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Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible through Palestinian Eyes [Kindle Edition]

Mitri Raheb
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A Palestinian Christian theologian shows how the reality of empire shapes the context of the biblical story, and the ongoing experience of Middle East conflict.

Editorial Reviews


"Both an accessible introduction to the subject and an eloquent reminder for those more familiar with the subject this book deserves
a wide audience."--Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"VERDICT Raheb's voice is important and should be heard by decision makers in our country and abroad."--Library Journal

"Simultaneously a revisionist reading of the Bible and a journey of self-discovery by a courageous Bethlehemite {Raheb's] (re)reading of the mission of Jesus in the light of the current predicament of Palestine will make believers and non-believers alike question their deeply held assumptions . . . " --Salim Tamari, Institute for Palestine Studies

"Mitri Raheb challenges accepted notinos and offers a vision of imagination and hope . . . " --Peter Makari, Executive, Middle Eastern Affairs, UCC/Christian Church

About the Author

Mitri Raheb is the President of Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethlehem as well as president of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. He serves as the Senior Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Palestine. He is the author of several books, including I am a Palestinian Christian and Bethlehem Besieged.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2910 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: ORBIS (February 10, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,802 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This book is courageous and essential reading for anyone wishing to place Israel’s 47-year occupation of the Palestinian territories into its proper historical, humanitarian, Christological and Biblical context. Dr Mitri Raheb is a Lutheran pastor from Bethlehem. He notes that for most of its long history, ‘Occupied Palestine has unfortunately been the norm’. Raheb makes some striking parallels between the Roman occupation and the present time. Emphasising the Palestinian identity of Jesus, without of course denying his Jewishness, he draws on Christ’s teachings to construct a theology of non-violent resistance to oppression and injustice (Raheb prefers the term ‘creative resistance’, since non-violence is a ‘negation of a negative’). It is an invigorating and challenging read.

It is all too easy to get depressed about the prospects for peace in Israel and Palestine. But Raheb strikes a surprisingly positive note. In what is perhaps the most striking part of his book, based on his detailed exegesis of Matthew 5:5 (“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”), he sees the plight of Palestine through the prism of longue durée, an historical continuum. He writes:

