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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: February 2007 ISBN: 9780061262555
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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

  • Audio Publisher’s Association “Audie” Award
  • Audie Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Timothy | 2/6/2014

    " An amazing book. It still baffles me that these teachings aren't being used in all churches today. Do we as humans want to know the truth? Or do we want to live in dogmatic fantasy? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marguerite | 1/22/2014

    " Well researched and well reasoned book on understanding Christ and Christianity apart from the chains of literalism. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Benjamin Bayless | 1/16/2014

    " This book WAS life changing! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Grace | 12/21/2013

    " This is an excellent book for those who are not satisfied with organized religion and how Jesus and his teachings have been distorted in the promotion of religious bureaucracy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 12/12/2013

    " Very great concept and I love Spong's ideas but SO dry. I just couldn't get through it. It was a great read late at night when I could not sleep; totally solved the problem. Sorry Bishop Spong! I still love you but just wasn't up to this book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 10/22/2013

    " Good book to read for those uncomfortable with religious dogma learned as a child and willing to entertain other possibilities. Another way to look at Christianity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vera | 8/27/2012

    " As always Spong is both fascinating and controversial. I don;t always agree with his ideas, but some of them make a great deal of sense. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becci | 6/8/2012

    " This is a very challenging book--I read dit slowly to try to absorb and ponder his ideas. Spong strips away old "beliefs" about the Biblical message before he attempts to reconstruct the life of the historical Jesus. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dana | 11/15/2011

    " Everyone must read this book! It really has some revolutionary ideas about Jesus and Christianity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 3/11/2011

    " Probably Spongs best book. His conclusions remain unconvincing but he brings understanding and insight. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Victoria | 1/8/2011

    " 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... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 8/28/2010

    " Probably Spongs best book. His conclusions remain unconvincing but he brings understanding and insight. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 K.K. | 1/6/2010

    " Excellent, only Bishop Spong has an IQ of 350 or something, and writes like it. The wording of Neurology textbooks is easier to digest. But he offers a ray of hope in that Jesus was all about Love, not conformity, rules or damnation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Grace | 7/24/2009

    " This is an excellent book for those who are not satisfied with organized religion and how Jesus and his teachings have been distorted in the promotion of religious bureaucracy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rob | 5/14/2009

    " Retired Episcopal Bishop Spong is one of the most rational Christian insiders I have had the pleasure of reading. A must-read for any Emergent Christians put off by superstition and legalism; and an immunization to atheism for those hesitant to throw the baby out with the bathwater. "

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About the Author
Author John Shelby Spong

John Shelby Spong, the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000, has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard and at more than 500 other universities all over the world. His books, which have sold well over a million copies, include Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy; The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic; Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World; Eternal Life: A New Vision; Jesus for the Non-Religious, The Sins of Scripture, Resurrection: Myth or Reality?; Why Christianity Must Change or Die; and his autobiography, Here I Stand. He writes a weekly column on the web that reaches thousands of people all over the world. To join his online audience, go to www.JohnShelbySpong.com. He lives with his wife, Christine, in New Jersey.

About the Narrator

Alan Sklar, a graduate of Dartmouth, has excelled in his career as a freelance voice actor. He began narrating audiobooks in 1996, winning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards and earning several “Best Voice” awards. He has also worked as a stage actor and as a promo announcer at WPIX-TV in New York City. His dream is to be an opera singer, a role for which he hones his bass-baritone operatic skills in the upstairs shower of his home.