Hot Best Seller

Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture

Availability: Ready to download

“A rich and expansive description of Jesus’ impact on the general history of culture. . . . Believers and skeptics alike will find it a sweeping visual and conceptual panorama.”—John Koenig, front page, New York Times Book Review Called "a book of uncommon brilliance" by Commonweal, Jesus Through the Centuries is an original and compelling study of the impact of Jesus on c “A rich and expansive description of Jesus’ impact on the general history of culture. . . . Believers and skeptics alike will find it a sweeping visual and conceptual panorama.”—John Koenig, front page, New York Times Book Review Called "a book of uncommon brilliance" by Commonweal, Jesus Through the Centuries is an original and compelling study of the impact of Jesus on cultural, political, social, and economic history. Noted historian and theologian Jaroslav Pelikan reveals how the image of Jesus created by each successive epoch—from rabbi in the first century to liberator in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—is a key to understanding the temper and values of that age. "An enlightening and often dramatic story . . . as stimulating as it is informative.”—John Gross, New York Times “A gracious little masterpiece.”—Thomas D'Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor  


Compare

“A rich and expansive description of Jesus’ impact on the general history of culture. . . . Believers and skeptics alike will find it a sweeping visual and conceptual panorama.”—John Koenig, front page, New York Times Book Review Called "a book of uncommon brilliance" by Commonweal, Jesus Through the Centuries is an original and compelling study of the impact of Jesus on c “A rich and expansive description of Jesus’ impact on the general history of culture. . . . Believers and skeptics alike will find it a sweeping visual and conceptual panorama.”—John Koenig, front page, New York Times Book Review Called "a book of uncommon brilliance" by Commonweal, Jesus Through the Centuries is an original and compelling study of the impact of Jesus on cultural, political, social, and economic history. Noted historian and theologian Jaroslav Pelikan reveals how the image of Jesus created by each successive epoch—from rabbi in the first century to liberator in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—is a key to understanding the temper and values of that age. "An enlightening and often dramatic story . . . as stimulating as it is informative.”—John Gross, New York Times “A gracious little masterpiece.”—Thomas D'Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor  

