The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Peasant, prophet or Spirit person?

Sampling 1990s biographies of Jesus

Numerous scholars have produced historical biographies of Jesus during the 1990s. Here is a sample of their conclusions.

Marcus J. Borg--Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Harper & Row, 1994.

Borg sees Jesus as a Jewish mystic, a charismatic "Spirit person" intent on revitalizing Israel. He claimed an intimacy with God, referring to the deity as "abba," "Daddy." Jesus experienced visions and other encounters with divine reality that he believed empowered him to initiate a religious movement that placed compassion over the concern for purity. Jesus opposed "the politics of holiness" that categorized people as "clean" or "unclean," Jew or Gentile. His vision led him to be considered a subversive social reformer.

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