The Book of Jonah is the one book in the Bible to which Jesus refers as revealing his own understanding of his mission: 'I give you one sign, the sign of Jonah.' With Jonah Jesus reveals his own mind and plan, and ties his life and work firmly to the tradition of Israel, and Israel's task of making the Lord God known to the world. This book is written on several levels. It is first of all a verse by verse commentary on the Book of Jonah, with a short prologue on how to read the Bible as parable - always and everywhere true but not using the modern criteria for truth, that is history and science.It also draws from the traditions of Jewish commentary and liturgical life. While being a thoughtful and careful commentary, it makes no claims to exhaustive exegesis or higher critical methodology. It offers, rather, a work of biblical spirituality, more akin to a Christian midrash, than biblical theology. Jesus' sign of Jonah is in fact the sacrifice which both Jonah and Jesus make of their lives in order to save the nations (Gentiles), and this book presents a self-consciousness of Jesus as the anointed High Priest (the older priestly Messiah rather than the later kingly one). It explores the sacrifice on the cross as the liturgy of the high priest on the Day of Atonement - but, again like Jonah - a sacrifice for the nations. At the heart of the argument is the belief that the 'best' Christianity is one that is engaged in loving and respectful Mission - God's mission - just as the best of Israel's life is when it is spent in accomplishing the Mission of God as the Suffering Servant of the Lord. Peter Burrows is a retired priest of the Diocese of Plymouth living and working with the Society of African Missions in London. Born in Los Angeles, California, he studied theology at Harvard, and received a Ph.D. in Rabbinic and Biblical Literature from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has a post-graduate degree in Marriage, Family and Child Therapy and was licensed to practise as a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist by the State of California, working for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as a Family Therapist. He has lectured in Scripture and Psychology at seminaries, colleges and universities and in many parishes and synagogues throughout the United States and Britain. He lectures and offers retreats to clergy and laity in Sacred Scripture in the United Kingdom.
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