The Priestly Kingdom: Social Ethics as Gospel

University of Notre Dame Pess
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In this volume of essays John Howard Yoder projects a vision of Christian social ethics rooted in historical community and illuminated by scripture. Drawing upon scriptural accounts of the early church, he demonstrates the Christian community's constant need for reform and change. Yoder first examines the scriptural and theoretical foundations of Christian social ethics. While personally committed to the "radical reformation" tradition, he eschews "denominational" categorization and addresses Christians in general. The status of Christian community, he argues, cannot be separated from the doctrinal content of beliefs and the moral understanding of discipleship. As a result, the Christian's voluntary commitment to a particular community, as distinct from secular society, offers him valuable resources for practical moral reasoning. From a historical perspective, Yoder reviews the efforts of sixteenth-century radical (or Anabaptist) reformers to return to the fundamental ethical standards of the New Testament, and to disengage the community, as a biblically rooted call to faith that does not imply withdrawal from the pluralistic world. Rather, radical commitment to Christianity strengthens and renews the authentic human interests and values of the whole society. His analyses of democracy and of civil religion illustrate how Christianity must challenge and embrace the wider world.
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About the author

John Howard Yoder was professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame until his death in 1999. He was the author of numerous works, including The Politics of Jesus (1972), What Do You Do? (1983), and When War Is Unjust (1984).

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Notre Dame Pess
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Published on
Jan 31, 1985
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9780268161682
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Historiography
Religion / Philosophy
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This content is DRM protected.
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What is history and why should we study it? Is there such a thing as historical truth? Is history a science? One of the most accomplished historians at work today, John Lewis Gaddis, answers these and other questions in this short, witty, and humane book. The Landscape of History provides a searching look at the historian's craft, as well as a strong argument for why a historical consciousness should matter to us today. Gaddis points out that while the historical method is more sophisticated than most historians realize, it doesn't require unintelligible prose to explain. Like cartographers mapping landscapes, historians represent what they can never replicate. In doing so, they combine the techniques of artists, geologists, paleontologists, and evolutionary biologists. Their approaches parallel, in intriguing ways, the new sciences of chaos, complexity, and criticality. They don't much resemble what happens in the social sciences, where the pursuit of independent variables functioning with static systems seems increasingly divorced from the world as we know it. So who's really being scientific and who isn't? This question too is one Gaddis explores, in ways that are certain to spark interdisciplinary controversy. Written in the tradition of Marc Bloch and E.H. Carr, The Landscape of History is at once an engaging introduction to the historical method for beginners, a powerful reaffirmation of it for practitioners, a startling challenge to social scientists, and an effective skewering of post-modernist claims that we can't know anything at all about the past. It will be essential reading for anyone who reads, writes, teaches, or cares about history.
In Sleuthing the Alamo, historian James E. Crisp draws back the curtain on years of mythmaking to reveal some surprising truths about the Texas Revolution--truths often obscured by both racism and "political correctness," as history has been hijacked by combatants in the culture wars of the past two centuries. Beginning with a very personal prologue recalling both the pride and the prejudices that he encountered in the Texas of his youth, Crisp traces his path to the discovery of documents distorted, censored, and ignored--documents which reveal long-silenced voices from the Texan past. In each of four chapters focusing on specific documentary "finds," Crisp uncovers the clues that led to these archival discoveries. Along the way, the cast of characters expands to include: a prominent historian who tried to walk away from his first book; an unlikely teenaged "speechwriter" for General Sam Houston; three eyewitnesses to the death of Davy Crockett at the Alamo; a desperate inmate of Mexico City's Inquisition Prison, whose scribbled memoir of the war in Texas is now listed in the Guiness Book of World Records; and the stealthy slasher of the most famous historical painting in Texas. In his afterword, Crisp explores the evidence behind the mythic "Yellow Rose of Texas" and examines some of the powerful forces at work in silencing the very voices from the past that we most need to hear today. Here then is an engaging first-person account of historical detective work, illuminating the methods of the serious historian--and the motives of those who prefer glorious myth to unflattering truth.
Tradition has painted a portrait of a Savior aloof from governmental concerns and whose teachings point to an apolitical life for his disciples. How, then, are we to respond today to a world so thoroughly entrenched in national and international affairs? But such a picture of Jesus is far from accurate, argues John Howard Yoder.

Using the texts of the New Testament, Yoder critically examines the traditional portrait of Jesus as an apolitical figure and attempts to clarify the true impact of Jesus' life, work, and teachings on his disciples' social behavior.

The book first surveys the multiple ways the image of an apolitical Jesus has been propagated, then canvasses the Gospel narrative to reveal how Jesus is rightly portrayed as a thinker and leader immediately concerned with the agenda of politics and the related issues of power, status, and right relations. Selected passages from the epistles corroborate a Savior deeply concerned with social, political, and moral issues.

In this thorough revision of his acclaimed 1972 text, Yoder provides updated interaction with publications touching on this subject. Following most of the chapters are new "epilogues" that summarize research conducted during the last two decades -- research that continues to support the insights set forth in Yoder's original work.

Currently a standard in many college and seminary ethics courses, The Politics of Jesus is also an excellent resource for the general reader desiring to understand Christ's response to the world of politics and his will for those who would follow him.
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