Jesus Christ, Learning Teacher

Jesus Christ, Learning Teacher

Author Mark Chater
Publisher SCM £19.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780334059684

This is a really absorbing book, clearly written and profoundly thought-provoking. It is a detailed and meticulously annotated study of Jesus as a teacher and of the pedagogical example he sets. The term ‘learning teacher’ in modern educational parlance often means a specialist dealing with dyslexic or otherwise disabled pupils, but this is not the sense in which the term is used here. Rather, the author points out that all good teachers positively need to continue to learn, and demonstrates very effectively that this was true of the earthly Christ too. However he also explicitly maintains that he is not attempting to draw any Christological conclusions. Frankly, I do not see how he can avoid this, and I do not think he has managed to – but that doesn’t detract from his arguments. He also deliberately downplays the historical context of Jesus’s teaching, and therefore of his learning too, and I would have liked an extra chapter that tackled this aspect more fully. However, the book is essentially an examination of issues, seeking to involve the reader in the process rather than offering conclusions, and in that it succeeds superbly.

Reviewed by ALAN WAKELY

New Testament Analysis, Education

 

The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor

The Cry of the Earth 
and the Cry of the Poor

Author Kathleen P Rushton
Publisher SCM £25.00
Format pbk
ISBN 9780334059059

The title, a quote from Pope Francis, describes this fine book’s concern for ecological and social justice. More surprisingly, the sub-title locates the theme as ‘Hearing Justice in John’s Gospel’. The author, a Roman Catholic scholar, confesses that, when young, she believed that it was in the synoptic gospels where ‘Jesus and justice were to be found’. Many may agree, but here is a convincing case for John as well. Rushton carefully deploys lectio divina and encourages the widespread hunger for spirituality which the fourth gospel brings forth. The book is not an alternative commentary, but it does provide detailed exegesis of all the Johannine Sunday readings used in the Revised Common Lectionary and the Roman Lectionary. These are comprehensive and scholarly expositions which amply fulfil the author’s ambitious intentions by demonstrating that within John we do indeed discover an urgent call to hear the voices of the marginalised peoples in our world, and the need for ecological justice and equity. The author’s approach generates contemplation and calls forth action. I warmly recommend this book.

ALICE BURDETT

 

Spirituality, New Testament Analysis