Jesus: A Theography by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, is a very unique approach to looking at the person of Jesus. The study of Jesus is done through a mix of both theology and biography.
The book is definitely an interesting read and I really enjoyed reading about Jesus not starting with the Gospels, but rather with Genesis. I think this direction is an incredible help especially for those who may be new to scripture, and don’t see the Bible as one flowing narrative. The other thing I appreciated about this book was the numerous cultural descriptions for certain periods of Jesus’ life. I think Sweet & Viola did a pretty good job of trying to paint a picture for readers to really see what was happening in scripture.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“God’s art of communication is incarnation…” (p. 39).
“Without new hearts there can be no new world” (p. 153).
“The action is not initiating something for God but becoming part of God’s initiatives in the world” (p. 275).
“Bring the culture of the heavens to earth” (p. 295).
On the downside, at times there seems to be quite a bit of conjecture when connecting ideas and explaining certain situations. Since not everything is explained in scripture (ie. what Jesus might have been thinking or feeling at times), there is a certain amount of imagination that goes into studying and understanding scripture. I just felt that at times the authors were a little more liberal in their assumptions than I think we can be in our study of the Bible. I don’t necessarily think that this will derail someones theology, or put them on the wrong path, but there is enough of it that it makes me uncomfortable to use parts of the book as fact.
One minor complaint I have has to do with the printing of the book. There are a lot of notes in the book (including scripture references), but they are all at the back which makes reading the book pretty awkward and distracting.
Jesus: A Theography is a long book (310 pages), but it is very easy to read and you can start reading anywhere if you’d like to focus on a particular part of Jesus’ life. This is an encouraging book and a great read for anyone, whether you’re new to studying Jesus or you’ve been following Him for a long time.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.