In The Greatest Prayer, foremost historical Jesus scholar John Dominic Crossan, bestselling author of Historical Jesus and Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography,intimately explores the revolutionary meaning of the cornerstone of Christian faith: The Lord’s Prayer.
John Dominic Crossan
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You're probably familiar with John Dominic "Dom" Crossan from his appearances in TV documentaries about the Bible, the life of Jesus and the ancient world. Over the past decade, his books for general readers have become very popular in congregations nationwide. Yes, some of Crossan's perspectives are provocative and he's more likely to be enjoyed in mainline Christian congregations rather than evangelical circles, but overall: This guy's books draw crowds for spirited small-group discussions in congregations coast to coast.
In "The Greatest Prayer," Crossan focuses on the "Lord's Prayer" or the "Our Father," depending on your own personal tradition with this prayer. Crossan is an internationally respected scholar and, in some previous books, he has taken readers deep into scholarly research. Here, he deliberately chooses not to take readers through a detailed historical exploration of the ancient world. Rather, he simply lifts up each section of the world's most popular...
Dr. Crossan's profound and revelatory little book on the meaning of The Lord's Prayer is, for those of us who pray this prayer daily, a spellbinding journey. It is a trek of faith through the labyrinthine passageways of ancient scripture, its sacred memory, and its profane history. It is a meditation on the ways we choose to approach one another, with a flailing sword or a proffered loaf of bread. It is finally a bracing analysis of the strange prayer that was Jesus' answer to the simple request, "Lord, teach us to pray."
There are three ancient versions of the Lord's Prayer, which Crossan calls the "Abba Prayer," for good reason. Renditions appear in Matthew, Luke, and the Didache ("The Teaching [of the Twelve Apostles]") a very early little catechism rediscovered in the 19th century). Matthew, the most "Jewish" of the evangelists, preserved seven petitions, a number that alerts Hebrew readers of the holiness and importance of what they are reciting. Luke has five...
John Dominic Crossan has once again applied his background as an historian and as a Catholic priest to remind us, or educate us for the first time, that what Jesus' message was and is, is to love one another. He argues effectively that what Jesus taught in the Lords Prayer is that "justice" in the Bible is not retributive justice, but distributive justice -- that all must be treated the same, and that all must be treated with love. It's a tall order at times, but that is the message of the Lord's Prayer, which all too often is used to seek punishment for those whose actions we do not agree with, rather than seek compassion within to assist them or to assist ourselves to deal with the unwanted behaviour. I would certainly list this as a recommended reading for there is some serious thought put into this new tome of Crossan, serious thought that we might all want to consider. Check it out!
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