The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus’ Genius is a historical book written by David Flusser in the 20th century and edited in 2007 for the fourth time. Its major themes are early Judaism and Christianity and the life of Jesus in one of the best interpretations for scholars and students. The book consists of twelve chapters where different aspects of Christianity are discussed from the point of view of ancestry, ethics, faith, and death. In this paper, the first three chapters will be reviewed to understand the purposes and directions chosen by the author in order to discuss the life of one of the greatest historical and religious figures, Jesus.
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In the first chapter, “The Sources”, Flusser explains the main ideas of this book and the sources that can be used to examine Jesus, his life, actions, and impact on people. It is said that this book helps “to show that it is possible to write the story of Jesus’ life” using available sources and defining their credibility (Flusser 1). At the same time, Flusser underlined that this book does not “build a bridge between the Jesus of history and the Christian faith” (4). The Gospels from Matthew, Mark, John, and Luke introduce several important facts from Jesus’ life and can be treated as valuable sources for further investigation and analysis.
The second chapter, “Ancestry”, contains information about Jesus’ origins, family, and the details of his miraculous birth. Many people are aware of the fact that Jesus Christ means Jesus the Messiah. Still, not all of them know that the Messiah means the Son of David, which makes David one of Jesus’ possible ancestors (Flusser 7). Jesus also had four brothers and sisters, and the evaluation of his relatives from Nazareth and Jerusalem may contribute to thoroughly learning his life story as well.
The core topic of the third chapter, “Baptism”, is the idea of baptism and the way of how Jesus came to this faith. Flusser paid attention to the life of John the Baptist and his role in human lives, as well as the ability to obtain forgiveness of sins (18). In this chapter, the author discussed the connection between Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John’s mother and its possible impact on the decision of Jesus to join the baptized people (Flusser 22).
The description of several geographical issues and interpersonal relationships between John and Jesus, including their controversies and common beliefs, promotes a better understanding of Jesus and the conditions under which he made his decisions. There are many other names mentioned in this chapter with the help of which baptism as a faith and a personal choice of Jesus can be explained.
In general, the chosen three chapters create a strong beginning of Jesus’ story and the discussion of his role in human lives. Christians, as well as other believers, may know a lot about Jesus’ studies and philosophies. This book and these first chapters, in particular, is a unique chance for a reader to study better the origins of Jesus and the conditions under which he strengthened his beliefs and improved the lives of other people. His family, relatives, and friends influenced his future and the future of Christianity. Strong comparisons and new discoveries made this book an interesting and priceless source of information about religion and Jesus’ contributions.
Flusser, David. The Sage from Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus’ Genius. 4th ed., William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.
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