The Character of Jesus

I stumbled upon a book first written in 1908 by the pastor of the Broadway Tabernacle in New York  City, entitled, The Character of Jesus.

As of late, I have been more interested in works of the past than the writings of the present. I have found that scholarship from the 1800s and 1900s, and earlier, contain more intellectual hubris and artistic worth than many of the modern books we find in our local bookstores and church buildings.

My contention is that with the advent of modern technology and gadgets, society–while allowing us to grow more comfortable and at ease–has also contributed to our decline in the pursuits of the mind, patience of the soul, and artistic value. Pick up any best seller from antiquity and any best seller from today’s bookshelves and compare the skill of the writers, the complexity of the topics, and the depth of vocabulary and language. Contrast the patience in which a thought is formulated, compare side by side the natural and variegated use of language that is employed, transverse the philosophic landscape of the words, and the modern book, while at times exciting and far easier to read, will fall excruciatingly short of being considered true literature.

While I am only on the 3rd chapter of the Character of Jesus so far, I have already been pleasantly enthralled at the way in which Charles Edward Jefferson writes about the Man I love. While I cannot yet fully evaluate the content and message of Edwards’ thesis until I have completely read his work, I can say that Edwards employs words like a pianist churning out beautiful notes at every step.

Jefferson focuses on the character of Jesus from a historical and reasonable perspective, eliciting the Personhood of Jesus from a standpoint that both believer and non-believer can enjoy. In fact, if half my friends had the patience to read enduring works of art in this busy, technological age, I would recommend this book to the unbeliever who has a clear mind for philosophy, literature, or art. It may just help them to see who Jesus is from an intelligent point of view that is often lacking in our time.

I feel a little uneasy, however, giving the book such a glowing review while only having read the first three chapters of twenty-six, but I wanted to write down my first and general impressions. I hope to post about The Character of Jesus again, once I’ve made further progress in the book, and discerned its overall message.


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