30 review for Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    This is not a book of devotions or inspiration (and I imply no condescension towards those genres, having read many myself)but an intellectual history of theology, culture and the arts. Pelikan's command of the scholarship is superb, even, at the risk of gushing, awe-inspiring. I found myself making marginal notes all over the place to look up innumerable authors and texts whose work he cites, some famous and some I'd never heard of. Each chapter, roughly 12-15 pgs, covers a different image or c This is not a book of devotions or inspiration (and I imply no condescension towards those genres, having read many myself)but an intellectual history of theology, culture and the arts. Pelikan's command of the scholarship is superb, even, at the risk of gushing, awe-inspiring. I found myself making marginal notes all over the place to look up innumerable authors and texts whose work he cites, some famous and some I'd never heard of. Each chapter, roughly 12-15 pgs, covers a different image or cultural perception of Jesus -- The King of Kings; The Universal Man; The Poet of the Spirit; The Liberator; etc -- and though organized chronologically, with some thematic progression, one needn't read it in that order or even the entire book to learn much. The chp headings encourage one to jump around. Dense with information but lucidly written, each chapter could be read as single essay. I found each chp so packed with fascinating information that I never read more than one at a time. Pelikan comes across as a calm, pleasant and brilliant scholar whom I imagine holding an 8am lecture hall of 300 students in rapt attention. He does an impressive job of drawing connections among multiple concepts and sources with clarity. His main strategy throughout is providing an overview of different periods, illustrated with a close reading of primary sources -- Gospels, Augustine, etc -- and scholarship, from the relevant period and current. Many of the chps raise issues still debated today. For example, Pelikan says that Jefferson did not believe in the concept of the Trinity, but rather admired the the historical Jesus as a man of common sense and universal virtue; an interesting portrait that lends complexity and nuance to the current argument that Founding Father's vision of America was that of a Christian nation. This book has something for readers of many interests: history, religion, philosophy, art, social justice. For lovers of literature, for example, his readings of writers as diverse the Romantics and Dostoevsky is fascinating. As a note of caution, I should add that this book is not an easy read; it requires your undivided attention. Not becasue it's difficult to understand, but because Pelikan presents so much detailed information. Because he's often drawing connections, he tends to write in long sentences with extended subordination. They are not in the least convoluted, but they do demand a level of sustained attention that might challenge those of us with attention spans stunted by rapid collage commercials and online surfing (and I included myself in that category). I read it over the course of 3-4 months, with breaks, but in the end I found it so rewarding that I'm sure I'll be picking it up and rereading certain chapters again and again.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    Picked this up in a San Francisco resale shop. There were three hardcover copies, all with different prices, making this purchase a satisfying one. Pelikan has impressed me with his scholarship in the past. This, however, is more an impressionistic piece about different facets of the Jesus figure as they reflect back on the historical periods which focused on them. It is as much about Pelikan's sense of Western European history and culture as it is about Jesus-as-archetype. I suppose such a study Picked this up in a San Francisco resale shop. There were three hardcover copies, all with different prices, making this purchase a satisfying one. Pelikan has impressed me with his scholarship in the past. This, however, is more an impressionistic piece about different facets of the Jesus figure as they reflect back on the historical periods which focused on them. It is as much about Pelikan's sense of Western European history and culture as it is about Jesus-as-archetype. I suppose such a study might be done scientifically by the analysis of myriads of texts and artistic productions, but there was no such effort made here. Pelikan's impressions are not ill-informed, there are occasional bursts of illuminating insight, but they wouldn't stand up well to criticism or equally educated counterimpressions.

