Thursday, March 13, 2008

Book Review # 7: The Third Jesus by Deepak Chopra

I couldn't wait any longer and simply had to finish the book because it was, well, terrible. It is not well written, poorly developed, and its been done before and actually better by Thich Nhat Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ).

Chopra makes wide sweeping generalizations on so many fronts its as if he sat down and starting writ ting from personal memory (an issue I have with my own fellow Christians when they say " I think it says somewhere in the Bible . . . .).

There is no good documentation or evidence provided to support his claims unless they support his views, and even then he stands on shaky ground. He, like other authors trying to discover something new about Jesus, tosses out the cloak of contradiction, and yet is either unable or unwilling to show any.

Chopra sights Gnostic writing and non-canonical books as if they are widely accepted. He quotes Jesus and then re-interprets the quotes through his own lens and definitions, a critique he gives the Gospel writers. He disregards orthodox Christianity and moves to secondary sources because he then doesn't have to deal with Jesus. His understanding of Jewish literature is regretfully poor for an author of his notoriety ( I didn't want to say scholarship, because I didn't see any).

What does this book have to offer? If as a student of Jesus, you want to know where society gets its ideas about Jesus, then read this book. Chopra is wide read, and is a proponent of religious and social harmony, albeit at the expense of truth. If you are not a student of Jesus, then I wouldn't use this as a source to find Jesus, because you won't get the authentic Jesus of the Bible. I would encourage you to read the Bible yourself. I do the same with all religions. I don't read Christian critiques of other religions, I read what the religion and its followers have to say about themselves. I encourage the same here.

Don't waste your time or PayPal on this one. The cover is interesting, and it goes down hill from there.

If you're re-engaging your Christian faith or simply curious let me suggest you read the Gospels, but as companions read The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, The Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight, or Basic Christianity by John Stott.

Next week I will be reviewing a New Earth . . . I know, but Oprah has got people buzzing about it, so I though I'd see what its about.