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Tim Peebles | Wed, 09/14/2022 - 03:36 | Permalink

As an anabaptist (and thus ambivalent) appreciator of your general reading of Jesus and the scriptures, I found this reading both narratively/historically quite plausible, as well as anabapt-ish in its sensibilities—or at least usable in an anabaptist direction. In any case, if your interpretation is roughly correct, doesn’t it create some tension with your nuanced-but-still-somewhat-sympathetic interpretation of Christendom, and your reading of Paul as an authorization for such Christendom? Is it plausible that the politics of Jesus, as rendered here in your interpretation, could so easily be bent in an imperial direction? Or, perhaps Paul understood Jesus (and his eventual recognition by the nations) along the lines you propose as well? If the latter, then an imperial interpretation of Jesus by the 2nd-4th century church would not be formally ruled out, exactly, but any imperial moves in the name of Christ (such as Constantine’s “under this sign conquer”) would substantively and materially be deeply questionable. I’m reminded of George Lindbeck’s comment in The Nature of Doctrine that claiming “Jesus is Lord” while cleaving the skull of an “infidel” cannot be a true confession because the meaning of Jesus’s lordship according to the NT and the meaning of the one doing the cleaving are not the same. In the same way, “bloodless coup” and quite bloody warfare, rule, and crusade, seem to be incommensurable meanings of just and peaceful governance. As always, trying to think along with you…

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