The Hidden Jesus: A New Life

Donald Spoto, Author, Donald Spoto, Introduction by St. Martin's Press $24.95 (312p) ISBN 978-0-312-19282-2
Spoto, author of Diana: The Last Year, turns his considerable storytelling skills to the life of the one person who can clearly claim greater celebrity than the departed princess: Jesus. Calling Jesus the ""man nobody knows,"" Spoto offers a chronicle that moves from Jesus's birth to his death and resurrection. Although Spoto relies on the chronology of the Gospels for the structure of his book, he cannily weaves literary criticism, historical research and theological scholarship into his story of the life and work of one of history's most enduring figures. Along the way, Spoto contends that the Gospel writers were great propagandists more concerned with using Jesus's life to assert their own agendas than with revealing the historical details of that life in order to hide the real Jesus from his followers (e.g., Spoto reads Matthew's story of Jesus's birth in Bethlehem as an effort to connect Jesus with King David in the minds of his audience). Spoto also argues that the virgin birth of Jesus can't be understood literally, that though anti-Semitism pervades the New Testament it is not part of God's revealed truth and that ""Jesus was viewed both during and after his lifetime as an exorcist and a healer... not merely a teacher of ethical maxims or a preacher of religious truths."" Spoto's biography, written with impressive clarity and pace, is as much a record of the his own spiritual search to find the hidden Jesus of his own life as it is a search for the hidden Jesus of Christianity. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
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