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John Dominic Crossan
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John Dominic Crossan was born in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, in 1934. He was educated in Ireland and the United States, received a Doctorate of Divinity from Maynooth College, Ireland, in 1959, and did post-doctoral research at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome from 1959 to 1961 and at the École Biblique in Jerusalem from 1965 to 1967. He was a member of a thirteenth-century Roman Catholic religious order, the Servites (Ordo Servorum Mariae), from 1950 to 1969 and an ordained priest from 1957 to 1969. He joined DePaul University, Chicago, in 1969 and remained there until 1995. He is now a Professor Emeritus in its Department of Religious Studies.

He was Co-Chair of the Jesus Seminar from 1985 to 1996 as it met in twice-annual meetings to debate the historicity of the life of Jesus in the gospels. He was Chair of the Parables Seminar in 1972-76, Editor of Semeia. An Experimental Journal for Biblical Criticism in 1980-86, and Chair of the Historical Jesus Section in 1993-1998, within the Society of Biblical Literature, an international scholarly association for biblical study based in the United States.

He has received awards for scholarly excellence from the American Academy of Religion in 1989, DePaul University in 1991 and 1995, and an honorary doctorate from Stetson University, DeLand, FL, in 2003.

In the last forty years he has written twenty-five books on the historical Jesus, earliest Christianity, and the historical Paul. Five of them have been national religious bestsellers for a combined total of twenty-four months. The scholarly core of his work is the trilogy from The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant (1991) through The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus (1998), to In Search of Paul: How Jesus’s Apostle Opposed Rome’s Empire with God’s Kingdom, co-authored with the archaeologist Jonathan L. Reed (2004). His work has also been translated into twelve foreign languages, including Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.

He has lectured to lay and scholarly audiences across the United States as well as in Ireland and England, Scandinavia and Finland, Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, and South Africa. He has been interviewed on 200 radio stations, including four times on NPR’s “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross. He has also been interviewed on television networks such as ABC’s PrimeTime, Peter Jennings Reporting, and Nightline, CBS’ Early Show and 48 Hours, NBC’s Dateline, and Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, as well as cable programs such as A&E, History, Discovery, and the National Geographic Channel.
Marcus Borg and Dom Crossan have co-authored a series of books with HarperOne, San Francisco: The Last Week: A Day by Day Account of Jesus’s Final Week in Jerusalem (2006); The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach about the Birth of Jesus (2007); and The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary behind the Church’s Conservative Icon (2009).

His most recent book, The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord’s Prayer was published by HarperOne, San Francisco, on September 7, 2010. His next book is The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus became Fiction about Jesus (publication by HarperOne in 2011 or 2012). He has been elected Vice President of the Society of Biblical Literature for 2010-2011 and President for 2011-2012.

Blog Entries by John Dominic Crossan

Why Did Jesus Go To Jerusalem? A Holy Week Reflection

668 Comments | Posted March 31, 2012 | 8:11 PM

These are my questions based on the historical fact -- yes, fact -- that Pilate executed Jesus at Passover. Did Jesus go to Jerusalem to get himself killed? If he did, why, in the tinder-box atmosphere at Passover, did it take him so many days to get his wish?

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What Really Happened to Paul on the Road to Damascus?

533 Comments | Posted March 21, 2012 | 12:10 AM

The vision of Jesus that changed Paul from a Pharisaic Jew to a Christian Jew happened, says Luke's Acts of the Apostles, on the road to Damascus. That event is so important that Luke records it three times for maximum emphasis: first, as it happens (9:1-19); next, as Paul tells...

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The Challenge of Christmas

0 Comments | Posted December 12, 2011 | 5:04 PM

The story of Jesus's infancy was created differently by Matthew and Luke as parabolic overtures to their quite different gospels. But there is one aspect of Jesus's infancy upon which they both agree, namely, the frequent arrival of angels, heavenly messengers who give to mundane events a transcendental purpose. Think...

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The Search for the Historical Paul: How to Read The Letters of Paul

0 Comments | Posted September 23, 2011 | 3:10 PM

It was the sheerest of sheer coincidences, and I cite it as such only to introduce my present subject. It happened in early May of 2011 as Marianne and Marcus Borg along, with Sarah and myself, were leading our annual pilgrimage In the Footsteps of Paul across western Turkey.

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The Search for the Historical Paul: What Paul Thought About Women

0 Comments | Posted August 11, 2011 | 1:04 PM

2011-08-08-ephesus.jpgOn the mid-Aegean coast of Turkey, half-way up the northern slope of the Bülbüldag and high above the excavations of ancient Ephesus, is a long, narrow shrine-cave. On your immediate right as you enter its 50-foot length is a...

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The Search for the Historical Paul: Which Letters Did He Really Write?

0 Comments | Posted July 5, 2011 | 4:20 PM

The 13th-century Sopoćani monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site near the source of the Raška River, just east of Novi Pazar in the south-western corner of Serbia. After two centuries of attack, desolation and abandonment, its Church of the Holy Trinity is now rebuilt, its frescoes restored and its...

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The Communal Crucifixion of Jesus

0 Comments | Posted April 21, 2011 | 7:08 PM

The Jewish historian Josephus, the Roman historian Tacitus, and the Christian Apostles' Creed have very little in common. Except for this one thing: that, respectively, Jesus "had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus"; that "Pilate, upon hearing him accused by...

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The Communal Resurrection of Jesus

0 Comments | Posted April 11, 2011 | 12:08 PM

In the great Rotunda of the ancient Church of the Resurrection -- or Church of the Holy Sepulchre -- in Jerusalem is a tiny free-standing shrine known as the Aedicule or Chapel of the Tomb and Resurrection of Jesus. It is a tiny space and pilgrims are usually lined up...

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With Liberty and Justice For All: Why the Bible Promotes Equality

0 Comments | Posted February 1, 2011 | 5:03 PM

The biblical tradition insists that God is a God of "justice and righteousness," that is, of distributive justice and restorative righteousness. Think, for example, of this divine claim:
"I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I...

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