In this book Crossan broadens his focus beyond Jesus to the whole surrounding Roman world, and the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. And in comparing all this, he exposes a vast gulf between totally different visions for the world, which now compete to decide our future.
On one hand he explores the vision of peace through victory over all enemies, which was the Roman imperial dream, and the dream of all empires including that of America. But as Crossan shows, this dream of ultimate victory is also repeatedly expressed in the Bible.
Against this we have a vision of peace through converting people to justice, which was the dream of Jesus and many other prophets or apostles in the Bible.
And last we have a vision of peace through death and destruction, in which both sinners and the sinful world are destroyed in a paroxysm of divine vengeance. And even this dream is expressed in the Bible, both in the flood of Noah and the Apocalypse of Revelation. Or, as Crossan quotes Charles Jones, "Some day we may blow ourselves up with all the bombs .... But I still believe God's going to be in control. ... If he chooses to use nuclear war, then who am I to argue with that?".
Crossan deals with questions that have grown urgent for the world's survival. These visions of a final solution -- of either exterminating evil or converting sinners to justice, "... are never reconciled anywhere in the biblical tradition. They are together from one end of the book to the other. Indeed, they often coexist in the same book or even the same chapter. So again, are we to take them both and worship a God of both violence and nonviolence, or must we choose between them ...?"
--author of Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story
This book looks in a critical and balanced way at what the Bible teaches about the way cultures have always operated in the world in contrast with the way God works in His Kingdom. It challenges the assertion that the teaching of of Jesus has no political dimension. It also undermines totally the war-monger approach often seen in US church groups, implicitly exposing policies in relation to Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan to some serious criticism. A thoughtful book, worth reading.