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This is a witty, passionate, remarkably written book, with a pedagogical intent.John Dominic Crossan, The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened in the Years Immediately after the Execution of Jesus (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998). I would like to thank here two friends, Ann Graham Brock and Christopher R. Matthews, who both read this paper and revised its English carefully. These pages were written before I found N. T. Wright's review and John Dominic Crossan's response. See N. T. Wright, “A New Birth? An Article Review of John Dominic Crossan's The Birth of Christianity…,” SJT 53 (2000) 72–91; John Dominic Crossan, “Blessed Plot: A Reply to N.T. Wright's Review of The Birth of Christianity,” ibid., 92–112. In this learned book Crossan displays an extraordinary range of knowledge, from Irish literature to modern Greek folklore, in his reconstruction of the birth of Christianity. He discusses everything from four types of crucifixion to death certificates in eighteenth-century London, from medical to anthropological opinions concerning dreams and visions. This expansive approach impacts our knowledge of antiquity through his insights concerning the sociology of the ancient world, specifically the relationship between rural and urban life. Although he does not mention Papias's opinion on oral communication,Papias's opinion is preserved by Eusebius of Caesarea, Hist. Eccl. 3.39.3–4. he provides valuable pages on memory and oral tradition. Using quotations in a style reminiscent of Montaigne, who in the 16th century decorated his study with emblematic quotations of classical authors not as a source of authority, but as a source of inspiration, Crossan provides an unusual, scholarly work. Much like Montaigne, Crossan often speaks as a moralist, focused on justice as the main characteristic of Jesus and the Jesus movement. It is thus clear that Crossan's own creed maintains that Christianity was in the beginning and still should be a movement of revolt against economic oppression and a struggle for the God of justice.