Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes - Kenneth Bailey

Those with good memories may recollect that a while ago I recommended another of Kenneth Bailey's books "Finding the lost cultural keys to Luke 15". Well I want to even more strongly recommend people getting hold of a copy of this book - "Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes ".

In it Kenneth Bailey looks at the whole life of Jesus, taking subjects such as his birth, his attitude to women, his parables and his teaching on prayer, taking away our Western understanding of what Jesus said and did and putting it back in a Middle Eastern context.

It's the sort of book which you can dip into and out of, with each chapter standing on its own. That means that although it's quite a long book, over 400 pages, you really can read the chapters on any order which takes your fancy (at least that's what I'm doing!).

I found that on pretty much every page there is something which challenged or changed my view of Jesus, helping me to understand just how radical and counter cultural he truly was. Although I wrote most of "The Peach and the Coconut" before getting hold of this book, it reassured me to find that Jesus was even more peachy than I'd understood him to be. In particular understanding how radical in a Middle Eastern culture Jesus was in the way he treated the woman caught in the act of adultery (chapter 17), the woman who anointed his feet (chapter 18) and Zacchaeus (chapter 13) spoke to me deeply.

Some of the sections on literary styles may seem a bit confusing (they are to me at least), but the stuff which sits around them is absolute dynamite! I'd recommend everyone who has read the gospels and has a reasonable understanding of the life of Jesus to get a copy of this book and to devour it, chapter by chapter.

There is often a copy of this book at the Kerith resources area. If not you can have a copy ordered, or you can get it from Amazon.


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