Rediscovering Jesus: An Introduction to Biblical, Religious, and Cultural Perspectives on Christ by
David B. Capes, Rodney Reeves, and E. Randolph Richards is a calculated investigation into nearly every corner of today’s Christological landscape. The perspectives presented in this book are numerous and the presentation is everything but boring. From the opening pages, the authors captivate the reader with illustrative narratives that are easily relatable and appropriately placed.
Each chapter of the book has three specific parts. First, the authors seek to clarify who Jesus is in relation to a particular perspective discussed. Second, the authors aim to articulate the more unique features of Jesus from within that perspective and how it is distinctive. Third, the authors attempt to discuss a hypothetical situation where that perspective of Jesus is the only perspective available to the conversation.
Rediscovering Jesus is divided into two major parts: (1) Jesus in the Bible and (2) Jesus outside the Bible. In the former, the authors guide the reader through the New Testament as they examine the portrait of Jesus painted in (1) Mark, (2) Matthew, (3) Luke-Acts, (4) John, (5) Pauline literature, (6) Hebrews, (7) James, Peter, and Jude, and (8) Revelation. In the latter, the reader is guided through various sketches of Jesus in (9) Gnostic literature, (10) the Quran, (11) history, (12) Mormonism, (13) America, and (14) the cinema.
The authors are sensitive to the fact that the majority understanding of Jesus is traceable back to either Paul, John, or some closely knit combination of both. I found the work shown on this observation to be accurate and important to the topic. The authors provide excellent guidance through each New Testament book. The discussion is informative and displays a keen eye of surveillance regarding the variegated portraits of Jesus presented therein—especially when one considers some of the more unusual books surveyed.
As the attention is directed to religious and cultural views of Jesus outside the Bible. I personally found the selection of perspectives for this section interesting and well-intended. Each of these perspectives could be encountered with some level of frequency by the average Christian in America, and the conversation and examination are all too appropriate. Still, I would have loved to have seen a chapter on the Jehovah Witnesses or Judaism. Of course, I am well aware that perspectives of Jesus outside the Bible could produce a volume much longer than that here.
There are a number of things about this book that I really enjoyed. First and foremost, it was extremely readable and highly engaging. I found myself unable to put it down as I became more familiar with the format and anticipated the outcome of each chapter. Second, I really thought the authors made an excellent choice to wrestle with the hypothetical of each perspective being our only source of information about Jesus. It was well-thought and interesting to ponder. Third, each chapter has a number of call-out boxes that provide additional content on the specific perspective that is both informationally and practically oriented.
Rediscovering Jesus: An Introduction to Biblical, Religious, and Cultural Perspectives on Christ by David B. Capes, Rodney Reeves, and E. Randolph Richards is an easy candidate for a supplementary textbook for a seminary course. However, this does not mean that it is purely an academic work. In fact, you will find that it is quite the opposite. Rediscovering Jesus is an inviting book that will make you ponder long and hard about your understanding of Jesus—or lack thereof. If you are interested in a book that will challenge you to contemplate your answer to Jesus’ question—who do you say that I am?—then this is a book you will indeed not want to miss.
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.