381. Title: Render Unto Caesar
Author: Crossan, John Dominic
Date Finished: 2022-05-05
My Comments: In this book Crossan attempts to describe the reconciliation of Church and Empire in the first decades after Jesus. Using information from Revelation, Acts, Luke and some Hebrew Bible texts, he tries to describe how he sees both the church and the empire moving to accomodate each other and live in the world together. This is quite a bit different than the opposition usually seen between church and empire. It got a bit tedious at times, trying to follow the strands of argument. Recommended, but not Crossan's best.
Amazon Description: Leading Bible scholar John Dominic Crossan, the author of the pioneering work The Historical Jesus, provides new insight into the Christian culture wars which began in the New Testament and persist strongly today. For decades, Americans have been divided on how Christians should relate to government and lawmakers, a dispute that has impacted every area of society and grown more rancorous over the past forty years. But as Crossan makes clear, this debate isn’t new; it can be found in the New Testament itself, most notably in the tensions between Luke - Acts and Revelation. In the texts of Luke-Acts, Rome is considered favorably. In the book of Revelation, Rome is seen as the embodiment of evil in the world. Yet there is an alternative to these two extremes, Crossan explains. The historical Jesus and Paul, the earliest Christian teachers, were both strongly opposed to Rome, yet neither demonized the Empire. Crossan sees in Jesus and Paul’s approach a model for Christians today that can be used to cut through the acrimony and polarization roiling our society and dividing us.