Jesus: A Very Short Introduction by Richard Bauckham
Award-winning religious scholar Richard Bauckham here explores the historical figure of Jesus, evaluating the sources and showing that they provide us with good historical evidence for his life and teaching. To place Jesus in his proper historical context, as a Jew from Galilee in the early first century of our era, Bauckham looks at Jewish religion and society in the land of Israel under Roman rule. He explores Jesus' symbolic practices as well as his teachings, looks at his public career and emphasizes how his actions, such as healing and his association with notorious sinners, were just as important as his words. Bauckham writes that Jesus was devoted to the God of Israel, with a special focus on God's fatherly love and compassion, and like every Jewish teacher he expounded the Torah, but did so in his own distinctive way. After a discussion about the way Jesus understood himself and what finally led to his death on a Roman cross, Bauckham concludes by considering the significance Jesus has come to have for Christian faith worldwide.