Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fall Book Alert: In the Shadow of Empire

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of interest in how early Christians related to the Roman Empire. A new collection of essays edited by Richard Horsley represents a major attempt to introduce popular readers -- pastors, interested laypeople, and students -- to the intersection of empire studies and biblical studies. Currently in production, In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance should roll out this fall. It includes essays by Norman Gottwald, Jon Berquist, Walter Brueggemann, Warren Carter, John Dominic Crossan, Brigitte Kahl, Neil Elliott, and myself.

When I was in seminary we basically learned some key names and dates. Who was Pontius Pilate? What happened in 70 CE? Who was Herod the Great, and who was Herod Antipas? What was not emphasized, was that the entire Bible is a product of imperial cultures -- Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman. We certainly never asked about the Bible as a tool of European and American imperialism, with missionaries giving away Bibles while colonial administrators appropriated land, cultural and natural resources, and people. In the Shadow of Empire speaks to the first question, the Bible and its resistance to empire. It's the first such resource to address the question of empire to a wide range of the biblical canon and with a popular audience in mind.

1 comment:

Bryan+ said...

Hi Greg. I haven't seen or spoken to you since we were both at Vanderbilt's Graduate Dept. of Religion back in the 1990s. I still remember driving with you from Nashville to the meeting of the AAR in Chicago (was it in 1994?) and along the way we listened to an Eric Clapton blues CD. I just stumbled across your blog and thought that I would say hello and wish you and your family well.