Crossley, James G.

views updated

Crossley, James G.


Education: University of Nottingham, Ph.D.


Office—Department of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, Arts Tower, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, England. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]


University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England, lecturer in New Testament studies.


The Date of Mark's Gospel: Insight from the Law in Earliest Christianity, T & T Clark International (New York, NY), 2004.

(Editor, with C. Karner) Writing History, Constructing Religion, Ashgate Publishing (Burlington, VT), 2005.

Why Christianity Happened: A Sociohistorical Account of Christian Origins (26-50 CE), Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 2006.

Judaism, Jewish Identities, and the Gospel Tradition: Essays in Honour of Maurice Casey, Equinox (Oakville, CT), 2008.

Coeditor of the Equinox "Biblical World" series; maintains a blog, Earliest Christian History.


James G. Crossley is a new Testament scholar whose studies include the origins of Christianity. Crossley maintains a blog where he posts published and soon-to-be published writings. In an interview with Jim West of, Crossley said of his blog Earliest Christian History, "Yet testing my work was never the reason for starting the blog. One key reason was political, and in different senses of the phrase. It now seems naive to me at least, but I once thought there were more politically radical people in scholarship, though I don't think that anymore. This disappointed me when it hit home and it disappointed me in terms of blogging because there, I thought, more than anywhere in biblical scholarship, would such views be found. The situation is quite the opposite, I think."

In Why Christianity Happened: A Sociohistorical Account of Christian Origins (26-50 CE), Crossley notes that Jesus observed Jewish law and followed dietary rules but that within two decades following his death, the Christian movement was discarding these laws. He argues that this swing was instrumental in the spread of the Christian religion. Converts included those who practiced Judaism lite, engaging with their more observant friends and neighbors but disregarding the rules regarding abstinence from eating pork or practicing circumcision, for example.

Crossley told Chronicle of Higher Education interviewer David Glenn: "And it's in this context that Paul can come along and give his great teachings on justification by faith. I think that you can see that context as a social, or almost an economic, phenomenon."

Crossley told CA: "At present, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Maurice Casey, Derek Gregory, and Gilbert Achcar are particularly influential on my work."

When asked which of his books is his favorite, Crossley said: "The forthcoming one: because I have just written it, it is at least relevant for once, it involves my major interest in politics and foreign policy, and I tend to put my other books to the back of my mind and forget about them."

When asked what kind of effect he hopes his books will have, he said: "Of the previous books, I hope that some New Testament scholars would at least attempt to look at early Jewish sources in more detail rather than pay lip service to ‘Second Temple Judaism.’ I would also hope that some New Testament scholars may pay closer attention to the social historical causes underlying Christian origins."



Chronicle of Higher Education, February 9, 2007, David Glenn, "Why Early Christians Stopped Observing Jewish Codes," interview.

Journal of Religion, October, 2005, Daniel J. Harrington, review of The Date of Mark's Gospel: Insight from the Law in Earliest Christianity, p. 649.

Journal of Theological Studies, October, 2006, David Instone-Brewer, review of The Date of Mark's Gospel, p. 647.

ONLINE, (August 10, 2007), Jim West, "Jim West Interviews James Crossley."

Earliest Christian History, (August 10, 2007), author's blog.

University of Sheffield Web site, (August 10, 2007), author biography.