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classroom texts

The Wife of Jesus

This might be my favorite project. The first half of it critiques the fictions, forgeries, films, and fragments of pop culture. The second half of the book discusses the sociology of marriage in Second-Temple Jewish life. I am told that this book is assigned reading for the class "Jesus in Film and History" at UCLA.

"The Wife of Jesus is an eminently sensible, thoughtful and balanced look at an important question. Its significance has to do, of course, with who Jesus was. But even more, it has to do with how Christians model themselves after him."
Chicago Tribune

A Study Companion to

The Bible: An Introduction

This is a weird one. I wrote this as a workbook (companion) for Jerry Sumney's introduction. I never wrote one for the first edition. So this workbook was first published as a "second edition." It's a wild and woolly world. That said, this is packed with ancient texts that never made into the Bible. The idea here was to shed light on the cultures of the authors.

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Historical Jesus

This book has been used in classrooms at Yale University, University of Wisconsin, Ohio Wesleyan University, etc. I tinker with topics like perception, memory, and propaganda in my quest for a plausibly historical Jesus. Once upon a time, this little book made me a heretic resulting in my dismissal and loss of income. I suppose it's sort of a badge of honor now. But very few badges of honor make up for the loss of regular paychecks. On the bright side, every two years I get a royalty check for $1.78. Also, who doesn't want their name framed in hot pink?

Update: this book has be translated into Korean.

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“Le Donne opens the door to the past again . . . His book is a convincing plea against historical resignation — written with lucidity, esprit, and common sense.”
—Gerd Theissen, PhD (University of Heidelberg)
Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies


This book is in One World's "beginner's guides" series. I introduce Jesus (both as man and concept) along five paths: Jesus the man, Jesus the literary figure, Jesus in pre-modern imagination, Jesus in scholarship, and Jesus in pop culture. This book has been translated into Portuguese under the title "A história de Jesus para quem tem pressa."

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"This lively and engrossing book covers a vast historical range, from first-century Palestine to the latest Jesus-memes in popular culture, drawing on an enviable breadth of knowledge. I can think of no better or more accessible introduction which draws readers into exploring for themselves the many images of Jesus and their long and still powerful hold on the imagination of the West."
—John M.G. Barclay, PhD (Durham University, UK)
Lightfoot Professor of Divinity
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