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God and Empire : Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now

God and Empire : Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now

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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 countermantra of Jesus and Paul was "first justice, then peace." In God & 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 rightwing theologians and televangelists to justify U.S. military aggression in the Mideast.


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