This series of books on Jesus is not so much for those Christians who are rooted in holy tradition as it is for non-believers, those who doubt and who are hesitant. In the first instance, it may give some answers to those who believe that Jesus never even existed. Secondly, it is for those who believe that Jesus existed but do not believe that he is God. Thirdly, it is for those who perhaps consider themselves Christians but relate to the Gospel narratives skeptically or view the Gospels through the prism of the criticism through which it was subjected in the works of Western specialists in the New Testament in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Ultimately, we would like to answer the main question of what Jesus has brought to people and why he is necessary for people today. – from the Foreword.
About the Author: Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev has authored numerous works on theology and church history, and is an internationally recognized composer of liturgical music. In the words of Patriarch Alexei II of blessed memory, "His many years of service to the mother church, his rich creative activity, and his broad perspective enable him to present the tradition of the Orthodox Church in all its diversity."
This book is an achievement of Orthodox scholarship in recent times. It is not conceived as a biography of Jesus, but instead as a deep and profound study of his life and message. It embraces four dimensions: historical, exegetical, theological, and hermeneutic. Discussions are insightful and complete, so that the reader may grasp the challenges at work in each issue. The aim of the book is twofold: to show the continuity between the Jesus found in the Gospels and the One confessed by the Church, and to prove the trustworthiness of the Gospels as main witnesses to the portrait of Jesus the author intends to draw. This book will have a prominent place among the works devoted to Jesus Christ, not only within the Orthodox Church but also in the whole Christian world.
This book is both well informed on a range of scholarship and faithful to the Church’s tradition. It is highly accessible, full of insights (often ancient in origin, but fresh to Western readers), and draws from a range of traditions. And whereas scholarship often concentrates on problem issues, this book instead gives a well-rounded portrait of Jesus’ character and ministry in the Gospels. I found it edifying and informative.
This is a work of great importance, in which—as a bishop, monk, and scholar— Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev touches upon the very heart of Christianity, giving us the figure of Jesus Christ represented in its spiritual depth as well as in its historical reality. I sincerely hope that Orthodox Christians, as well as Christians of the Western world, will be touched by this testimony and thus meet Christ in the midst of a world that is increasingly divorced from God.
It has been said that Jesus Christ is always actual, and at the same time always anticipating actuality. This is something that Metropolitan Hilarion has made abundantly clear in his monumental six-volume study. As he observes, throughout history there has never been a person about whom so much has been written; and yet the Metropolitan has himself found many new ways to restate, in fresh and vivid terms, the ancient truths about the Savior. This is a remarkable study that deserves to be read with close attention.