cover image A Portrait of Jesus

A Portrait of Jesus

Joseph F. Girzone / Author Doubleday Books $18.95 (192p) ISBN

Popular novelist Girzone (Joshua) uses his considerable storytelling skills in an imaginative retelling of the Gospel stories. Girzone opens his account of the itinerant preacher Jesus by asking the question, ""What did people see in Jesus?"" According to Girzone, Jesus was not a holy man who went ""around Nazareth asking everyone if they were saved, and forcing religion"" on them. Rather, according to Girzone, Jesus was popular simply because he understood human shortcomings, didn't judge people because of their flaws and accepted them on their own terms. In short, Girzone argues, people saw in Jesus a beautifully balanced human being with a sense of humor. Girzone examines the way that Jesus approached others and what Jesus' actions tell us about how we can live our lives today, arguing that there is an earthy quality in Jesus' spirituality. Girzone's Jesus was a warm, personable and understanding man who, with a nod and a wink to human foibles, succeeded in balancing the needs of humanity with the demands of divinity. Yet, despite Girzone's sincere wish to bring Christians into deeper intimacy with Jesus, his gentle, holy fool of a Messiah will leave others shaking their heads in disbelief at such a naive, watered-down portrait of Jesus. (Sept.)