Biblical Scholar: Dominic Crossan
The Lord’s Prayer is Christianity’s greatest prayer. It is also
Christianity’s strangest prayer, according to John Dominic Crossan. Residents
of central Pennsylvania had an opportunity to learn exactly why over a
series of three lectures on Wednesday and Thursday March 14 and 15 at Miller
Chapel on the Lebanon Valley College campus.
Crossan lectured on his most recent book, The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the
Lord’s Prayer. Each of the three lectures had a distinct focus: the
meaning of the prayer, the humanity of the prayer, and the divinity of the
This book on the Lord’s Prayer is just the most recent of dozens.
Over the last forty years, the accomplished Biblical scholar has written
twenty-five books on the historical Jesus, earliest Christianity, and the
historical Paul, five of which were national religious bestsellers. Crossan is
most well known for his work on researching the historical Jesus. Notably,
Crossan was the co-chair of the Jesus Seminar from 1985 to 1996, which met in
twice-annual meetings to debate the historical accuracy of the life of Jesus in
the gospels. Most recently he was elected President of the Society of Biblical
Literature for 2011-2012.
Besides authoring books, Crossan has lectured to hundreds of
audiences across the United States as well as in Ireland and England,
Scandinavia and Finland, Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, and South
Africa. He has been interviewed on radio stations, prime time television
networks, and cable television documentaries.
Crossan’s resume is extensive, consisting of scholarship which
spans over 60 years. He was a member of a thirteenth-century Roman Catholic
monastic order, the Servites, from 1950 to 1969 and an ordained priest from
1957 to 1969. During that time he received a Doctor of Divinity from St.
Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland in 1959 and did post-doctoral research
at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome from 1959 to 1961 and at the École
Biblique in Jerusalem from 1965 to 1967. Crossan resigned from the priesthood
in 1969 and became an Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul
University in Chicago. He remained there until 1995.
Crossan has also been the recipient of many awards, including
awards for scholarly excellence from the American Academy of Religion in 1989,
DePaul University in 1991 and 1995, and an honorary doctorate from Stetson
University, DeLand, Florida, in 2003.
Crossan brings a new perspective to this age-old prayer; his
lecture series is something you do not want to miss. In the prologue to his
book, Crossan writes, “What if the
Lord’s Prayer is neither a Jewish prayer for Jews nor yet a Christian prayer
for Christians? What if it is – as this book suggests – a prayer from the heart
of Judaism on the Matthew Christianity for the conscience of the world? What if
it is – as this book suggests – a radical manifesto and a hymn of hope for all
humanity in language addressed to all the earth?”