What Would Jesus See

Ways of Looking at a Disorienting World

What Would Jesus See

Ways of Looking at a Disorienting World

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What would Jesus see if he looked at the world around us today?

In these pages, Aaron Rosen, one of the world's leading experts on art and religion, tackles this question by considering Jesus as a visual thinker. He invites readers to use their imagination to explore with him how Jesus saw, what he saw, and why it is important today.

Rosen brings a fresh lens to the Gospels, informed by his experience as an art curator and scholar, as well as his life as a practicing Jew married to an Episcopal priest. He examines Jesus's eye for spectacle, his strategies for attentiveness, and his tools for discerning truth amid the flurry of false appearances.

As Rosen applies Jesus's unique ways of seeing the world to key challenges facing society today, he 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. In a time when our eyes have grown weary and unfocused, Rosen argues, Jesus offers us the chance to see the world with renewed vision, focused on those who need us most.


"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. It ingeniously integrates interfaith approaches and artistic modalities to present us with a perspective that is both honest about the present and hopeful about the future."

Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith America and author of We Need to Build: Field Notes for Diverse Democracy

"A clever--and a timely--way to phrase this question, and many of the 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!"

Bill McKibben, founder of Third Act and author of The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation

"An innovative, radical, and personal book, informed by knowledge, art, and sensory sensibility. It is rich, accessible, and profound, not only in its ruminations about how Jesus saw his world, including nature, but also about how Jesus would see our world. Ultimately, this book asks us to pause, reflect, and let the light in."

Joan E. Taylor, professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King's College London and author of What Did Jesus Look Like?

"Cutting through the noise of our contemporary, multi-mediated world in which corporations, social media platforms, and religions compete for our sensual attention, Aaron Rosen turns his own interreligious gaze on a special kind of vision. Rosen's 're-view' of Christian and Jewish literature and art enables readers to look again at ways of seeing that focus on empathy, understanding, and discernment."

S. Brent Rodríguez-Plate, author of A History of Religion in 5 ½ Objects and Blasphemy: Art that Offends


"A revelatory and eloquent exposition about the necessity of paying attention to what God would have us see as a prerequisite to doing what God would have us do."

Christian Century

"Through his combined knowledge of history, theology, political commentary, and pop-culture references, Rosen makes a compelling case for why investigating what Jesus saw helps us clarify our own moral vision for imagining a future for humanity."


"Such a close and generous reading of the Gospels will compel us to return to the original text with fresh eyes - and hopefully see not only as Jesus would in his time, but perhaps help us see others now as Jesus might."

The Catholic Herald

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506478654
  • eBook ISBN 9781506478661
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 199
  • Publication Date June 6, 2023