  3. 5 out of 5

    The other John

    Yet another treasure snapped up at the Friends of the Seattle Public Library book sale. This book is a brief look at the perception of Jesus through the centuries by the "Christian" culture. While Jesus Himself has not changed over the centuries, the way His followers perceive Him has. Pelikan breaks the book up into 18 different roles that have at one point in history been the dominant perception of Jesus of Nazareth. In each chapter, Pelikan explains the concept, showcases those who held it an Yet another treasure snapped up at the Friends of the Seattle Public Library book sale. This book is a brief look at the perception of Jesus through the centuries by the "Christian" culture. While Jesus Himself has not changed over the centuries, the way His followers perceive Him has. Pelikan breaks the book up into 18 different roles that have at one point in history been the dominant perception of Jesus of Nazareth. In each chapter, Pelikan explains the concept, showcases those who held it and shows how it in turn is reflected in their actions. It's fascinating how so many can take the same source material, the Bible, and see different things in it. It's also a bit humbling as I'm forced to realize that my own beliefs about Jesus are not necessarily a pure doctrine delivered directly to me by the Holy Spirit, but rather are teachings that have been handed down and flavored by generations of scholars, philosophers and teachers. And maybe even a prophet or two. This is a must read for those interested in Jesus and history, which is why it's going on my shelf.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    A fascinating account of how the image of Jesus shifts over time and place. I especially enjoyed the chapters on St. Francis of Assisi, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Thomas Jefferson.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Review title: Picturing Jesus Pelikan, best known for his multiple-volume history of Christian creeds, here has written a short study of how Jesus has been displayed, interpreted, and most importantly perceived by cultures since his appearance on earth. Chapter by chapter, Pelikan moves chronologically through the 2.000 years of history and geographically through the spread of Christianity. Culture, specifically the way people have responded to Jesus, is expressed in many ways: art, literature, r Review title: Picturing Jesus Pelikan, best known for his multiple-volume history of Christian creeds, here has written a short study of how Jesus has been displayed, interpreted, and most importantly perceived by cultures since his appearance on earth. Chapter by chapter, Pelikan moves chronologically through the 2.000 years of history and geographically through the spread of Christianity. Culture, specifically the way people have responded to Jesus, is expressed in many ways: art, literature, religious orthodoxy and heterodoxy, politics, historiography, biography, lifestyles, science, revolution, and civil war. Beyond question, given the breadth and depth of this list, Jesus's place in culture is at its very center. Any study of Jesus must start with his history, as recorded in the Gospel, interpreted by the apostles in the rest of the New Testament, and in the prophecies of the Old. But even that terminology is freighted with the impact of Jesus on history, religion, and culture. It is easy to forget, as Pelikan reminds us, that at the time the prophets' writings were collected into the Hebrew scriptures, Jesus was an unknown presence. It is only with his birth and the intensely personal and powerful following that he left behind after crucifixion that the prophets' words were interpreted to predict the man Jesus, and that the Hebrew scriptures became the "Old" in comparison to the "New" testament that was written and collected by key members of that personal following. The first centuries after Jesus his impact was focused on defining just who he was: human or divine, body or spirit. That presence was expressed in early Christian creeds, then began to be expressed in art, but even art became a battleground of dogma: As the defenders of the gospel against the Greeks had long been able to quote the best of the Greeks in insisting, the requirement both of the Platonic tradition and of the Gospel of John, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth," was being violated whenever the outward physical picture was substituted for the spirit and whenever the deception of the icon replaced the truth. The Christian opponents of images in Byzantium during the eighth and ninth centuries, therefore, had behind them a distinguished history--Jewish, Greek, and Christian--of the struggle to extricate the divine from he unworthy physical representations of the divine. Jesus Christ himself was the True Image, every other image was false. (p. 88) If you had to reread this quote more than once to grasp it, you have uncovered the biggest reason I only rated Jesus three stars. Pelikan writes like a theologian, even on a book like this one that is likely to be read by laymen. But even the language he writes in, the vernacular English based on the vernacular German and Latin roots, is itself an artifact of the cultural impact of Jesus. Martin Luther's translation of the Bible to German, and King James's translation by committee of the Bible to English established the modern versions of those languages: "Latin had truly achieved the status of a world language only when Jerome's Vulgate translation of the Bible had opened a new chapter in the history of the language. So also the various Reformation translations of Bible into the vernacular, with Luther's in the vanguard, became turning points for their languages in turn--a process that has continued, with additional languages, ever since." (p. 160) The Christian impetus to missionary service carried that impact to the ends of the earth and expressed itself in the translation of the Bible to hundreds of new languages to spread the gospel, an effort which often required capturing spoken language in written alphabet and vocabulary for the first time. Through these efforts, Jesus became "The Man Who Belongs to the World", in the words of one of Pelikan's chapter headings. As the Christian world expanded around the globe and encountered other world religions like Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, the question of the primacy of Jesus as the only way to God had to be addressed. Pelikan quotes the Second Vatican Council of 1965 before concluding: For it is in that Gospel [of John] that Jesus speaks of himself as "the way, the truth, and the life" and says that no one comes to the Father except through him. And yet that same Gospel provided the epigraph for the universalism of the Enlightenment's portrait of Jesus; for the Gospel of John declares in its prologue that the Logos-Word of God, incarnate in Jesus, enlightens everyone who comes into the world. By citing the authority of both passages, the Second Vatican Council sought to affirm universality and particularity simultaneously and to ground both of them in the figure of Jesus. (p. 231) So, the account of Jesus's place in the history of culture and in history itself comes down to this: who is this Jesus who is at the center of my world, and what claim does he have to be in the center of my life?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Freya Magnusson