“There isn’t a single regional empire that at some point did not occupy Palestine. The first empire to occupy Palestine was that of the Assyrians, in 722 BC; it stayed for over two hundred years. The Assyrians were replaced by the Babylonians in 587 BC, who didn’t last because they were pushed out by the Persians in 538 BC. The Persians didn’t stay long either, because they were forced to leave by Alexander the Great. Then there were the Romans.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Buying the field" March 27, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In the Epilogue to his book, Faith in the Face of Empire, author Mitri Raheb refers us to Jeremiah 32: Jeremiah is in prison, the city destroyed, the temple burned, and yet Jeremiah is asked to buy his cousin’s field. Raheb writes: “He was able to imagine a future beyond the destruction around him.” And then, “Hope was deciding to invest in the area at a time when no sane person would dare.” Those words describe the author himself. Raheb is a Palestinian pastor who given his gifts and talents easily could have emigrated and found a parish or academic perch elsewhere. But he stayed in his home town of Bethlehem and “bought the field”: under his guidance programs and institutions of mercy, well-being, and education have been established. Faith in the Face of Empire is a reading of “The Bible Through Palestinian Eyes” which contextualizes the Biblical narrative with a Palestinian face and speaks of how faith creatively resists the machinations of the present day empire, Israeli occupation. One can almost hear the author breathe out his own journey of “faith and embodied creative resistance,” a quality for which he credits his father. “Resistance,” he writes, “is action, not reaction,” and “Faith is nothing less than developing the bold vision of a new reality and mobilizing the needed resources to make it happen.” This book is a solid and literate resource for anyone wishing understanding to join in “buying the field."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshed View March 11, 2014
As someone who worked in the region for 18 months -- and shook Dr. Raheb's hand regularly on Sunday mornings -- I thought I knew my own heart regarding the Bible & the conflict. This book brought my thoughts back into focus in a refreshing way; it truly is not a retelling of the same facts but an illuminating treatise about the regions faith & sacred literature and how Palestine's tense geo-political position made it the perfect stage for the Gospel teachings -- and it remains so. I read the whole thing in two days, enthralled.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An internal map to a new future. February 16, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dr. Raheb writes in practical terms of the role of faith in action in forming an new future for not only Palestine, but the Middle East. His focus is on the internal map each person must develop for her/himself. The way to freedom, equality, and self determination starts inside every person. Real change comes from within, as Jesus said often. And that starts with faith. But it is not only faith, as Dr Raheb points out, but informed faith. One needs to look soberly on the history of the region, as he does in this text, in order to understand that the only "solutions" that will last are those emanating from the region itself. Empires come and go. Their brilliant solutions for those under their domination also come and go. The people of the region will devise their own future, if left to it. But first they must search within themselves for what they truly want the future to look like. Dr. Raheb provides a roadmap to do just that. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a better, more in-depth understanding of the Middle East.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An accessible theology for Palestinian liberation March 18, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dr. Mitri Raheb's new book presents a Palestinian theology in layperson's language, challenging westerners in our assumptions about the Arab world and our determination to control the rest of the world; a thought-provoking critique of the American empire. An excellent read, especially now as diplomatic efforts are being pressed. The book is born from the heart of the Palestinian struggle—after 47 years of occupation, and 66 years since Palestinians were forced from their homes. Raheb's theology flows from the Palestinian struggle—how do Palestinian Christians maintain their faith when the Bible is used to justify their oppression?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Eyeopening personal story
This book gives a very good perspective of the history and current life living in Palestine from the eyes of a Christian Palestinian. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Nada O'Neal
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't stop reading this book. I learned his ...
I couldn't stop reading this book. I learned his name after a controversy in Sweden and got interested to know more about him. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gustaf Redemo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
the book opens the eyes and the heart.
Published 2 months ago by Aharon Shabtai
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good to hear from the inside.
Published 3 months ago by Marian Elizabeth Sanders
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Deep-thought provoking.
Published 4 months ago by Barbara Hayworth
5.0 out of 5 stars This book provides wonderful insights on a part of the world that US...
This book provides wonderful insights on a part of the world that US Christians should know a lot about, but do not. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Richard W Mathes
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Perfect shape will order again
Published 6 months ago by Anissa
1.0 out of 5 stars Palestinian theology without a filter
This is Palestinian liberation theology without a filter. The book represents a completely distorted view of history and a misuse of biblical texts. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jan Frost
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight into how the people of Palestine have been ...
Excellent insight into how the people of Palestine have been treated through the centuries and how the Western empire has forsaken them. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Thomas F. Lang
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Start
In this book aimed at a general rather than an academic audience, Dr. Mitri Raheb valiantly takes on a number of complex problematic notions including sacred historiography,... Read more
Published 7 months ago by D. E. Loepp
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More About the Author

A Palestinian Christian in Bethlehem, Dr. Mitri Raheb is President of Diyar Consortium and of Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethlehem, and also serves as president of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and Senior Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Palestine. Dr. Raheb is the author of 16 books including, I Am a Palestinian Christian, Bethlehem Besieged, and Faith in the Face of Empire. He is the Chief Editor of the Contextual Theology Series at Diyar Publishing including: The Invention of History: A Century of Interplay between Theology and Politics in Palestine; The Biblical Text in the Context of Occupation: Towards a New Hermeneutics of Liberation. His writings have been translated into eleven languages.

In 2003 Dr. Raheb received the prestigious Wittenberg Award from the Luther Center in Washington, DC, for his 'distinguished service to church and society.' Other awards include the International Mohammad Nafi Tschelebi Peace Award of the Central Islam Archive, as well as the German Peace Award of Aachen. In 2012 the German Media Prize, generally granted to heads of state, was awarded to Dr. Raheb for his "tireless work in creating room for hope for his people, who are living under Israeli Occupation, through founding and building institutions of excellence in education, culture and health."

The work of Dr. Raheb has received wide media attention from major international media outlets and networks including CNN, ABC, CBS, 60 Minutes, BBC, ARD, ZDF, DW, BR, Premiere, Raiuno, Stern, The Economist, Newsweek, and Vanity Fair.

Dr. Raheb holds a Doctorate in Theology from the Philipps University at Marburg, Germany, and received an honorary doctorate from Concordia University in Chicago in 2003. He is married to Najwa Khoury and has two daughters, Dana & Tala. For more information see his website

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