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God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Nowby John Domini Crossan
Synopses & Reviews
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.
In this book, bestselling biblical scholar and media darling John Dominic Crossan analyzes Jesus and Paul's revolutionary message in light of the Roman Empire of their own time. Jesus and Paul came from very different backgrounds and their styles were very different, but one of the things they shared was a criticism of the civilization of their day as imperial, unjust, and violent. In their time, the Roman Empire's mantra was "first victory, then peace." The counterandndash;mantra of Jesus and Paul was "first justice, then peace." In God and Empire, Crossan charts the evolution of biblical thinking on the relationship between faith and politics.
Using the tools of expert biblical scholarship, Crossan deftly presents the tensions in the Bible between political power and God's justice. He reveals what the Bible has to say about land and economy, retribution and violence, justice and peace, and ultimate redemption. He examines the meaning of the "kingdom of God" prophesized by Jesus, and the equality recommended by Paul to his churches.
Just as Rome in the first century, American policies and moral values can be reexamined in light of Jesus's prophetic message of peace through social justice, NOT peace through military victory. Crossan contrasts Jesus and Paul's messages of peace through justice to the misinterpreted apocalyptic vision of Revelations and its use by modern rightandndash;wing theologians and televangelists to justify U.S. military aggression in the Mideast.
About the Author
John Dominic Crossan is the author of several bestselling books, including God and Empire, The Historical Jesus, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, The Birth of Christianity, and Who Killed Jesus?
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