Jay Parini

Jay Parini

Jay Parini is a poet, a novelist, and the Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College. His many novels include The Damascus Road, a novel about the life of Saint Paul; The Last Station, which was made into an Academy Award-nominated movie in 2010; and Benjamin’s Crossing, a New York Times Notable Book of 1997. His books on Christianity include Jesus: The Human Face of God (2013) and The Way of Jesus: Living a Spiritual and Ethical Life (2017). A pioneer in the genre of biographical fiction, Parini has written well-known biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, and others. He has won numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Chicago Tribune-Heartland Award in non-fiction.

Praise for Jay Parini

“For two millennia, the figure of Jesus has haunted the imagination of spiritual seekers around the world, including many great writers, philosophers, and theologians. It might seem there could be nothing fresh to say about him. Yet in each generation, thoughtful observers find new meaning in his life and teachings, as Jay Parini does in this compelling account. A poet as well as a scholar, Parini delves into the history of the faith he espouses and into the mystery at the core of existence.”

—Scott Russell Sanders, author of Earth Works: Selected Essays

“Jay Parini’s [work] is at once learned and down to earth; rueful at one moment and joyous at the next. Above all, this is the author’s own story—dispatches from an authentic, ongoing quest for a more vital and spirit-filled life.”

—John Elder, author of Reading the Mountains of Home

“A capacious, inspiring meditation on the subtleties, complexities, and even contradictions of the life and teachings of Jesus.”

—Richard Wakefield, The Seattle Times

“Jay Parini offers us in less than 200 pages a warm, bold, strong, well-written historical biography of Jesus Christ. No kidding. It is probably the most reliable biography on Christ written for a century or two.”

The Huffington Post, editorial review of Jesus: The Human Face of God (2013)

“Parini’s brief and ambitious book…is not only well informed, but deeply personal.”

The Boston Globe, editorial review of Jesus: The Human Face of God (2013)

“An insightful illumination of the life and significance of its subject… summarizing the scholarship and shifting currents of thought that have led to such diverse and divergent beliefs on who Jesus was and what he meant.”


“Jay Parini’s Jesus escapes the limitations of the ‘historical Jesus’ genre without leaving some of the most valuable insights of that effort behind. But he realizes that a real ‘life’ of Jesus has to include not just the years 1 to 33 CE but what Jesus has meant to generations of people ever since. So he makes deft references to artists, poets, spiritual writers and modern theologians.”

—Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard University, and author of The Future of Faith

“The manner in which Parini creates the life and times of Jesus is vivid, almost tangible.  I felt at times I could smell the air in the streets and taste the food and wine. Parini leads the reader though the gospel stories with real skill, weaving the different accounts together with subtlety and sensitivity.”

—Richard McLauchlan, Cambridge University


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