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Jesus [Kindle Edition]

John Dominic Crossan
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Controversial, Bestselling Account of What We Can Know About the Life of Jesus

Product Description


"Jesus is a magisterial distillation of Crossan's lifelong work on the gospels and Jesus. It deserves careful and extended consideration by everyone seriously interested in the enigmatic sage from Galilee. With his work on Jesus, Crossan joins the ranks of the truly great biblical scholars of the twentieth century. His 'revolutionary biography' is the biography of a revolutionary: the book and its subject are rebels in the cause of truth."-- Robert W. Funk, editor of "The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus" and cofounder of the Jesus Seminar"Crossan paints his Jesus with great warmth and power. He achieves a portrait that both takes in the contemporary background yet accounts for Jesus' distinctiveness...This Jesus is a Jewish peasant, with a direct sense of God's immediacy, who shatters all social restraints." -- "New York Times Book Review""This is an extremely interesting, erudite, informative, must-read for anyone interested in the New Testament...Read it." -- "National Catholic Reporter"


Cuts through the arcane research of biblical scholarship to present an historical description of the life of Jesus, depicting him as a social revolutionary who preached a message of radical egalitarianism.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 419 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 006180035X
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; 1 edition (23 Sept. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002Q1YENA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,971 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Elusive Jesus 7 April 2002
By A Customer
Crossman is obviously an accomplished scholar and a brilliant writer. However, I do not find his portrait of Jesus as a societal rebel very convincing. His description seems to be based on too many shaky assumptions. Crossan is more successful in showing just how elusive the historical Jesus can be for any New Testament critics bold enough to join the search. The book is definitely not intended to make the reader feel comfortable but I highly recommend it.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This was an exceptionally informative read. Crossan manages to raise some compelling questions without forcing his own interpretation on the reader. Yes, there is much here that will unnerve both the theologian and those of rigid faith, but nothing that isn't explored with reasoned and compassionate insight. As to the Kirkus review above, it falls prey to its own criticism - telling us more about the critic than the book itself. Read Crossan. He will open yours eyes.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brave, honest and beautifully perceptive book. 2 Aug. 2012
By NotBob
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read so many interesting but unsatisfysing and some downright puzzling recontructions of the historical Jesus. At last I have found a book by someone who really understands how to read the documents and is able to explain lucidly how they come to include so many competitive pictures of who Jesus was, what he did and said, and what his life means to us today. It is quite simply the most perceptive book on this subject I have read (and I have read a lot of books about the historical Jesus).

