Sinners: Jesus and His Earliest Followers

Sinners: Jesus and His Earliest Followers, by Greg Carey ($19.77)

Amazon:  In lively prose, this book blends today’s cultural idioms with serious biblical scholarship. The result is a provocative read that will surely challenge the many easy assumptions we consumers of American pop culture make about Jesus, Paul, and the early followers of the Christ-movement. Greg Carey is a public theologian of the most serious sort. –Sze-kar Wan, Professor of New Testament, Perkins School of Theology

… students and laypersons will find much food for provocative thought presented in a lively and academically responsible fashion. C[arey] adroitly canvasses key biblical and scholarly sources, spiced with illuminating insights from modern film, literature, and pop culture. –Catholic Biblical Quarterly (72, 2010)

“A welcome and innovative contribution to New Testament Studies! Greg Carey sets forth an excellent and innovative example of how to read the character of Jesus from a literary, historical, and theological perspective, with an emphasis on ethics of interpretation for the postmodern world. This bold study is not afraid to take on the topic of Jesus and examine Jesus’ responses to those considered “sinners” in the New Testament. Carey engages traditional topics such as the social and theological concept of sin, sinners and the impure, and the sinlessness of Jesus but he does so with an interpretative twist that brings fresh insight to the New Testament. Carey also examines more postmodern topics such as the masculinity of Jesus, the representation of how early Christians interacted with their neighbors, and with what it means for contemporary Christians take on a sinner consciousness, and its effects upon ecclesial communities and the world at large. In the wake of much conflict throughout the world and the quick casting of the Other as “sinner,” Carey’s work serves as an creative and important study on how to use the New Testament to promote peace rather than intolerance.” –Francisco Lozada, Jr., Associate Professor of New Testament and Latina/o Church Studies, Brite Divinity School

“Many in our culture seem deeply interested in the question “What would Jesus do?” yet largely uninformed about “what Jesus did” two-thousand years ago. In this smart and accessible book Greg Carey offers an illuminating sketch of the first-century social landscape, allowing readers to see Jesus as his contemporaries did: as a transgressor of cultural norms. By explaining and celebrating the perception of Jesus as one who associated with fellow “sinners,” this book provides a way of understanding the New Testament that can deliver Christians from their crippling tendencies to pursue respectability instead of imitating Jesus.” –Matthew L. Skinner, Associate Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul

“With economic stress feeding anti-immigrant prejudice, debates over sexuality heating up, and fear of terrorism percolating, Christians would do well to consider that Jesus fraternized with misfits and was himself a social deviant. Greg Carey–winsome communicator and professor of New Testament at Lancaster Theological Seminary–offers us colorful and compelling evidence that Jesus and his early followers often did not fit the mold. ”

The Christian Century (June 1, 2010)

“Carey’s book is written in a lively and engaging manner that offers non-specialists an enjoyable and provocative look at the way in which Jesus and the first Christians frequently violated conventional social norms…. The book proceeds in some unexpected directions along the way but is very enjoyable and overall succeeds in making the reader think about the unconventional nature of early Christianity.”

–Gary W. Burnett, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, (2010, 32:5)

“Carey’s argument challenges contemporary Christians to reconsider the relationship of the church with sin, shame, respectability and risk.” —-Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Associate Professor of New Testament, The Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest

“Many in our culture seem deeply interested in the question “What would Jesus do?” yet largely uninformed about “what Jesus did” two-thousand years ago. In this smart and accessible book Greg Carey offers an illuminating sketch of the first-century social landscape, allowing readers to see Jesus as his contemporaries did: as a transgressor of cultural norms. By explaining and celebrating the perception of Jesus as one who associated with fellow “sinners,” this book provides a way of understanding the New Testament that can deliver Christians from their crippling tendencies to pursue respectability instead of imitating Jesus.” –Matthew L. Skinner, Associate Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul

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