Item description for A Long Way from Tipperary: What a Former Monk Discovered in His Search for the Truth by John Dominic Crossan...
Outline Review"If people have had enough chicken soup for the soul, how about some Irish stew for the mind?" asks John Dominic Crossan in the introduction to his meaty new memoir, A Long Way from Tipperary: What a Former Irish Monk Discovered in His Search for the Truth. Crossan burst into the public eye in 1991 with the publication of his bestselling The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. In this and subsequent books, Crossan's historical research has demonstrated the follies of both secularist denial and fundamentalist distortions of Jesus' significance. Tipperary is Crossan's memoir of the ways in which his personal experience "from Ireland to America, from priest to professor, from monastery to university, and ... from celibacy to marriage" have influenced his evolving understanding of who Jesus was. Crossan's struggle has always been to find a way of understanding Jesus that engages "both reason and revelation, both history and faith, both mind and heart." Here is his description of his ideal readers:
They are ... dissatisfied, disappointed, or even disgusted with classical Christianity and their denominational tradition. They hold on with anger or leave with nostalgia, but are not happy with either decision. They do not want to invent or join a new age, but to reclaim and redeem an ancient one. They do not want to settle for a generic-brand religion, but to rediscover their own specific and particular roots. But they know now that those roots must be in a renewed Christianity whose validity does not reject every other religion's integrity, a renewed Christianity that has purged itself of rationalism, fundamentalism, and literalism, whether of book, tradition, community, or leader.
Those who recognize themselves in this passage will find hope and courage in Crossan's book. --Michael Joseph Gross
Product Description I have spent thirty years reconstructing the historical Jesus. I have done so self-consciously and self-critically and have tried to do the same on reconstructing myself. But what justifies this memoir is how my own personal experience, from Ireland to America, from priest to professor, from monastery to university, and ... from celibacy to marriage, may have influenced that reconstruction. Where has it helped me see what others have not, and where has it made invisible to me what others find obvious?-from A Long Way from Tipperary
From his upbringing in Ireland to front-page coverage in the New York Times and mention in cover stories in Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report, John Dominic Crossan-who has courageously pioneered the contemporary quest for the historical Jesus-has dared to go his own way. In this candid and engaging memoir, the world's foremost Jesus scholar reveals what he has discovered over a lifetime of open-eyed, fearless exploration of God, Jesus, Christianity, and himself. Crossan shares his provocative thinking on such issues as how one can be a Christian without going to church; whether God is vengeful, or just, or both; and why Jesus is more like Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. than like the Pope or Jerry Falwell.
Raised in the traditional Irish Catholic Church, Crossan inherited a faith that was "accepted fully and internalized completely but undiscussed, uninvestigated, and uncriticized." A dauntless spirit whose imagination was ignited not by piety but by the lure and challenge of adventure, he became a monk to travel and explore the world, unaware that his most thrilling quests would be scholarly and spiritual. "God had going the best adventure around," Crossan confesses.
Because he could never subject his theological convictions and historical findings to the restrictions of the Church, Crossan chose to leave the monastery and priesthood. Speaking of this time in his life, Crossan writes, "Not even a vow of obedience could make me sing a song I did not hear." But he never abandoned the Roman Catholic community or tradition and never lost his faith. He has devoted his life and career to a reexamination of what he calls "necessary open-heart surgery on Christianity itself."
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John Dominic Crossan is the author of The Historical Jesus (T&T Clark, 1991). He chairs the Historical Jesus section of the Society of Biblical Literature. Luke Timothy Johnson is Woodruff Professor of New Testament at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. The author of a number of best-selling books, he is also editor of the Anchor Study Bible. Werner H. Kelber is Turner Professor of Biblical Studies at Rice University.
John Dominic Crossan currently resides in Clermont, in the state of Florida.
John Dominic Crossan has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about A Long Way from Tipperary: What a Former Monk Discovered in His Search for the Truth?
The humanity behind the heresy Mar 19, 2007
Once, a Lutheran pastor went up to an author (who's also an ex-monk who spent many hours in monastic choir and Latin chant) and asked, how could one have a personal relationship with God in prayer when all was set and programmed, all was ritual, formal, and liturgical?? This author later wrote in his memoirs,
"I have never, ever, thought that Latin chant opposes personal prayer. It is simply personal prayer as part of a total community at prayer. It helps you to distinguish, in prayer, between human echo and divine response, between your own will set to sound and the divine will that allegedly transcends it. As a simple analogy: Does singing the national anthem communally enlarge or diminish personal and individual patriotism??"
It's amazing how much you can learn from people who've been deemed outcasts, super-deviants and heretics from your community. I suspect there are Christians who wouldn't touch the works of John Dominic Crossan with a 10-foot pole.
But after reading A Long Way From Tipperary: What A Former Irish Monk Discovered In His Search For The Truth, whilst I'm nowhere near agreeing with his views on the historical Jesus, I can identify with his struggles, his doubts, his pain (I can almost weep with him over the loss of his first wife).
