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April 05 , 2011

Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age


What can we believe about, and how can we believe in, Jesus in the twenty first century, in light of the Holocaust and other atrocities, and the drift from religion that followed? The key lies in Jesus’ Jewishness. What New York Times bestselling author James Carroll has discovered through decades of writing and lecturing, is that he is far from alone in clinging to a received memory of Jesus that separates him from his crucial identity as a Jew, and therefore as a human. Yet if Jesus was not taken as divine, he would be of no interest to us. What can that mean now? Paradoxically, the key is his permanent Jewishness. No Christian himself, Jesus actually transcends Christianity. Drawing on both a wide range of scholarship as well as his own acute searching as a believer, Carroll takes a fresh look at the most familiar narratives of all – Matthew, Mark,Luke, and John. Far from another book about the “historical Jesus,” he takes the challenges of science and contemporary philosophy seriously. Starting with Bonhoeffer’s question written in his Nazi cell – “What is bothering me incessantly is the question – Who Christ actually is for us today?”, he retrieves the power of Jesus’ profound ordinariness as an answer both to this question and as the key to a renewal of faith for us all.
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