Jesus and His Enemies

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In narrative analysis, the message expressed in each of the four gospels is conveyed not just through Jesus’ teachings or particu­lar stories but through the overall narrative itself—particularly through the introduction and resolution of conflict. Through dramatic narrative the evangelists show Christians how they are to act in situations of conflict without abandoning the demands of love.

As Robert Beck reflects, “This is the real test of the command to love one another, which finds its most exacting demand when we are in firm opposition.” The Gospels have much to say about this, though the answers are found in a place we seldom look: in the qualities of dramatic narrative itself. Jesus and His Enemies offers a fresh contribution to biblical teaching on violence, ethics, and the Christian pursuit of peace.

Robert R. Beck is a Catholic priest and professor emeritus of religious studies at Loras College in Dubuque, IA.

Book Details

Jesus and His Enemies
Narrative Conflict in the Four Gospels
Robert R. Beck

Jesus and His Enemies Table of Contents (978-1-62698-243-7_toc.pdf, 226 Kb) [Download]

Robert Beck skillfully and engagingly walks readers through the fruits of a generation's work on reading the Gospels as narratives rather than collections of sayings. The result is a wonderful introduction to discovering how to hear the Jesus stories as they were meant to be heard in their original social worlds.
Robert Beck, a leading practitioner of socio-literary analysis, has given us another important reading of our stories of Jesus through the lens of nonviolent conflict resolution. I further recommend this book as a general introduction to the four gospels—in their unity and diversity—that is relevant to seminary, sanctuary, and streets.
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