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Book Reviews
Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict
By: James Crossley & Robert J. Myles / Zer0 Books / $25.95

Overview: What made the Jesus movement tick? By situating the life of Jesus of Nazareth in the turbulent troubles of first-century Palestine, Crossley and Myles give a thrilling historical-materialist take on the historical Jesus.

Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict is a major biography of Jesus from a historical materialist perspective.

Verdict: Delivering a wealth of knowledge on the social, economic, and cultural conflicts of the time, Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict uncovers the emergence of a fervent and deadly serious religious organizer whose social and religious movement offered not only a radical end-time edict of divine reversal and judgment but also a promising new world order ruled in the interests of the peasantry.

The movementís popular appeal was due in part to a desire to represent the values of ordinary rural workers, and its vision meant that the rich would have to give up their wealth, while the poor would be afforded a life of heavenly luxury.

Tensions flared up considerably when the movement marched on Jerusalem and Jesus was willingly martyred for the cause. Crossley and Myles offer a vivid portrait of the man and his movement and uncover the material conditions that converged to make it happen.

Opening on the question of What if the greatest even in human history was erased?, a question once posed by the promotional material for Assassin 33 A.D., a 2020 faith-based thriller, that segue ways into how the Quest of the Historical Jesus has itself had an extensive history born from it, beginning in the European Enlightenment and continuing into the 21st Century.

Thus, the work you yourselves will subsequently hold in your hands is the work, nay, fruitful collaboration of two scholars of Jesus and early Christianity who have shard an interest in Marxist historiography and the ways in which struggles from the past may give us insight into the struggles we face today.

Inclusive of critical suggestions from the duos colleagues and friends, and when quoting the Bible, they admittedly follow the English text of the New Revised Standard Version, they stress from the very off that Jesus: A Life in Class Conflict is not a religious book, but moreover a historical materialist one.

In short, the book serves the purpose to take up two related questions regarding the life of Jesus of Nazareth: First, what can we know about the historical Jesus and his movement? Second, how can we understand the emergence of the Jesus movement in terms of class conflict as a driver of historical change?

A compelling read, the book comes across as an incredible, in-depth, engrossing, and thoroughly impassioned historical read, and yet one that is always grounded in dedicated scholarship. One where the blending process brought forth by both Crossley and Myles is both well-written and excruciatingly articulate in all its prose.

About The Authors - James Crossley is Professor of Bible and Society at MF Oslo and St Maryís London, and director of the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements. He lives in Cumbria, UK.

Robert J. Myles is Senior Lecturer in New Testament at Wollaston Theological College in Perth, Western Australia and the University of Divinity. He lives in Perth, Australia.

Official Book Purchase Link