John Dear’s New Book:
The Gospel of Peace:
A Commentary on Matthew, Mark and Luke from the Perspective of Nonviolence
Fr. John Dear’s new book, his life’s work, “The Gospel of Peace: A Commentary on Matthew, Mark and Luke from the Perspective of Nonviolence” is now available from Orbis Books. It is the first ever commentary on the Synoptic Gospels from the perspective of active nonviolence, in the tradition of Gandhi and Dr. King. In this new and original work, he walks us through every line of the three synoptic Gospels pointing out Jesus’ practice and teachings of nonviolence each step of the way and invites us to become practitioners of creative nonviolence like Jesus.
To order special discount copies at $20 each, call Orbis Books at 1-800-258-5838 and give them the special code: “JDT”
“The Gospel of Peace” starts with Matthew, and focuses on the Sermon on the Mount as the centerpiece and basis for everything that Jesus does. He calls it the greatest teachings on nonviolence in history, and proposes we use it as a how-to manual, as Gandhi did. Then we move on to Mark as an action thriller of nonviolence, where Jesus engages in non-stop nonviolent resistance to systemic injustice and empire. Next in Luke, we hear a call to service, compassion and solidarity with the poor, as Jesus acts like a classic movement organizer like Gandhi and King. He launches a grassroots campaign of nonviolence to Jerusalem, by sending out 72 nonviolence trained disciples as “lambs into the midst of wolves” until he arrives in Jerusalem and engages in civil disobedience in the Temple. Not only is Jesus meticulously nonviolent through his action, arrest, trial, torture and execution, but in his resurrection he returns to his friends as gentle and nonviolent as ever, and sends them forth to carry on his global grassroots campaign of nonviolence to the ends of the earth.
Dear’s Jesus is like Gandhi and Dr. King—nonviolent to the core, a disarming, healing presence toward those in need and a revolutionary disrupter of the unjust status quo and a political threat to the ruling authorities who succeed in killing him, only to push Jesus to the heights of nonviolence through his death and resurrection. This original commentary brings a fresh new approach to the Gospels that will help all those who preach and engage in social ministries, and inspire everyone in this time of permanent warfare, gun violence, racism, poverty, nuclear threat and climate change to join Jesus’ ongoing global movement for justice, disarmament and creation.
“John Dear is one of the few towering figures in the Christian nonviolent freedom and peace Movement in our time! This powerful book should not be missed!” — Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary
“John Dear’s is a beautiful message of peace!”—Anne Lamott
“No living person has done more to root Jesus’ message of nonviolence and peace in scripture than John Dear. He understands so clearly that humans live inside the stories that we claim together or, better, that claim us. Follow John’s lead through Matthew, Mark and Luke and, like those disciples on the Emmaus Way, your heart will be set afire with excitement to tell others the Good News!” –Wes Howard-Brook, author of “Come Out, My People!”: God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond
“Prepare to be inspired, as John Dear guides you on a journey into the nonviolent revolution grounded in Jesus and his Way of Love. Along the way, you will encounter anew the steadfast fearlessness of figures like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, and Oscar Romero…and find yourself ready to join them in this holy work.” –The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
“Fr. John Dear’s The Gospel of Peace is an invitation to go beyond a conceptual consideration of peace to the living of peace, especially as a condition and an attribute of discipleship. Just as the life of discipleship is a life of grace, so is the living of the Gospel of Peace, as an attribute of the life of discipleship, an act of grace and fruit of divine redemption. It was precisely when the world thought it had peace, living under Roman pax Augustana, ‘the peace of Cesar Augustus,’ that the angels proclaimed a new peace with the birth of Jesus, ‘peace on earth to men and women of goodwill!’ As the Popes have taught us, peace is a gift of God and the work of men and women.”—Cardinal Peter Turkson, Vatican City
“Fr. John Dear’s passion for peace illumines every page of this book. Recognizing the Beatitudes and the Sermon of the Mount as a blueprint for the life of Christ, John Dear demonstrates how the gospels are a blueprint for peace, inviting believer and nonbeliever alike to follow the Prince of Peace by living the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount. For all who are interested in the Gospel vision of peace and nonviolence, and who have been moved by John Dear’s lifelong ministry of peace building, this book is a must read.” –Most Rev. Archbishop John Wester, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM
“Each time I consult this magnificent commentary for insight into a particular gospel passage, I am drawn further into the nonviolent teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. As John Dear convincingly demonstrates, Jesus was their inspiration. The Gospel of Peace lovingly confronts us all with what it means to follow Jesus in all dimensions of life. It is the master class on Christian discipleship.” –The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.
