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Captain America and the Crusade Against Evil : The Dilemma of Zealous Nationalism :  The Dilemma of Zealous Nationalism - Robert Jewett

Captain America and the Crusade Against Evil : The Dilemma of Zealous Nationalism

The Dilemma of Zealous Nationalism

By: Robert Jewett, John Shelton Lawrence (Directed By, Illustrator)

Paperback

Published: June 2004
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As immediate and relevant as todaybs headlines, this book sets forth a bold argument with direct implications for political life in America and around the world. Combining incisive cultural analysis and keen religious insight, Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence maintain that American crusading -- so powerfully embodied in popular entertainments -- has striking parallels with Islamic jihad and Israeli militancy.

According to Jewett and Lawrence, American civil religion has both a humane, constitutional tradition and a violent strand that is now coming to the fore. The crusade to rid the world of evil and bevildoersb derives from the same biblical tradition of zealous warfare and nationalism that spawns Islamic and Israeli radicalism. In America, where this tradition has been popularized by superheroic entertainments, the idea of zealous war is infused with a distinctive sense of mission that draws on secular and religious images. These crusading ideals are visible in such events as the settling of the western frontier, the World Wars, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and Americabs present war on terrorism.

In exploring the tradition of "zealous nationalism," which seeks to redeem the world by destroying enemies, the authors provide a fascinating access to the inner workings of the American psyche. They analyze the phenomenon of "zeal" -- the term itself is the biblical and cultural counterpart of the Islamic concept of "jihad" -- and address such consequential topics as the conspiracy theory of evil, the problem of stereotyping enemies, the mystique of violence, the obsession with victory, and the worship of national symbols such as flags.

This critical book, however, is alsoimmensely constructive. As Jewett and Lawrence point out, the same biblical tradition that allows for crusading mentalities also contains a critique of zealous warfare and a profound vision of impartial justice. This tradition of "prophetic realism" derives from the humane side of the biblical heritage, and the authors trace its manifestations within the American experience, including its supreme embodiment in Abraham Lincoln. Isaiahbs bswords into plowsharesb image is carved on the walls of the United Nations building, thus standing at the center of a globally focused civil religion. Grasping this vision honored by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike includes recognizing the dangers of zealous violence, the illusions of current crusading, and the promise of peaceful coexistence under international law.

Instructive, relevant, and urgent, "Captain America and the Crusade against Evil" is sure to provoke much soul-searching and wide debate.

