The Gospel in Brief: The Life of Jesus

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ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy - Part 1 - FULL AudioBook - Greatest Audio Books

What he ended up with reads just like it sounds: a dull exercise in creative writing that only sees continued publication due to it's connection to literary celebrity. None of what makes Tolstoy important is here, if anything, Leo threw out his own style and intelligence along with Christ walking across the water. Beyond the books unrelenting dullness, the constant egomania and inherent criticism of it's writer shine through in every line--Tolstoy so clearly loathes anyone who doesn't agree with him that it's uncomfortable to read about a man like Jesus, who, historically, pretty much loved everybody.

Although the books brevity and an overly large font keep The Gospel In Brief from taking up much of even the slowest readers time, it ends up still taking too much. Unless you're writing a paper on Tolstoy, there's no reason to spend a moment in these pages.


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As an alternative, try sticking your face into the toilet--you're more likely to reach the Lord far quicker. Aug 07, Richard rated it it was amazing Shelves: world-sacred-texts , favorite-books. Tolstoy's re-imaging and rearranging of the gospel text is a masterful work, and one that is not to be missed. I grow more and more impressed with Tolstoy and his "gospel" the more I read of it. And, excepting fiction, I have read all he has to say on the matter. I think it is brave of him to cast the resurrection and the other miracles out categorically, and to insist that they actually distract from Jesus teaching.

I find myself being rather convinced by his argument. Weather or not the miracl Tolstoy's re-imaging and rearranging of the gospel text is a masterful work, and one that is not to be missed. Weather or not the miracles did happen as the original gospels claim, or it happened as Tolstoy envisions it, makes really no difference - for his interpretation of the Gospel remains true - plain and clear and without room for error - one is left to wonder how it got so bastardized so quickly.

I don't agree with Tolstoy on everything, however, and I definitely see some of his psychology coming into play here. Particularly in regards to his theories on sexuality. He had a sexually frustrated and guilt laden adult life, and so he was unable to see sexual relationship for what it is - - therefore he casts it in a particularly negative light. All in all though, it is a totally necessary re-interpretation of the gospels, and one that sheds beautiful and necessary light on the teaching of the Man Jesus and his Messianic role.

View all 4 comments. This is a good read for anyone who asks, "What should I do? How should I live? I'll note that this translation is excellent.

The Gospel According to Mark (Mark)

It includes Tolstoy's chapter summaries, which not all translations include, and in those summaries Tolstoy distills his ideas down to their most concise form. It's lovely. Not only is the translation lovely, so is Tolstoy's thinking and writing. Few other authors m This is a good read for anyone who asks, "What should I do?

Few other authors make me think to the degree that Tolstoy does. He writes in a way that challenges me to question every premise and assertion. This book has prompted me to write more spontaneous, long-winded notes and examinations than probably any other book. If you like to think and you like to make sure you're living it right, this is an excellent read.

Jul 11, Callum Iles rated it liked it. The Russian count was a prolific writer on a wide range of topics and by the age of 50 was touted as the finest Russian writer of his time. Around this time though, feelings of meaninglessness over-ran him and he developed an avid interest in religion.

Six words that can change a life.

However, much like during the Reformation, and even the emerging church of today, his dissatisfaction with institutional Christianity led him to in-depth studies of Scripture and what they exactly meant. He chooses to dictate a narrative combining all four books together and omitting aspects that he believed were human such a basically all supernatural elements. The interpretation is quite helpful as it clearly clarifies parables and events so that their meaning is not lost, and makes gospel-reading like novel-reading.

The writing also seems to put a massive emphasis on the Spirit, whilst seemingly not acknowledging that indeed the Spirit is God, or that The Spirit existed prior to Jesus. Jun 10, Jai Preston rated it really liked it. Look, and you won't see it. Listen, and you won't hear it. Use it, and you will never use it up -- Lao Tzu in the 6th century BC. Religion is one of those things that does beautiful things as much as it does horrible. The opposing beliefs, 'rights' and 'wrongs,' and misinterpretations have been, and still are the root of torrid wars, millions of deaths, the collapsing of civilisations and racial tensions -- just to name a few examples.

On the other hand, the sense of community, belief in afterli Look, and you won't see it. On the other hand, the sense of community, belief in afterlife, pressures to live well, and the strength of faith one gets from religion, have for centuries given people hope, a sense of belonging, reason to live, and purpose to serve and do good to others; for some, religion is everything. It is for the former that I am not a big fan of religion; it's not that religion is the problem, but the way people go about the whole of idea of it.

I never knew how to articulate well on my, neutral stance--shall we say, until I read this little gem from Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy is one of the greats; he is one of the most revered writers and thinkers in history. Until this book I had not read any of his work; I had only read his bio and some secondary accounts from other writers. It was obvious from this reading how intelligent and wise a man he was, and how seriously he took the topic of human nature, and philosophy as a whole.

