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Jesus and the Empire of God

Reading the Gospels in the Roman Empire

Hi <<First Name>>,

The New Testament Gospels came into existence in a world ruled by Roman imperial power. Their main character, Jesus, is crucified on a Roman cross by a Roman governor.

How do the Gospels interact with the structures, practices, and personnel of the Roman world? What strategies and approaches do the Gospels attest? What role for accommodation, for imitation, for critique, for opposition, for decolonizing, for reinscribing, for getting along, for survival?

Jesus and the Empire of God engages these questions by discussing the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ origins and birth, his teachings and miraculous actions, his entry to Jerusalem, his death, and his resurrection, ascension, and return.

The book engages not only the first-century world but also raises questions about our own society’s structures and practices concerning the use of power, equitable access to resources, the practice of justice, and merciful and respectful societal interactions.

Jesus and the Empire of God is a must-read for anyone exploring Jesus' complex interactions with the powers-that-be in his world — and our faithful witness in our own.

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Praise for Jesus and the Empire of God

“A world-class scholar of the New Testament in its Roman imperial context, Warren Carter now brings decades of research to a broader audience. His well-chosen narrations of Roman social and political relations reveal new aspects of Gospel stories. For students of the Bible who aren’t sure why they should learn about its surrounding empires, there’s no better guide than Carter.”
Michael Peppard, author of The Son of God in the Roman World

“Carter has made an outstanding contribution to New Testament studies with a resource accessible to scholar and student alike. By identifying moments of interaction between the Gospels and their Roman imperial context, Carter demonstrates how the Gospels are culturally embedded documents that negotiate their imperial context in a variety of ways. In this fresh, people’s-history approach, Carter centers the voices of the non-elite and exposes systems of power in both the Roman Empire and our own.”
Anna M. V. Bowden, Albion College

“Warren Carter carefully and clearly, persuasively and expertly demonstrates the significant ways the Roman Empire shaped the writers of the New Testament. The reader will learn much here about the historical contexts and intertextual resonances that nurtured the theological imagination of the New Testament writers. Even more, Carter calls readers of the New Testament today toward a fuller reflection on the ways a persistent imperial imagination continues to misshape our sense of the world, its resources, and the God who calls us to an altogether different kingdom than empire’s feeble promises.”
Eric D. Barreto, Princeton Theological Seminary

“Drawing his vast knowledge of the Roman Imperial world, Carter masterfully demonstrates how indispensable that world is for understanding the New Testament Gospels. This introductory text for students and non-specialists should be a required reading in any undergraduate or graduate course on the Gospels.”
Adam Winn, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor College of Christian Studies

About the Author

Warren Carter is Professor of New Testament at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, with a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Before moving to Brite in 2007, he taught for 17 years at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City. His scholarly work has focused on the gospels of Matthew and John, and he has focused on the issue of the ways in which early Christians negotiated the Roman empire. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, he is the author of many books including The Roman Empire and the New Testament; What Does Revelation Reveal?; The New Testament: Methods and Meanings (with Amy-Jill Levine); and God in the New Testament. He has also contributed to numerous church resources and publications and is a frequent speaker at scholarly and church conferences.

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