This brief insight in to the person and message of Jesus is a gem not only because of its content but especially because of its timing, over 40 years ago.
Greeley penned this book less than 10 years after the second Vatican Council, and it represents an initial departure from those Catholic authors centering on doctrine and legalities prior to the council. For example, the author comments on Mark’s teaching on divorce 10: 9-11: “What God has joined together, no human being by must separate.” Literally millions of couples have persevered with horrific results in hopeless marriages because churches have interpreted this passage as literal and absolute.
Greeley reminds us that in the culture of Jesus, “Adultery meant intercourse between a married woman and a man other than her husband… infidelity on the part of a male was not considered adultery in Jewish law”. Males therefore were allowed intercourse outside marriage; women were not.
Jesus applies adultery to males as well as females. He is courageously making women equal to men while revolutionizing a fundamental tenet of Jewish law. This is just one example of Jesus as theological rebel. It’s not surprising Jewish authorities plotted his death.
Many other authors have accurately supported this spirit of Jesus’ teachings, but Greeley headed these courageous authors way back in 1971.