Under the experienced direction of Scot McKnight and Jospeph Modica, respected biblical scholars have come together to investigate an increasingly popular approach to New Testament scholarship of interpreting the text through the lens of Empire.
The contributors praise recent insights into the New Testament's expose of Roman statecraft, ideology and Emperor worship. Yet they conclude that the rhetoric of anti-imperialism is often given too much sway. The result of this collaboration is a groun breaking yet accessible critical evaluation of empire criticism.Contributors Include
- David Nystrom
- Judith A. Diehl
- Joel Willitts
- Christopher W. Skinner
- Drew Strait
- Michael F. Bird
- Lynn H. Cohick
- Allan R. Bevere
- Dwight Sheets
The New Testament is immersed in the often hostile world of the Roman Empire, but its relationship to that world is complex. What is meant by Jesus' call to "render unto Caesar" his due, when Luke subversively heralds the arrival of a Savior and Lord who is not Caesar, but Christ? Is there tension between Peter's command to "honor the emperor" and John's apocalyptic denouncement of Rome as "Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots"? Under the direction of editors Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica, respected biblical scholars have come together to investigate an increasingly popular approach in New Testament scholarship of interpreting the text through the lens of empire
. The contributors praise recent insights into the New Testament's exposé of Roman statecraft, ideology and emperor worship. But they conclude that rhetoric of anti-imperialism is often given too much sway. More than simply hearing the biblical authors in their context, it tends to govern what they must
be saying about
their context. The result of this collaboration, Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not
, is a groundbreaking yet accessible critical evaluation of empire criticism. Contributors include:
- David Nystrom on Roman ideology
- Judith A. Diehl on the state of empire scholarship
- Joel Willits on Matthew
- Dean Pinter on Luke
- Christopher W. Skinner on John's Gospel and Letters
- Drew Strait on Acts
- Michael F. Bird on Romans
- Lynn Cohick on Philippians
- Allan R. Bevere on Colossians and Philemon
- Dwight Sheets on Revelation
Scot McKnight (Ph.D., University of Nottingham) is professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He is the author of and commentaries on James, Galatians and 1 Peter, and coeditor of the award-winning . He is also a widely recognized blogger at the Jesus Creed blog. His other interests include golfing, gardening and traveling.
Joseph B. Modica is university chaplain and associate professor of biblical studies at Eastern University (Pennsylvania). He completed his Ph.D. in New Testament and early Christianity at Drew University (New Jersey). His current research interests include spiritual formation, faith development and historical Jesus studies.
Andy Crouch (M.Div., Boston University School of Theology) is executive editor of Christianity Today, where he was also executive producer of This Is Our City, a multiyear project featuring documentary video, reporting and essays about Christians seeking the flourishing of their cities. He served as executive producer for the documentary films and He also sits on the editorial board for and has been a columnist for His writing has appeared in several editions of and He was editor-in-chief of and for ten years served as a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University. He is a coauthor of and a contributor to the A classically trained musician who draws on pop, folk, rock, jazz and gospel, Crouch has also led musical worship for congregations of 5 to 20,000.
These accessible studies are exemplary in their clarity, informed by excellent scholarship and highly insightful in their argumentation. Although it is acknowledged that 'empire criticism' has given us some valuable new insight, it is clearly shown that anti-imperial rhetoric is not a major emphasis of the NT, nor was it a key purpose of the NT authors to oppose Rome in what they wrote. These insightful essays advance our thinking on this very important topic and further our understanding of the gospel and of the relationship between God's kingdom and the powers of this world.
professor of New Testament studies, University of Otago, New Zealand
Finally a book that takes a balanced approach to the issue of imperial criticism of the NT. Following the lead of careful scholars like Christopher Bryan, the contributors remind us that it is overreading the NT to suggest that the writers were preoccupied with contrasting the lordship of Christ with that of Caesar. They operated with a cosmology that suggests that the ruler of this fallen world since long before there was a Roman Emperor is Satan, not Caesar. And while the NT writers certainly critique polytheism in its many guises, the imperial cult is seen as just one form of the many gods and lords subject to the one God's judgment. At the same time, the contributors to this volume urge that in the NT human rulers are not cast solely in a bad light. Jesus' kingdom is of a different sort than Caesar's. I highly commend this book.
Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary
A valuable book. Highly recommended as both a good introduction to and a sane evaluation of the currently popular anti-imperial interpretation of the New Testament. Most of the essays clearly demonstrate that that interpretation is driven more by assumptions and modern theories of postcolonial criticism than by sound exegesis.
professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
A series of vigorous assessments of the question, How anti-imperial are the New Testament texts? Most of these clearly argued articles come down fairly firmly on the negative side although some, such as Bird on Romans, see the texts as posing challenges to Rome. Everyone involved in these debates will want to engage with this book.
Greenwood Senior Lecturer in the New Testament, University of Manchester
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