Saturday, June 26, 2010

What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?

There sure is a lot of talk about Jesus and imperialism and such, you know with the New Testament seen in political terms -- yes, I know, I do it too -- .  Wait till you read my new book called Ultimate Allegiance:  The Subversive Nature of the Lord's Prayer (due out in Novemberish -- in time for your Christmas shopping sprees -- from Energion Publications)!  And yes, John Dominic Crossan makes a good case for imperialism being a key component of the gospel message.  Scot McKnight raises some questions about all of this as well, suggesting that it may reflect leftist politics (and I may resemble that remark).

But, I think that the Romans need to be given their due -- as Monte Python does in this scene from the Life of Brian.

2 comments:

Mystical Seeker said...

I think that the last comment in that video--that the Romans brought peace--speaks directly to what Crossan says about the Roman definition of peace, which is peace through victory rather than peace through strength.

Things like roads, sanitation, and personal security are all functions that an organized state is supposed to provide. I'm sure that the apostle Paul recognized that the Romans offered these valuable things, even if the Romans also executed Jesus. But the problem is that some states achieve all these admirable aims through the establishment of an oppressive political and economic system, one that means that some people reap the benefits of "civilization" while others suffer. Criticizing the oppressive nature of a particular state apparatus is not to say that one opposes the building of roads.

After all, they used to say that Mussolini got the trains to run on time.

Mystical Seeker said...

I think this item from Snopes.com speaks directly to this.