Every Sunday, the Lord's Prayer echoes in churches around the world.
It is an indisputable principle of Christian faith. It is the way Jesus taught his followers to pray and distills the most essential beliefs required of every one of the world's 2.5 billion Christians. In The Greatest Prayer, our foremost Jesus scholar explores this foundational prayer line by line for the richest and fullest understanding of a prayer every Christian knows by heart.
An expert on the historical Jesus, Crossan provides just the right amount of history, scholarship, and detail for us to rediscover why this seemingly simple prayer sparked a revolution. Addressing issues of God's will for us and our response, our responsibilities to one another and to the earth, the theology of our daily bread, the moral responsibilities that come with money, our nation-states, and God's kingdom, Crossan reveals the enduring meaning and universal significance of the only prayer Jesus ever taught.
©2010 John Dominic Crossan (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
Crossen is one of my favorite authors. His, as well as Borgs books, along with Westar, and most off all, my church have guided me through the long illnesses of my Mother and then my Wife. Nothing relieves my sorrow and emptiness like sound teaching.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
John Dominic Crossan's meditational reflection on the Lord's Prayer (Our Father) has some intriguing concepts and ideas (eg. "God is Justice - distributive justice, not penal justice.")
Going through the Lord's Prayer phrase by phrase Crossan shares his take on theology with the listener. He argues that the Lord's Prayer is a Jewish prayer on the lips of Christianity for all people. It is therefore a universal prayer. From this stance he starts to examine the prayer in more detail.
Early on in the book, he introduces the listener to a technical poetic device that plays an important role in his explanation of the Lord's Prayer (as in Matthew) in large parts of the book, namely parallelism. While myself versed in the Hebrew Bible's poetic devices, I wondered who else that listens to this book would be? I also thought that in his reading Walter Dixon tried his best to deal with parallelism by accentuating words, but I didn't think that it worked. I am not sure if people would grasp such a concept without seeing it in front of them, thus I felt a PDF download could've illuminated the book.
Although large parts of the book were tedious and at times almost impossible to listen to, there were a few very interesting concepts. I liked the way that he interpreted Psalm 82 in the light of consequences instead of punishment. His background information on Jesus was also worthwhile to listen to.
Yet, a lot of it felt like the religious equivalent to a Mathematics Handbook being read aloud. While I have a lot of respect for Walter Dixon and appreciates his effort in reading the book, I do think that the technical nature of the book doesn't do him justice. This was definitely not his best performance. (His pronunciation of certain Greek words Crossan used was most of the times almost completely unrecognisable.)
At a place in the book Crossan makes himself guilty of a etymological fallacy when discussing the word "sacrifice." He says it comes from the Latin for "make holy." Then he explains the concept behind the English word along the etymological meaning of the word. The problem is just that it doesn't work in other languages, like German, Dutch and Afrikaans. It sounds very much like the "missing the target"-explanation that is read into the concept of "sin" by some televangelists.
All in all, it is a technical book with a lot of promise, but which really doesn't lean itself to audiobook format. I really think the trend of reading the New Testament in the shadow of the Empire, which Crossan also does, is a hermeneutic key forced in a lock that it shouldn't open.
I would strongly recommend that you buy the written version of the book. It is not the best of Crossan.
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