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Book details
  • Genre:RELIGION
  • SubGenre:Christian Education / Adult
  • Language:English
  • Pages:572
  • eBook ISBN:9780981812335

Jesus the Forgiving Victim: Listening for the Unheard Voice

An Introduction to Christianity for Adults

by James Alison

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James Alison has been teaching Jesus the Forgiving Victim: Listening for the Unheard Voice as a course for small groups for over 12 years. When a participant told him “This is Christianity as I’ve never heard it before”, he felt challenged to make the material more widely available. James’ original talks are now available in this four volume set as well as a video course which invites you into a journey of discovering that the unheard voice of the Crucified and Risen Lord is enlivening in you a new narrative, one that is both your own, and yet much more than your own.
Jesus the Forgiving Victim Listening for the Unheard Voice is comprised of four books of essays. Book One - Starting human, staying human Every time we talk about God, we do so from a human point of view. Of course, everyone knows that, and yet it is amazing how often people jump straight into God-talk without examining what sort of animals are doing the talking – human animals, bodies run by desires, dependent, storytelling, animals, time-laden and place-sensitive. This introduction to the Christian faith starts from the assumption that as we become more aware of dimensions of being human that we in fact know already, so the life of faith which God births within us will become richer and easier to explore and to live. Book Two - God, not one of the gods It can be difficult to find our way into the texts of the Scriptures because of the linguistic and cultural issues that separate us from the ancient world. We can feel as if we’ve stumbled into the middle of a heated conversation without knowing who the parties are or what they’re so worked up about. Here we approach handling the texts in a more relaxed way so as to get on the inside of some of the issues that the sacred authors were wrestling with. In short, we will be starting to read the Scriptures through the eyes of the Forgiving Victim, just as St. Luke teaches us to do. Our hope is that you will find biblical scholarship to be less frightening than it might seem and you will have acquired a bit more confidence to dabble for yourselves in these biblical texts without being scared of them. Book Three - The difference Jesus makes Here we try to catch some glimpses of the Master as we watch Jesus interpret the Scriptures to his own people. We look at what it means to find ourselves in the presence of the Forgiving Victim. Jesus’ protagonism causes the solid ground to shift beneath us as we become untied from the more destructive ways in which the “social other” runs us. Our old identity slowly falls away so that we can begin to tell new, more truthful stories about ourselves. As you read we hope you will discover for yourself some hints of how being forgiven enables our participation in a new unity; we will begin to discover a “social other” that is good for us, and find that we are no longer depending on keeping ourselves apart and needing others to be our fall guys. As we inhabit the texts of the New Testament we find ourselves called out to form a new people receiving our sense of self and our belonging from the Forgiving Victim in our midst. Book Four - Unexpected Insiders At this point in our journey we are discovering new dimensions of how we are insiders within a great shift: old patterns of belonging are being undone from within; we can no longer so easily form identities over and against victims because the Forgiving Victim has called us into a new space. As we work through our desire and our belonging, what will the new shape of community take, one in which there are no longer insiders and outsiders, only those who are being inducted into a human story in which death does not have the final say? And how will we respond to the challenges that flow from this?
About the author
James Alison is a Catholic theologian and priest. He is the author of a number of books and articles, of which details can be found on www.jamesalison.co.uk. A native of London, England, he received his theological education from the Dominicans and the Jesuits. Known as an exponent of the thought of René Girard, he travels widely with teaching and preaching engagements in many different countries. He currently resides in São Paulo, Brazil.