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Death On A Friday Afternoon Meditations On The Last Words Of Jesus From The Cross Paperback – February 5, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (February 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465049338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465049332
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #373,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Richard John Neuhaus chose a daunting project in Death on a Friday Afternoon: the book is a wide-ranging meditation on Jesus' seven last words spoken from the Cross on Good Friday. (These "words" are actually Jesus' seven final statements, taken from the four gospels; they include "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," and "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?") Neuhaus has a powerful rhetorical style, which disposes him occasionally to make questionable, grandiose claims, such as, "If what Christians say about Good Friday is true, then it is, quite simply, the truth about everything." Yet Neuhaus also has a great respect for the mysteries of Christianity and is capable of open, honest grappling with the toughest questions of the faith: "[W]hat does it mean to say Christ died for our sins? Why was it necessary? Or was it? And which sins in particular?" Despite its occasional overreaching, Death on a Friday Afternoon is an elegant, mature, and compassionate exploration of the hardest, darkest questions in Christianity. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A book for all seasons of the year and for every stage of one's journey through life." -- Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University

"A masterful achievement." -- Philip Zaleski, author of The Recollected Heart and editor of Gifts of the Spirit

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This book, however, is written in a completely different style and with a very different aim.
Dr. Bojan Tunguz
This book is good for the mature Christian and the inquirer alike--something one can say about few books.
Ardella Crawford
I've read this book every Lent for three years and I don't intend to stop doing so anytime soon.
Chris Serger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

180 of 187 people found the following review helpful By Ardella Crawford on April 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can think of no better way to finish Lent and prepare for Easter than to spend a few hours with Father Neuhaus's most recent book, Death on a Friday Afternoon. Nor does it matter if you don't have time to get it all read before Easter because, as Neuhaus writes at the beginning, "Good Friday is not just one day of the year. It is a day relived in every day of the world, and of our lives in the world....Every day of the year is a good day to think more deeply about Good Friday, for Good Friday is the drama of love by which our every day is sustained."
The scope and implicit aim of this book are formidable; even more remarkable, this extended meditation accomplishes everything it set out to do. Don't expect a soppy, mystical, pie-in-the-sky reflection on the death of Christ. Here is a keen examination of tough love in action, the love of a God who accepted trial at the hands of His creatures and took on Himself their impudent verdict: "Guilty."
Each chapter is devoted to one of the Seven Words from the Cross, and in each case, Fr. Neuhaus shows how these words, spoken nearly two millenia ago on a certain Friday afternoon in history, still pierce our lives today--if we will let them. One of the great strengths of the book is its application of the truth of the Cross to modern life. What practical effect does each of these words have on each of us? This question is amply answered in such a way that the reader comes to understand personally how he is obligated to be crucified with Christ if he professes himself a follower.
Another strength of this book is its stark presentation of the cost of being a Christian.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Cipriano on June 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Seven Last Words are not seven "words" but seven "utterances" and they are these:
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."
"Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother."
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
"I thirst."
"It is finished."
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
These are the seven biblically recorded utterances of Christ on the cross, and Neuhaus has written, in my opinion, the superlative meditation of the significance of these final words of Jesus. Each chapter expounds upon one of these "words". The writing is so clear-headed... it will appeal to those who need to approach the ineffable mystery with at least one foot on the ground. Or even two! It is not spiritual platitude, it is gut-level and sobering. Have you ever wondered what happened when Jesus died on the cross? Or WHY it happened? Or IF it happened? This book speaks to those questions, with a rational approach that can only be likened to the writings of C.S. Lewis.
I was transfixed, and overwhelmed (in a good way) with the wealth of information in Neuhaus's book. Beautifully written.
He says in the preface, "If what Christians say about Good Friday is true, then it is, quite simply, the truth about everything. I have written this for people who are convinced of that truth, for people who are open to thinking about whether it may be true and for people who are just curious about why so much of the world thinks Good Friday is the key to understanding what Dante called 'the love that moves the sun and all the other stars.'"
The Convinced. The Cautious. The Curious.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Nancy K. Oconnor on June 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I usually read books quickly. This book, however, is one to be read slowly and thoughtfully. If one is looking for a quick and easy guide to Christian belief, then don't buy it. If one is a thoughtful seeker into the question of pain and suffering and how suffering and death is seen in the life of a mature Christian, then one will find this book meaningful. Not for those comfortable with easy answers or a life of self satisfaction.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By William H. Panning on March 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the most profoundly moving books I have ever read. I re-read it every year during lent, and it never fails to move me in the same way as before. Here is why.

In the final scene of "Saving Private Ryan," Ryan himself, now much older, is visiting the grave of the soldier who saved him. He recalls the final words of the dying soldier who rescued him, a plea to make his life worthy of the sacrifice being given. In tears, he asks his wife whether he has in fact lived his life in a way that justifies that sacrifice.

Although "Death on a Friday Afternoon" is far too complex and nuanced to be summarized succinctly, one of its objectives (which it fulfills admirably) is to look its reader directly in the face and ask, "Are you in fact living your life in a way that justifies the sacrifice that Jesus made to save it?"

Two brief excerpts provide a glimpse of this book's seriousness and importance:

"Our lives are measured not by the lives of others, not by our own ideals, not by what we think might reasonably be expected of us, although by each of those measures we acknowledge failings enough. Our lives are measured by who we are created and called to be, and the measuring is done by the One who creates and calls. . ."

"To belittle our sins is to belittle ourselves, to belittle who it is that God creates and calls us to be."

This book is a call to seriousness about living our lives in response to what God has done for us.

There is much more as well. Don't miss it.
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