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The Greatest Prayer: A Revolutionary Manifesto and Hymn of Hope

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  184 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Every Sunday, the Lord's Prayer echoes in churches around the world.

It is an indisputable principle of Christian faith. It is the way Jesus taught his followers to pray and distills the most essential beliefs required of every one of the world's 2.5 billion Christians. In "The Greatest Prayer," our foremost Jesus scholar explores this foundational prayer line by line for t
190 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by HarperOne
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The First Paul by Marcus J. BorgThe Last Week by Marcus J. BorgSurprised by Hope by N.T. WrightThe Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum by Nick LaTorreThe First Christmas by Marcus J. Borg
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Community Reviews

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Fred Kohn
Apr 11, 2013 Fred Kohn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jeanne Stevens Kohn
When I lost faith in the God of Abraham six years ago, I had also pretty much given up on Christianity as having the potential to contribute much to the progressive change the world desperately need. The bulk of Christianity seemed so regressive; focused mainly on oppression of marginalized groups and maintaining economic inequality. Reading John Crossan has restored my faith that perhaps there is hope for Christianity yet. Although some of his views (such as on the atonement) are sure to aliena ...more
Aug 16, 2014 Brian rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
The Greatest Prayer starts off with a detailed breakdown of the Lord's Prayer (aka the "Our Father") as an example of carefully crafted Hebrew poetry, but then transforms into a meditation on each of the lines that make up the prayer. Crossan asks more questions than he answers, but returns to two key themes throughout: first, that "justice" is always distributive, and second, that the foundational metaphor for the prayer — and perhaps all of Christianity — is of God as the divine Householder. S ...more
James Klagge
Jun 08, 2016 James Klagge rated it liked it
I like Crossan as a scholar, and I'm interested in the Lord's Prayer--but somehow these two did not seem to come together for me here. Crossan opens chapters from left field with things of rather tangential relevance. It felt as though the publisher wanted him to lengthen his manuscript so he had to find some filler. At other points it also felt like Crossan had some material he wanted to include, even though it was not directly relevant.
Still, there was also good material. Crossan always takes
Mar 30, 2015 Gary rated it liked it
I like John Dominic Crossan and what he has to say, but I've occasionally thought that he practices a certain "sleight of hand" in reaching his conclusions. I found that true in several places in this book. Take his exegesis of the petition, "lead us not into temptation." His argument is that this plea is SPECIFICALLY to lead us not into the temptation to do violence. Taking various other gospel passages, he demonstrates how Jesus was an advocate of non-violence. That's fair. I myself happen to ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Lawrence rated it it was amazing
"The Greatest Prayer" is quite a stimulating book about The Lord's Prayer or the "Our Father". I think (but am not positive) that Mr. Crossan is connected to the so-called "Jesus Seminar" which tries to articulate who is exactly "the historical Jesus" (as people used to say). Although such a project might seem dry or an attempt to debunk the myth of Jesus, this book is what I call a "faithful book".

First off, the first chapter is an excursion into how to pray. Mr. C. takes Saint Paul's writings
Debra Brunk
Sep 27, 2013 Debra Brunk rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book and to get a lot out of it. The concept of going through the Lord's Prayer, sentence by sentence, seemed a good approach for learning and understanding the prayer and the new testament better. While there are some interesting discussions on the parallelism of the prayer's structure - and the chapter on "thy will be done" was thought-provoking, I found the analysis as a whole to be weak and circular. The author asks a number of questions at the beginning of each chapter ...more
Marty Solomon
Nov 28, 2011 Marty Solomon rated it it was amazing
Fantastic and insightful read from Crossan.

Crossan takes the Lord's Prayer and writes a chapter on each line of the prayer. The insight he brings from a scholastic perspective is brilliant. Some of the best work I've seen at taking the first-century discussion and context and helping to bridge the gap for a modern (or post-modern) western thinker. The chapter on the "eschaton" was one of the best I have read.

Each chapter builds upon the last until you have a beautiful tapestry of information, q
Sep 19, 2010 Matt rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any open-minded person interested in prayer
John Dominic Crossan's newest book - besides offering tremendous literally criticism and poetic insight - provides much needed depth into a subject matter that those who ascribe to liberal theology sometimes struggle with.

Accustomed as we are to a Christian tradition that all too often reduces prayer to "asking God for things," but at the same time philosophically unable to think of God as a person-like being, we simply don't know what do to with prayer; or as Paul of Tarsus (quoted approvingly
Dan R Byrne Jr
Sometimes difficult to follow

