Ostensibly, Deuteronomy describes Israel in triumphant and glowing terms. America is often described in a similar light. But activist and scholar Daniel Barrington in No Gods But One points to the dark side of Israel as it is described in Deuteronomy, and with compelling candor, extends those observations to modern America. Thus, he prophetically describes America and Israel in similar terms, to their mingled triumph and broken law, and disturbingly indicts our own age on the same terms that condemned Israel. In the end, Barrington creates a unique genre of theological literature that juxtaposes biblical commentary that directly engages the text, and a social commentary that directly addresses the failures of America in light of that same text. Hermeneutical and exegetical objections aside, what Berrigan produces is an insightful and engaging socio-theological commentary that speaks from the text to our own age.
Legendary peace activist Berrigan examines the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy through the lens of his personal abhorrence of war in this biblical commentary. Although Deuteronomy is largely the code of laws given to the Jewish people, Berrigan, a Catholic priest, finds something morea prophetic justification for excoriating those who choose the other god of warfare. Employing poetry and free-flowing streams of prose, he weighs the choice Christians face between Deuteronomys story and the New Testament gospel. An interminable debate ensues, he writes. Which deity to serve? Too often, he concludes, the choice becomes the god of war, whether by secular leaders claiming to be Christian and blinded by the idols of defense, prosperity or national interests or by bishops who endorse the military actions initiated by political leaders. Berrigan observes that a close connection between crime and consequence runs through Deuteronomy, and he strongly suggests that by going along with the culture of death in the matter of war, Christians may see their religion rotting before their eyes. Thought-provoking reading will be of special interest to those sympathetic to Berrigans uncompromising political views. (Nov.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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