new millennium.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 02, 2000 – Chilton claims to have produced "the first comprehensive, critical biography of Jesus" in an effort to "find the core" from which Christian faith arose. Unfortunately, he falls short of these noble goals. According to Chilton (Anglican priest and Bard College's Bell Professor of Religion), the hurt Jesus experienced as a social outcast and spiritual misfit--on account of his uncertain paternity--was the crucible in which his religious development was fostered. Chilton writes that Jesus' enduring legacy, as witnessed in his long-suffering life and agonizing death, is precisely that which "pain teaches": that a shattered sense of self can blossom into a mystical, visionary awareness of the image of God within. For Chilton, Jesus' central religious insight is an exemplary one, as it may be for many readers. As a historical work, however, this is often irresponsible; Chilton engages in dubious biblical exegesis and otherwise eschews the rigors of research and documentation. At times, this biography reads like a work of psycho-historical fiction, which imagines those years of Jesus' life for which evidence is lacking. ("All he knew was that he wanted to stay near the Temple.... He couldn't face going back to Nazareth, to the look of judgment and distaste... in the eyes of the village elders.") Such tactics will likely both strain the credulity and tax the goodwill of Chilton's readers.
Rabbi Jesus
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Bible Studies
  • Published: Oct 31, 2000
  • Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 354 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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