Jesus and the Gospel Movement: Not Afraid to Be Partners

Jesus and the Gospel Movement: Not Afraid to Be Partners

Jesus and the Gospel Movement: Not Afraid to Be Partners

Jesus and the Gospel Movement: Not Afraid to Be Partners


The disciples. Mary Magdalene. Lazarus. The New Testament tells of Jesus, to be sure, but it is a Jesus depicted in interaction with many other people. Far too often, Jesus has been studied in isolation rather than as a person sharing relationships. This book seeks to rediscover Jesus in relation to the movement beginning to form around him. One of the few books to explore fully the political dimensions of the emerging church, Jesus and the Gospel Movement brings studies of Jesus and Christology into dialogue with today's social and political sciences. William Thompson-Uberuaga seeks to penetrate the mist surrounding the historical Jesus by inviting readers to imagine him through the perspective of his relationships and to consider how those relationships helped shape his personality and commitments--not just the intellectual aspects but also his feelings, his affectionate bonds, and the reciprocal bonds he stimulated in others. This extended meditation represents the first book-length engagement with Voegelin scholarship on these issues, and scholars in Voegelin studies will find a challenging appropriation of that thinker's political philosophy. It also draws on insights of other philosophers ranging from Nietzsche to Derrida, with a particular emphasis on Gadamer's hermeneutical thought. Useful for courses in Jesus studies, Christology, and Christianity and politics, the text also features an Internet link to supplements accompanying each chapter, which have been written by the author especially for this book to enable students and readers to delve deeper into the thicket of scholarly debates concerning these issues. Thompson-Uberuaga asks readers to imagine the various beliefs about Jesus as the result of forms of participation, helping us make sense of how they emerged and offering a way of evaluating their validity--and arguing that we will form only a narrow, even lopsided view of Jesus if we consider him apart from his relationships. By daring a personal interpretation of Jesus and the Gospel movement that he and his companions originated, this book boldly challenges readers to risk their own interpretations and arrive at their own understanding of the Messiah.


This book is largely about relationships. It is about Jesus, but it wagers that we ought to try to imagine Jesus through the perspective of his relationships. We naturally think of him as developing relationships with his apostles and disciples and other interested observers, teaching them and seeking to form their characters in various ways. But this book asks the reader to consider the reverse as well, that is, how all of these helped to shape and form his personality and commitments. Relationships work both ways. This book also strives to widen our imaginations about these circles of relationships. Parents, siblings, relatives, and friends certainly comprise significant circles of relationships, as do teachers, students, civil and religious authorities, those who are antagonistic toward us, our ancestors, and many others. This book wagers that we will form a rather narrow and even lopsided view of Jesus if we abstract him from his relationships. He will become the odd man out.

The New Testament is largely a book of relationships. It writes of Jesus, to be sure, but it is a Jesus in interaction with many others. The New Testament was also written by people who had relationships with Jesus. Perhaps this relationship was not immediate; but if not, it then was the result of a process of circles of people who were in varying shades of relationship with Jesus, or in relationships with others who knew him and had experienced him.

And on the circles of relationship go. The history of the Jesus movement is a long and complex process of multiple relationships, extending into our present and showing no signs of letting up.

It has occurred to this author, as it has occurred to others too, that the . . .

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