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Best-selling New Testament author John Dominic Crossan offers presentations at Manchester University

John Dominic CrossanBest-selling author John Dominic Crossan, a major scholar in contemporary historical Jesus research, is presenting two speeches and three lectures on the North Manchester campus of Manchester University. They are all free and open to the public.

  • The first speech, “Jesus, God, and Imperial Violence,” is 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, in Cordier Auditorium. He explains it this way, “In the Gospel, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a Peace-Donkey but returns in Revelation on a War-Horse. Is the historical Jesus for or against imperial violence or only against Roman — because pagan — imperial violence but not against Christian imperial violence?” He asks whether both the Kingdom of God as an earthly program and the God of Jesus as a heavenly model alike are committed to nonviolent resistance to violence.
  • The second speech is “The Life of Jesus” at 7 p.m. April 20 in Cordier. Crossan will explore a number of questions: Why did Jesus happen when He happened? Why then, why there? Why did two movements, the Baptism Movement of John and the Kingdom Movement of Jesus arise in the territories of Herod Antipas in the 20 C.E.? Since Antipas had already ruled quietly for about 25 years, what did He do then that aroused their opposition? Why is there so much “fishy” stuff in the Gospels?

The hour-long speeches are part of the Values, Ideas and the Arts series, designed to enhance the Manchester Core program in the liberal arts through cultural exposure and intellectual enrichment. Students earn academic credit for taking part.

There also will be three open lectures in smaller venues on campus.

  • “Jesus and the Question of God” is 1-2:30 p.m. April 20 in Link Auditorium, Academic Center 101. Crossan will speak about substitutionary sacrificial atonement, its interpretations and what is at stake.
  • “Medium & Message: Parable & Kingdom” is 3-4:30 p.m. April 20 in Link Auditorium. In the Gospel there is a constant connection between Jesus’ vision of God’s Kingdom and his custom of proclaiming it in parables. Crossan will offer a close exploration of what a parable is, what types there are, and what type Jesus used and why. Crossan asks if there is some appropriate or even necessary connection of medium and message in this conjunction.
  • “Paul & the Challenge of Equality” is 9:30-10:30 a.m. April 21 in Flory Auditorium, Science Center 203. The Apostle Paul claimed that, by baptism, “there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). Crossan asks if that is lovely utopian rhetoric or a socially subversive program. What happens, Crossan asks, to “slavery and patriarchy between the authentic seven letters of the historical Paul and the six post-, pseudo-, and even anti-Paul letters written in his name after his death?”

The presentations are among Peace Week observations at Manchester and part of a conference supported by the scholarly Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace.

Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, is one of six colleges across the nation grounded in the values and traditions of the Church of the Brethren. The University offers more than 60 areas of academic study to 1,500 students in undergraduate programs, a Master of Science in Pharmacogenomics, Master of Athletic Training and a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy.  Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school at

March 2016