Jesus Was Not Against Imperialism: New Testament Ethics as an Imperialist Project
The portrayal of Jesus as an anti-imperialist pervades the scholarly literature of New Testament ethics. However, portraying Jesus as an anti-imperialist actually betrays a pro-imperialist Christian agenda on the part of many New Testament ethicists. Usually, the main evidence cited is Jesus’ resistance to the Roman empire. However, anti-imperialism should properly describe an ideology that is against any empire. Jesus’ endorsement of the Kingdom of God, which is envisioned as an empire, should certainly disqualify him from being an anti-imperialist. In addition, many prominent New Testament ethicists are Euro-Americans with no indigenous ancestry, and so are themselves part of an empire occupying Native American lands.
See Also: The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2015)
Fighting Words: The Origins Of Religious Violence (Prometheus Books; 2005)
Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Ethics of Biblical Scholarship (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013)
By Hector Avalos
Iowa State University
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