The Politics of Jesus revisitedSubmitted by jruss133 on Mon, 09/21/2009 - 19:50
by Leo Hartshorn
February 15, 2005
John Howard Yoder's classic book The Politics of Jesus (Eerdmans,1972; reissued 1994) has had a profound impact on how many Christians read the Bible and understand Jesus. James Wm. McClendon, Jr., a theologian within the Anabaptist tradition, was highly influenced by the book. McClendon describes its impact as being like a "second conversion." In turn, as Jim's friend and pastor, I was influenced by his passion for Anabaptism and subsequently became a Mennonite.
The Politics of Jesus taught Christians how to read the Bible and Jesus "politically." By that I mean it opened up a way to read Jesus as a nonviolent revolutionary who confronted the religious and political powers of his day and had an explicit social agenda grounded in a vision of God's reign.
Since The Politics of Jesus was published, many others have read the Bible through the lens of the social sciences, political theory and new understandings of the social situation of first-century Palestine under Roman occupation. New studies have brought to the foreground even more political implications of the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
I have tried to compile and simplify a number of the implications of these political readings of the Gospels. These readings make it difficult to deny that Jesus and the Gospels have a social and political vision. These insights into the Gospels and Jesus provide the peacemaker and justice-seeker with a vision and model of social and political engagement.
continue here: http://peace.mennolink.org/cgi-bin/m.pl?a=172