At the heart of the Bible is a moral and ethical call to fight unjust superpowers, whether they are Babylon, Rome, or even America.
From the divine punishment and promise found in Genesis through the revolutionary messages of Jesus and Paul, John Dominic Crossan reveals what the Bible has to say about land and economy, violence and retribution, justice and peace, and, ultimately, redemption. In contrast to the oppressive Roman military occupation of the first century, he examines the meaning of the non-violent Kingdom of God prophesized by Jesus and the equality advocated by Paul to the early Christian churches. Crossan contrasts these messages of peace with the misinterpreted apocalyptic vision from the Book of Revelation, which has been misrepresented by modern right-wing theologians and televangelists to justify U.S. military actions in the Middle East.
In "God and Empire" Crossan surveys the Bible from Genesis to Apocalypse, or the Book of Revelation, and discovers a hopeful message that cannot be ignored in these turbulent times. The first-century Pax Romana, Crossan points out, was in fact a "peace" won through violent military action. Jesus preached a different kind of peace--a peace that surpasses all understanding--and a kingdom not of Caesar but of God.
The Romans executed Jesus because he preached this Kingdom of God, a kingdom based on peace and justice, over the empire of Rome, which ruled by violence and force. For Jesus and Paul, Crossan explains, peace cannot be won the Roman way, through military victory, but only through justice and fair and equal treatment of all people.
The Bible presents us with both a peaceful God and a violent God, declares Crossan (In Search of Paul, 2004, etc.). The task of believers is to decide which one to follow.Exploring history with a special emphasis on Rome's quintessential empire, the author concludes that "civilization" consists largely of competing empires. Violence is the norm, but it is not inevitable, he avers. History also presents a nonviolent choice, epitomized by the historical Jesus. Crossan employs textual criticism to support his contention that many descriptions of Jesus - as a judge condemning sinners to hell or as the leader of armies attacking Satan at Armageddon, for example - bear little relation to the historical person and his actual teachings, but instead reflect the agenda of various writers. Similarly, Crossan contrasts the belief in nonviolence and equality expressed in works by "the radical-historical Paul" with the punitive pronouncements of "the later, conservative-reactionary pseudo-Paul." The faithful must choose between these two portrayals, he states, just as they must choose between worshipping a God of peace, love and distributive justice or a deity of war, violence and retribution; both versions can be found in the Bible. Crossan's method has the surface trappings of logical argument, and he discounts the portions of scripture that don't fit his vision of the historical Jesus."America as the New Roman Empire" is pretty tired stuff, and the author's jeremiad against "Bible-fed Christian violence" won't sway anyone who doesn't already share his decidedly PC faith. (Kirkus Reviews)
|Empire and the Barbarism of Civilization||p. 7|
|God and the Ambiguity of Power||p. 49|
|Jesus and the Kingdom of God||p. 97|
|Paul and the Justice of Equality||p. 143|
|Apocalypse and the Pornography of Violence||p. 191|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 13th March 2007
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.8 x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.444