A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Friday, October 12, 2018

What Is the Christian Response to Empire? Not Capitulate? Not Resist? But Negotiate.

from Scot McKnight:
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The operative term here is "negotiate." Not antagonize, not so much accommodation. Negotiate. The Pastor is the author/audience of The Pastoral Epistles. I think a case can be made for the Pastor being Paul, but that's not a concern in this post. Negotiation is.

Behind the term "negotiation" is another term: eusebeia, which is translated consistently in the NIV as "godliness," which is a decent translation...

Hoklotubbe [in his book, Civilized Piety: The Rhetoric of Pietas in the Pastoral Epistles and the Roman Empire,] knows about anti-empire approaches and about accommodation approaches and about capitulation approaches, but he steers a moderating path that genuinely considers both ends of the spectrum...

For those wrapped up in anti-empire hermeneutics this will not be a welcome use of the very same evidence for a different explanation: not resistance but negotiation. I find Hoklotubbe not polemical but cautious and balanced. The modest, chaste wife, then, is part of the same negotiation motif. The wealthy, too, are both valued as benefactors but warned about Roman cultural values that are not in line with Christian values.

… alongside the negotiation of the term eusebeia are very clear differences between the Empire's religious and cultural values. Thus, this term in context reveals this is not about accommodation or capitulation but about negotiation.
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The entire post can be read here.

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