THE HEART OF CHRISTIANITY: Rediscovering a Life of Faith

Marcus J. Borg, Author . Harper San Francisco $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-052676-4

Borg follows up two of his previous releases about the Bible and Jesus with a volume that could easily have played on those titles, because this highly readable book is essentially about looking at Christianity again for the first time. In that respect, it provides a valuable glimpse into the essence of Christianity for those who have left the faith because they no longer believe its doctrines and those who are trying to remain in the faith while questioning its doctrines. With those people in mind, Borg emphasizes the transformational aspect of Christianity by examining the "emerging paradigm" that is gradually replacing the belief-centered paradigm of the last several hundred years. The new paradigm, Borg writes, is about loving God and loving what God loves, rather than rigidly adhering to a specific set of beliefs. In exploring this new way of "being Christian," Borg offers a middle ground for conservative and liberal Christians—though it's unlikely conservatives will conclude, as he does, that Jesus was not really the Son of God, nor are liberals likely to begin using the term "born again," as he advocates. Still, there's much here that both sides can agree on, possibly helping to bring them a step closer to the unity that has eluded them for centuries. As always, Borg writes with clarity and precision, which should also help the ongoing conversation. (Oct.)

Forecast:Borg, whose popularizations of biblical scholarship have earned him quite a following, will do a nine-city author tour to promote this title, which has a 40,000-copy first printing.

Reviewed on: 09/15/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
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Paperback - 234 pages - 978-0-06-073068-0
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