If Not Empire, What? by Berry Friesen
A Survey of the Bible

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In this thoughtful and systematic exploration, Friesen and Stoner understand the Bible to be an extended argument about life, love and power. In the various biblical texts, this argument presents two versions of the Hebrew god, one who aligns with kings and the religious establishment, the other who makes a fool of kings and aligns with everyday people. Through discussion of each biblical text, the authors highlight how this argument plays out in the history of the Israelites, the prophetic attempts to articulate an alternative to the nation-state, the life and teachings of Jesus, and the multi-ethnic community that emerged after Jesus’ death. Written in a popular style, the book serves as a concise and sometimes irreverent introduction to the entire Bible while demonstrating its immediate relevance to the problems of violence, insecurity and injustice. Through frequent quotations of scripture, the reader is encouraged to recognize the imperial worldview as the source of what most threatens Earth’s future and to imagine an alternative to top-down rule by powerful elites. Although written primarily for readers who view the Bible as literature, the book reflects the authors' faith and provides a fresh reading for people who regard the Bible to be much more than literature. This attempt to respect both approaches is facilitated by a discussion of seven assumptions held by biblical writers, but likely not held by modern readers. With these assumptions in mind, the reader is better prepared to make sense of texts that are not only very old, but also highly relevant to decisions we must make about whether we will continue to place our faith in the empire’s answers.

About Berry Friesen

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Published February 20, 2015 by Lulu.com. 356 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for If Not Empire, What?


But by highlighting the biblical conversation about empire and our need for an alternative, we hope our book will nudge readers to read history and observe current events more keenly.

Jan 14 2015 | Read Full Review of If Not Empire, What?: A Surve...