What can we believe about—and how can we believe in—Jesus Christ in light of the Holocaust and other atrocities of the twentieth century and the drift from religion that followed? In this urgent and provocative work, award-winning author James Carroll traces centuries of religious history and theology to face this core challenge to modern faith and to rescue it for the secular age.
Far from another book about the “historical Jesus,” Christ Actually takes the challenges of science and contemporary philosophy, of secularism, seriously. Carroll retrieves the power of Jesus both as an answer to humanity’s perennial longing for transcendence and as a figure of profound ordinariness—his simple life, and his call to imitate him, all suggest an answer to the question “What is the future of Jesus Christ?” This book points the way.
“With well-researched clarity, Carroll explores the question posed by anti-Nazi Lutheran pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer: who actually is Christ for us today?... Because Christ actually is meaningful in some way to a billion Christians around the globe, this heartfelt investigation is of interest to many.”
“Carroll…strives to reconceive Christ for a secular, post-Holocaust, post-Hiroshima era….readers
seeking a faith responsive to the zeitgeist will find it here.”
“An in-depth, thought-provoking challenge to two millennia of Christian interpretation.”
“Written in the brisk, argumentative style that has won James Carroll a broad popular readership, Christ Actually avoids the interminable maundering of academic prose, even as its extensive footnotes indicate attention to advanced, if radical, scholarship. Conservative Christians may well be shocked and annoyed at Carroll’s configuration of Jesus. Nevertheless, for its pushback against the boundaries of conventional interpretations and, above all, for its passionate presentation of the sinfulness of Christian anti-Semitism, his book deserves serious attention.”
Praise for Constantine’s Sword
“Monumental…An eye-opening journey through twenty centuries of history..This is a book for everyone.”—Christian Science Monitor
“A triumph.”—The Atlantic Monthly
“A deeply felt work, a book that measures the sweep of history against [his] experience as a man of the church.”—Floyd Skloot, San Franciso Chronicle
“Remarkable . . . A book of a deeper sort.”
—Andrew Sullivan, The New York Times Book Review
“A masterly history . . . fascinating, brave.”