Prefacep. xiii
The Challenge of a Contradictory Civil Religionp. 1
The Strange Persistence of Biblical Languagep. 1
The Steady Theme of Redeeming the Worldp. 3
A Contradictory Civil Religion in the Time of Jihadp. 6
The Endangered Towers and the Crusade Against Jihadp. 10
Contradictory Responsesp. 11
The Background of September 11p. 13
Martial Response and Lost Opportunitiesp. 16
Militant Jihad's Rationalep. 18
The Parallel Logic of Crusade and Jihadp. 20
Popular Culture as a Bearer of the National Complexp. 26
Superheroic Entertainments and Civil Religionp. 27
The Rise of the American Monomythp. 28
The Popularization of Crusading Zealp. 35
American Superheroism as a Threat to Democracyp. 39
The Challenge of Pop Fascismp. 42
A Rod of Iron or a Light to the Nationsp. 44
The Birth of Israelite Zeal and Realismp. 45
The Critique of Zealous Warfare by Prophetic Realistsp. 48
Israel's Dilemma during the Roman Periodp. 51
The Book of Revelation and the Dominance of Zealotryp. 53
America's Zeal to Redeem the Worldp. 55
The Rise of a Millennial Missionp. 55
Clashes between Zealous Nationalism and Prophetic Realismp. 61
Zeal's Frustration and the Claim of Manifest Destinyp. 66
The Religious Impulse in American Imperialismp. 68
World War I as a Millennial Crusadep. 71
World War II and the Disjunction between Zeal and Realismp. 75
The Frustration of American Zealous Nationalismp. 79
The Cold War's Thwarted Crusadep. 80
Brinkmanship and the Ideology of Anti-communismp. 88
The Arrogant Missteps of Global Idealismp. 96
Defeated Superheroism in Vietnamp. 100
Zealous Nationalism and the Loss of Honorp. 103
The Ascendancy of Mythic Politicsp. 107
Artificial Euphoria and the Mayaguez Episodep. 108
Carter's Failure at Domestic Superheroismp. 112
Reagan and the Ephemeral Triumph of Macho Superheroismp. 115
The Mirage of Invulnerable Defensep. 118
Illusions of National Innocencep. 119
The Gulf War and the Lost Chance for Prophetic Realismp. 123
Clinton's Frivolous Use of Mythic Politicsp. 126
The Rapturous Rebirth of Millennial Zealotryp. 131
The Recent Popularity of the Doom Boomp. 131
The Background of Millennial Theologyp. 135
Calendars for the Rapturep. 138
Recent Forms of Millennial Civil Religionp. 142
Jerusalem and the End of Daysp. 144
Responsible Uses of the Apocalypticp. 147
The Global Popularization of Zeal and Jihadp. 149
The Recent Militarization of Jihadp. 150
Zealous Fervor in Israelp. 155
Spiraling Sanctified Violencep. 160
Aum Shinrikyo in Japanp. 162
Seeking Responsible Forms of Zeal and Jihadp. 164
Consumed by Zeal and Jihadp. 167
Zeal in the Biblep. 168
Hot Zeal in Its Modern Embodimentsp. 170
The Dominance of Cool Zealp. 176
Artful Zeal's Destructive Legacyp. 180
The All-consuming Nature of Zeal and Jihadp. 186
The Need for Modest Zeal and Jihadp. 188
Evil as a Grand Conspiracyp. 192
Conspiracy Theory in the Biblep. 194
A Realistic Theory of Evilp. 197
Grand Conspiracies in American Politicsp. 200
Conspiracy Theory and the Vietnam Warp. 206
Paths Away from the Grand Conspiracyp. 209
Stereotypes of Good and Evilp. 214
The Rise of Stereotypes in Biblical Historyp. 216
American Adaptations of Ancient Stereotypesp. 221
Six Features of Popular Stereotypesp. 223
Problematic Stereotypes in Recent Historyp. 226
Three Negative Effects of Stereotypingp. 231
Five Strategies to Overcome Destructive Stereotypesp. 237
To Convert Them or Destroy Themp. 245
Redemptive Violence in the Biblep. 246
Violence and America's Sense of Missionp. 250
The Mystique of Violence in American Warsp. 254
Hosea's Critique of the Mystique of Violencep. 261
Overcoming the Illusions of Redemptive Destructionp. 270
Neither Humiliation Nor Defeatp. 273
Victory as the Reward for Piety in the Old Testamentp. 275
The Deuteronomic Principle in American Historyp. 276
Mythic Responses to Defeatp. 281
The Impact of Defeat on Civil Religionp. 285
Bringing Prophetic Resources to the Experience of Defeatp. 288
Crusades Against Symbolic Desecrationp. 294
The Struggle to Prevent Flag Desecrationp. 297
The Danger of Sanctifying National Symbolsp. 301
Holiness as a Theological Issuep. 302
Muslim Campaigns against Desecrationp. 304
Ominous Parallels in the Flag Desecration Campaignp. 306
Biblical Links between Desecration and Zealous Violencep. 309
Prophetic Realism in Response to Jihadp. 313
Isaiah's Vision for Conflict Resolutionp. 315
A Vision of Global Governmentp. 316
Waning American Support for International Lawp. 319
Recovering America's Constitutional Missionp. 323
Acknowledgmentsp. 325
Endnotesp. 327
Index of Names and Subjectsp. 372
Index of Ancient Textsp. 390
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780802828590
ISBN-10: 0802828590
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 412
Published: June 2004
Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.58