The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Jul 13, 2010 - Religion - 544 pages

"He comes as yet unknown into a hamlet of Lower Galilee. He is watched by the cold, hard eyes of peasants living long enough at a subsistence level to know exactly where the line is drawn between poverty and destitution. He looks like a beggar yet his eyes lack the proper cringe, his voice the proper whine, his walk the proper shuffle. He speaks about the rule of God and they listen as much from curiosity as anything else. They know all about rule and power, about kingdom and empire, but they know it in terms of tax and debt, malnutrition and sickness, agrarian oppression and demonic possession. What, they really want to know, can this kingdom of God do for a lame child, a blind parent, a demented soul screaming its tortured isolation among the graves that mark the edges of the village?"

–– from "The Gospel of Jesus," overture to The Historical Jesus

The Historical Jesus reveals the true Jesus––who he was, what he did, what he said. It opens with "The Gospel of Jesus," Crossan's studied determination of Jesus' actual words and actions stripped of any subsequent additions and placed in a capsule account of his life story. The Jesus who emerges is a savvy and courageous Jewish Mediterranean peasant, a radical social revolutionary, with a rhapsodic vision of economic, political, and religious egalitarianism and a social program for creating it.

The conventional wisdom of critical historical scholarship has long held that too little is known about the historical Jesus to say definitively much more than that he lived and had a tremendous impact on his followers. "There were always historians who said it could not be done because of historical problems," writes Crossan. "There were always theologians who said it should not be done because of theological objections. And there were always scholars who said the former when they meant the latter.'

With this ground–breaking work, John Dominic Crossan emphatically sweeps these notions aside. He demonstrates that Jesus is actually one of the best documented figures in ancient history; the challenge is the complexity of the sources. The vivid portrayal of Jesus that emerges from Crossan's unique methodology combines the complementary disciplines of social anthropology, Greco–Roman history, and the literary analysis of specific pronouncements, anecdotes, confessions and interpretations involving Jesus. All three levels cooperate equally and fully in an effective synthesis that provides the most definitive presentation of the historical Jesus yet attained.

 

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This monumental work by a leading biblical scholar combines history, literary analysis, and social anthropology into a comprehensive picture of the historical Jesus. Crossan clearly addresses textual ... Read full review

Contents

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LXV
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LXX
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LXXI
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LXXII
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LXXIII
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LXXIV
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LXXV
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LXXVII
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LXXVIII
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LXXIX
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LXXX
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LXXXI
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LXXXII
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LXXXIII
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LXXXIV
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LXXXV
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LXXXVI
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LXXXVII
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LXXXVIII
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LXXXIX
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XC
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XCI
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Popular passages

Page 367 - For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
Page 141 - And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord ; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire ; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
Page 270 - There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God : for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Page xxii - Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
Page xxvii - And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
Page xxiv - They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard ; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
Page xxviii - The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

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About the author (2010)

John Dominic Crossan, professor emeritus at DePaul University, is widely regarded as the foremost historical Jesus scholar of our time. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Historical Jesus, How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian, God and Empire, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, The Greatest Prayer, The Last Week, and The Power of Parable. He lives in Minneola, Florida.

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