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Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not: Evaluating Empire in New Testament Studies

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The New Testament is immersed in the often hostile world of the Roman Empire, but its relationship to that world is complex. What is meant by Jesus' call to "render unto Caesar" his due, when Luke subversively heralds the arrival of a Savior and Lord who is not Caesar, but Christ? Is there tension between Peter's command to "honor the emperor" and John's apocalyptic denoun ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 28th 2013 by IVP Academic (first published November 30th 2012)
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Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Interesting book on a topic I've never really thought of before. The basic premise of the book is that the postcolonial reading of the New Testament is pretty flawed, and my presuppositions tend to incline me toward that position. That being said, I did find myself chafing a bit at some of the authors' hard anti-postcolonial readings at points. While the purpose of the New Testament, as they pointed out, certainly is focused on the Gospel and not sociopolitical upheaval, the Gospel does have som ...more
The influence of post-colonial approaches to biblical hermeneutics and other recent scholarship has meant that the New Testament has been read with an eye towards its sociopolitical implications. Modern authors as diverse as Warren Carter, John Dominic Crossan, Richard Horsley, and N.T. Wright have observed that declaring that Jesus was the Son of God and Lord in a first century Roman context, offered an implicit critique of the emperor. If Jesus is Lord then Caesar is not.

Jesus is Lord Caesar i
Craig S Haworth
A good introduction to the place of empire in the writings of the New Testament. It is often easy to miss the powerful backdrop of the Roman empire in the NT. On one level we know the impact of Rome on Jesus, Paul, and others, but on the level of daily life it recedes into the background. This book brings it forward and opens up some new understandings of familiar passages.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thorough, thoughtful. Offers a good deal of reason to be cautious about the prevalence of "Empire Criticism", but would have liked to see a clearer vision more positively explained and explored.
T.C. Robinson
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was first introduced to “Empire in the New Testament” through my reading of N.T. Wright, “For the New Testament writers to say that ‘Jesus is Lord’ is to also say that Caesar is not,” then Wright would begin to flesh this out.

An Overview

According to its subtitle, this work is an evaluation of Empire in New Testament studies. The work is edited by Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica and features ten essays by ten different contributors. The first two essays are introductory, orienting the reader
May 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: theological
In recent years "empire studies" has been a new perspective that has been employed in biblical studies. Modica and McKnight have pulled together a group of scholars to engage empire studies as it relates to specific books of the New Testament. In the end they summarize what essentially all their authors contend: that the writers of the New Testament - particularly the gospels, Paul and John from Revelation, were not primarily concerned with presenting a confrontation between the Kingdom of God a ...more
Michael Philliber
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Scot McKnight and Joseph Modica have pulled together New Testament Scholars to examine a trend flowing through New Testament studies these days: (1) Empire criticism and (2) postcolonial critique. The first chapter surveys Roman imperial ideology and the development of the imperial cult. Nystrom shows that early on, the imperial cult was loose and not as "in-your-face" as has sometimes been presented, because it was often a footnote of the normal religious fabric in the Empire. The following cha ...more
Matt Miles
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you've read enough Christian books blogs and articles as I have, you probably have a lot of the same questions needling you as I do. Is it really fair to compare the U.S. to the "Evil Empire" of Rome, and cite Scripture as being blatantly opposed to it? And is there even criticism of the empire of Rome in the Bible, coded or otherwise? Scott McKnight and Joseph B. Modica, along with other respected biblical scholars put the central questions of empire criticism to the test. The authors of the ...more
Adam Shields
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
Short Review: I admit I gave up on this one. I probably should not have. There wasn't anything wrong with it. But I am the wrong audience (and/or picked it up at the wrong time.) The basic point of the book, that there is some value in looking at the role of Empire in the writing of the New Testament and the early church, but that it is easy to over play the role of empire, is good. The chapter on the background of the Emperror Cult was useful. The look at how empire influenced the writing of th ...more
Tim Hoiland
May 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: faith, politics
If like me you’re a Christian layperson and an armchair theologian at best, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that “empire criticism” in New Testament studies is actually a thing, much less why a substantial number of extremely smart people in the halls of academia are devoting their time and mental energies to it. I’m with you. The term was new to me when I picked up Jesus Is Lord, Caesar Is Not: Evaluating Empire in New Testament Studies (IVP Academic), edited by Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Mo ...more
Joel Wentz
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Essentially a survey of current scholarship regarding the presence (or lack of presence) of empire-critique throughout various New Testament documents, this book is an enjoyable read. The writing seems extremely balanced, and the authors are willing to level both sharp critique and general praise for the field they discuss. Personally, I was once again reminded of how easy it is to read the New Testament with an agenda. As someone who could easily get "sucked" into combing every book for a hidde ...more
Walker Wright
Jul 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Nicholas Quient
A helpful survey of the broader debate over 'empire' in the New Testament. Lynn Cohick's essay is particularly helpful. Worthwhile.
Kevin Gasser
Empire Criticism from some of the leading scholars in the field. Paraphrasing McKinght, Empire Criticism is not the Gospel, but it is definitely a part of the Gospel.
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Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author or editor of forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. Dr. McKnight has given interviews on radios across the nation, has appeared on television, and is regularly speaks at local churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries in the ...more

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