Friday, September 2, 2011

Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity, Ch 5, Jesus the Heart of Reality

Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity, Ch 5, Jesus the Heart of Reality (Part 1)

One of Borg central tenants of been a Christian is Jesus. But how he understands Jesus is quite different from a typical Evangelical/Pentecostal understanding. 

Borg makes the claim that Christianity is unique in that it reveals God through a person Jesus. While in other religions this is found in the Torah or Qur'an.

Borg has five reasons why he believes seeing Jesus with a new paradigm matters.

  1. The historical-metaphorical approach matters because a Jesus and the Christian life based on literalism are 'unpersuasive' to  many many people.  The historical older paradigm emphasizes the literal and the unbelievable which goes with it.
  2. The importance of a Pre-Easter and Post-Easter Jesus. 
    1. Pre-Easter is before Jesus Death
    2. Post-Easter is after his death or 'what Jesus became' after his death. This is important and something which I hadn't really thought about before. Post-Easter his disciple and ourselves continue to experience Jesus even after his death.
  3.  One you get your head around the pre and post Easter Jesus they have a profound effect on how you understand the Gospels.  Some of Borgs conclusions are::
    • The Gospels are a continuation of the Post Jesus Tradition witten decades after Jesus actual death.
    • Gospels have two stories, the pre Easter Jesus and then other traditions and understanding of the community afterwards.
  4. The historical-metaphorical approach matters because it helps with our understanding of Christological language. 
  5. The last and fifth reason the historical-metaphorical study of Jesus matter is because in Jesus we get a glimpse of what a full life of God is like. Borg gives us what he thinks with a fair bit of certainty to be what we know of Jesus Pre-Easter. (Much of what Borg writes about the historical Jesus can also be read in Dominic Crossan's book 'The Historical Jesus', both have very similar ideas even if the terms they use are different)
  • He was a Jesus Mystic, who had 'vivid and typical frequent experiences of God.
  • He was a healer. Healers were also found in Jewish history.
  • He was a wisdom teacher, 'they teach a way, a path, a life'
  • He was a social prophet, much like many of the Old Testement historical figures
  • He was a movment initiator, a movment came about because of his life.
Stay tuned for part 2....

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