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Christ Actually


Available in print, audiobook, ebook, and MP3 CD:

Read the Reviews

“At once stunningly original and strangely familiar, a testament to the power of a critical, creative faith”

What can we believe about—and how can we believe in—Jesus in the twenty-first century in light of the Holocaust and other atrocities of the twentieth century and the drift from religion that followed?

Drawing on both a wide range of scholarship as well as his own acute searching as a believer, Carroll takes a fresh look at the most familiar narratives of all—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Far from another book about the “historical Jesus,” he takes the challenges of science and contemporary philosophy seriously. He retrieves the power of Jesus’ profound ordinariness, as an answer to his own last question—what is the future of Jesus Christ?—as the key to a renewal of faith.

REVIEWS FOR Christ Actually

“…at once stunningly original and strangely familiar, a testament to the power of a critical, creative faith”

“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.”

“James Carroll goes to painstaking lengths in his new book, Christ Actually to confront millennia of undisguised anti-Semitism, scriptural fabrications and tactical misreadings of history, all of which have prevented an informed understanding of Jesus of Nazareth.” Read Full Review

“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.”

Read the review by Kevin Spinale, S.J., moderator of the Catholic Book Club, and the responses to his invitation of feedback and opinions about Christ Actually.
Read the review and discussion from America Magazine

“The problem is declared in the subtitle: We live in "a secular age." But the question at the heart of this book is far more complicated than typical challenges to faith issued by nonbelievers. It's easy to dismiss Jesus' rainbow horse. It's less easy to dismiss the Christ who comforts the afflicted, feeds the poor or stands witness against the apocalyptic promise of the atom bomb. It's the book's greatest virtue that Carroll can present all these real-world possibilities for Christ alongside his lifetime's work in theology, historical research and biblical criticism.” Read Full Review

“Whether or not mainstream Christianity embraces Mr. Carroll’s argument, “Jesus Actually” marks an important step in the evolution of the Christian-Jewish dialogue.” Read Full Review

“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.”

“As usual, Carroll’s writing is highly erudite; reading him is an educational experience in itself...An in-depth, thought-provoking challenge to two millennia of Christian interpretation.”