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Jesus and Spiral of Violence (Facets) Paperback – January 1, 1993
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At least from the perspective of the social, political and religious elite, Jesus was a dangerous figure worthy of condemnation in order to maintain the Pax Romana. His radical preaching and practice of the immediate presence of the Kingdom of God implied that no other kingdom and no other authorities could justifiably be obeyed. "A slave cannot serve two masters..."
For those interested in studying serious Christology, or the social and historical context of the earliest elements of the Jesus movement, this can be a valuable book.
For those who wish to maintain the uninformed innocence of a Sunday School faith, this book should be avoided. Horsley is much too honest to be safe.
How convenient that the "essence" of the historical message of Jesus had to do with a Marxist political agenda. The program of Jesus the Galilean communitarian agitator looks wonderfully like the program of today's democratic socialists.
But how sad that not one of these "Jesus-the-liberator" scholars -- including Horsley -- knows much of anything about economics. We might well have gotten a different book if Jesus's anti-imperial "program" had been responsibly analyzed by someone who actually understands how trade and markets work.
"Jesus and the Spiral of Government Power." Now _there's_ a book I'd be happy to buy.
Unfortunately, it would probably be as anachronistic and as full of special pleading as the works of left-leaning scholars. But it would be a nice break from the Marxist class analysis of "historians" like Horsley.