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Returning From Exile: Exploring John Dominic Crossan's Concept of the Passion-Resurrection Narratives as Prophecy Historicised1

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image of Religion and Theology

The modern and post-modern worldviews are inimical to the worldview of theistic religions and the fundamental assumptions and credal articulations of the Christian faith. John Shelbey Spong has characterised the situation of Christians who take seriously the (post)modern worldview as well as their commitment to Jesus of Nazareth and the biblical tradition as 'living in exile.' In this article I explore to what extent the insights of New Testament historical scholarship, specifically John Dominic Crossan's concept of the passion-resurrection narratives as prophecy-historicised, as well as his historical construct of Jesus as the founder of the Kingdom Movement, could enable a reformulation of basic Christian concepts so that commitments to Christianity and (post)modernism can be held in a creative and meaningful tension. It is suggested that Christians in exile can return and contribute to the Christian community and tradition, and to the transformation of the (post)modern world, if the Church recognizes that different interpretations of Jesus can exist creatively side by side within the tradition. On the basis of Crossan's research-findings it is argued that that is exactly what happened at the birth of Christianity. It remains a possibility today.

Affiliations: 1: Department of New Testament University of South Africa PO Box 392, Pretoria, 0003 Republic of South Africa


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