JESUS AN HISTORICAL APPROXIMATION
(Convivium Press, Series Kyrios, Miami, 2012)
Amazon.com hosts a number of useful reviews of this outstanding book. I cite in full two of them that appear to be typical. If you wish more reviews you can find them easily by going to amazon.com, books, Jose Pagola.(TRANSFORMATIVE)
Helpful Customer Reviews
By John H. Clark III on March 28, 2011
An absolutely outstanding work. Father Pagola presents Jesus in his time, his place, and in context, and succeeds in giving the reader a glimpse of what Jesus was like, what was his environment, what was the substantive content of his message and to whom it was directed. In so doing, he reminds the reader exactly how radical Jesus’ message was…an affirmation of the value of all humanity, the loving and life-affirming intent of the Father, the need to respond to the God of love with selfless, self-giving love for others.
I was truly impressed with how easily Father Pagola carries his immense scholarly knowledge relative to scripture. This book is accessible and erudite at the same time, a very rare combination. In examining the footnotes, it is clear that he is well versed with cutting-edge scriptural issues, and yet he does not become bogged down in minutia. This work is clearly a labor of love–much more focused on the subject than the author. In addition, Pagola’s treatment of the historical setting that Jesus operated in is absolutely first-rate. I don’t know that I have ever read anything that brought home more clearly the dire circumstances of most of the people of Israel during Jesus’ time, how powerless they were (economically, religiously, and politically) and how delighted and surprised they must have been to have received his message of God’s love.
By Gervase T. M. Shorter on January 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As its title indicates, `Jesus: an Historical approximation’ is not about the Jesus of Faith but about the Jesus that emerges from the historical evidence, in other words the scriptures, Dead Sea Scrolls, apocrypha and other broadly contemporary written sources and also from archaeological and other kinds of research. So this is a Jesus seen as he actually was, not as reinterpreted by the evangelists forty years later and not as distorted by centuries of pious writing. And not only the events of his life but also what he actually said and what that signified in the time and place in which he lived. In other words we are at the end of the trail that started from Albert Schweitzer’s Quest for the Historical Jesus: José Pagola’s book can only be `an approximation’ but I doubt whether we will ever get closer than this to the real, actual Jesus.
The freshness of this portrait owes nothing to sensationalist theories and everything to the author’s meticulous scholarship. Controversial points are discussed in concise footnotes so that the main text flows without interruption and, with the extensive bibliography, a detailed review of the various sources and trends in current research, the notes give the reader all he needs to delve more deeply if he wishes to do so. However, for all its scholarship this is a very readable book. In fact, I could hardly put it down.
It’s an account of someone who changed the world – changed it more than anyone else has ever done: Jesus is a figure whose importance cannot be ignored irrespective of what one does (or does not) believe. In Pagola’s pages he comes across as intensely human, filled with a humble compassion for the downtrodden. I found his story incredibly moving and, when I finished the book felt I had really come to know Jesus in a way I never had before.
If you only buy one book in 2012 this is the book you should buy.