How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian
Is God Violent? An Exploration from Genesis to Revelation
The acclaimed Bible scholar and author of The Historical Jesus and God & Empire—“the greatest New Testament scholar of our generation” (John Shelby Spong) —grapples with Scripture’s two conflicting visions of Jesus and God, one of a loving God, and one of a vengeful God, and explains how Christians can better understand these passages in a way that enriches their faith.
Many portions of the New Testament, introduce a compassionate Jesus who turns the other cheek, loves his enemies, and shows grace to all. But the Jesus we find in Revelation and some portions of the Gospels leads an army of angels bent on earthly destruction. Which is the true revelation of the Messiah—and how can both be in the same Bible?
How to Read the Bible and Still be a Christian explores this question and offers guidance for the faithful conflicted over which version of the Lord to worship. John Dominic Crossan reconciles these contrasting views, revealing how different writers of the books of the Bible not only possessed different visions of God but also different purposes for writing. Often these books are explicitly competing against another, opposing vision of God from the Bible itself.
Crossan explains how to navigate this debate and offers what he believes is the best central thread to what the Bible is all about. He challenges Christians to fully participate in this dialogue, thereby shaping their faith by reading deeply, reflectively, and in community with others who share their uncertainty. Only then, he advises, will Christians be able to read and understand the Bible without losing their faith.
Praise For How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian: Is God Violent? An Exploration from Genesis to Revelation…
“Crossan’s treatment of the text is nothing short of spectacular, even when I didn’t agree with his assertions. With skill, wit, and all the finesse of the intellectual giant that he is, Crossan manages to successfully navigate those troublesome texts and…begins the redemptive process of the text.” — The Clarion Journal of Spirituality
“Crossan, one of the most prolific popular writers among the scholars of the historical Jesus . . . proposes viewing the nonviolent movement of the historical Jesus-and not some apocalyptic bloodbath-as the end or center or climax of Christian time.” — Booklist (starred review)
“When studying the Bible, Christians are met with opposing versions for God: one of vengeance and one of compassion. Crossan confronts this conflict and challenges readers to engage in conversations about faith and the historical Jesus.” — U.S. Catholic
HarperOne, 9780062203618, 272pp.
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
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.