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Imitating Jesus

Imitating Jesus book cover

In contrast to many studies of New Testament ethics, which treat the New Testament in general and Paul in particular, Imitating Jesus: An Inclusive Approach to New Testament Ethics focuses on the person of Jesus himself. Richard Burridge maintains that imitating Jesus means following both his words – which are very demanding ethical teachings – and his deeds and example of being inclusive and accepting of everyone.

Burridge carefully and systematically traces that combination of rigorous ethical instruction and inclusive community through the letters of Paul and the four Gospels, treating specific ethical issues pertaining to each part of Scripture. The book culminates with a chapter on apartheid as an ethical challenge to reading the New Testament; using South Africa as a contemporary case study enables Burridge to highlight and further apply his previous discussion and conclusions.

Imitating Jesus was shortlisted for the Michael Ramsey Prize for theological writing in 2009.  The prize was inaugurated by Dr Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, to encourage the most promising theological writing and to identify it for a wider Christian readership.

‘In this monumental work Richard Burridge has identified the fundamental questions facing South African theology today: How can we insure that apartheid will never happen again?  His answer is pertinent to the entire theological world: by following and imitating Jesus.  No imitation of Jesus could justify such violence and oppression or condone schemes of “separate development” or noninclusivity. Imitating Jesus says it all, but it is only the beginning of the fruitful reward of Burridge’s contribution.’ Walter Wink, Auburn Theological Seminary

‘Richard Burridge’s Imitating Jesus is a welcome addition to the literature on New Testament ethics.  I commend it – and recommend it –  for its attention to the story of Jesus as the foundation of New Testament ethics, for its attention to genre, for its emphasis on both the rigorous moral teachings and the radically inclusive acceptance of the New Testament, and for its emphasis on the hermeneutical significance of reading the Bible in an inclusive community.’ Allen Verhey, Duke Divinity School

Find further review quotes on the Eerdmans page.


Expository Times, 2009
HTS Theological Studies, 2009
Journal of Religion, 2009
Scottish Journal of Theology, 2009
Studies in Christian Ethics, 2009
Theology, Ethics and Philosophy, 2009
Biblical Theology Bulletin, 2010
Scottish Journal of Theology, 2010
Scottish Journal of Theology, 2010
Scottish Journal of Theology, 2010

Related articles

’Imitating Mark’s Jesus’, Sewanee Theological Review, 2006
‘Being Biblical?’ Theology, 2008
‘The RDP of the Soul’, Verbum et Ecclesia, 2008

Media coverage

For media interviews and discussion about Imitating Jesus, and the ethics of the New Testament, listen below.

Imitating Jesus book cover