Render Unto Caesar
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The revered Bible scholar and author of The Historical Jesus explores the Christian culture wars–the debates over church and state–from a biblical perspective, exploring the earliest tensions evident in the New Testament, and offering a way forward for Christians today.
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 Revelations.
In the texts of Luke-Acts, Rome is considered favorably. In the book of Revelations, 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.