The Changing Faces of Jesus

Geza Vermes

Published by Viking Adult, 2001
ISBN 10: 0670894516 / ISBN 13: 9780670894512
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Synopsis: A world-renowned scholar explores the New Testament writings about Jesus that have defined two millennia of Christian belief, worship, and speculation.

Geza Vermes is internationally recognized for his pioneering biblical scholarship as well as for his definitive English-language translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Now, in his latest work, he takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the New Testament to reveal the true historical figure of Jesus hidden beneath the oldest Gospels.

How was this Palestinian charismatic transformed by later generations into the heavenly savior elaborated by the Christian Church? Vermes acts as a sensitive, learned, and thought-provoking guide. His brilliant account presents the fruit of both a lifetime's scholarship and a lifelong quest to understand a solitary giant among Jewish prophets.

Review: The Changing Faces of Jesus is a reflection on the ways that translations of Scripture have transformed believers' understandings of Jesus. Author Geza Vermes, a biblical scholar perhaps best known for his English translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, reviews the varying portraits of Jesus in Scripture, particularly focusing on the letters of Paul and the Gospel of John. The author contends that, "by the end of the first century Christianity had lost sight of the real Jesus and of the original meaning of his message." The real Jesus, a "religious man with an irresistible charismatic charm," was replaced by "Jesus the Christ, the transcendent object of the Christian religion." Vermes avoids the polemic tone often adopted by scholars who make similar arguments. Here is an example of the modest style in which this author makes his momentous claims:

As a historian I consider Jesus, the primitive church and the New Testament as part and parcel of first-century Judaism and seek to read them as such rather than through the eyes of a theologian who may often be conditioned, and subconsciously influenced, by two millennia of Christian belief and church directives.
This tone will help readers--even those predisposed to disagree with Vermes--to understand his argument that religious belief has skewed understanding of the central figure of the Christian religion. --Michael Joseph Gross

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Title: The Changing Faces of Jesus
Publisher: Viking Adult
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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