July 20, 2007 | 8:53 am
Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
One would imagine that two millennia would provide ample occasion for exhaustive study of Jesus of Nazareth, and yet somehow every generation seems to find some new way to think about him. Our own age is no exception. For more than a century now, believers and skeptics alike have tried to strip theology from biography, to rediscover the man, Jesus, who lived before the faith, Christianity.
At its best, this modern approach to Jesus combines nuanced interpretation with thought-provoking argument. At its worst, it pretends to discern, say, what Jesus might consider the optimal rate of taxation or how he might direct American policy in the Middle East. Happily, Tod Lindberg’s “The Political Teachings of Jesus” belongs among the smart, sophisticated writings on the topic. Mr. Lindberg does not study Jesus’ political teachings with an eye toward public policy or partisan advantage. His interest, in fact, inclines to social philosophy. He treats Jesus as a profound thinker, a man with great insight into the enduring question of how we may best live together.
Stop. That’s what I did at this point in the Wall Street Journal book review. I stopped and thought, Haven’t I heard this before? Actually, I hear this all the time. “Jesus was a great teacher;” “he was a charismatic rabbi;” “he was a rebel.” There is some truth to these descriptors, but they are ridiculous to use unless—and this is a big unless, because most often I hear these statements from non-Christians—you believe Jesus was who he said he was. Because, as C.S. Lewis reminds us, Jesus was either “lord, lunatic or liar.”
We welcome your feedback.
Your information will not be shared or sold without your consent. Get all the details.
JewishJournal.com has rules for its commenting community.Get all the details.
JewishJournal.com reserves the right to use your comment in our weekly print publication.
12.5.13 at 7:11 am | In some of the most astounding news I've heard. . .
12.3.13 at 7:11 am | The Supreme Court granted certiorari in ...
11.25.13 at 8:55 am | Judge Crabb ruled that the clergy housing. . .
11.23.13 at 7:46 pm | A time-lapse starting with Hinduism in 5,000 BC. . .
11.16.13 at 10:41 am | His kebab cafe on hard times, Zablon Simintov. . .
11.4.13 at 8:04 pm | The all-time leader in games played among ...
12.3.13 at 7:11 am | The Supreme Court granted certiorari in ... (201)
12.5.13 at 7:11 am | In some of the most astounding news I've heard. . . (132)
4.3.08 at 12:35 pm | (98)