Manual Render to Caesar: Jesus, the Early Church, and the Roman Superpower

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Render to Caesar transforms our understanding of early Christians and their relationship to Rome and demonstrates how Jesus' teaching continues to challenge those who live under structures of government quite different from those that would have been envisaged by the authors of the New Testament.

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Christopher Bryan is the C. This kind of New Testament theology illumines both historical context and theological significance. Render to Caesar is a valuable correction of certain forms of political theology, and also of pacifist and other abdications of political responsibility. It is, at the same time, a compelling call for the Church to muster the wisdom and courage to do its public duty. In showing that the prophets, Jesus, and the NT writers were mainly concerned with the origin and purpose of political power, he clarifies in what sense the biblical tradition is and is not political.

Render to Caesar: Jesus, the Early Church, and the Roman Superpower

While providing sensible correctives to overstatements by other scholars, Bryan also presents an accurate picture of the early church's place in the Roman empire. Christopher Bryan's new book, full of his characteristically shrewd and original observations and scholarly insights, cuts across much current thinking and raises questions which cannot be ignored, either by historians or by those keen to rediscover the relevance of the gospel in today's world.

Given the chance, would they have replaced the Roman imperium with some other social and political order? Against several strands of recent exegesis, Christopher Bryan thinks not. In my view, he makes his case.

But almost as important, he does it with clear arguments and in literate English. Render to Caesar is a good read, which lamentably can now be said of few scholarly works. Jenson, author of Systematic Theology, Volume 1: The Triune God and Volume 2: The Works of God.


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Render to Caesar

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Oxford University Press Bolero Ozon. Jesus, the Early Church, and the Roman Superpower. At the end of the 20th century, "postcolonialism" described the effort to understand the experience of those who had lived under colonial rule. How did Rome look from the viewpoint of an ordinary Galilean in the first century of the Christian era?

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What should this mean for our own understanding of and relationship to Jesus of Nazareth? In the past, Jesus was often "depoliticized," treated as a religious teacher imparting timeless truths for all people.


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  6. Now, however, many scholars see Jesus as a political leader whose goal was independence from Roman rule so that the people could renew their traditional way of life under the rule of God. Choosing a middle road, he asserts that Jesus and the early Christians did indeed have a critique of the Roman superpower -- a critique that was broadly in line with the entire biblical and prophetic tradition.

    One cannot worship the biblical God, the God of Israel, he argues, and not be concerned about justice in the here and now. On the other hand, the biblical tradition does not challenge human power structures by attempting to dismantle them or replace them with other power structures.

    Render to Caesar - Christopher Bryan - Oxford University Press

    Instead, Jesus' message consistently confronts such structures with the truth about their origin and purpose. Their origin is that God permits them. Their purpose is to promote God's peace and justice.