Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice
by Sylvia C. Keesmaat; Brian J. Walsh
Pub Date 21 May 2019
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Following their successful Colossians Remixed, Sylvia Keesmaat and Brian Walsh unpack the meaning of Romans for its original context and for today. The authors demonstrate how Romans disarms the political, economic, and cultural power of the Roman Empire and how this ancient letter offers hope in today's crisis-laden world.
Romans Disarmed helps readers enter the world of ancient Rome and see how Paul's most radical letter transforms the lives of the marginalized then and now. Intentionally avoiding abstract debates about Paul's theology, Keesmaat and Walsh move back and forth between the present and the past as they explore themes of home, economic justice, creation care, the violence of the state, sexuality, and Indigenous reconciliation. They show how Romans engages with the lived reality of those who suffer from injustice, both in the first century and in the midst of our own imperial realities.
“Sylvia and Brian are two of my favorite Bible scholars. Whether you’re over-churched or under-churched, they stir in you a fresh curiosity for the Bible. This new book is perfect for scholars and new Bible readers alike, and for everyone in between. They rescue one of the most misused books of the Bible from the hands of colonizers and crusaders. And they help us listen with first-century ears to the anti-imperial love story of Romans.”—Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and cofounder of Red Letter Christians
“If you want to hear—and experience—Paul’s letter to the Jewish and gentile Christ-followers in Rome as you never have, read this book. And re-read it. Study it in your church circles. Talk about it with your friends. Assign it in your courses. As with their earlier Colossians Remixed, Keesmaat and Walsh have once again interwoven close textual reading of the New Testament (they clearly love the Scriptures!) with its unabashedly Jewish roots and its explosive relationship to the Roman imperial context. Most importantly, they bring the message of Romans into dialogue with our lives today, as we struggle to be faithful to the good news of Messiah Jesus in our own imperial context.”—J. Richard Middleton, professor of biblical worldview and exegesis, Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College
“In 1918 Karl Barth published his commentary on Romans, which ignited a profound theological turn. A century later, Keesmaat and Walsh write into the headwinds of Trumpism, deepening social disparity, ecological crisis, and endless war. Building on recent scholarship, this brilliant study engages the original audience, who labored under the shadow of empire, in a way that brings its message to life for similarly struggling North American Christians. The authors employ a robust imagination, an interlocutor, and keen historical literacy to free Romans from its captivity to dogmatic and pietistic interpretations, restoring it to its social context (with all its disturbing parallels to our own). The result is a fresh and committed reading by two of our generation’s best interpreters of Word and world. May it, too, inspire a turning!”—Ched Myers, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries