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A Long Way from Tipperary : What a Former Monk Discovered in His Search for the Truth Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 1, 2000

4.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, July 1, 2000
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"If people have had enough chicken soup for the soul, how about some Irish stew for the mind?" asks John Dominic Crossan in the introduction to his meaty new memoir, A Long Way from Tipperary: What a Former Irish Monk Discovered in His Search for the Truth. Crossan burst into the public eye in 1991 with the publication of his bestselling The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. In this and subsequent books, Crossan's historical research has demonstrated the follies of both secularist denial and fundamentalist distortions of Jesus' significance. Tipperary is Crossan's memoir of the ways in which his personal experience "from Ireland to America, from priest to professor, from monastery to university, and ... from celibacy to marriage" have influenced his evolving understanding of who Jesus was. Crossan's struggle has always been to find a way of understanding Jesus that engages "both reason and revelation, both history and faith, both mind and heart." Here is his description of his ideal readers:
They are ... dissatisfied, disappointed, or even disgusted with classical Christianity and their denominational tradition. They hold on with anger or leave with nostalgia, but are not happy with either decision. They do not want to invent or join a new age, but to reclaim and redeem an ancient one. They do not want to settle for a generic-brand religion, but to rediscover their own specific and particular roots. But they know now that those roots must be in a renewed Christianity whose validity does not reject every other religion's integrity, a renewed Christianity that has purged itself of rationalism, fundamentalism, and literalism, whether of book, tradition, community, or leader.
Those who recognize themselves in this passage will find hope and courage in Crossan's book. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Famous for his popular studies of the historical Jesus, Crossan here considers a question that many readers have long entertained: how did Crossan's own life shape the way he thinks Jesus lived? An intriguing question, but not one Crossan answers satisfactorily. The memoir fails to draw compelling connections between Crossan's own life and his Jesus, a radical egalitarian and social revolutionary. But if it does not do much to illumine his historical reconstructions of Jesus, it does offer a fascinating glimpse into the Roman Catholic ChurchAand particularly the Roman Catholic priesthoodAin the years surrounding Vatican II. The Irish Crossan was sent to boarding school as a child, and entered the Catholic priesthood. For a while, the priesthood was a good fitAthe Church sent him all over the world to study, encouraging his intellectual bent. He eventually left the priesthood because he knew that the Church would constrain what he could say as a scholar. (He now identifies with the Catholic tradition, but eschews the Catholic hierarchy, and never goes to church.) Occasionally an irksome self-importance sneaks into this memoir; Crossan never tires of informing us that he was featured on the cover of the Chicago Tribune magazine or interviewed by Terry Gross, and an entire chapter discusses his adventures as a "talking head." While this becomes tedious, readers who are curious about the thinkers and writers who are shaping contemporary religion won't want to miss this book. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition; 1st edition (July 1, 2000)
  • ISBN-10: 0060699744
  • ASIN: B000F6Z8VU
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,484,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
First, I will share my bias. I like, respect and enjoy both the person and the works of John Dominic Crossan; having discovered the former a couple of years ago by chance and good fortune, and the latter in 1993 by way of his seminal work: Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. It has been, therefore, with great anticipation that I have awaited this memoir and, as the old saw goes, it was definitely worth the wait. It was a one sitting read and this autobiography of one of the world's preeminent scholars on the Historical Jesus and early Christianity will be read again, recommended to all and assume a cherished place upon the bookshelf.
I laughed (often aloud), teared-up (some would say cried), and more than once re-read a sentence or a page to ensure I left nothing undigested as there is much here to savor (prose that borders on poetry); much here to ponder ("What is the character of your God?"); and much here to entertain (The consequences of literally interpreting every passage in the Bible... "If Jesus is the Lamb of God, did Mary have a little lamb?").
In reading this memoir no one can deny that Professor Crossan has had anything but a life well lived (thanks in no small measure to a wonderful lady named Sarah) and for the reader who puts down a schilling and opens this book he will, no doubt, have his spirit enobled, his heart warmed and his mind enlightened....and thoroughly enjoy himself throughout the process. What else could one ask from a book?
May the fates smile upon us and allow many many more years of (and thousands of more words from) John Dominic Crossan. He has, indeed, come a long way from Tipperary and I, for one, am thankful that his journey and mine have crossed paths; for in doing so my life has been profoundly enriched.
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By A Customer on November 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Crossan writes an intellectual biography that walks through many twists and turns in his life. But unlike other theological books it has a dramatic aspect. He first places in context criticisms of his views of the historical Jesus, and asks, in essence: How did I get there? What brought me to this point in my career? In the process of reading his memoir we read about various influences in his life, both personal and academic, as well as his methodology. It is a glimpse into the person of Crossan even as he wants us to glimpse into the person of Jesus. Admittedly, his views are not as elaborately explained as they are in his other works, so don't read this book if that is your goal. But if you want a book on the life of ideas and the life of a unique theologian, this book will be anything but dry.
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Format: Hardcover
Crossan is far better a scholar (brilliantly incisive) than an autobiographer. The facts are here, but quite often the tone tends to be flat. To be sure, there are entertaining anecdotes and opportunities to make additions to one's own list of quotable Crossanisms (see what he says about guilt!), but Crossan is often quite guarded in revealing his emotions. Many of Crossan's readers, I think, are most interested in what the crisis was that led him to leave the priesthood, but the reader will find no anguish, no dark night of the soul here-(was the problem really just intellectual freedom?). The only anxiety expressed is about finding subsequent employment. Nor does one really know how Crossan's researches have affected his spirtuality- much of C's agenda in popularizing his scholarly work is to promote a revivified Christianity. Crossan has shown us a Jesus who is a radical egalitarian; who are the people who surround Crossan at his table, academics, yes, but who else? Rather than fulminating against fundamentalist types who are trying to promote God's vengeance on the wicked in his final chapter (already a cliche among writers on religion), Crossan might have told us how his work contributed to forming his personal views on social justice. An interview by a skillful journalist could pose the questions that Crossan doesn't ask or eludes answering in his autobiography. There needs to be one.
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Format: Hardcover
As a theologian, Crossan's contributions to the birth of Christianity have had a significant intellectual and spiritual impact on me. Indeed, more than an priest in recent times, what he has written and the way he has approached subject have brought me back to my core beliefs. I was, therefore, intrigued to read his memoir. The memoir was quite disjointed, a fact I found a disappointing indication that the various phases of his life have not become integrated for him, but, instead, a series of disjointed phases held together by his boundless exuberance, curiosity, and adventurousness. As a reader, one of the things I ask a memoirist to be is honest, and in explaining his reasons for leaving monastic life and the priesthood, reasons I will not discuss for fear of ruining the read for others, is I think brutally honest. Being American, but having being educated some 15 years later in one of the finest convent girl's schools in Ireland, I can assure the readers of the excellence of the education and the harshness of the life. The "private school" education in no way compares with that of life in England's public school's, or the US's private schools, but the educational opportunities are excellent. I was shocked to read that academics and theologians who oppose his views on the historical Jesus dismiss him as an Irish "peasant." This speaks to the kind of arrogance I experienced upon returning from Ireland in the middle of my junior year in high school and being told that, because I'd been educated in a "third world" country, I would have to take remedial courses. It turned out to be quite the opposite.Read more ›
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