Top Jesus scholars Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan join together to reveal a radical and little-known Jesus. As both authors reacted to and responded to questions about Mel Gibson's blockbuster The Passion of the Christ, they discovered that many Christians are unclear on the details of events during the week leading up to Jesus's crucifixion.
Using the gospel of Mark as their guide, Borg and Crossan present a day-by-day account of Jesus's final week of life. They begin their story on Palm Sunday with two triumphal entries into Jerusalem. The first entry, that of Roman governor Pontius Pilate leading Roman soldiers into the city, symbolized military strength. The second heralded a new kind of moral hero who was praised by the people as he rode in on a humble donkey. The Jesus introduced by Borg and Crossan is this new moral hero, a more dangerous Jesus than the one enshrined in the church's traditional teachings.
The Last Week depicts Jesus giving up his life to protest power without justice and to condemn the rich who lack concern for the poor. In this vein, at the end of the week Jesus marches up Calvary, offering himself as a model for others to do the same when they are confronted by similar issues. Informed, challenged, and inspired, we not only meet the historical Jesus, but meet a new Jesus who engages us and invites us to follow him.
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A challenging read
If your faith and belief in Jesus Christ is a comfortable and casual one, this book may make you uncomfortable. The authors challenge a number of generally accepted Christian concepts about who Jesus was and why He did what He did. It provides excellent perspective on a number of aspects of the Holy week and clarifies historical and little known or understood realities about the time and place of Holy week. The authors are subtle in introducing and arguing their point of view. Biblical literalists will likely be uncomfortable as the authors become more blatant about their views of the factual nature of the Scriptures. For anyone who is and continues to seek an understanding of what they believe and why, this book is definitely worth reading. If you are uncomfortable with being challenged about your perspective and understanding of the life and times of Jesus, you may want to pass. I both enjoyed it and am challenged by this book. Off to reread the Gospels yet again.
Still reading . . .
A day by day account of Jesus' last week. Based on Mark. They focus on the historical context and on what Mark means in that context. They do not attempt a historical reconstruction of the week. This book is helping my preaching.