“John Dear is an authentic follower of Christ whose life as a Christian and priest has gotten him arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience 85 times. His witness is not unlike that of Paul and other early Christians who dared to speak truth to the Roman empire. In this brilliant and very readable book, he offers a stunningly fresh interpretation of three gospels that puts Jesus’ basic message of love, justice, and the beatitudes as central to his teaching—which it was. Just reading his treatment of Mary as the contemplative, active and prophetic nonviolent model that she was in Luke’s gospel, is cause enough to study and celebrate this book. Bede Griffiths, a Catholic monk who lived in India for over fifty years, said that Gandhi ‘applies Jesus’ teachings to social and political life in a way which no one before him had done, making the beatitudes a matter of practical concern few Christians did before him.’ Here, in the spirit of his nonviolent mentor Gandhi, John Dear does the same. This book is a masterpiece opening the door anew to the revolutionary Good News of Jesus, his life, death and teachings.”—Rev. Matthew Fox, author and teacher
“John Dear’s work shows the deep connections between nonviolence and the gospels. This study is crucial for understanding the heart of Christian faith. This fresh study will be useful for all people who have a passion for justice.”
–Rev. Malcolm Young, Dean, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Fr. John Dear’s commentary on the synoptic gospels from the perspective of nonviolence is needed especially now. With the Third World War being fought piecemeal as our Holy Father Pope Francis regularly reminds us, and the violence of handguns and assault weapons daily taking the lives of God’s children in the U.S., we Christians need to be reminded that the Gospel of Jesus is about peace. Father John Dear’s book helps us reflect on Jesus the Peacemaker and assists us in becoming blessed peacemakers ourselves.”
–Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop of Lexington, President of Pax Christi USA
“Fr. John Dear’s The Gospel of Peace is a landmark book. The Church has begun to reclaim gospel nonviolence. As Pope Francis has taught: ‘To be true followers of Jesus today includes embracing his teaching on nonviolence.’ John Dear has solidly anchored that turn to Jesus’ nonviolence in this book. It is the first complete commentary on the synoptic gospels that shows Jesus’ all-embracing nonviolence. We learn that every chapter of the synoptics portrays some aspect of Jesus’ nonviolence–as a way of life and/or a method of action for social and political change. Illumined and inspired by the examples of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Fr. John Dear opens the gospels for us anew.” –Terry Rynne, author of Jesus the Peacemaker
“The Gospel of Peace is a thoughtful, deeply challenging reflection on the synoptic Gospels that captures the complexity, depth and nuances of nonviolence in the word and witness of Jesus. Lifting up the unique character of each evangelist’s version of the story, The Gospel of Peace makes clear the many contemporary applications of Gospel nonviolence on the way to just peace. It will be a valuable resource for all who seek to understand and to live the nonviolence that Jesus taught.” –Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International and Catholic Nonviolence Initiative
“Reading the Gospels in jail can alter one’s hermeneutic. Such a location frees your perspective. Witness what’s been elicited here, a spiritual thread so long, so thoroughgoing, so relentless. John Dear has pulled that thread, producing a resource for mission and movement much overdue. Following the best of scholarship, along with the sighted vision of Gandhi and King, he brings into focus the gospel of nonviolence embedded within the Gospels Synoptic – too long unseen, unsought, unwelcome, and above all, unimagined – now visible and in the light. Look and see. It’s the remedy we need to heal our history and transform what’s to come. Thanks be!” –Bill Wylie-Kellermann, editor, Keeper of the Word: The Selected Writings of William Stringfellow
“A profoundly important work that liberates Christ from the scribes and screeds of violent empire and returns Him to us as the Light of Peace, the Prince of Peace, the living embodiment of active nonviolence. In a world of acquiescence to endless wars and human suffering, this book summons us to follow Christ and carry out our own ministry of nonviolent resistance born and nurtured by the deepest love of humanity.” –Brad Wolf, ed., A Ministry of Risk: The Selected Writings of Philip Berrigan
“With scholarly, masterly and simple elegance, Fr. John Dear reminds us that the heart of God is love and that Jesus, as the image and true servant of God He is, summons us into the revolution of God’s nonviolent love in the world. Nonviolence is not only the style – the way we serve humanity and creation, it is the Gospel — the “good news” for a world that is so enamored with violence. Christians everywhere need to reawaken to this Gospel. –Rev. Emmanuel Katongole, University of Notre Dame
The Gospel of Peace reads like spiritual direction and a handbook for all devoted to nonviolence living and activism. John Dear has pulled together many resources and stories so we can be encouraged and move deeper into living active nonviolence.”–Rev. Chris Ponnet, St. Camillus Center, Los Angeles