    This was a selected book for a Bible study group I joined at Grace Cathedral in SF and though I enjoyed it, I found it was very heady and challenging to read without a solid, clear, intricate knowledge of historical religious events--much can be lost on the reader. Yet there are gems within this book and especially at the end where it tells of the revival of the idea of Jesus the Jew as a result of the holocaust by the Vatican and even German Christians shortly after the Holocaust in Easter Euro This was a selected book for a Bible study group I joined at Grace Cathedral in SF and though I enjoyed it, I found it was very heady and challenging to read without a solid, clear, intricate knowledge of historical religious events--much can be lost on the reader. Yet there are gems within this book and especially at the end where it tells of the revival of the idea of Jesus the Jew as a result of the holocaust by the Vatican and even German Christians shortly after the Holocaust in Easter Europe and their attitude change reflected by the church: "...especially since the Second World War, was the relation between Christianity and its parent faith, Judaism." p 231 "This rethinking of the relation between Christianity and Judaism was partly the consequence of the worldwide horror over the Holocaust, but partly it also came through a deepening of Christian understanding and reflection. The result was the most basic Christian reconsideration of the status of Judaism since the first century." p 232 "Ironically, the years of Nazi anti-Semitism and the Holocaust in Germany had also been the years in which Christians developed the new awareness of the Jewishness of Jesus, the apostles, and the New Testament, an awareness that receives expression in the language of the Vatican Council." p 232

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    Based on the title, I expected to read more about Jesus, but this volume is a look at church history as seen through the lens of how the church viewed Jesus at different time periods. Despite being only peripherally about Jesus, it is a unique view of church history that adds much to one's understanding of how the church has viewed, and changed its view of, Jesus through the ages. Mr. Pelikan shows how in response to this view of Jesus people have responded in action, started movements, undertak Based on the title, I expected to read more about Jesus, but this volume is a look at church history as seen through the lens of how the church viewed Jesus at different time periods. Despite being only peripherally about Jesus, it is a unique view of church history that adds much to one's understanding of how the church has viewed, and changed its view of, Jesus through the ages. Mr. Pelikan shows how in response to this view of Jesus people have responded in action, started movements, undertaken projects, and given their lives. This is the highlight of the book: seeing how a person's view of Jesus leads to action. Mr. Pelikan has his biases: he is heavily pro-Catholic; and he, like any historian, picks and chooses what to highlight. His writing style is elegant and a pleasure to read, with each short chapter arranged topically or epochally. This makes for a very informative, thought-provoking book that is a joy to read. This book will not give you a comprehensive overview of church history, but it is an enlightening read to see how people have viewed and responded to their view of Jesus through the centuries.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    Jaroslav Pelikan was a brilliant theological historian who wrote and taught extensively during the twentieth century. Though he worked as a scholar at the highest level during his life, his insight wit and intellectual breath are accessible to almost anyone in this survey of the understanding of Jesus throughout the centuries. Pelikan documents how the person and work of Jesus has influenced successive generations since his crucifixion during the days of the Roman Empire. What a generation honor Jaroslav Pelikan was a brilliant theological historian who wrote and taught extensively during the twentieth century. Though he worked as a scholar at the highest level during his life, his insight wit and intellectual breath are accessible to almost anyone in this survey of the understanding of Jesus throughout the centuries. Pelikan documents how the person and work of Jesus has influenced successive generations since his crucifixion during the days of the Roman Empire. What a generation honors about Jesus often reveals as much about their preoccupations as it does about Jesus' message. He was the Light to the Gentiles, the Cosmic Christ, the Focal Point of History to some He was the Conquering King or the Monk who ruled the world to others. He was the Preacher of Common Sense to the Enlightenment thinkers and the Liberator of the Oppressed to the volatile 20th century. Throughout this well-documented book Pelikan writes with great balance, insight and reverence. He shows that Jesus is in some sense all of these and yet is still more. This is a great work of history, theology and devotion.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David

