Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder

Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder

Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder

Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder

Synopsis

Building on his earlier studies of Jesus, Galilee, and the social upheavals in Roman Palestine, Horsley focuses his attention on how Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God relates to Roman and Herodian power politics. In addition he examines how modern ideologies relate to Jesus' proclamation.

Excerpt

Texts are tied to circumstances and to politics large and small, and these
require attention and criticism…. We cannot deal with the literature of
the peripheries without also attending to the literature of the metropoli
tan centers
.

—Edward Said

AMERICA’S AMBIGUOUS IDENTITY

Americans have thought of themselves as a biblical people since the first settlements in New England. In leaving England and settling in Plymouth and Boston and Providence, the Pilgrims and Puritans were modeling themselves on the biblical accounts of ancient Israel’s exodus from persecution under Pharaoh in Egypt and Israel’s covenant with God on Mount Sinai. This formative identity ran so deep that the American Revolution was also understood as a new exodus, an escape from the new pharaoh, George III. None other than the deist Thomas Jefferson proposed that the Great Seal of the United States display Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea. Then when the Constitution was being ratified, New England preachers acclaimed it as a new covenant. Just as the twelve tribes had received the covenant on Sinai as a model of civil government and a beacon for subsequent history, so now the thirteen states were forming a new, covenantal model of civil government as a model for other societies.

Although not permitted to learn to read, African American slaves, when they heard the biblical stories of the Israelites’ exodus from bondage and the promised land to which God guided them, fantasized . . .

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