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Like many others throughout history, Robinson thinks he knows what Jesus really preached. But considering his credentials, he just may have a good head start. The former director of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, he was the intimately involved in making the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Gnostic gospels became part of the public discourse. He also organized the Internal Q Project that reconstructs the original sayings of Jesus, and it is this analysis in particular that has helped shaped his thesis. According to Robinson, Jesus' original gospel is now obscured by the canonized literature. The message is intense and simple: trust God to look out for you by providing people who will care for you, and listen to him when he calls on you to provide for them. It is a "radical trust in and responsiveness to God" that can make society function as God's kingdom. Much of the important writing takes place in the first couple of chapters, while later chapters (including the complete Q sayings) bolster his theses. Although overly fond of exclamation points, Robinson adds a valuable addition to the Jesus cannon. Ilene Cooper
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We all know the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but what was the gospel of Jesus? That is, what was the original "good news" the first disciples heard from Jesus? What did Jesus really say that started the dramatic movement in Galilee that grew to become the largest religion in the world?
Jesus's original gospel has been lost from sight, hidden behind the version preferred by the church. We have put him on a pedestal, rather than walked in his footsteps. In The Gospel of Jesus, James M. Robinson, the preeminent expert on the earliest sources of information about Jesus, provides the primary texts in all their unvarnished honesty to get to the true historical message of Jesus -- what Robinson calls "a brittle, upsetting, comforting, challenging gospel." The Gospel of Jesus draws on a combination of the most ancient and authentic texts to reveal what Jesus really said and to illuminate what he may still have to say to us today.