    3.5 Not sure I have the kind of historians training needed to appreciate the full depth and breadth of Pelikan's research, but this was still an interesting, illuminating, and formative work. Gave me new appreciation for various historical figures and political/social movements throughout history. There were a few chapters that were largely so meandering that they were almost nonsensical, but that's probably because, again, I'm not a historian, and Pelikan got deep into the weeds at times. Bigges 3.5 Not sure I have the kind of historians training needed to appreciate the full depth and breadth of Pelikan's research, but this was still an interesting, illuminating, and formative work. Gave me new appreciation for various historical figures and political/social movements throughout history. There were a few chapters that were largely so meandering that they were almost nonsensical, but that's probably because, again, I'm not a historian, and Pelikan got deep into the weeds at times. Biggest critique however is his Western centrism. We hear nothing of intellectual developments of Christology or Christ in art, culture, or society across communities outside of Europe after he covered the 4th or 5th century. Felt like he missed a lot.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    Took a long time to read but well worth it. What I like about Pelikan's book is that you cannot pin him down to any particular theological viewpoint because his breadth of understanding and knowledge is so vast. It was written over 40 years ago so it would be interesting to know his interpretations given the accelerated developments of our modern ->post modern eras. For this reason I have just ordered "Dominion" by Tom Holland. In spite of the many varied interpretations over the centuries of th Took a long time to read but well worth it. What I like about Pelikan's book is that you cannot pin him down to any particular theological viewpoint because his breadth of understanding and knowledge is so vast. It was written over 40 years ago so it would be interesting to know his interpretations given the accelerated developments of our modern ->post modern eras. For this reason I have just ordered "Dominion" by Tom Holland. In spite of the many varied interpretations over the centuries of the person of Jesus Christ, in my mind, he towers above and eclipses then all.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danny

    I’ve read a lot of history text books. I enjoy many of them. This one, however, is one of the worst I’ve ever read. The author never makes his intention or purpose of writing clear. It is filled with uncredited presumptuous statements, and quotes that seem to be included to highlight the author’s intelligence rather than to help emphasize a point. I will say there is nothing wrong with the content of the book, but he sure has made the subjects of art, history and theology boring.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    “The later chapters of this book show that as respect for the organized church has declined, reverence for Jesus has grown. For the unity and variety of the portraits of ‘Jesus through the generations’ has demonstrated that there is more in him than is dreamt of in the philosophy and Christology of the theologians. Within the church, but also far beyond its walls, his person and and message are, in the phrase of Augustine, a ‘beauty ever ancient, ever new’ and now he belongs to the world.”

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Sverker

    A really quite unique introduction to christology and Christ through history. Pelikan is so obviously exceedingly learned that the amount of references can be a little overwhelming. I am not completely sure how easy this is to read as an introduction, but it is very impressive how Pelikan manages to link theological themes with cultural expressions throughout history.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dan Glover

    This is not a history of Christology but a history of Christ as perceived by various cultures and eras of history as seen in the art, politics and images of those cultures. Very interesting and very well written.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Supimpa

    An interesting approach to the history of Christology, and the element of its "mirroring" of the culture in which Christianity is interpreted. I had a hard time getting through this book for Regent College, because the relationship between the book and the course assignments was quite forceful.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joe Henry

    I feel a bit odd giving this work by such a renown scholar only a 3-star, but it's about how it was for me. I just didn't get too excited about it. I read it along with a men's discussion group, and it seemed we all had to work at it to get through it--just not my favorite.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    I learned so much from this book. It really helped me understand the New Testament and the Church theology and creeds that developed over the years. I plan on reading another of his books --- the one about Mary.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Good reference for how views of Jesus changed through the centuries.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melody Schwarting

