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How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian: Is God Violent? An Exploration from Genesis to Revelation Paperback – July 26, 2016
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“Crossan’s treatment of the text is nothing short of spectacular, even when I didn’t agree with his assertions. With skill, wit, and all the finesse of the intellectual giant that he is, Crossan manages to successfully navigate those troublesome texts and…begins the redemptive process of the text.” (The Clarion Journal of Spirituality)
“Crossan, one of the most prolific popular writers among the scholars of the historical Jesus . . . proposes viewing the nonviolent movement of the historical Jesus-and not some apocalyptic bloodbath-as the end or center or climax of Christian time.” (Booklist (starred review))
“When studying the Bible, Christians are met with opposing versions for God: one of vengeance and one of compassion. Crossan confronts this conflict and challenges readers to engage in conversations about faith and the historical Jesus.” (U.S. Catholic)
From the Back Cover
The Bible introduces us to a loving Jesus who turns the other cheek, loves his enemies, and shows grace to all. But we also meet a warrior Jesus who leads an army of angels bent on earthly destruction. Which is the true Messiah? Should we all follow the nonviolent Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount or the vengeful, sword-wielding Christ of Revelation?
As one of the foremost biblical scholars of our day, John Dominic Crossan re-veals that running throughout the entire Bible—from Genesis to Revelation—are two conflicting revelations of God: one offering a radical, holy vision where every need is provided for and love and grace are extended widely; the other working to domesticate this radical vision by em-phasizing judgment and punishment and by propping up the status quo.
But one thing is clear, argues Crossan: one cannot pretend that the Bible provides a single, unified vision of God or Jesus. If one wants to discover the Bible's best and purest revelation of God, then Christians must measure the Bible by Jesus. And to find the best and purest revelation of Jesus, Crossan concludes, then we must look to the work of scholars who can point us to the teachings of the historical Jesus. Only then will we know how to read the Bible and still be a Christian.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
Crossan’s model describing the dynamics of the Christian Bible is highly though-provoking – The Radicality of God vs the Normalicy of Civilization – Nonviolent Power of Persuasion vs Violent Power of Force – Distributive Justice vs Retributive Justice.
His discussion of how the Apostle St. Paul was initially something of a radical but was de-radicalized through two stages is quite intriguing. In the New Testament epistles that were written by Paul (1 Thessalonians, Galatians, Philippians, Philemon, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Romans), the apostle is referred to as the “Real Paul” or the “Radical Paul”. In those whose authorship may be in question (2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians), the apostle is de-radicalized into a conservative “anti-Paul.” or “Post Paul”, and in those that were definitely not written by Paul (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus), the apostle is further de-radicalized into a reactionary “anti-Paul.” or “Pseudo Paul”. Differences between the three are somewhat surprising.
Crossan closes with the statements, “Justice is the body of love, and love is the soul of justice. Separate them and you do not get both— you get neither;
…” and, borrowing from poet John Keats, “Justice is love, love is justice. That is all we know on earth, and all we need to know.”
The book is a fascinating read and is very informative in selected areas of Christian history and scripture.
"How To Read..." creates its own matrix by which you will be able to weigh and measure texts across the scope of Biblical scriptures; whether or not you agree with its thesis or find its scope of analysis comprehensive enough is entirely up to you.
A worthy read for anyone who wants to understand these texts in a historical light all while maintaining sight on the binding ethic that makes these scriptures "Christian".