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Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict

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Despite being written from a perspective that questions many of the traditions of the Christian faith, it is respectful in its approach, reasonable in most of its assessments, and simply enjoyable to read. Bringing a wealth of knowledge on the social, economic, and cultural conflicts of the time, Crossley and Myles uncover the emergence of a fervent and deadly serious religious organizer. To my knowledge, this book will be the first major contemporary biography on Jesus from a historical materialist perspective and written by respected experts in the field. From the outset, this book seeks to place the “Jesus Movement” within its wider economic and social context.The claims of hyper or “servant” masculinity and the downgrading of the Movement’s radical inclusion of women needs far more substance to stand up than they provide here. There needs to be more study, not of history as a science, but of the genres of historical writing and their way of asserting the truth, or, rather what truth they mean to assert.

For many young men of the time, there were only two realistic responses: banditry or hitching themselves to a prophetic itinerant movement. By situating the life of Jesus of Nazareth in the turbulent troubles of first-century Palestine, Crossley and Myles give a thrilling historical-materialist take on the historical Jesus. Myles have painstakingly examined many of the mainstream interpretations of the life, teachings, and execution of Jesus. If you enjoy reading People’s World and the stories we bring you, support our work by donating or becoming a monthly sustainer today.To mention just two detailed points: the presentation of the movement as “tough, muscular, hard, and manly” hardly fits Peter’s reaction to Caiaphas’s servant-girl. Tensions flared up considerably when the movement marched on Jerusalem, and Jesus was willingly martyred for the cause.

The latter is written from a Marxist viewpoint, presenting Jesus not as “a Great Man of history”, but as a religious organiser, formed by and emerging from the peasantry of Galilee and Judaea, the vanguard of a new political party with its own politburo, a dictatorship to serve the interests of the non-elite peasantry, but also with a mission to the rich. That said, the authors do reinforce more traditional interpretations in other regards, including the self-awareness of Jesus that the trajectory of his life would lead to a challenge to the religious and military authorities in Jerusalem. Written for a broad audience, it understands the Jesus movement and rise of Christianity without resorting to the usual Great Man view of history and instead pursues a history from below. As of yesterday, my co-author James Crossley and I submitted the final author-approved manuscript of Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict to our publisher Zer0 Books .But is Mark’s story his way of showing that Antipas is a foolish victim of a pretty girl’s charm (Esther 5. What is important from the biblical point of view is not which hat he wore, but what the author wishes to convey by mentioning it, nor whether skeletons rose from their tombs at the death of Jesus (Matthew 27.

The popular appeal of the movement was due in part to a desire to represent the values of ordinary rural workers. Crossley and Myles locate Jesus’s class position as that of a tektōn, an ancient Greek noun meaning craftsman or carpenter. The movement’s popular appeal was due in part to a desire to represent the values of ordinary rural workers, and its vision meant that the rich would have to give up their wealth, while the poor would be afforded a life of heavenly luxury. Copious and informed material information by way of well-wrought and well-written biographical narrative.

This thrilling historical materialist take on the historical Jesus situates the life of Jesus of Nazareth in the turbulent troubles of first-century Palestine. Without such testing, it remains unclear that the Jesus movement was a product of class-conflict and agrarian unrest.

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