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God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 13, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Crossan delivers his own credo on p. 198 when he reveals the content of his Bin of Disbelief, the main reasons he decries Christian fundamentalism and "Left Behind-ish" Apocalyptic theology. "What I reject," says the scholar, is "discrimination and oppression, homophobia and patriarchy, injustice and violence, force and empire."
That's a lot of rejecting. And Crossan is making the case that Jesus' message is right there with him, if only we can parse it out of the Bible. Trouble is, the Bible, including the New Testament, doesn't always seem to contain the same items in its Bin of Disbelief. This is where Crossan will lose a lot of readers. What he posits is that you must choose which parts of the New Testament to take seriously as bonafide Jesus talk (God's radicality) and which parts are later slippages back to civilization's normalcy.
He actually groups the Letters of St.Read more ›
Rodney Stark, a professor of sociology and comparative religion, in 1996 published a history THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY:How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the World in a Few Centuries. How? By nonviolence! "But perhaps all else, Christianity brought a new concept of humanity to a world saturated with capricious crulty and viscarious love of death."
I believe Rodney Stark's book set fire under biblical scholars to investigate the historical living conditions that Jesus emerged from as well as the Jesus Movement.
In October 1999, Crossan took part in a Jesus Seminar lecture series (I was there in the audience) about "A Future for Christian Faith?" His full text was published in the book THE ONCE AND FUTURE JESUS. He explained: "What I am trying to imagine is what Christianity must do clearly and honestly to distinquish itself from fantasy." "In 1999 I never imagined...the speed with which faith-based thinking would morph into fantasy-based dreaming...."
In 2001 Crossan and Reed issued their first collaborative book EXCAVATING JESUS: The key Discoveries for understanding Jesus in His World. This book combined analysis of text conjoined with archaeological discoveries. "Jesus and his Kingdom were a threat to Roman law and order, and his Jewish God was a threat to the Roman God." This summation vibrates through the whole book.
In 2004 Crossan and Reed issued their second collaborative book IN SEARCH OF PAUL: How Jesus's Apostle opposed Rome's Empire with God's Kingdom. Again this book combine text conjoined with archaeological discoveries.Read more ›
Unlike other Crossan books, which are full of words you've never heard of, wander far from their subject, and are irritating, "God and Empire" is relatively easy to comprehend and is more of a personal statement than a scholarly inquiry. The first chapter is the best as it gives a bleak picture of what comprises civilization and empire. Chapter two about the development of the idea of God can be skipped. The next three chapters deal with the teachings of Jesus and Paul and the apocalyptic book of Revelations. As opposed to many critics of Paul, Crossan sees him as a liberal and humane theologian reflecting the alternative to "civilization" that Jesus preached.
Crossan reserves most of his bile for the interpretation of the book of Revelations by fundamentalist Christians. He looks with horror at the notion of an avenging Jesus leading an army of Saints against the anti-Christ and rails at the teachings of current day theologians such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.
In his epilogue he attempts to answer the question: How is it possible to be a faithful Christian in an American Empire facilitated by a violent Christian Bible? Crossan's vision of a kindler, gentler Christianity in a kinder, gentler United States makes for thoughtful reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you want the straight story on Jews, Jesus and 1st century Roman corruption and domination, read this book. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Don L.
I am studying the sources of violence and alternatives to violence. The book contrasts empire mentality with Kingdom of God non-imperial mentality. Read morePublished 3 months ago by John Hudson
An outstanding book making God and Empire understandable for all.Published 9 months ago by Seamus P Doyle
I purchased this book in multiple copies for my adult Sunday School class. We are enjoying discussions of its content. Read morePublished 11 months ago by R. R. King
One must remember that the leader of society at the times were treated as gods. This is the backdrop that Crossan is pasting his ideas of history upon. Read morePublished 11 months ago by John in PA
I find Crossan's scholarship and tone and vision a ray of hope in many ways. His vision of the power of Christ, a powerless nobody in the values of the Roman Empire is a paradigm... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Allison Milligan
It is a thoughtful exploration of the way we have accepted violence, lack of freedom, and injustice in order to sustain our so called civilization.Published 13 months ago by Patricia A. Silva