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Jesus and Community Reflection.

Jesus and Community Reflection.


Title: Reflection on “Jesus and Community” by Howard Lohfink

Summary of Key Points:

Howard Lohfink’s book “Jesus and Community” delves into the New Testament, particularly focusing on the Gospels, to explore the concept of community as it relates to the teachings and actions of Jesus. Lohfink argues that understanding Jesus’ mission and message requires a deep appreciation of the communal context in which he operated. Several key points emerge from the book:

  1. Community as Central: Lohfink emphasizes that Jesus’ ministry was inherently communal. He consistently engaged with various groups of people, challenging existing social norms and hierarchies. The community is not merely a backdrop but a fundamental aspect of Jesus’ mission.
  2. Inclusivity: Jesus’ approach to community was remarkably inclusive. He reached out to marginalized individuals and social outcasts, welcoming them into his fold. Lohfink suggests that this inclusivity was a deliberate effort to challenge the societal boundaries of his time.
  3. Conflict and Transformation: The book highlights that Jesus’ message often provoked conflict within existing religious and social structures. His teachings challenged the status quo, leading to tension and transformation within the community.
  4. Kingdom of God: Lohfink discusses Jesus’ proclamation of the “Kingdom of God” as a central theme. This kingdom represents a new vision of community based on justice, compassion, and love. It stands in contrast to the prevailing powers and ideologies.

Critical Reflection and Evaluation:

Lohfink’s exploration of Jesus and community is both insightful and thought-provoking. However, there are some aspects that warrant critical reflection:

  1. Historical Context: While Lohfink provides a compelling analysis of the communal aspects of Jesus’ ministry, there is room for further exploration of the historical and cultural context. Understanding the socio-political dynamics of first-century Judea is crucial for a comprehensive grasp of Jesus’ actions and teachings.
  2. Theological Interpretation: The book leans heavily on theological interpretations of the New Testament. While this is appropriate for a religious studies context, readers from diverse backgrounds may seek a more balanced approach that incorporates historical and secular perspectives.
  3. Application to Contemporary Community: Lohfink’s work primarily focuses on the historical context of Jesus’ community. It would be beneficial to explore how the principles of inclusivity, justice, and love can be applied to contemporary communities facing their own challenges and divisions.

Illuminating Arguments and Assertions:

Despite the aforementioned considerations, Lohfink’s book offers several illuminating arguments and assertions:

  1. Challenging Boundaries: Lohfink effectively demonstrates how Jesus consistently challenged societal boundaries and norms. This aspect of his ministry serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of inclusivity and empathy in community building.
  2. Conflict as Catalyst: The book underscores that conflict can be a catalyst for transformation within a community. Jesus’ confrontations with religious authorities and power structures led to profound shifts in understanding and faith.
  3. Vision of a Just Community: Lohfink’s exploration of the “Kingdom of God” concept inspires reflection on what constitutes a just and compassionate community. It encourages readers to consider how they can contribute to such a community in their own lives.

In conclusion, “Jesus and Community” by Howard Lohfink offers a valuable perspective on the role of community in the ministry of Jesus. While it may benefit from a broader historical context and a more inclusive approach, it remains a thought-provoking exploration of the communal aspects of Jesus’ mission and message. The book challenges readers to reflect on the transformative power of community and the pursuit of justice and inclusivity in their own lives.

Jesus and Community Reflection.



Reflection about the book “Jesus and Community” by Lohfink

The reading response papers should do three things: (1) Briefly summarize key

points from the reading, (2) critically reflect and evaluate the author’s ideas and assertions, and (3)

articulate what arguments and assertions were illuminating, or helpful, or provocative. Make clear and

specific points while demonstrating engagement with the reading for best results. Each reading

response should be 4 full pages, double spaced, Times New Roman or Helvetica, 12 pt. font.

The novel: Lohfink, Howard. Jesus and Community. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 1984

This is a New Testament class.


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