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Jesus: A Very Short Introduction [#275]
Jesus: A Very Short Introduction [#275]
  • Attributes the four Gospels of the New Testament as the source and inspiration of every interpretation of Jesus
  • Focusses on his 'humanity' and role within the the Christian faith
  • Portrays a diversity of opinions about Jesus for both believers and non-believers
  • Explores his identity, from the wise teacher and interpreter of the Law of Moses, to the charismatic miracle worker and the prophet of the coming kingdom of God
  • Discusses how Jesus became the object of Christian faith and worship

Two billion people today identify as Christians, with the implication that Jesus is the focus of their relationship with God, and their way of living in the world. Such followers of Jesus are now more numerous and make up a greater proportion of the world's population than ever before. Despite its decline in the West, Christianity is rapidly increasing in areas such as Africa and China. 
Richard Bauckham explores the historical figure of Jesus, evaluating the sources and concluding that they provide us with good historical evidence for his life and teaching. In order to place Jesus in his proper historical context, as a Jew from Galilee in the early first century of our era, Bauckham looks at Jewish religion and society in the land of Israel under Roman rule. He explores Jesus' symbolic practices as well as his teachings, looks at his public career and emphasises how his actions, such as healing and his association with notorious sinners, were just as important as his words.
Bauckham shows that Jesus was devoted to the God of Israel, with a special focus on God's fatherly love and compassion, and like every Jewish teacher he expounded the Torah, but did so in his own distinctive way. With a discussion about the way Jesus understood himself and what finally led to his death as a criminal on a Roman cross, he concludes by considering the significance Jesus has come to have for Christian faith worldwide.


1: A universal icon
2: The sources
3: Jesus in his first-century context
4: Enacting the kingdom of God
5: Teaching the kingdom of God
6: A question of identity
7: Death and a new beginning
8: Jesus in Christian faith

About the author: 

Richard Bauckham was Professor of New Testament and Bishop Wardlaw Professor at the University of St Andrews. He has written many books including Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, which won the 2007 Book Award in Biblical Studies from Christianity Today and The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John (2007). He has also written numerous articles and is recognized as a world authority on the New Testament.

"Balanced scholarly insight." - The Furrow

"Where the book soars is in Bauckman's introduction to Jesus as a historical figure ... there is a very good possibility that this becomes a standard text in university courses on Jesus and Christianity" - Anthony Le Donne, Theology Magazine

"This book is a very good introduction to Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament, with an impressive amount of scholarship in small space, that sheds light on some of the texts and stories which are often read with little appreciation of their contextual richness." - Alan Sage, Literature and Theology

"Bauckman offers a fresh and significantly new methodological angle on the life, ministry and portrayals of Jesus in the four canonical Gospels. ... Chapter by chapter Bauckman's methodological lens sheds new light on a variety of themes and topics in the Gospels. ... I find it difficult to come up with substantial criticism of this book." - Frederik Mulder, Churchman

Product details

ISBN : 9780199575275

Richard Bauckham
144 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Jul 2011
Very Short Introductions
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Jesus: A Very Short Introduction [#275]

Jesus: A Very Short Introduction [#275]

Jesus: A Very Short Introduction [#275]