Book review: The Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth
by Peter Gillies
A fascinating look into who Jesus was and why he chose to die. Gillies says his new book is “A freethinking, scriptural look at Jesus of Nazareth & the Son of Man’s singular mission to free Israel from its tribal god.” While I hesitate to speak quite as bluntly as Gillies, I find much the same mission when I study the message of Jesus … particularly in John’s Gospel.
Beyond Gnosticism, edgy, down-to-earth, and a delight to read, here is a composite gospel you don’t want to miss. Gillies writes with the poetic beauty readers of the Bible have come to appreciate. But it must be read slowly; very slowly. I confess, his book will mean more if you know your scripture well, for then you will better recognize its depth, its subtle differences in emphasis and translation.
I’ve never been a fan of composite gospels, since to me they seem to disregard the individuality of the the Bible’s writers, each of whom had a unique theme or flavor to portray. But that’s not the point of Gillies’ work. Rather, you should read it as his own unique gospel, compiled from the stories of Jesus and the prophetic hopes written in the Hebrew Bible, meant to cut to the heart of Jesus’ purpose. It’s subtle; perhaps too subtle. Gillies says he is working on a commentary work that should render his gospel more accessible, and I very much hope he will share it with me for a further review. But for now, he should quit apologizing; we, the readers, may never uncover all the meaning he intended, but his book is still rich in meaning.
To that end, don’t you dare stop reading before the final page. Read that page again and again. Then go back and peruse the introduction, to see how masterfully Gillies has tied his thesis together, presenting a Jesus who followed a profound, brave purpose. Greater love hath no man!
A.B.C Editions, © 2014, 127 pages