SAVING PARADISE: HOW CHRISTIANITY TRADED LOVE OF THIS WORLD FOR CRUCIFIXION AND EMPIRE by Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker Beacon Press,592 pages, $34.95
"It took Jesus a thousand years to die. Images of his corpse did not appear in churches until the tenth century."
Those are the provocative opening sentences of the new book, Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire (Beacon Press), by Protestant scholars Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker.
Saving Paradise turns upside down the history of the church's view of Jesus' crucifixion and its stress on the importance of suffering. The authors attempt to show that for the first thousand years of its existence, the Christian church placed much more emphasis on the resurrection and paradise than the crucifixion.