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The Birth of Christianity


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About the Author

John Dominic Crossan, professor emeritus at DePaul University, is widely regarded as the foremost historical Jesus scholar of our time. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Historical Jesus, How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian, God and Empire, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, The Greatest Prayer, The Last Week, and The Power of Parable. He lives in Minneola, Florida.


In his latest book, Crossan (New Testament, DePaul Univ.) asks, "What in that original interaction [between Jesus and his first companions] made continuation from before to after [the Crucifixion] possible or even inevitable?" As with his massive The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Peasant (LJ 2/1/92), Crossan incorporates crosscultural anthropology, literary analysis, and the history and archaeology of Roman Judea in the first century C.E. to answer his pivotal question. Reading early Christian texts against a background he rigorously establishes in the first half of the book, Crossan teases out a picture of infant Christianity. Though he may not convince all readers‘his case rests heavily upon the priority and independence of questionable documents‘Crossan's work cannot be rejected out of hand. Recommended for seminary and academic libraries.‘Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.

"Crossan can be credited with an exceptional command of the tools of a first-rate public intellectual."-- "St. Louis Post Dispatch"Crossan's work is ... in certain respects positively brilliant. [His] research itself is a fascinating addition to the literature on early Christianity...[he] is refreshingly honest about the force of his claims."-- A. K. M. Adam, professor of New Testament theology, Princeton Theological Seminary, "Trenton Times"In "The Birth of Christianity Crossan has once again shown his impressive breadth of interest and depth of analysis. The amount of detail is breathtaking ... there are many new and rewarding insights here"-- "America magazine"In "The Birth of Christianity, Crossan pries open some familiar assumptions that help us avoid the ongoing surprise of the gospel and the radical claims it makes on us. ... Crossan...has added his share of both light and salt to an often stolid field only specialists can access."-- "National Catholic Reporter"The works of John Dominic Crossan--learned, original, and often controversial--have stimulated some of the most intense discussion among New Testament scholars today."-- Elaine Pagels, Princeton University, author of "The Gnostic Gospels"Christianity arose out of the interaction of the historical Jesus and his first companions. It was not invented by Paul. That is the stunning hypothesis of Crossan's "The Birth of Christianity. Like the master craftsman he is, Crossan has forged a picture of earliest Christianity--of the dark years, the 30s and 40s--in debate with other scholars and in the combination of social science theory, Galilean archaeology, close textual analysis, and historical reconstruction. No one controls theissues, the data, and the options as well as Crossan. His reconstruction is essential reading for anyone serious about Christian origins and its fate in the third millennium."-- Robert W. Funk, chair, The Jesus Seminar, and author of "The Acts of Jesus"Crossan's critical methods, his accessible style, and his insightful conjectures breathe fresh air into contemporary debates about Jesus and early Christianity." -- "Publishers Weekly"Flashes of genius...He writes with deep understanding and compassion."-- "San Francisco Chronicle"Ambitious and groundbreaking, "The Birth of Christianity is a must read for those with a serious interest in Jesus and the early church." -- "Toronto Star"Crossan's theology is breathtaking, stunning, and compelling."-- "Christian Century"Crossan has given us a well written and highly informative patchwork quilt of a book ... for anyone interested in gospel origins, this is a most valuable, insight-filled book."-- Religious Studies Review..".[U]ntil his critics, many of whom [Crossan] amusingly savages in this book, come back with counter-arguments, this version of what happened in the years following the Crucifixion must be read by all serious students of Christian origins. It should also be read by the not so serious student of stylish prose. For Crossan is a brilliant writer. He follows a single coherent train of thought, uninterrupted by the distraction of footnotes and punctuated by pellucid summaries. His chapters begin with well-chosen epigraphs from the works of others, which he either demolishes or reconstructs. At points where attention might wander, inevitable in a lengthy academic work, he inserts some insightful interdisciplinary parallel, orpersonal anecdote, or disarming direct address to the reader."--John Muddiman, "Times Literary Supplement

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