Seeing Jesus from the East: A Fresh Look at History’s Most Influential Figure

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.

Title:

Seeing Jesus from the East: A Fresh Look at History’s Most Influential Figure

Authors:

Ravi Zacharias, Abdu Murray

Publisher:

Zondervan Reflective

Publication Date:

April 28, 2020

Format:

Hardcover

Length:

240 pages

OVERVIEW

There’s no question that Jesus has had a big impact on Western thought. However, many Western Christians may find Jesus a little odd. So many things about Jesus’ teaching techniques, parables and his behavior are rooted in his cultural context. Certain things about his ministry don’t make sense without an Eastern perspective. As Eastern men who converted to Christianity, Ravi Zacharias and Abdu Murray understand this disconnect. They look at particular traits that Middle Eastern readers notice in Jesus, and how those ideas have impacted both of them.

Being professional public speakers, Zacharias and Murray both tend to use certain key phrases over and over when explaining things. This tendency doesn’t quite translate onto the printed page, making their writing styles a bit repetitive. Beyond that slight flaw though, they both write excellently. They smoothly move back and forth between personal stories and propositional arguments, making their points in compelling ways. Some scholars would argue that you can’t take apply a modern Middle Eastern perspective to talking about Jesus, since ancient Middle Eastern societies differ from modern ones. However, the authors don’t try to claim they know exactly how ancient Middle Eastern Jews behaved. Instead, they focus on Middle Eastern ideas that have stayed more or less the same throughout the area for centuries (such as the emphasis on shame and honor). By sticking to those points, Murry and Zacharias give worthwhile insights that stand up to criticism. The result is a helpful look at sides to Jesus’ ministry or teaching that many readers likely haven’t considered. In at least a few places, their ideas help explain seemingly controversial Gospel passages. Overall, they make an excellent case that one needs to understand Jesus in his Eastern context to capture the full flavor of his teaching.

An important look at a topic many Western Christians need to consider more.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians interested in how Middle Eastern readers perceive the Gospels and insights that Eastern Christians bring to the table.

Christian Impact

This book will help readers understand Jesus in his full cultural context.

Seeing Jesus from the East: A Fresh Look at History’s Most Influential Figure


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