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Because the kingdom of God was Jesus' main focus, the two most important elements for grasping it, according to Chilton, were prayer, allowing one to perceive and join in, and the eucharist, which was the social realization of his aims. Thus, we see how Jesus' own spirituality affected his disciples.
Bruce Chilton argues that the Jesus whom critical study can discover is not simply a figure of scholarly reconstruction but one who also engaged in practices and crafted teachings that were designed to enable his followers to participate in the kingdom of God. Because the kingdom of God was the center of Jesus own spirituality, the present volume focuses on prayer and the Eucharist, both of which Jesus directly referred to the kingdom. Prayer for Jesus was the individual s opportunity to perceive and join the kingdom, just as Eucharist was the social realization of the kingdom. Prayer and Eucharist together constitute the primary practices which, according to Jesus, lead those who have the courage of discipleship to discover how that might enter God s kingdom. This book is a critical study in the fullest sense, with interest both in the particulars of history and in how lives are shaped in engagement with God. Chilton points out that Jesus was and is a great figure in history not simply because he existed, but in view of what he taught-specifically his teaching of a practical communion with God. Bruce Chilton, New Testament and Judaic Scholar, is Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. He is author (with Jacob Neusner) of Revelation: The Torah and the Bible, The Body of Faith: Israel and Church, and God in the World, all published by Trinity Press in its Christianity and Judaism-The Formative Categories trilogy>
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