I feel freed to believe that what happened in Galilee and Jerusalem two milenia ago was both much simpler than some would want us to accept but was also still of incalculable importance. I will not try to summarize the whole thesis of the book. Just read it (please).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  102 reviews
165 of 183 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Renew Your Faith! 16 Mar. 2004
By leosullivan13 - Published on
Dr. Crossan's hugely popular book has come to represent the much larger war of words between "conservative" and "liberal" Christians and the scholars who argue their respective viewpoints. As a lapsed Catholic and former altar boy struggling for twenty years with my beliefs, I have only one thing to say about this allegedly "non-Christian" book: It completely renewed my faith. It took away all the miracles, all the divine interventions and all the dogma of worshipping someone just because our traditions say we should. Yet what remained was the portrait of a humble man whose brilliance and humanity was two thousand years ahead of his time. Armed with nothing more than intelligence, love and the radical but essential truth that we're all in it together, this completely human Jesus changed the world solely through his divine message alone. I take it on faith that THAT Jesus is someone whose message is worth living and dying for. Thank you Dr. Crossan for restoring my faith as never before and for elevating Jesus of Nazareth to a height far higher and far more noble than my tradition ever dared to.
64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good springboard to your own Jesus studies 24 Oct. 1997
By michael huff - Published on
Judaica scholar Jacob Nuesner says we create God--and Jesus--after our own image. I think he's right in respect to Crossan and "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography." While I agree with Crossan's politics, I think he makes a mistake to so thoroughly secularize and 20th-Century-ize Jesus, as if he weren't a passionately religious 1st-Century Jew. I also think, however, that the passionate Judaism of Jesus would naturally translate into the kind of social activism and "radical egalitarianism" that Crossan describes in his book. Most valuable are Crossan's description of 1st-Century Mediterranean culture (and its phobia of body-, family-, culture-, and class-contamination), and his interpretation of the parables of Jesus (consistent, for a change, with Jesus's other more direct, less metaphorical, radical teachings). It's good to read this book along with "The Historical Figure of Jesus," by E.P. Sanders. In contrast to Crossan's strictly rationale, secular setting, Sanders describes a 1st-Century Mediterranean world where most people believe in religion and magic.
70 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Holy Grail of New Testament Scholarship 27 Dec. 2000
By George R Dekle - Published on
The historical Jesus seems to have become the Holy Grail of New Testament scholarship. He is sought just as fervently and proves just as elusive. This book is actually Crossan's second quest for the historical Jesus. His first was "The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant." That book was long, meandering, and not terribly interesting. This second book is a distillation of the theories presented in the earlier book, and it has two virtues its predecessor lacked: brevity and lucidity. Crossan brings a prodigious level of scholarship to the task of finding the historical Jesus, and a reading of this book will give the student fresh insight into Jesus' nature, personality, and teachings. It will not, however, give an accurate picture of the historical Jesus. Crossan commits the same error that almost all previous questers after the historical Jesus have fallen into: He finds the Jesus he set out to look for. What, then, is an accurate picture of the historical Jesus? That is a question we must all answer for ourselves. This book, and others like it, can give us pieces of the puzzle, but the proper assembly of those pieces is up to us.
57 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a lot of pieces are missing 11 May 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on
"You can only amputate the sick to a certain degree; if you amputate too much, you will kill the patient" says Dale Allison, another Jesus scholar, reacting to scholars in the line of Crossan and Marcus Borg, who have stripped the historical Jesus of his apocalipticism and jewishness, thus ignoring tons of ancient evidence. That Jesus was, for example, an apocalyptic prophet and an observant Jew is supported in the earliest layers of tradition, such as the Q gospel (50s CE), Mark (60s) and Paul (50s). This is not a problem for Crossan, who says that the apocaliptic material (the belief that the world was about to end) was added to the gospels by the early church soon after Jesus died. Of more historical value (at least for him) are documents like the late Epistle of Barbanas (100s), the Didache (70s), the Secret gospel of Mark (the earliest copy dating from the middle ages), the Gospel of Thomas (150s) and - how odd - the reliefs made in stone in the 3rd or 4th century that depict Jesus as a greek philospher. How far can you press your hypothesis in one direction?
Key to Crossan's method is the concept of multiple attestation. If one complex (for example, the relationship between children and the Kingdom of God) appears indeppendently in more than one source, then that complex goes back to the historical Jesus. I would have no problem with this if Crossan were consistent about his own methods. Other multiple attested complexes and events, such as there being a group of twelve apostles, or the passion narrative, or the words of Jesus at the last supper, or the so-called nature miracles, he simply says "they are inventions". On the other hand, some sayings appearing in only one source ("I will destroy this house...", in the gospel of Thomas) he considers authentic.
Despite the evidence, in multiple independent sources, that there was a last supper (Paul, Mark, John) Crossan calls it an invention just because it isnt mentioned in a 1st century text known as Didache. If it isnt in the Didahce, then it never happened. (!)
This doesnt mean that Crossan is always far from the historical Jesus. The idea of a free exchange of food and miracles at the very roots of the Jesus movement, open commensality and radical egalitarianism must be very close to what actually happened. But as one reviewer put it, many, many pieces of the puzzle are missing... or have been ignored on purpose.
For more on the subject, I strongly recommend N.T. Wright's Jesus and the Victory of God.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a profound and important book in my life 1 Sept. 2010
By Bob - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
About fifteen years ago in a search for faith, among the books I read, this one had the deepest impact on my life. I did not know Dominic Crossan before reading "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography" but I owe him a deep debt of gratitude for helping me get past the "Sunday school", caucasian, idealized version of Jesus, and understand the miracle and working of the Holy Spirit that a person born of a working or peasant class in a tiny and insignificant backwater country could transform world history, transform people's lives now, two thousand years later. Crossan made the life and meaning of Jesus real to me and touched my heart in a way I had never known. For me it was a moment of Grace that still informs and directs my life.
I have since read several more books by Dom Crossan and am always enlightened by his scholarship and understanding of the world of Rome and Palestine, and the deep faith that is revealed in his work.
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