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Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire Paperback – October 4, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (October 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830827382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830827381
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In my nearly twenty-five years of book selling I have seen few books which can rival Colossians Remixed for its sheer Christian audacity, its deep desire to be faithful in reading the Word in light of the burning questions of our time. Readers will be sure to be stunned--pondering, reacting, struggling with this fresh take on Scripture, as they are led to good insights about how to live out a transforming discipleship. If this proposal is taken seriously, the Bible will be heard anew, lives will be changed, and God will be pleased." (Byron K. Borger, Hearts & Minds Bookstore, Dallastown, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania)

"What would Paul say to contemporary Western culture? Well, it might just look like this. Walsh and Keesmaat have written one of the most creative and exciting books to emerge from the current interface of biblical, cultural and political studies. Bringing together serious historical study of Colossians and the urgent questions of our time, they entertain as well as educate with verve, wit and surprise as well as scholarship and in-depth cultural analysis. Paul recognized that living under a global empire posed particular challenges for Christians in the first century. This book compels us to engage with the equivalent questions we face in the twenty-first." (N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham and author of the multivolume work Christian Origins and the Question of God)

"A gripping, powerful and penetrating interpretation of Colossians for the third millennium! Based on responsible scholarship, enlivened by a discerning imagination and fired by commitment to Paul's gospel, this reading of Colossians by Walsh and Keesmaat is an outstanding contribution to the church's task of conceiving Christ rather than global consumerism as sovereign in our world. At the same time, it is a provocative stimulus to the church's mission of living out that alternative sovereignty in a community of compassion resistant to the forces of coercion from within and without." (Andrew T. Lincoln, Portland Professor of New Testament, University of Gloucestershire)

"Colossians Remixed is a book I've been waiting for eagerly; it's a tasty sample of postmodern engagement with a biblical text. It will provide a fascinating and readable entry into Colossians--and deeper into the essential message of Jesus and Paul. And in the process, it will expose readers to evocative and challenging new ways of reading and interpreting both Scripture and our culture." (Brian D. McLaren, pastor and author of A New Kind of Christian)

"Brian and Sylvia are phenomenally wise, profoundly formed by their immersion in biblical language, astutely aware of the pains and anxieties of residents in postmodernity, and outstandingly alert to the dangers of enculturated Christianity. This is a brilliant book--using multimedia of imaginative stories, probing conversations, alternative readings. Their targums alone are more than worth the price of the book because they make the Bible come alive with its deepest referents to Israel, to the community at Colossae and to our world, caught as it is in the throes of the empire." (Marva J. Dawn, author of Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society and Powers, Weakness, and the Tabernacling of God)

"This creative and intellectually stimulating understanding of Colossians offers both a fresh reading of the letter in its first-century setting and a provocative attempt to challenge the cultural elites of the twenty-first century with Colossians' worldview. Not all will agree with its hermeneutical approach or its political positions. Everyone, however, will benefit from thinking with the authors about the ways in which the church has become captive to the dominant culture and the ways in which the dominant culture has too quickly dismissed the church." (Frank Thielman, Presbyterian Professor of Divinity, Samford University)

"This book is a Molotov cocktail lobbed into the midst of contemporary biblical studies and the American empire. It is full of illuminating exegesis of Colossians, rooted in solid knowledge of the Old Testament background and the first-century Roman imperial context of the New Testament. Its most helpful--and controversial--feature is that it demonstrates how a faithful reading of Colossians addresses head-on our contemporary idolatry of consumerism and the postmodern suspicion of truth that characterizes our culture." (J. Richard Middleton, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, N.Y.)

"Walsh and Keesmaat expertly bring the ancient world of Colossians and the contemporary world of North America crashing together, and the result is dynamite. Rich, provocative readings of Scripture combine with penetrating, trenchant analysis of culture. Insights from a plethora of sources (exegetes, philosophers, musicians) are expressed in a readable, conversational style. A culturally subversive ethic is persuasively put forward for Christ-followers in our age of empire. Not exactly a commentary, this book is much better. Colossians Remixed is an explosive tract for our times. Take up and read." (Steven Bouma-Prediger, Jacobson Professor of Religion, Hope College)

"After they did all of their exegetical homework, these authors decided to let the book of Colossians touch our lives in the contemporary world. Well, Colossians will never be the same again; neither will the reader. Whereas Colossians usually sits innocently at the edge of the New Testament, this book shows how it becomes front and center for readers amid an empire that manages all of globalization. The book makes clear what a difference there is when the text is given Spirit-led imagination." (Walter Brueggemann, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary)

About the Author

Brian J. Walsh serves as the Christian Reformed Church chaplain to the University of Toronto. With Richard J. Middleton, he wrote The Transforming Vision and Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be (both IVP). He is also the author of Langdon Gilkey (University Press of America, 1992) and Subversive Christianity (Alta Vista College Press, 1994).

