An important book, Rod of Jesse has been written for readers on either side of the basic question: Did Jesus Live? - as a man in history, a Galilean prophet who gathered disciples, uttered Teachings & was crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem?

Critics who deny the life of Jesus must be pleased to find their objections fully & fairly aired with no attempt at one-sided refutation.

Believers who affirm the life of Jesus will be gratified for the author�s concluding affirmation of that life on the basis of the Gospel tales in question.

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Dwarf Lion Press

Trumansburg NY

Rod of Jesse

On the Jesus of the Gospels & Doubt of his Existence

Ernest Werner

Formerly Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, Altoona, PA, Assistant Pastor, Trinity Lutheran, Lancaster, PA, Minister, First Parish Unitarian, Ashby, MA, Minister, First Unitarian Society, Ithaca, NY, & Member of the Chaplains� Staff, Cornell University.

And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse.
& a Branch shall grow out of his roots
& the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him...
With Righteousness shall he judge the Poor
& reprove with Equity for the Meek of the earth:
& he shall smite the Earth with the Rod of his Mouth
& with the Breath of his lips shall he Slay the Wicked...
From Isaiah 11

Dwarf Lion Press

Trumansburg NY

Four readers have been selected to read through Rod of Jesse before publication. All four have affirmed its importance. The �boldness of its insights� & its thorough care have been remarked on.

Writing with an inclusive readership in mind, whether industrial folk or academic, the author takes up the challenge of the Negative argument after a lifetime of reflection on these Gospels. With entire fairness to both perspectives Ernest Werner shows that the affirmation of this Life may be made in all good conscience in full view of the critics who deny it. Rod of Jesse�s basic trend is affirmative.

Ernest Werner�s new book offers in an attractive & readable format a review of the Four Gospels as providing still the best evidence for Jesus� Life when rightly understood.

The author, once ordained a Lutheran pastor, was formerly a minister of the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, NY, and a member of the Chaplains� staff at Cornell University.

Although abandoning the ministry many years ago while passing through the religious crisis of the �Sixties, he remains on friendly terms with both denominations. Rod of Jesse, as indicated by its subtitle, is a reflection of his life-long examination of the Gospels & his endeavor to interpret �religion.�

Written slowly & with much reflection by the author, Rod of Jesse is the summation of a lifetime�s endeavor. Ordained a Lutheran pastor after eleven years of training (in the �old� Missouri Synod) & later �fellowshiped� among the Unitarians, & as one who has preached in industrial communities as well as academic, I have never abandoned my deep interest in the Gospels. A personal �revolution� through which my mind has passed has long since been clarified. Rod of Jesse gives my best results.

I thank you beforehand for any interest you may show in my book. If your personal �Quest� is for a deeper understanding of the Tales & Teachings which our Gospels give, you will surely find it rewarding.


Many continue the search for the �real� historical Jesus in the archeological ruins while others take a leap of faith in the DaVinci Code. The real Jesus of history is to be found in the Gospels as we have them and not in some secret code in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The real Jesus is revealed by the historical process of the living Gospel, fully allowing for the many legends and elaborations of the underlying events. Ernest Werner�s new book ROD OF JESSE advances our understanding of how and why the four Gospels were written about a real man named Jesus.

ROD OF JESSE takes up the question of Jesus as myth and without advocacy or iconoclasm treats the question fairly. Confessing Jesus to be a mythic archetype is not heresy. In so doing one finds more rational evidence for a historical Jesus than blind faith alone. Taking Christian thinking to another level in the reader may provoke changes in relation to �church� without destroying faith, but this book does not make claims to solving problems for the churches.
� Jill Swenson, Ph.D.

The Book offers the Reader:

Comparisons of the Four Gospels to myths in the Hellenistic environment
Illustrations of �prophecy � as satisfied by �chim ing� of ancient texts
The Story of Jesus found in John compa red to th e earlier (S ynoptic ) Gospe ls
Defense of the original & old-fashioned understanding of the Sign of Jonah
An extend ed Protesta nt Midrash on the Resurrection of Lazarus while introducing the conception of the �Phallic god� in refutation of John Allegro�s Sacred Mush room
Exposition of Mark�s me lodramatic Tale of the Dance of Salome (Baptist�s beheading) establishing legend as a vehicle of historical fact
Through careful examination of Passion & Resurection scenes shows h ow histo ry is conveyed while also revealing how easily Gospel accounts pass into legend
& Overall: An intellectua l & indepen dent assessmen t of the Gospels , taken in their original religious sense, for a distinct & persuasive evidence of a historical Jesus.

Dwarf Lion Press
PO Box 436
Trumansburg, NY 14866

Cover photo by Amelia Burns
Stained glass window by Lois Werner-Gallegos
Cover Design by Erik West


© 2007 Dwarf Lion Press

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A translation of Rod of Jesse into German by Silke Lührmann is forthcoming.