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Encounters with Jesus

The Man in His Place and Time

By Adriana Destro and Mauro Pesce

Publication Year: 2011

What was there in Jesus' person, behavior, and words that prompted not only much enthusiasm but also much hostility? This compelling portrait of the man Jesus of Nazareth by two pioneers of the anthropological study of early Christianity answers this vital question. They bring the fruit of years of scholarship to bear on a radical figure in Roman Galilee and on his encounters with others and the movement those encounters inspired. They give close attention to the everyday realities that shaped those encounters: the facts of travel, common meals, domestic space, and the interactions of bodies. The result is a refreshing new look at the man who proved so significant-and so controversial-in Western culture.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. vi-viii

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pp. ix-23

The life of Jesus closed with a violent death. But this death did not extinguish his voice, which has continued to kindle the hearts and minds of many people at the same time as it has moved others to reject him. What was there in his person, in his behavior, and in his words that prompted both the enthusiasm of so many followers and the extreme hostility of those who killed him? To what extent was his activity born ...

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Chapter 1

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pp. 3-24

Jesus is always imagined in a place: by the Jordan, at Capernaum, in the Garden of Gethsemane. These are either places mentioned in the Gospels or places revealed to us by historians and archaeologists. These localizations correspond to a need for mental order, which always links a person to a place, an existence to a residence, a body to a locality.Besides this, the anthropological interpretation of writte...

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Chapter 2

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pp. 25-40

Jesus was not a man of the city, but neither was he a sedentary inhabitant of a village. He frequented the small centers, but none of these became his stable residence.1 He chose to live only briefly and provisionally in any one location and moved about from place to place. Walking Although the Gospels do not agree on the geographical parameters of his movements, his continual movement remains a constant element ...

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Chapter 3

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pp. 41-77

As he passed through the Land of Israel, Jesus met an extraordinary variety of persons. Those with whom he entered into dialogue were not some occasional part of the scenery, but were his objective. A cul-tural analysis of his interlocutors shows that these are not mere extras put on the stage by the evangelists in order to present the teaching and the supernatural character of their protagonist.1 We see that meeting ...

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Chapter 4

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pp. 78-101

Both in public and in private contexts, eating together allows the participants to have special encounters and exchanges, or to reach agreements.1 By preparing food, by giving it to others, and by accepting it as a gift—here we recall the structure of exchange elaborated by Marcel Mauss2—people offer, receive, and give back. Often, a meal is the way of solemnizing special events and moments. Sharing food, how-...

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Chapter 5

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pp. 102-127

Jesus has left his house and work, but he regularly frequents the domestic settings and the houses of other persons. What is the logic behind this dialectic between detachment from a house and the request to enter a house?1 We shall see below that Jesus demanded that the itinerant disciples completely abandon their own world. Despite this, however, he does not in any way belittle the importance of the household.2 Indeed, we see on various occasions that he attributes a positive function to it. He often displays his intention of strengthening...

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Chapter 6

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pp. 128-154

The human body, an essential and inescapable element of life, is at the center of surprising shifts of emphasis and reworkings in the course of history. The cultural meaning of the body is the result of the convergence of a physical-biological system and a project that is generated by the cultural alchemies applied to this system. The body is closely linked to culture...

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Chapter 7

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pp. 155-169

Our intention in this chapter is not to answer the question Jesus puts to his disciples “Who do people say that I am?” nor the question “Who did Jesus himself think he was?” We want to find out something about Jesus’ feelings, about his reactions to the situation of his people and his land. In short, we want to learn something about his inner life. Getting to know the most intimate aspects of a person is always an extremely arduous task, even...

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pp. 170-176

If we are to understand Jesus, we must begin with his lifestyle in continuous movement, with the way in which he communicated with other people, and with the nature of the social grouping he created in order to spread his message. We are convinced that a primarily theological reading of the career of Jesus empties it of much of its power and its meaning. Unlike those who are interested exclusively in Jesus’ words and his religious ideas...


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pp. 177-220


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pp. 221-236


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pp. 237-241


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pp. 242-248


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pp. 249-254

E-ISBN-13: 9781451423723
E-ISBN-10: 1451423721
Print-ISBN-13: 9780800698454
Print-ISBN-10: 0800698452

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2011