A concise, enlightened examination of various perspectives on Christ.



Johnson (Whitey, 2011, etc.) investigates competing religious views of Jesus Christ.

According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus asked his followers: “Who do people say that I am?” As simple a question as it seems, the answers are even more numerous now than they were in biblical times. Who or what do people and the faiths they follow say Jesus was? Was he human? Was he the son of God? Was he something else entirely? Prying deeper into this question, the author seeks answers from doctrines and thinkers of various religious groups. Who, for instance, is Jesus according to the Quran? How did ancient Gnostics view him? Incorporating the works of many famous and not-so famous minds (from Blaise Pascal to yogi Ramakrishna Paramahamsa), the main question, along with examinations of religions and the sects within religions, are investigated in a sober manner. Although many Hindus may believe Jesus was a man of peace and importance, he is “not the sole Great Man.” The same can be said of the Dalai Lama, who “accepts a Jesus that folds into that Buddhist story while declining to accept traditional Christian doctrine about Jesus.” It may be obvious that Jesus serves as a focus for most of Christianity and not for other religions (otherwise they, too, would be Christians), but what is of greater interest is why. This is where the book shines. Johnson articulates what he considers to be key differences between faiths; for example: “Christianity and Judaism disagree on the nature of the problem—the human condition—they also disagree on the answer to the problem.” Though the book is brief, it’s dense with information. While Christ’s place in all religions is not covered exhaustively (Jesus as portrayed in the Baha’i faith might have been of interest, likewise indigenous responses to Christianity in places like the Americas), the material provided offers a lot to consider.

A concise, enlightened examination of various perspectives on Christ.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7618-6836-1

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Hamilton Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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