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Extended Audio Sample Jesus for the Non-Religious, by John Shelby Spong Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (434 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Shelby Spong Narrator: John Shelby Spong, Alan Sklar Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Writing from his prison cell in Nazi Germany in 1945 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a young German theologian, sketched a vision of what he called "Religionless Christianity." In this book, John Shelby Spong puts flesh onto the bare bones of Bonhoeffer's radical thought. The result is a strikingly new and different portrait of Jesus of Nazareth, a Jesus for the non-religious.

Spong challenges much of the traditional understanding, from the tale of Jesus' miraculous birth to the account of his cosmic ascension into the sky. He questions the historicity of the ideas that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, that he had twelve disciples, or that the miracle stories were ever meant to be descriptions of supernatural events. He also speaks directly to those critics of Christianity who call God a "delusion" and who describe how Christianity has become evil and destructive.

Spong invites his readers to look at Jesus through the lens of both the Jewish scriptures and the liturgical life of the first century synagogue. He proposes a new way of understanding the divinity of Christ as the ultimate dimension of a fulfilled humanity. Jesus for the Non-Religious may be the book that finally brings the pious and the secular into a meaningful dialogue, opening the door to a living Christianity in the post-Christian world.

Read by Alan Sklar

Preface, prologue, and epilogue read by the Author

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It is the boldest book I’ve read, but also the most hopeful.” 

    Bill Press, author of How the Republicans Stole Religion

  • “[Alan Sklar] conveys the appropriate sense of drama and emphasis, as well as excellent Hebrew pronunciation, with a tempered edge…listeners will find compelling.” 

    AudioFile

  • “Sprong’s account of how the New Testament used the Old Testamnet reads life a good detective story.” 

    Weekend Australian

  • “Be prepared for a challenge to the traditional understanding of Jesus history and faith. A top pick for any serious religious collection.” 

    Bookwatch

  • Audie Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Karel | 2/14/2014

    " He jumps to too many conclusions without saying where he's jumping. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lowell AfdahlRice | 2/14/2014

    " The 3rd part is the most original. Compelling case is made of why Jesus was revolutionary. Less compelling is why Jesus was divine "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Victoria | 2/8/2014

    " I needed to read this, since it corroborated with more authority ideas I'd developed on my own for the most part. I was disappointed with the final chapter, because it did not deliver on its promise to tell us why Jesus is still worthy of worship besides being fully human... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tim Daily | 2/6/2014

    " I listened to the audio version of this book first. Now I am reading it. Spong's ideas are provocative, yet rational. I like his idea that the supernatural part of Jesus's life are made up by the gospel authors from Hebrew scripture. I hope Spong goes into more detail about what he believes about the divinity of Jesus in one or two of his other books which I will read. In this book he mainly tells us what he does not believe. "

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About the Author
Author John Shelby Spong

John Shelby Spong was the Episcopal bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000. As a leading spokesperson for an open, scholarly, and progressive Christianity, Bishop Spong has taught at Harvard and at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also lectured at universities, conference centers, and churches in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. His books include A New Christianity for a New World, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Resurrection: Myth or Reality?, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, and his autobiography, Here I Stand.