The Changing Faces of Jesus
Who was the real Jesus? How was this Palestinian charismatic transformed by later generations into the heavenly savior who is the focus of the Christian Church? Did Jesus's own teachings lead to his divine characterization? Or did the church-centered needs of gentile Christianity hide his true face, obscuring the religion he preached and practiced? With unique authority, sensitivity, and insight, renowned scholar Geza Vermes explores these difficult questions by examining the New Testament writings, placing them in the context of the Jewish civilization of the first century. Starting with the elevated, divine figure of Christ presented in the most recent Gospel, the Gospel of John, Vermes travels back through earlier accounts of Jesus's life to reveal the true historical figure.
"A bold effort to sift out the 'real' Jesus from the theological embellishment in the New Testament that (according to Vermes) turned him into a divine persona." (The Washington Post)
"Geza Vermes is one of the most distinguished living scholars of ancient Judaism. While he has specialised in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, in which his reputation is unsurpassed, he has an impressive command of all the Jewish sources from antiquity. Those who want to understand the historical Jesus and the evolving ways in which he was perceived in the following decades can do no better than to read his book. It is the masterly statement of a great scholar who has spent decades considering his topic, and whose work is gentle, irenic, relatively unargumentative, and written with exceptional skill ... in Vermes Jesus has found his best Jewish interpreter."--The New York Review of Books
"Sound research and passionate engagement with the subject make this a useful volume. The straightforward exposition of Johannine and Pauline interpretations of Jesus sheds light on the Jesus figure. A comprehensive study, certain to evoke both critique and praise." —Hal Warlick High Point University, NC
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