I began reading this book well over two years ago. I described it here metaphorically as “fruitcake soaked in rum.” I set the treat aside for many months, returning to it occasionally, finally finishing it this past week.
I found the material thoughtful, scholarly, and deeply spiritual. As for that subjective assessment, make of it what you will. When I put the volume back on my shelf, I paused a bit, unable to decide to place it with books on christology or books about spirituality.
Outside of the Gospels, I found this to be the best book on Jesus I have ever read. Parts of it nudged me to leave aside everything and walk out of town westward on US-30. (And look where I ended up!)
The central theme here is the Reign of God. Professor Lohfink opines that is the centrality of what Jesus wanted. He takes the reader through the substance of Scripture to demonstrate how the Lord’s teaching unfolded and how people accepted the challenge to discipleship. Or not.
Linda Maloney manages to keep some of the sense of the German in her translation. Sometimes the material is accessible and easier. Sometimes it is quite dense and like other German theologians I’ve read, I had to take my time, retrace some steps, and go back a second or third time in order to check a point or absorb it. Often enough, I would pause and take time for reflection. This book challenged me to examine what I think about Jesus, and what he asks of me in my life.
I must thank the reader who sent me this volume back in 2013. His recommendation was spot-on. I urge any of you serious about Jesus (yes, even you, Max–some of your questions get answered here) to locate this book and read it.