Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up!

Suzi Thirwall manages our Resource Centre. Here, she reviews the SoF (UK) publication Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

This A4 user-friendly magazine with large type and interesting, challenging and thought provoking black and white pictures - maddeningly unattributed - offers a historical review by "scholars, would-be scholars, poets, essayists, journalists and even theologians" on the "real Jesus".

The coloured words of David Boulton [editor of the UK "SoF" Magazine] introduce the base of the document: extracts from a public reading in Manchester Cathedral (on the undoubted co-incidental date of l April 2000) at a one day conference entitled "Honest to Jesus" whose principal speaker was the US Biblical scholar, Robert Funk.

Via the various quotes Jesus emerges as the embodiment of thought, a reflection of the source as much as a substantial indisputable figure. He is described variously as a "penniless teacher" a "sugar-coated figure" "a scholarly bad joke".

Sources range from known figures such as Albert Schweitzer, HG Wells, John Masefield-to lesser known individuals such as Havelock Ellis, intriguingly described as "radical and sexologist".

I found it entertaining, readable, amusing. Whether it is worth the purchase price depends on what you perceive as dollar value for 25 pages of type.

Epworth books are bringing it in and I will be ordering a personal copy if for nothing else but the delight of having it on the coffee table when the Jehovah Witnesses call. And a favourite quote?

"How many other peoples have produced wonders like this? ... Do you think all the other stories are legends but that your story of Jesus alone is noble and convincing? Christians usually flee headlong from cultured people, who are not prepared to be deceived; but they trap illiterate folk ... `Do not ask questions; only believe and thy faith will save thee'"
It was written in the 2nd century-a quote from Celsus.