Fortress Press

Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder

Jesus and Empire

The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder

Richard A. Horsley (Author)


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Building on his earlier studies of Jesus, Galilee, and the social upheavals in Roman Palestine, Horsley focuses his attention on how Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God relates to Roman and Herodian power politics. In addition he examines how modern ideologies relate to Jesus' proclamation.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800634902
  • Dimensions 5 x 8
  • Pages 192
  • Publication Date November 12, 2002


"A cogently argued critique of prevalent approaches to the historical Jesus that depict him as individualistic, depoliticised and that ignore the real context in which he operated. Horsley makes a very good case for his relational-contextual approach, which makes better sense of the New Testament and other evidence available. But what I found quite exhilarating was his showing the crucial relevance of proper New Testament scholarship and theology in the amazing parallels he has shown to exist between the policies of the ancient Roman Empire and those of contemporary America. In the present highly charged atmosphere of international politics, this is a very important—indeed salutary—book that should be read not just by New Testament scholars, but especially by politicians."
— Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate and Archbishop Emeritus, Author of No Future without Forgiveness (2000)

"In this provocative new book, Richard Horsley builds on his previous work to develop further his understanding of Jesus as a resistance leader to Roman imperial domination. Horsley situates this picture of Jesus against empire in the context of the ambiguity of American identity as a people who see themselves as both liberated and liberating, New Israel and the New Rome of global empire. He shows how these two identities are on a collision course post–September 11, 2001. Americans must ultimately choose between them."
— Rosemary Radford Ruether, Author of The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2nd ed. 2002) and Women and Redemption: A Theological History (1998)

"Richard Horsley is one of the few writers who can draw the connections between ancient text and contemporary political meaning. At his dexterous hands we discover riches of insight and gems of interpretation that leave us all in his debt. The Roman Empire becomes the foil that exposes the American Empire. The Kingdom of God reveals the hideousness of the New World Disorder, and Jesus is discovered to be the purveyor of truths available nowhere else."
— Walter Wink, Auburn Theological Seminary, New York, Author of The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man (2001) and When the Powers Fall: Reconciliation in the Healing of the Nations (1998)

Table of Contents

  1. Roman Imperialism: The New World Disorder
  2. Resistance and Rebellion in Judea and Galilee
  3. Jesus in the Politics of Roman Palestine
  4. The Kingdom of God as Condemnation of Roman Imperialism
  5. Jesus' Alternative Social Order: Community and Cooperation
    Epilog: The Empire Strikes Back