Monday, April 03, 2006

Last Week by Borg and Crossan

Thanks to Whit Stodghill for the notice of this new book by two of the Jesus Seminar's top fellows, John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg:

The Last Week : A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus's Final Week in Jerusalem
by Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan

It's published by Harper San Francisco and is clearly aimed at the Lent market. One quick minor comment on the pricing: it is good to see digital editions now becoming available as a matter of course, as with this book, but the price of digital editions is going to have to come down substantially before people are going to take them seriously. With the hardback going at $14.27 and the download only $3 and a bit cheaper at $11.02, who is going to be tempted by the download? I know I'd much rather have the glossy hardback on my shelf, and $14.27 is a good price to pay for it because production costs for a hardback book are very subtantially greater than for a download. Now if the digital edition were $3.50, I might think twice.

Harper Collins have a little more, including a short excerpt from Chapter 1, from which this is taken:
Two processions entered Jerusalem on a spring day in the year 30. It was the beginning of the week of Passover, the most sacred week of the Jewish year . . .

. . . . One was a peasant procession, the other an imperial procession. From the east, Jesus rode a donkey down the Mount of Olives, cheered by his followers. Jesus was from the peasant village of Nazareth, his message was about the kingdom of God, and his followers came from the peasant class. They had journeyed to Jerusalem from Galilee, about a hundred miles to the north, a journey that is the central section and the central dynamic of Mark's gospel. Mark's story of Jesus and the kingdom of God has been aiming for Jerusalem, pointing toward Jerusalem. It has now arrived.

On the opposite side of the city, from the west, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Idumea, Judea, and Samaria, entered Jerusalem at the head of a column of imperial cavalry and soldiers. Jesus's procession proclaimed the kingdom of God; Pilate's proclaimed the power of empire. The two processions embody the central conflict of the week that led to Jesus's crucifixion . . .

. . . . Imagine the imperial procession's arrival in the city. A visual panoply of imperial power: cavalry on horses, foot soldiers, leather armor, helmets, weapons, banners, golden eagles mounted on poles, sun glinting on metal and gold. Sounds: the marching of feet, the creaking of leather, the clinking of bridles, the beating of drums. The swirling of dust. The eyes of the silent onlookers, some curious, some awed, some resentful.
Crossan and Borg have a great imagination between them. If Paul Verhoeven ever gets to work on the Jesus film he once promised, he should definitely make sure Crossan and Borg are on board.

Update (22.43): see also John Dominic Crossan's publicity pages, which feature the same excerpt in PDF.


Whit said...

My birthday is coming up and if I have dropped enough hints, maybe I'll get a copy - Can't wait.

Whit said...
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Whit said...

By the way, I agree with you about the digital edition. It is too expensive. It might work to add the digital edition to the print edition for a few dollars more - then you could have one for the shelf and one for the computer. ;-)