Beyond The Gospels: Jesus Revisioned with Alexander Shaia, Ph.D.

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Throughout his academic and spiritual life Alexander Shaia repeatedly encountered many examples of a recurring four-fold pattern whose imprint could be found across time, geography, culture and religious tradition. The explanation of why there were four gospels came to him in a flash of insight in which he understood the gospels as being part of this universal four-fold pattern whose original purpose was not primarily to tell the story of Jesus. "The importance of the gospels," he contends, "is they are the answers to four great spiritual questions; How do you face change? How do you endure suffering? How do you receive joy? and How do you serve?" With this understanding, the Gospels transcend the identity of being the sacred text of a tribe to being a sacred text of the universe and a guide to lead us to understand what we need to know in each new moment as we face the challenges and opportunities of our own lives. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Alexander Shaia, Ph.D. holds master’s degrees in counseling education and religious education, a graduate certificate in pastoral psychotherapy, and a doctorate in clinical psychology. He is founding director of the Blue Door Retreat Center in Santa Fe, and travels internationally, lecturing and conducting workshops and retreats.

He is the author of:

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Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Why there are only four gospels
  • What are the four great spiritual questions the gospels answer
  • Why the gospels are not primarily histories of Jesus, but texts of spiritual practice
  • How the place each gospel was written is important to understanding that purpose of that gospel
  • How this understanding gives a whole new meaning to the canonical Gospels
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 2/22/2007      Program Number: 3195