Jesus of Nazareth: Background, Witnesses, and Significance
Borchert, Gerald L.
Macon: Mercer University Press, 2011 pp. xviii + 258. $25.00
Description: Jesus of Nazareth is a comprehensive introduction to Jesus and the gospels for college and seminary students. It begins with discussions on communication and patterns of reading the Bible before detailing the historical setting and the geographical, social, and religious contexts during the time of Jesus, such as the language and community aspects, and the rabbinic, literary, and institutional settings that were present. Next, Borchert discusses the nature of the gospels before each gospel witness is treated individually to identify the particular uniqueness of the portrait of Jesus that is being presented by each author. The non-canonical portraits of Jesus are also introduced in order to help readers understand the struggles that emerged in the early church. Finally, the significance of Jesus who is the focus of the gospels is presented. After reviewing the time issues for Jesus, theological concerns related to Jesus are considered, such as the virginal conception and the incarnation, the issues of temptation and sin, the relationship of Jesus to God and the messianic consciousness of Jesus, the crucial issues of the death and resurrection of the Messiah, and the Churchís expectation of the return of Jesus in power. This important theological section concludes with discussions on the integrity of our understanding of Jesus and the very sensitive nature of proof as compared to the nature of belief. Borchert weighs these matters fairly, bearing in mind his own presuppositions. He closes the work with suggested implications of this study in terms of doubt and rejection on the one hand and worship as well as living and witnessing to and for Jesus on the other. Written with clarity and erudition, this accessible introduction reflects a lifetime of both classroom and church experience in teaching the Gospels.
Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Johannine Literature, John, Literature
Review by Chris L. de Wet
Citation: Chris L. de Wet, review of Gerald L. Borchert, Jesus of Nazareth: Background, Witnesses, and Significance, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2013).
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