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God & Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now
HarperOne / 2008 / Paperback
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From a founding member of the Jesus Seminar comes an examination of a central tension in the Bible: human military power vs. God's justice. Drawing parallels from first-century Rome, Crossan criticizes the concept of peace through military victory and argues that contemporary American policies be re-examined in light of Jesus' prophetic message. 272 pages, softcover from HarperCollins.
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.
John Dominic Crossan,professor emeritus at DePaul University, iswidely regarded as the foremost historicalJesus scholar of our time. He currentlyserves as the president of the Society of BiblicalLiterature. He is the author of severalbestselling books, including The HistoricalJesus; Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography; and,most recently, The Greatest Prayer. Crossanlives in Minneola, Florida.
“A dual tribute to intelligent faith and responsible citizenship, this book is as illuminating as it is timely.”
“This fine study of civilization, culture and transformation presents a complex subject in a clear and powerful way.”
“This book makes the best reading for the most readers of any that Crossan has written.”
“A wonderfully written and organized treatise... Thoroughly enjoyable and incredibly informative.”
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