I see a man who needs the love of Jesus Christ, yet also one I can learn from tremendously (even N.T. Wright has celebrated Crossan's genius; see the opening remarks in his chapter on Crossan in Jesus & The Victory of God). If nothing else, Crossan's wit-filled prose brings literary delight which one finds rare in evangelical works. For example:
"If, in fact, you want a parent metaphor for God, I think father is much more appropriate than mother. It is the mother who is publicly knowable, visibly provable, and legally certifiable. You do not need faith to know a mother. You need faith to know a father, because he is known only on the mother's word and sometimes not even then.?" (p.37)
Whilst evangelicals rightly ought to warn the community of the problems in Crossan's writings, we would do well to humble ourselves and learn from our enemies? (wouldn't we want them to learn from us, too?). Try this sharp observation on the Catholic-Protestant schism:
"It is the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, during which Catholicism and Protestantism forced each other into opposite extremes (faith or works, Bible or tradition, individual or community, real or symbolic, etc. or etc.)in that separation within Christianity, Catholicism lost any internal but loyal opposition, any sternly self-critical voice from within. In that separation, Protestantism lost anything to protest against save itself and has continued to fracture into every increasing diversity.?" (p.72, emphasis mine)
Perhaps we need (or God has allowed? or predestined?? [grin]) writers like Crossan, the quintessential postmodern Biblical scholar, drawing his inspiration from, among others, the work of Jacques Derrida, to shake us into seeing our own problems, to look closer at our sacred cows.
And one day Crossan was at a book-signing event, someone came up to him and said, "My pastor told me not to come here tonight because you are even to the left of Marcus Borg.? Crossan replied,
"Give your pastor my best regards and tell him that is the good news. The bad news is that both Borg and me are to the right of Jesus. And worse still, if he will recall Psalm 110, Jesus is to the right of God."
An autobiography by a well-known NT scholar Feb 23, 2007
Rather disappointed with this book. Bought it at the local Borders and found its prose rushed; was the copyeditor asleep? I found long stretches rather tedious, not enhanced by the author's strong ego, which lacks discernment about what the reader might find engaging and what s/he might not. I appreciate much of Crossan's work, such as In Search of Paul, and this one has many good paragraphs. But the whole work never quite seems to come together.
What kind of Christian are you? Jul 22, 2006
If you want Jesus to be what you need, avoid this book. If you want to learn about the historical Jesus, read Crossan. This book is more accessible than some of this others; but it presumes some familiarity with his other works which should, I think, come first. Then read this one by all means.
The journey of an Irish monk Jun 19, 2005
Before I read this memoir, the only other insight I had of Crossan was from "Excavating Jesus", a book he and Reed collaborated on. Many times I would pause during a particular chapter and ask "Why does Crossan think that?" and I found many of my answers in "A Long Way from Tipperary." This memoir describes how Crossan's upbringining contributed to his analysis of the historical Jesus. It is the genuinity and extreme honesty with which Crossan speaks that makes this memoir truly memorable. I especially liked the parts when Crossan would describe an event in his life and compare it to the life of Jesus and ask how it influenced his conclusions on Jesus- I would have liked to see more of this for it was truly insightful. I also woudl have liked to see more of discussion on his faith in God- he makes the point that he doenst use human logic to prove God's existence yet doenst really seem to describe how he arrived at his conclusion. Overall a great read into a fascinating mind.
Book Review A Long Way From Tipperary: A Memoir by John Dominic Crossan (2000)
Dom Crossan, the world's leading expert and best-selling author on the historical Jesus, has written a witty, hearfelt and easy reading (about 200 pages - you can finish it in an afternoon) memoir of his remarkable life. From the Prologue:
"This book is about a series of transitions, from Ireland to America, from priesthood to marriage, from monastery to university, and from academic scholar to public intellectual. It is especially about the transition from a very traditional Roman Catholic faith...to a self-conscious and self-critical Roman Catholic faith for the next [century]."
Born in 1934 in County Kildare, Ireland to parents of modest means, he entered a monastery at sixteen and remained in the priesthood for some nineteen years, most of which was spent as a professor in seminary. After leaving the priesthood to get married, Crossan taught at DePaul University for nearly twenty years. His memoir is a charming recollection of the very different worlds along his life's journey - interspersed with reminiscences of how each episode shaped his thinking.
Crossan, co-founder of the (in)famous Jesus Seminar, has been a public voice proclaiming the need for Christians to revitalize their tradition. Again from the Prologue:
"After a decade of interviews in newspapers and magazines, discussions on radio and television, lectures in parishes and seminaries, colleges and universities, I now recognize a group...who claim a center of the road between secularism and fundamentalism. They are also dissatisfied, disappointed, or even disgusted with Classical Christianity and their denominational tradition...They do not want to invent or join a new age, but to reclaim and redeem an ancient one. They do not want to settle for a generic-brand religion, but to re-discover their own specific and particular roots. But they know now that these roots must be in a renewed Christianity that has purged itself of rationalism, fundamentalism, and literalism, whether of book, tradition, community, or leader. I did not set out to speak to those people, because I did not know they existed until about 80 percent of my mail told me they did."
In the final pages of his memoir, he says:
"In conclusion, this is what I have learned between Ireland and America, monastery and university, priesthood and marriage, scholarship and public discourse. I have learned that God is more radical than we can ever imagine, that a divine utopia on this earth is more subversive than we can ever accept..."
John Dominic Crossan is a monumental figure in the reformation of the Christian tradition underway in the world today. A man of deep faith, profound intellect, and searing vision, this memoir provides a window into the humble origins and very human journey of a great modern sage. His dry Irish wit is ever present, his writing style is clear and conversational and you finish the book with the feeling that you now "know the man". That's what a memoir is all about.