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The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach…
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The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days…

by Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan

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We read this book in Sunday school during Lent. It had been a while since I had read something this academic about the Bible. I fly through academic writing in my normal work, but since I wasn't quite as familiar with this type of writing, it took me quite a long time to read each chapter. That slowing down to think about things really deepened my understanding of Jesus' life and the Passion story.

I don't think of myself as a conservative christian, but this book was almost too liberal for me. It really pushed me to the edges of what I thought was permissible. Borg and Crossan bring up new issues that really changed my perspective on Holy Week. It's not about what happened at what time on Good Friday. It's not even whether or not the Resurrection is literal. Th ose questions that are so important to so many Christians and doubters are not the point. The point is the story, and what we are going to do about it.

How will the world change if we look beyond the historical facts and find the underlying truths? What should the world look like? How does God want us to act? How can we be Christians like the early church when we are not oppressed by the Romans, and, quite frankly, when we are the oppressors? This book pushes me to look beyond the academic questions and change my behavior to be more like Jesus. The book may be a bit further to one side than I am comfortable with, but that's the point. I am pushed in my own journey to explore questions I never thought to ask. ( )
1 vote jlharmon | Nov 3, 2016 |
The Last Week brings to light the historical meaning (as Borg and Crossan see it) of the last week of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Mark. This book was very interesting, though lacked the power of The First Christmas, which I reviewed previously. The main reason for this difference is that The First Christmas told the story of Christmas by comparing all the Gospel stories, as opposed to focusing on just one. Borg and Crossan chose to focus on Mark because he's the only one to have described the entire week in detail. However it made for a much less interesting, and more repetitive, book. Another difference was that in The First Christmas, Borg and Crossan focused a lot on why they thought some passages were parable rather than literal, and why others should be taken literally. The Last Week focused a lot less on this subject, and spent the bulk of the book simply interpreting the historical background of Mark's Gospel for our modern times. This, of course, is a very interesting subject, but the lack of that added myth vs. literal aspect made for a much less meaty book.

All in all, I'd say each of these books has its own merits, and which you read would depend on what you're looking for. Borg and Crossan are knowledgeable and well-researched historical Jesus scholars. So if you take the Bible quite literally and are looking to understand the historical background of the Passion of Jesus, The Last Week is the book for you. However, if you find the little "inconsistencies" of the Gospels interesting, then The First Christmas is the book for you. If you are at all interested in the subject, I would recommend one or the other (or both) of these books. ( )
1 vote The_Hibernator | Apr 12, 2016 |
Using the Gospel of Mark, these two historical Jesus scholars detail the daily events of Jesus' last week leading to crucifixion and resurrection. ( )
  John_Warner | Jan 22, 2016 |
I enjoyed reading the scholarship of these two biblical academics but much of the content was dry and repetitive. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
A commentary focusing mostly on the Gospel of Mark, covering the time between Palm Sunday and the Easter apparitions of Jesus. I particularly appreciated the approach of parable for these narratives, and the emphasis on "what does it mean." There was probably an over-emphasis on the imperial power vs Christ aspect, but I can see the need for it as a corrective to the me-and-Jesus approach that so many Christians take. The image of the dual Palm Sunday processions in Jerusalem, presented in the first chapter, was a great one, and well used throughout. ( )
  TerriBooks | Apr 25, 2013 |
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Marcus J. Borgprimary authorall editionscalculated
Crossan, John Dominicmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060872608, Paperback)

Top Jesus scholars Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan join together to reveal a radical and little-known Jesus. As both authors reacted to and responded to questions about Mel Gibson's blockbuster The Passion of the Christ, they discovered that many Christians are unclear on the details of events during the week leading up to Jesus's crucifixion.

Using the gospel of Mark as their guide, Borg and Crossan present a day-by-day account of Jesus's final week of life. They begin their story on Palm Sunday with two triumphal entries into Jerusalem. The first entry, that of Roman governor Pontius Pilate leading Roman soldiers into the city, symbolized military strength. The second heralded a new kind of moral hero who was praised by the people as he rode in on a humble donkey. The Jesus introduced by Borg and Crossan is this new moral hero, a more dangerous Jesus than the one enshrined in the church's traditional teachings.

The Last Week depicts Jesus giving up his life to protest power without justice and to condemn the rich who lack concern for the poor. In this vein, at the end of the week Jesus marches up Calvary, offering himself as a model for others to do the same when they are confronted by similar issues. Informed, challenged, and inspired, we not only meet the historical Jesus, but meet a new Jesus who engages us and invites us to follow him.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:19 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

As scholars Borg and Crossan reacted to questions about the blockbuster film The Passion of the Christ, they discovered that many Christians are unclear on the details of events leading up to the Crucifixion. Here they present a day-by-day account of Jesus's final week of life. They begin their story on Palm Sunday with two triumphal entries into Jerusalem. The first, that of Roman governor Pontius Pilate leading Roman soldiers into the city, symbolized military strength. The second heralded a new kind of moral hero who was praised by the people as he rode in on a humble donkey. The Jesus introduced by Borg and Crossan is this new moral hero, a more dangerous Jesus than the one enshrined in the church's traditional teachings, giving up his life to protest power without justice and to condemn the rich who lack concern for the poor.--From publisher description.… (more)

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