In New Book 'The Power of Parable,' John Dominic Crossan Explains How the Gospels are Fiction

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In 'The Power of Parable,' the world’s foremost Jesus scholar John Dominic Crossan shows us how the parables present throughout the New Testament not only reveal what Jesus wanted to teach but also provide the key for explaining how the Gospels’ writers sought to explain the Prophet of Nazareth to the world. In this meaningful exploration of the metaphorical stories told by Jesus and the Gospel writers, Crossan creates an illuminating and nuanced exploration of the Scripture that fans of Marcus Borg and Bart Ehrman will find fascinating and essential.

Jacket Image - Power of the Parable by John Dominic Crossan

The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus by John Dominic Crossan

Crossan asserts that the gospel writers never intended for the gospels to be taken literally; they were not recounting mere history. Instead, the gospels are parables meant to communicate Jesus’ meaningful and important teachings.

Are the gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John a historical account of the life of Jesus, or the greatest fiction ever told? Renowned Bible scholar John Dominic Crossan answers this question unequivocally in his new book, The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus (HarperOne; March 2012; hardcover; $25.99). Crossan asserts that the gospel writers never intended for the gospels to be taken literally; they were not recounting mere history. Instead, the gospels are parables meant to communicate Jesus’ meaningful and important teachings.

Historical truth is not the point, argues Crossan. Instead, it is important to consider that Jesus himself used parables as a style of teaching, which in turn inspired Gospel writers to invent meaningful, metaphorical stories to help explain their own views of who they thought this Messiah really was, and what he was trying to teach. In fact, by unlocking the meaning and purposes of the gospels, Crossan recasts them as “mega-parables” about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

In this engaging account, the professor emeritus at DePaul University and author of several bestselling books, including The Historical Jesus and Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, insists that there is far more at stake beyond events as they happen in the Bible. He compels us to reinterpret our Biblical understanding to simultaneously distinguishing both metaphor and history within the same chronicle of events, such that the events in the life of the enigmatic Jewish figure who transformed his world and the next two thousand years of history becomes not only the greatest story ever told, but the greatest parable as well.

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, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography and his latest, The Greatest Prayer. He lives in Minneola, Florida.

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE POWER OF PARABLE

Crossan’s exceptional clarity and methodical presentation combine to make this one of
the best, most enthralling Bible-study courses many readers will ever take.
–Starred Review, Booklist

A fascinating book, written with Crossan’s usual lucidity …
–Library Journal

“A refreshing and stunningly insightful treatment of the gospels as parables. In this book John Dominic Crossan has solidified his reputation as the greatest New Testament scholar of our generation.”
— John Shelby Spong, author of Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

“Moving from the parables of Israel’s Scriptures to the parables told by Jesus of Nazareth to the parables of his life recorded in the ancient Gospels, Crossan combines acute historical investigation with challenging theological observation. In so doing, he recovers the profundity, and the provocation, of the biblical tradition.”
— Amy-Jill Levine, author of THE MEANING OF THE BIBLE

“This book is like unto a virus, which a crafty leprechaun took, and infected our preferred operating systems with a Jesus O/S, that is incompatible with previous versions. Verily I say unto ye, Fortunate is the church if a little Crossan goes viral. It may leaveneth the whole lump.”
— Rev. David Felten & Rev. Jeff Procter-Murphy, co-creators of the Living the Questions series
“A remarkable and important book for Christians and for all who seek to understand the Bible better—Crossan combines his customary literary and historical brilliance with fresh insights that illuminate not only the parables of Jesus but much of the Bible as a whole.”
— Marcus J. Borg, author of Speaking Christian

“John Dominic Crossan has done it again. His innovative presentation of how Jesus told stories about God’s kingdom and how the gospel authors told stories about Jesus offers a brilliant new way of looking at parable and metaphor in the gospels and in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.”
— Marvin Meyer, Ph.D., Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies Chapman University

THE POWER OF PARABLE
How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus

By John Dominic Crossan
HarperOne, and Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
March 6, 2012│Hardcover│$25.99│ISBN: 978-0-06-187569-4

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