Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: Jesus: A Theography by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

I received this Advanced Reader's Copy of Jesus: A Theography from Present Testimony Ministry as a part of Frank Viola's Book Launch Team.

For the first time in a long time, I picked up a book to read on a topic of which I was very unaware:  the presence of Jesus throughout the entire Bible.  Over the years, I had heard about the idea of the pre-incarnate Jesus (which usually was just a checklist of "here's where Jesus appeared), but had not paid it much mind.  Until now.

The back cover of the book states that "Biographies of Jesus generally have been written by those trying to investigate the historical Jesus, with little attention given to the grand narrative of Scripture. On the flip side, those interested in tracing the theology of Scripture are typically disinterested in historical Jesus studies. These two approaches have yet to converge. . . until now."

To combine these two ideas is fascinating to me, and to see how Sweet and Viola weave the narrative of Jesus from Creation to The Return of The King made me want to pick up my Bible and compare notes as I read along (in hindsight, having a Bible and a notebook to jot things down in while reading would be something that I highly recommend--simply highlighting text isn't enough!).

I can't begin to imagine the amount of work that went into creating this book.  The endnotes are extensive; there are over 80 in the introduction alone.  I greatly appreciated that the authors did this; it shows they are willing to let anyone see what they used and where their ideas originated.

While I can't speak for the veracity of their premise and what actual Biblical scholars (of which I am not) might have to say about it, I found it to be a worthwhile read that sparked my curiosity and kicked my questioning and wondering brain into gear.  Rather than just telling someone about the Bible, reading this book encourages one to go to the Bible itself to explore the claims.  In this, Sweet and Viola place the focus on Jesus, as it should be.

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