Book Reviews — 05 December 2011
Jesus – Marcus J. Borg

Author: Marcus J. Borg ~ Uncovering the life, teachings, and relevance of a religious revolutionary ~

Review by Rob Dutton

The title of this book draws immediate attention to the Theological direction its author invites his readers to pursue. A “religious” one.  Borg writes with the authority and persuasiveness one would expect from a Theological Academic.

M. J. Borg was Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University until his retirement in 2007. He is now Canon Theologian at Trinity Cathedral in Portland and is the author of eighteen books.

With readable eloquence and considerable biblical insight,  Borg pictures the world Jesus ministered in. He provides useful and interesting insight of the historical, social, religious and political times Jesus was born into, raised under, and ministered in.

Against this back-drop, Borg details the ministry of Jesus Christ using Scripture to describe “the shaping of Jesus”. He uses a “five stroke profile” to portray the Son of God as “a Jewish mystic; a healer and exorcist; a wisdom teacher; a prophet”;  and “a movement initiator.” The author comes to his understanding from the Gospels, which he views as “a combination of historical memory and metaphorical narrative – not to be interpreted literally and factually”, rather than “a divine product which is inerrant”.  He sees the Gospels as early Christianity’s story of Jesus and not God’s story of Jesus.

Sadly, for this reader, the prominence and honour of the name of JESUS on the cover, is not reflected in the “revelation” of its pages.  To me, the sacred truths of the Scriptures are discarded and discredited by Borg’s beliefs and eloquent arguments. The miraculous acts of a supernatural wonder-working God, are explained away, as “metaphorical symbolic narrative” rather than historically factual events, and indeed “Truth”.

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