Christ the Lord: A Crisis in the Life of God

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9780099280767: Christ the Lord: A Crisis in the Life of God

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning God: A Biography, Jack Miles offered a highly original approach to the character of the God of the Old Testament, addressing him as a character in a book, a literary charter. In Christ, reading the New Testament but hearing the Old echoing in its every verse, Miles tells the story of the agonising conflict that overtook God when he failed to keep his promise to his people, and the radical change in his character that this failure brought about. Coming after a large number of books pursuing the elusive 'historical Jesus', Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God offers a frankly mythological Christ, delivering a profound and dramatic companion to the story begun in God: A Biography.

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Review:

Bucking the trend of books about "the historical Jesus," Jack Miles offers a purely literary reading of the New Testament--rendering Jesus as a character whose history spans all of time, from the beginning to the end. Continuing the work begun in his Pulitzer prize-winning God: A Biography, Miles considers the New Testament the next chapter of an ongoing story. The central question of this chapter is, "Why does [God] become a man?" In Miles's reading, God "has something appalling to say that he can say only by humiliating himself." The world's inherent flaws, its pervasive injustice and cruelty, comprise "a great crime" for which someone must pay. "Mythologically read, the New Testament is the story of how someone, the right someone, does pay for it." As God, in the form of Christ, pays the price for His own mistakes, the crucifixion "saves us from the violence that we might otherwise feel justified in inflicting on one another." Ingeniously argued and masterfully paced, this book presents an original and unsettling portrait of Christ. Whatever readers think of Miles's premise--that God is heroic but not saintly--the book will certainly force them to reexamine Christ's relevance to moral life. --Michael Joseph Gross

From the Back Cover:

"Miles is a master, provocative and accessible, in presenting a God who is ambivalent, hesitant, moody, offhand, remote and opaque.... All in all, this is the most compelling page-turner of the year."
--Bill Bell, New York Daily News

"The brilliance of Jack Miles’s new book on Christ is that it manages to “make strange” the best-known story in history."
--Edward Skidelsky, The New Statesman

"...an erudite and provocative literary tour de force that would make a perfect Christmas or Hanukkah present for believers and nonbelievers alike. It is truly impossible to catalog all of the literary riches in this reinterpretation of the New Testament."
--Susan Jaccoby, Newsday

"
As a way of seeing, Miles’s book has great power and depth. Though he does not try to solve the problem of evil, his book gives us, with horrid clarity, the vision of a culpable, guilty, and finally atoning God..."
--James Wood, The New Yorker

"
The faithful may be disturbed by Miles’ reading of the Bible as a portrait of a God capable of changing his mind... But Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God is, like Miles’ previous book, a stimulating, challenging work.
--Charles Matthews, San Jose Mercury

"...a daring critic who can provide his own translations of Hebrew and Greek. Regardless of our agreement or disagreement with him, he prods us to read these familiar stories afresh, with all their original suspense and drama, his analysis serving as an invitation for our own."
--Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor

"...a literary vision of Christ with more insight, warmth, and verve (not to mention chutzpah), that have been seen...for many a year."
--Peter Heinegg, America

"
This American ex-Jesuit...is a resuscitation artist. His style is exceptionally riveting. His theses are daring, his perspectives astonishing, his insights as daring as they are witty."
--Ludger LŸtkehaus, Die Zeit, Hamburg

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Miles Jack
Published by Arrow/Children S (a Division of Random House (2003)
ISBN 10: 0099280760 ISBN 13: 9780099280767
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