Keesmaat is adjunct professor of biblical studies and hermeneutics at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. She wrote two articles for the IVP Women's Bible Commentary, and she wrote the book Paul and His Story (Sheffield, 1999). She is also editor of The Advent of Justice (Dordt College Press, 1994).

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Customer Reviews

I also find it very interesting that this book was written by Canadians.
Christopher Hansen
There is no effort to compare and contrast the Roman empire and the democracies of today (as it would not serve their arguments).
J. Comrie
This is a point well taken, but the author left me with a simple conclusion - it's not possible.
Tony P

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Theologus on May 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm giving this book four stars because while there was a lot of good stuff in here, there was also some problematic material. To me, four stars should mean: a good book for those who are sharp enough and open enough to read thoughtfully and reflectively, taking the good and rejecting the occasional misstep.

In order to make this review at least somewhat useful to those considering whether to read or buy the book, I'll make a few general comments. First off, the writing style is very good. There is well-written prose, reasonably creative dialogue, narrative, poetry, targum, just about as many genres as one book could handle. This allowed the book to seem fresh each time I picked it up, and also kept it from getting old fast. Secondly, however, I should note that the book covers a wide range of issues and can get somewhat technical. It is definitely more accessible than say Barth or Aquinas, but it is still worth reading carefully. In particular, I'm thinking of A. Travison's review. Either he didn't understand the discussion of Postmodernism at all, or his comments are simply dishonest caricatures. To be generous, I'll assume that he just should have read that section a little more slowly.

Far from being an assault on reason, this book provides an insightful and balanced--if somewhat brief and condensed--analysis and CRITIQUE of postmodernism. They are not Postmodernists who think that everything is up in the air. They are not saying that we need to abandon reason. They are saying that "conservative" (for lack of a better word) reactions to Postmodernism have been shallow and naïve. They are saying that we need to calm down and not make an idol out of rationality. And we need to realize that we do carry a worldview with us into EVERY intellectual discussion in which we engage.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Brian Hui on November 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book essentially takes N.T. Wright's Pauline theology seriously and tries to re-situate Paul's message in Colossians into the contemporary postmodern, postcolonial context. To put it succinctly, Wright argues that Paul's essentially Jewish view of the messianic king wasn't some "heavenly" or "spiritual" king but a very this-worldly king. I.e., the kingdom of God isn't something we simply die into, but something that God is also bringing onto earth in all its fullness (social, political, spiritual, etc.). Thus, if Paul says Jesus is the messianic king (which, per the Davidic covenant and psalms, means also king of the world), his kingship necessarily confronts the claims of all other kings, especially the Caesar of the then-world empire Rome. Drawing similarities between the ancient Roman empire and today's American global democratic-capitalistic "empire", Walsh and Keesmaat attempt to give Paul a contemporary "voice". In other words, they suggest that the messiahship and lordship of Jesus necessarily subverts the absolute world powers today (esp. American-style global capitalism), whose influence is social, political, economic, spiritual, etc. Thus, Colossians calls us to live in subversion to today's empire.

A few reviews seem to interpret this book as a biblical justification for a leftist politic (or terrorism!). I can understand how such a reading can take place. The authors do not mince words in criticising the powers that be, and they do go at it strong on a few of their socio-political views. However, their message and approach is too valuable for these things to be stumbling blocks. There is a greater challenge in this book than about debating between the left and the right.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Hansen on April 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am another person who has only great things to say about this book. This is my first Amazon book review and I decided to write it because I would love to see people buy and read this book. I can be described as having been an "out of church Christian" and have struggled for many years over the form of Christianity that too often sells the Gospel and use Christ as a tool to win converts. I am also as an individual wedged between Modernity and Post-Modernity. There are a lot of books that have come out in recent years that tackle suck questions, but I have found this to be head and shoulders the best for a couple of reasons. First it uses scripture almost exclusively to form its thesis. It is at the core a Bible commentary. Whlile the post-modern in me does want to throw off reason as an idol, I do not trust paths that are forged outside of scripture as a base. It also does not cherry pick scripture to come to a conslusion that the authors want to assert, the conversation comes straight out of Colossians. Their view comes out of Colossians rather than down on Colossians.
Second and most importaintly the "answer" the authors point to is Christ. It sounds trite, but if you have read Colossians it is rather obvious. The man Jesus is the one who made everything and is the one in whom all tings hold together. Now that is a huge thing to wrap your brain around and I have not found many authors who have tried to tackle it seriously and practically for us who are living in the curent day.
It is a great book to read together with others. It is a rather sophisticated book and it is not the easiest of reads. We have started a Bible study on Colossians around it and it has been very good.
I also find it very interesting that this book was written by Canadians.
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