John Dominic Crossan

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My point, once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Smart
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Jesus called for nonviolent resistance to Rome and just distribution of land and food. He was crucified because he threatened Roman stability -- not as a sacrifice to God for humanity's sins.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Jesus
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Jesus told parables. When he wanted to say something really profound about God, he went into parable. I don't find it surprising then that when earliest Christianity wanted to say something profound about Jesus, they went into parable too. That doesn't mean everything is a parable. When it says Jesus was in Nazareth I don't think that's a parable, I think Jesus was in Nazareth. When it talks about Jesus walking on the water, I don't think that's the point at all, I think the point is that the church without Jesus sinks.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Jesus
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Jesus' death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate is as sure as anything historical can ever be. For if no follower of Jesus had written anything for one hundred years after his crucifixition, we would still know about him from two authors not among his supporters. Their names are Flavius Josephus and Cornelius Tacitus.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Jesus
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Jesus is what God looks like in sandals
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Jesus
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What I notice, as a historian reading stories about so-called nature miracles, the walking on the water, or the miraculous catch of fishes, they're done especially for the insiders, for the disciples. Usually healings and exorcisms are done for people along the road, as it were. Jesus doesn't come on the water to save the fishing fleet from Capernaum, he comes on the water to save the disciples. It's a parable, dummy, it's a parable, don't you get it? If the leadership of the church takes off in a boat without Jesus, it will sink, it will get nowhere.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Jesus
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The ... challenge of Christmas is this: justice is what happens when all receive a fair share of God's world and only such distributive justice can establish peace on earth.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Christmas
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Now when you get something like the Apocalypse of John, when this avenging God is going to have blood to the bridle bits for 200 miles, I think that's venous, I don't think that's justice, I don't think that's Jesus, and I don't think it's the God of Jesus. That's the killer God, and the trouble with the killer God is that it justifies us doing the same, and in fact it invites us maybe to start with a bit.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Jesus
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I can be absolutely comfortable with an apocalyptic Jesus because he was simply wrong. As long as he's wrong I don't worry about him, and basically everyone else who was announcing in the year 2000 at midnight, the end of the world is coming, I expect them to be wrong. Now if they're right of course, I'll be very uncomfortable that night. But as long as everyone for 2000 years has been wrong about the apocalypse, I can be quite comfortable with it. It's space fiction.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Jesus
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I'm talking from the point of view of the States, we tend to assassinate people like Jesus, or if we don't we simply marginalise them. Oprah would have all those who think they are Messiah on her show, and we'd have six people who all claimed to be the Messiah, and we'd have got rid of Jesus and laughed him out of town. So as long as the Jesus that I'm hearing is there, I don't find him very comfortable.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Jesus
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If somebody says, you know, to love your enemies, you could say, 'Well I'm going to love them to death.' We've done that sort of stuff so it can be done. But if you really start with love your enemies, and if you look at the tradition of the first Christian centuries, nobody ever seems to suggest well if they come after us to persecute us, is it alright to kill a few? Defensively, of course.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Christian
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It is impossible to avoid the suspicion that historical Jesus research is a very safe place to do theology and call it history, to do autobiography and call it biography.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Jesus
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I find anthropology is a marvellous discipline to shock me out of my own world into another world.
- John Dominic Crossan
Collection: Discipline