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Christ Actually: The Son of God for the…
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Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age

by James Carroll

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In a way, this book is Carroll's answer to the question of Christian anti-Semitism he posed in "Constantine's Sword". What can we say, how can we believe, in God after the Holocaust and Hiroshima? he asks, and then he pursues and comes up with a solid, reasonable answer, through examining the realities of Jewish life in Roman-ruled Palestine. Jesus, Carroll concludes, faced his own version of that question and answered that we are safe in God's love and forgiveness not matter what our weakness,no matter what our suffering. He summarizes a good deal of recent Jesus scholarship but the core of this book rests on Ched Myers' "Binding The Strong Man" and on those who have asked that question about how we believe after the tragedies of the 1940s and every decade since. ( )
  nmele | Jul 6, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670786039, Hardcover)

A New York Times bestselling and widely admired Catholic writer explores how we can retrieve transcendent faith in modern times

Critically acclaimed and bestselling author James Carroll has explored every aspect of Christianity, faith, and Jesus Christ except this central one: 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 of the twentieth century and the drift from religion that
followed?

What 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. He retrieves the
power of Jesus’ profound ordinariness, as an answer to his own last question—what is the future of Jesus Christ?—as the key to a renewal of faith.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:08 -0400)

What can we believe about--and how can we believe in--Jesus Christ in light of the atrocities of the twentieth century and the drift from religion that followed? Here, James Carroll traces centuries of religious history and theology to face this core challenge to modern faith. Carroll's search is a highly personal one, beginning with a crucial received memory of Jesus that separates him from his essential identity as a Jew, and therefore as a human. The divinity of Jesus trumped his humanity, including his Jewishness. Yet if Jesus was not taken as divine, he would be of no interest to believers. Thus Carroll takes the God-man question head-on, restoring its perennial answer, but in a new way. Drawing on a wide range of scholarship as well as his own acute searching, Carroll shows how faith in Jesus evolved in the first place. His fresh reading of the Gospels reinstates the context of the Romans' effectively genocidal war against the Jews, a first Holocaust that profoundly distorted the Christian memory of Jesus. In this retrieval, the great characters in Jesus' story, from John the Baptist and Peter to Paul and the various Marys, come to life in a new context. Far from another book about the "historical Jesus," Christ Actually takes the challenges of secularism seriously. The new fact of the human condition, that we are capable now of bringing about the extinction of our species, must change the meaning of faith. Humans of all stripes continue to long for the transcendent, and it is as a figure of transcendence that Jesus Christ most compellingly stands. Finally, Carroll retrieves the power of Jesus' profound ordinariness, his simple life and his call to imitate him, all suggesting an answer to Carroll's own last question--what is the future of Jesus Christ? This book points the way. --From publisher description.… (more)

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