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Jesus, Justice and the Reign of God: A Ministry of Liberation Paperback – November 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (November 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664256767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664256760
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #941,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William R. Herzog II was formerly Sallie Knowles Crozer Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. His books include Parables as Subversive Speech: Jesus as Pedagogue of the Oppressed; Jesus, Justice, and the Reign of God: A Ministry of Liberation; and The Faith of Fifty Million: Baseball, Religion, and American Culture, all published by WJK.

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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By William Alexander on October 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Herzog's work combines the best of the scholarship of traditional eschatological images of Jesus and more contemporary research related to the environment of Galilee, first century Judaism, and the circumstances of Roman occupation that is represented by Crossan and co. Many traditional view of Jesus neglect the latter environment with an exclusive focus on the text of the Gospels and neglect the distinct Jewish character of Palestine. Herzog has accomplished an impressive job in addressing both.
Herzog presents Jesus as a very Jewish prophet deeply rooted in the Old Testament tradition of justice and righteousness. Seeing himself as a viceroy of God Himself, Jesus envisioned a renewal of the ancient covenantal relationship that had all but disappeared under aristocratic rule, foreign occupation, and the inexorable advance of a monetizing agrarian economy. The innovation of private property rights, heavy taxation, and urbanization had the result of breaking God's original covenant with His people. The people of Palestine, particularly the rural Galilee of Jesus' home were losing their land to powerful elites under the burden of this exploitation and were being reduced to destitution. It is to these people that Jesus announced: "Blessed are you destitute, for yours is the kingdom of God".
The Old Testament presents us with a God whose concern is with his people and the prevailing rule of justice and semi-egalitarianism. Extensive provisions are made to care for the poor, to regularly forgive debts, and ensure that all are provided for. The earth did not belong to the people, it belonged to God, and it would bear fruit for the people of Israel provided they kept their covenant with Him.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Loren Rosson III on November 27, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Building on his 1994 publication, "Parables as Subversive Speech", William Herzog gives us one of the best comprehensive treatments of the historical Jesus. The author has worked closely with a group of scholars known as the Context Group, who for the past two decades have been using social science models to help understand the bible. Because the Context Group has been interested in a genuine usable context -- rather than wild and sensationalist claims -- its scholars have not received publicity and notoriety like many of those on the Jesus Seminar. And this book is a sorely needed remedy to the Seminar's domestication of Jesus as a laid-back cynic-sage who tossed around playful aphorisms and parables, unmindful of politics and having little to do with Judaism. Herzog paints Jesus as a fiercely political prophet who threw himself head-first into economic and religious turmoil.

As such, the Galilean was a prophet of justice rooted in Jewish tradition, devoted to the covenant standards of ancient Israel. He used the Torah to disclose the will of God, and to warn those who abused it as an instrument of oppression. He didn't so much oppose the Torah as he did certain interpretations of it, taking its debt codes as the starting point rather than the purity codes. (Debt codes having to do with the exodus out of slavery and bondage, and the gift of the promised land as a blessing from which all were to benefit; purity codes, meanwhile, segregating clean from unclean and reinforcing boundaries.) Priests and Pharisees viewed debt codes in terms of purity codes, poverty being the result of uncleanliness and sin.
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12 of 20 people found the following review helpful By shemayah phillips on May 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have studied Yahshua (Jesus) from an Ebionite viewpoint for over 20 years. That view requires looking beyond later secretions applied to the Christian Writings involving idolatry and Mystery Cult theology, yet seeing Yahshua as a real Jew with something worthwhile to say. I have taught that Yahwistic economy and its being compromised by Yahshua's contemporaries toward a Western view of economy (hedonism, exploitation basically), was the key behind understanding Evyonut (Ebionitism) and Yahshua.
This is the book I wish I had the abilities to have written on the subject. There are a number of books that now (finally) promote this view (Excavating Jesus, for example). This book is so far the best and most comprehensive in the details. It does for Ebionites (not directly, of course) and Yahshua what Hyam Maccoby does for exposing Paul of Tarsus in _The Mythmaker_.
For anyone who has been damaged by fundamentalism and the inconsistencies of Christian doctrine and mythology, this book shows that Yahshua had more important statements to make.
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13 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
well researched book,i found it more beliveable than most books on the historical jesus. religion and politics in jesus time was insepartible. his death itself is a testimony to the fact that he was viewed as a political threat by his opponets(roman and jew). a good book buy it.
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