The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic
John Shelby Spong, bestselling author and popular proponent of a modern, scholarly and authentic Christianity, argues that this last gospel to be written was misinterpreted by the framers of the fourth-century creeds to be a literal account of the life of Jesus when in fact it is a literary, interpretive retelling of the events in Jesus’ life through the medium of fictional characters, from Nicodemus and Lazarus to the “Beloved Disciple.” The Fourth Gospel was designed first to place Jesus into the context of the Jewish scriptures, then to place him into the worship patterns of the synagogue and finally to allow him to be viewed through the lens of a popular form of first-century Jewish mysticism.
The result of this intriguing study is not only to recapture the original message of this gospel, but also to provide us today with a radical new dimension to the claim that in the humanity of Jesus the reality of God has been met and engaged.
Click here to read the: Preface of The Fourth Gospel- Bishop Spong
“We now approach our scriptures with a literalism that is unparalleled in the history of religion. This new and imaginative book by John Shelby Spong will liberate many people from this unnecessary complication of the religious life.”
— Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
“No one has done more to articulate a vibrant, post-mythic vision of Christianity than John Shelby Spong. Bishop Spong’s masterful interpretation is destined to become a classic.”
— Michael Dowd, Author of Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World
“Spong is always readable and informative, but this book reads like a cross between a detective story and an adventure saga that is founded on excellent scholarship. I could not put it down.”
— Fred C. Plumer, President of ProgressiveChristianity.Org (read this whole review here)
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