Stephen Mitchell was born in Brooklyn in 1943, educated at Amherst, the Sorbonne, and Yale, and de-educated through intensive Zen practice. His many books include the bestselling Tao Te Ching, The Gospel According to Jesus, Bhagavad Gita, The Book of Job, Meetings with the Archangel, Gilgamesh, The Second Book of the Tao, and the Iliad. When he is not writing, he likes to (in no particular order) think about writing, thinks about not writing, not think about writing, and not think about not writing. He is married to Byron Katie and co-wrote two of her bestselling books: Loving What Is and A Thousand Names for Joy. You can read extensive excerpts from all his books on his website.
Stephen Mitchell’s “The Gospel According to Jesus” is one of the books on the Gospels of Jesus Christ that I read early in my search for the essential teachings of the non-church/temple teacher. Most of us know there were few historians living at/around the time of Jesus. The one most frequently mentioned is Josephus who wrote very little about or reference much about Jesus. Since Josephus was not a contemporary of Jesus or his ministry, his methods were such that he naturally would write less about people like Jesus or John the Baptist, and only what could be corroborated by inquiry in his own day, writing in the 90s AD.
This is really a book of beautiful prose poetry with the light of Jesus’s Gospel’s shining through. There are many, chiefly fundamentalists, who will be/are troubled by this translation and interpretation of the Gospels. One holds the seed thought, may we all discuss topics of spirituality and religion openly in a civil fashion without rising to physical violence.
Another Jesus scholar most students uncover, in their search for the essential teaching of Jesus, is John Dominic Crossan.
I highly recommend any book, written or translated by Stephen Mitchell. This thin volume is one I return to regularly for inspiration and admiration.
Here are my recommendations for books authored by or translations by Stephen Mitchell.