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Jesus, a Primer for the Curious

Blue Bottle Books
RRP $3.95

Jesus, a primer for the curious, is a short booklet or tract written by an Anglican historian to give meaning to Christianity mainly for the non-churched.

Each page begins with a statement and then develops the reasoning for it.

For example, the first page begins with ‘belief in God is common sense’, seemingly taken from the meaning first posed by John Locke in the seventeenth century.

This is an interesting starting point for discussion, as it has been for many philosophers, and became the standard counter-response to scepticism.

But the meaning of ‘common sense’ varied widely among philosophers, so using the term without qualification seems to be weak.

The writer’s second statement – the second page – follows the question ‘Whose God?” and states that the God of Christians, by entering human life, is unarguably the only one to follow.

The author ignores the fact that both Jews and Muslims worship the same God.

He also asserts as his proof of the unique claim to God of Christianity, the past and current scholarly historical and theological probing into the life of the historical Jesus.

Then follow several short pages showing Jesus as Healer, Teacher and Judge, using Biblical examples.

Finally Christ as Saviour is the last point considered, leading to the pivotal statement that this Jesus was raised to life as ‘Lord and God’.

The author’s epilogue, ‘Portrait of a Christian’, concludes with a call to faith ‘if all of this is true’.

Jesus, a primer for the curious is a fairly traditional look at the basic beliefs of Christianity, and considering its brevity, covers the main ground.

However, it doesn’t explore the questions likely to be asked by today’s curious youth in particular.

I felt it fell short of its evocative title.

Reviewed by Joan Cook, a member of Wavell Heights Uniting Church