Albert Nolan offers us his glimpse of Jesus before the church added the flair. Jesus Before Christianity attempts to reveal Jesus as a man who is filled with compassion for the dregs of Jewish society.
We read that by opting to be baptized by John, Jesus was revealing how he was going to do business.
This book falls into the quest-for-the-historical-Jesus category. Nolan just about dismisses any divine/miraculous events recorded in the gospels. A prime example is the feeding of the 5,000. Nolan points out that it probably wasn't just the fish and loaves the disciples had which fed the multitude; the crowed probably had pockets of food throughout, but the miracle was that Jesus showed them how, if they all shared, everyone would be fed and there would be leftovers.
I enjoyed reading some of the contextual insights about Jewish lifestyle, their approach to time and politics. I also liked Nolan's views on the kingdom of God and how Jesus viewed it's coming and existence. However, I find it interesting that many of these historical Jesus writers tend to dismiss anything written about Jesus being God as snippets that were added later once the church began to grow.
Both sides of the debate interpret scriptures differently and they both pick & choose at some level.
If you can keep you head about you, Jesus Before Christianity is a terrific read for those desiring to learn about the times.
This book was provided for review by Orbis Books.