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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Radical Jesus

“All of Christianity can be reduced to the Sermon on the Mount,” or something like this is a quote I read in an essay about Buddhism’s Dhammapada. The essay author went on to suggest that the Dhammapada was likewise a work that could almost contain all of Buddhism.

I remember being attracted to the notion. The Sermon on the Mount is powerful and complex. It contains the course change that Jesus provided. However, the Sermon on the Mount is missing any of Jesus’ activism. For that, you need Holy Week, the final week of Jesus’ life.

With the help of the Gospel of Mark, Marcus Borg’s book Jesus, and the New Interpreter’s Bible: A commentary in twelve volumes, I will be examining this final week in which Jesus the revolutionary shines through centuries of efforts to transform him into Jesus the establishmentarian.

The NIB Commentary notes that Jesus did all of his healing outside of Jerusalem. After traveling from the Galilean countryside to the big city, Jesus’ ministry consisted only of teaching. To the extent teaching includes activism like marches and demonstrations, I agree.