    A fascinating look at Jesus in western cultural history, particularly within the church. There's a lot of Dostoevsky, and many great connections about Jesus' Jewish identity.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    I recently finished Jesus Through the Centuries. It’s definitely unlike anything I’ve read before. Having been introduced to the name Jaroslav Pelikan in the pages of Christian History magazine, I cannot be grateful enough for the experience of finally reading one of his works. Pelikan gives us a bird’s eye view of how the subject of Jesus has been treated by a variety of individuals over time. One will gain a greater appreciation for the early church fathers, particularly Augustine, as well as t I recently finished Jesus Through the Centuries. It’s definitely unlike anything I’ve read before. Having been introduced to the name Jaroslav Pelikan in the pages of Christian History magazine, I cannot be grateful enough for the experience of finally reading one of his works. Pelikan gives us a bird’s eye view of how the subject of Jesus has been treated by a variety of individuals over time. One will gain a greater appreciation for the early church fathers, particularly Augustine, as well as the influence of classic Greco-Roman culture in molding the popular image of Jesus in the early centuries of Christianity. How Jesus was viewed by both monks and mystics is also touched upon in this work. Regarding the former, Pelikan notes how early monasticism emerged as a reaction against unbiblical ideas that had infiltrated state-sponsored Christianity. Later on, readers will discover that Erasmus, after being inundated with complex medieval theology, sought to draw people back to a more Bible-based view of the Messiah. To add to this, we find how Martin Luther guided his own countrymen to discover Jesus as a relatable figure through the pages of his German New Testament. Readers are further made aware of how such otherwise great thinkers as Isaac Newton and Thomas Jefferson sought to water down biblical Christology during the Enlightenment period. Thankfully, a more biblical view of Jesus resurged through the Romantic poets, Russian authors such as Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and the German theologian Karl Barth. In addition to the fascinating prose, classic art is presented throughout this text. Also, Scripture is alluded to in occasionally unfamiliar, though helpful, ways on a number of occasions. I must say this work strengthened my faith at a much deeper level than some of the recent bestsellers have. Though it may take a while to digest, I simply can’t give enough praise for Jesus Through the Centuries.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    A magisterial analysis of the different emphases regarding Jesus of Nazareth's life and character throughout the ages and how cultures have been shaped by Jesus from the first century until now. The author highlights Jesus in context, the meeting of Jesus and Greek philosophy, Constantinian and Augustinian views of Jesus, the development of the monastic life, renewal in the late Middle Ages, views of Jesus during the Renaissance, Reformation, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism, and Jesus as a Lib A magisterial analysis of the different emphases regarding Jesus of Nazareth's life and character throughout the ages and how cultures have been shaped by Jesus from the first century until now. The author highlights Jesus in context, the meeting of Jesus and Greek philosophy, Constantinian and Augustinian views of Jesus, the development of the monastic life, renewal in the late Middle Ages, views of Jesus during the Renaissance, Reformation, the Enlightenment, and Romanticism, and Jesus as a Liberation and mission figure over the past two centuries. The author does well at showing how the portrayals of Jesus in the Gospels are understood throughout these centuries, how each successive group emphasized different aspects of His character, and how the figure and faith of Jesus shaped many aspects of those cultures, both in agreement and on account of disagreement. An excellent resource for understanding the history of Christianity and Western cultures.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Arthur

