I have several of these brief, paperback volumes in the well-known Oxford series and have found them all very informative and well worth the investment. From Buddhism to Kant to Plato, they’ve all been excellent introductions. Richard Bauckham writes in his new Jesus: A Very Short Introduction:
“Jesus’ most socially radical statements concern slaves, children, and the poor. He made a sharp contrast between the oppressive regime of the Gentiles (he did not have to instance Rome in particular) and the way things should happen in God’s kingdom. In the latter, he said ‘whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all’ (Mark 10:42-45). Jesus endorsed this statement with his own, shocking example, when he insisted, against their protests, on washing his disciples’ feet. Washing feet, an everyday menial task, was, more exclusively than any other task, the role of the slave. It was what every free person regarded as unthinkably beneath their dignity. Jesus enjoined his disciples to follow his example by washing one another’s feet, and he was proposing, not a mere symbol of humility, but an actual concrete instance, the most telling possible, of how the disciples should relate to each other. The ordinary everyday requirement of washing feet they are to do for each other. If this is not beneath their dignity, nothing is.
Guess it’s time to add to my collection!