Archives For Wes Howard-Brook


Men of Their Times and Places
A Feature Review of

Empire Baptized:
How the Church Embraced What Jesus Rejected
Wes Howard-Brook

Paperback: Orbis, 2016.
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Reviewed by Alden Bass
In his 1988 Louis H. Jordan Lectures, later published as Drudgery Divine, Jonathan Z. Smith argued that studies of early Christianity were hopelessly mired in confessional apologetics. Narrowing in on the study of Hellenistic Mystery Religions, he observed that Protestants were eager to critique the pagan rites, believing the “pure” religion of Paul to have been corrupted by Romish pomp and ritual. Likewise, Unitarian and Rationalist scholars, in an attempt to get at the Protestants, fingered Paul for introducing “Hellenism” into the rustic parables of Jesus. The Catholics defended all of it.

To Smith’s account we could add “radical” Christian treatments of early Christianity which have multiplied in recent years. Alistair Sykes, Andy Alexis-Baker, Alan Kreider, Everett Ferguson (to name a few) have described an early Christianity which looks an awfully lot like ana/baptist communities: nonviolent ethic, gathered-church ecclesiology, believers’ baptism, and (for Ferguson) acapella congregational singing. These scholars are not inventing things, but they are calling attention to areas neglected by earlier scholars, in the process revising the story of the earliest Christians to embrace their own traditions.

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“On Being the People of God
in the Midst of Empire

A review of
Two New Books on Scripture and Empire.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Out of Babylon.
Walter Brueggemann.
Paperback: Abingdon, 2010.
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Come Out, My People:
God’s Call Out of Empire
in the Bible and Beyond
Wes Howard-Brook.
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
In light of recent works that defend the role of Christianity within Empire, it has been refreshing to find two excellent new books that utilize the biblical narrative as a whole to call the people of god out of Empire and the ways of the Empire, specifically Walter Brueggemann’s newest book Out of Babylon and Wes Howard-Brook’s Come Out, My People: God’s Call out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond. Brueggemann’s book is a relatively brief and very readable account of the image of Babylon in scripture (particularly the Old Testament) and the implications of this biblical image for God’s people in the midst of the American empire today. Howard-Brook’s work offers a longer, more detailed account that explores the whole biblical story through the lens of the contrast between the “religion of creation” (i.e., what God intends for creation) and the “religion of empire.”

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