Maine Jewish author takes new approach to Jesus in recently published book
SEARSPORT — In a new book, What Would Jesus See? (Broadleaf Books, 2023), author Aaron Rosen proposes that vision was an overlooked part of Jesus’s ministry.
Echoing the popular phrase “What would Jesus do?” Rosen makes the case for Jesus as a visual thinker, for whom looking was a crucial form of doing.
Rosen, one of the world’s experts on art and religion, takes a fresh lens to the Gospels, informed by his experience as both a scholar and a curator, according to a news release. His approach is consciously interfaith, drawing upon his life as a practicing Jew married to an Episcopal priest, Rev. Carolyn Rosen, priest-in-charge of St. Dunstan’s Church in Ellsworth.
Rosen examines Jesus’s eye for spectacle and his tools for discerning truth amid a flurry of false appearances. As he applies Jesus’s view to key challenges facing society today, Rosen taps a surprising trove of examples drawn from art, current events, and popular culture. At the core of Jesus’s ministry, Rosen finds, is a call to look at our world — especially those who are most disadvantaged — with radical empathy.
The book has been praised in the United States and the United Kingdom. Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith America and member of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships, called the book: “an interesting, creative, and compulsively readable book. It offers us the eyes of Jesus as a lens through which to see our own lives, the world we live in, and the history we must reckon with.”
Bill McKibben, founder of Third Act and a leading voice for climate action, said: “Many of the [book’s] answers are powerfully illuminating. In a moment of gaping chasm between ‘Christianity’ and the original vision that motivated this movement in human history, it will provide much good grist for the spiritual mill!”
The book is available from all major booksellers. Signed copies are available at the Parsonage Gallery in Searsport, co-founded and directed by Aaron and Carolyn Rosen.
Rosen taught at Columbia, Yale, and Oxford universities after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He is executive director of the Clemente Course in the Humanities, which provides free college courses to underserved communities around the country. He is the author of many books, including Art & Religion in the 21st Century (Thames & Hudson, 2015) and A Journey through Art (Thames & Hudson, 2018) for young readers.