    Not sure at all how to put into words how deeply thoughtful and meaningful this book is. A friend of mine describes Pelikan as a "polymath," but I think that may be an understatement. Jesus and Mary Through the Centuries (companion texts) is at once a history of the world, specifically but not only the western world, a study of the beneficial and not so beneficial relationships between faith and culture, a demonstration of how the world has sought to understand and communicate the impacts (perso Not sure at all how to put into words how deeply thoughtful and meaningful this book is. A friend of mine describes Pelikan as a "polymath," but I think that may be an understatement. Jesus and Mary Through the Centuries (companion texts) is at once a history of the world, specifically but not only the western world, a study of the beneficial and not so beneficial relationships between faith and culture, a demonstration of how the world has sought to understand and communicate the impacts (personal, political, sociological, and so on) of Jesus and his mother on nearly everything. One is at once intimidated by the brilliance of these works and welcomed by the fluid elegance of a truly fine writer. For anyone interested in understanding the remarkable and problematic relationship between Christ and culture, this is a wonderful introduction and a book of directions about where to go next.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    I really can't say enough about this book. I know from talking to classmates that it's not for everyone, but I loved it. Pelikan does a exceptionally difficult task--looking at cultural history over a long period of time--so well that he makes it look easy. This isn't going to be the book for you if you're looking for highly technical discussions of theology or philosophy, or if you want in depth coverage of a particular time period, but if you're interested in a deftly interpreted overview of h I really can't say enough about this book. I know from talking to classmates that it's not for everyone, but I loved it. Pelikan does a exceptionally difficult task--looking at cultural history over a long period of time--so well that he makes it look easy. This isn't going to be the book for you if you're looking for highly technical discussions of theology or philosophy, or if you want in depth coverage of a particular time period, but if you're interested in a deftly interpreted overview of how Jesus has been approached over the last 2000 years, you couldn't do better. This book made me think and reflect in many new ways on both Jesus and history, which makes it both rare and precious. I look forward to reading it again over a shorter period of time, which I'm sure would provoke different insights than reading it piecemeal over the course of two semesters.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul Patterson

    Comprehensive yet succinct overview of Jesus images. Depending on the tradition the reader comes from these images will be attractive or repelling. My prejudice is to see Jesus in human, historical and ethical terms and as an exemplar of normative humanity and yet a mirror of God. These images and much more are found within the book. I was not drawn to either the scholastic images or the Platonic or mystic that seem more dependent onthe Perrenial Tradition than the Scriptural texts or Jewish con Comprehensive yet succinct overview of Jesus images. Depending on the tradition the reader comes from these images will be attractive or repelling. My prejudice is to see Jesus in human, historical and ethical terms and as an exemplar of normative humanity and yet a mirror of God. These images and much more are found within the book. I was not drawn to either the scholastic images or the Platonic or mystic that seem more dependent onthe Perrenial Tradition than the Scriptural texts or Jewish context. All in all the whole is worth reading with the important question, "Who do you say I am?" Pelikan's last word seems to advocate for a universal-particularism that I find extremely attractive.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael Laminack

    This is such a fascinating read. Pelikan walks through different artistic depictions of Jesus throughout history, describing for each the biblical, philosophical, and cultural roots of each image. The unique contribution of the book is that the reader is provided an image to study and the knowledge to recognize theological implications of the image within its historical context. It's rare for an academic work to so successfully integrate visual and verbal illustration as this book accomplishes.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Roger Burk

    Dispassionate account of the various ways Jesus has been regarded, from the first century to the twentieth. Not much to be learned, except that there's not much to be learned. Each century looks through the same Gospels, decides what to ignore in order to get a picture of Jesus that seems plausible to them, and comes up with a totally different idea of the character of Jesus. You can believe one of them, or you can believe the evangelists who either were or talked to eye-witnesses.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

    This is a fantastic book that deals with how different eras/cultures have pictured the figure of Jesus. This is a must-read for every Christian who is interested in exploring perspectives other than their own on "who Jesus is," and in wrestling with some huge questions regarding his significance for various fields of inquiry. It is, however, written in particularly academic prose, and assumes some general knowledge about church history.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Reyes

    I read this for a class, but would probably have read it in my downtime just as easily. Pelikan takes the reader through eras in western history and analyzes the popular view of Jesus in that specific time and place. He also works in paralells with art, saints, etc.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Do you think Jesus has always been the person whom christian profess to have a "deep, personal relationship" with? Think again! This book outlines how the person of Jesus has been viewed throughout history and how it has changed over time to meet the needs of the contemporary culture in every case.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Very interesting to see how each culture has interpreted and emphasized different aspects of Jesus. To the Jew, Jesus becomes a Messianic Jew. To the Greek, he has more Grecian/Mediterranean features with more emphasis on his divinity. Etc.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.