What is a Gospel? | The Bible Project

Many of the greatest thinkers -- of past and present -- are not really known for their religious works with the exception of religious leaders and a rare few others , so when this book first came to my attention I was a little surprised Tolstoy was the Author. Why would Tolstoy write a religion-based book? The reason to that answer is exactly the reason I am so glad he did.

This book isn't about bible-bashing, preaching or trying to convert readers, or about the power of God, why you should be good etc etc; this is a book about understanding the reasons for, and wisdom behind, religion -- namely, Christianity.

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An existential crisis was the inspiration behind Tolstoy's writing of this book: he was fed up with the mixed messages conveyed by opposing religious beliefs, and the differing dogma of the philosophers; he couldn't make sense of religious interpretations on the meaning of life In the book he tells you why. Hint: it's a little to do with the tens of thousands of different transcriptions of the religious texts. At this point he decided to return to the religion he was most familiar with, Christianity, to see if there was anything worthwhile there, anything that may possibly, just possibly, enlighten him, or give him the answer to the biggest question of them all -- What is the meaning of life?

He dived deep into the heart of Christianity to find out -- where it started, why there are so many interpretations, why people follow it; and where the idea of 'God' came from, and what it really means. Here he arrived at the gospels, and through rigorous word-for-word examination in an attempt to discover what it is they are actually saying, he had an awakening. The result of which is the book 'The Four Gospels Harmonized and Translated' -- a comprehensive, investigative and very dense breakdown of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

An Overview of the Four Gospels of the New Testament

Although it contains far less words and expounding it is no less valuable for it. This is not my opinion but the one of Tolstoy himself, who in the intro tells you there is as much to be gained from 'The Gospel In Brief' as from his larger work, which is a book more for academics, those who would like to know much more, and those who are still not convinced of his argument. I say argument, but it is not that; the whole book is a honest and rational breakdown of the wisdom of the gospels, and the benefits to be gained from them. To call it an argument is inaccurate, if not an injustice, but for the sake of simplicity, and a lack of vocabulary of my part, I will call it so anyway.

You may think you know the story of Jesus Christ; as a result of your upbringing, the way you were schooled, any reading experiences covering the topic of religion, and your religious beliefs, you may have a complete story in your head of Jesus Christ -- who he was, what he said and did, etc, but, unless you have researched and taken serious the story of Jesus, to the extensive degree Tolstoy did, what you know is probably wrong; at the very least, your understanding is unlikely to be completely correct.

In short, the argument Tolstoy makes with this book is this: what Jesus Christ taught and stood for is almost the opposite of what is taught about his teachings today; in other words, since he walked the earth and gifted his followers with his profound wisdom and knowledge, almost every interpretation of what he said and did has been incorrect, skewed, biased and ultimately, very harmful.

Tolstoy makes this point by showing you how what Jesus actually taught his disciples and those lucky to meet him, was how to make sense of life and your existence; how to understand yourself, and what true happiness is. And he did this by teaching them how to live: live simply, do good to others, be present, love each other, do no evil, and be faithful; practices which, sound very much like the wisdom of the revered Philosophers and though leaders Socrates, Seneca, Aquinas, Lao Tzu, The Buddha, etc , and in fact of many religious teachings of today.

Whether you are religious or not, reading this book will be awakening. It is not an advocacy of religion, of Christianity, or even of Jesus Christ himself; neither is it a biased, selective or imprecise rant about the meaning of life; it is a guide, a guide that will teach you how to think, how to act, and how to live, if that is, you are interested in being happy and peaceful, doing good, and having a solid purpose in life.


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  • Not only that: because of the way Tolstoy takes you through his process -- with his beautiful style, honesty and clear explanations, you will also learn how to think about all religious ideas, and how to draw from them lessons that can actually impact your life for the better; and, as a bonus, subconsciously you'll be learning how to write like a great.

    Jul 06, Melissa rated it it was amazing. His ideas about nonviolent resistance influenced social leader, Mahatma Gandhi. This book, The Gospel in Brief, is a result of those years of study. After studying "the original" Greek texts, Tolstoy integrates the four gospels into one condensed view of the life of Jesus, minus all the church dogma and interpretation, miracles, and the supernatural. The effect, at least to me, is a more compelling solution to life than the Bible in its entirety, as well as a huge message to followers today who strive to do the opposite of Jesus' teachings in an effort to uphold hateful minutia found elsewhere in the Bible, and there is plenty to be found!

    And bonus - without all the contradictions! Does this eliminate room for interpretation? I still read that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, and that we are all One, with an indwelling God that makes us all united. Communion with the whole made possible by staying present and loving one another equally.

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