This is a very different approach to the Lord's prayer. In many ways it tells you what the prayer is not, rather than what it is. Crossan's frequent switches to the Greek of a particular word or phrase in the prayer, and then extrapolated meaning from the Greek. This mid-argument language juggling is sometimes difficult to follow. The "explanation" of the prayer is academic, rather than an aide to actually praying the Lord's prayer.
Oct 21, 2015 Doni rated it it was ok
Shelves: mariott
I appreciated his efforts to support non-violence and distributive justice, though I did not find his arguments persuasive. This is, once again, someone trying to make the bible say what he wants it to say. I would have preferred he stay closer to the text. And he did not address the part I was really interested in: "the kingdom, the power, and the glory," at all except to mention a reference to Satan's dominion.
Marty Schmidt
Feb 06, 2014 Marty Schmidt rated it it was amazing
Crossan brings expert exegetical skills to one of the most important spiritual passages of all time - new wine in new wineskins.
Mar 29, 2015 Lynne rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Quite interesting, but it seems that there is a lot of non-necessary off shoots...
May 31, 2016 Steve rated it did not like it
I've read worse books...but not many.
Loren Curtis
Excellent study of the Lord's Prayer.
Jan 01, 2012 Alice rated it liked it
I read this book as a devotional, a little bit each night. I purchased it after hearing Crossan speak in a series of theological lectures at the Chautauqua Institution. Much of the thrust of Crossan's theology is about distributive justice. Crossan is brilliant and the book is thought provoking. I would recommend reading the book more rapidly, at chapter at a sitting. The whole book is summed up near the end. If you want the thrust of the book, you could just read that.
S. Wilson
Aug 17, 2011 S. Wilson rated it it was ok
This was a disappointing book. Crossan could not get out of his scholar’s head and into his human heart. He would come close, but then blink. The book was about the Lord’s Prayer. And it did remind me of Distributive Justice and how without justice there is no justice and without justice there can be no love. But he could bring himself to drop the bombs he should have.
Joe Tedesco
Jan 20, 2013 Joe Tedesco rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual
Dominic introduces passages in the Old and New Testaments that are life-affirming that are not often mentioned if ever. - I was good to read the passages that focused on justice and good-will for all -excluding none and actively including everyone especially those who are often neglected in our modern society.
Robert D. Cornwall
Dec 22, 2010 Robert D. Cornwall rated it really liked it
This is an excellent look at the Lord's Prayer. Looks deeply into the biblical context and background. His view is that at the heart of this prayer is God's concern for distributive justice. Worth reading (and in tandem with my own book on the subject that has come out just following Crossan's)
Jan 09, 2015 Maggie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, theology
A few months ago, I emailed my campus minister and said, "There should be a book about the Our Father that has a chapter on each line, going into the theology behind it all. Does that book exist?" And he said, "Yes, you want to read 'The Greatest Prayer' by John Dominic Crossan." So I did.
Jul 14, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
Good logic and argument. But you have to accept his initial premises. He attempts to present them as logical conclusions, but they are simply acts of faith. I liked the book and the argument, just am not able to accept his premises as being the only basis for rational decision making.
Jan 04, 2014 Felicia rated it really liked it
This came at a time when I was thinking about it the most.
Stuart Jennings
Not the best of Crossan's books. His scholarly insights are as sharp as ever but a book on prayer needs to touch the heart as well as the head and it never quite manages to do that. Good background reading to the prayer ineverrheless
Andrew Ward
Feb 13, 2016 Andrew Ward rated it it was amazing
I always enjoy and learn from John Dominic Crossan, very insightful study on the Lords Prayer.
Just A. Bean
Nov 12, 2015 Just A. Bean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fairly dense going, as Crossan usually is, and I'd like to read this again at some point, but it really is an excellent explication of the Lord's Prayer, and I honestly think all Christians should read it.
Diane Badger
Feb 03, 2013 Diane Badger rated it really liked it
We don't often take the time to "dissect" this prayer and its meaning. I didn't agree with all of the author's interpretation and understandings but felt it made me much more aware of this prayer.
Mar 16, 2012 Chuck rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
I am currently re-reading this book by Dom Crossan. I have previously read it and found it very interesting, but I need to read it again in preparation for discussion in Moebius.
Jan 08, 2015 Billie rated it really liked it
A compelling, thoughtful, fresh look at The Lord's Prayer. A book to be reread and chewed again.

Am re-reading this book! (May 20, 2012)
Scott Freeman
Dec 05, 2010 Scott Freeman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010-books
A fantastic look at the Lord's Prayer from a leading scholar. The approach is one of distribute justice and nonviolence. A must read.
Jsue wagner
Jul 31, 2011 Jsue wagner rated it liked it
Not my favorite Crossan. Seemed to be an underlying agenda never revealed. But still thought provoking overall.
Jan 03, 2013 Maria rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual, group
I really enjoyed this look at the Lord's Prayer from an historical perspective. I hope I heed the call to community.
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John Dominic Crossan is generally regarded as the leading historical Jesus scholar in the world. He is the author of several bestselling books, including The Historical Jesus, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, The Birth of Christianity, and Who Killed Jesus? He lives in Clermont, Florida.

John Dominic Crossan was born in Nenagh County in Tipperary, Ireland, in 1934. He was educated in Ireland and
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“On the one hand, the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European Enlightenment (that’s a metaphor, by the way) correctly “enlightened” us on the necessity of observation and experimentation in the physical sciences and the value of reason and debate, proof and repetition in science and technology. In that process, the dead hand of inquisitional power and the cold gaze of ecclesiastical control were removed from spheres about which they knew too little and claimed too much. That was a magnificent achievement and must always be appreciated as such.

On the other hand, the Enlightenment also dramatically “endarkened” us on metaphor and symbol, myth and parable, especially in religion and theology. We judge, for example, that the ancients took their religious stories literally, but that we are now sophisticated enough to recognize their delusions. What, however, if those ancients intended and accepted their stories as metaphors or parables, and we are the mistaken ones? What if those pre-Enlightenment minds were quite capable of hearing a metaphor, grasping its meaning immediately and its content correctly, and never worrying about the question: Is this literal or metaphorical? Or, better, what if they knew how to take their foundational metaphors and stories programmatically, functionally, and seriously without asking too closely about literal and metaphorical distinctions?

We have, in other words, great post-Enlightenment gain, but also great post-Enlightenment loss.”
“To obtain and possess the kingdoms of the world, with their power and glory, by violent injustice is to worship Satan. To obtain and possess the kingdom, the power, and the glory by nonviolent justice is to worship God.” 1 likes
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