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Jesus and the Chaos of HistoryRedirecting the Life of the Historical Jesus$
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James Crossley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570577

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570577.001.0001

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The Dictatorship of God?

The Dictatorship of God?

Kingdom and Christology

(p.64) 3 The Dictatorship of God?
Jesus and the Chaos of History

James G. Crossley

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at how the teachings on eschatological reversal and the kingdom of God emerged in the earliest Palestinian tradition. It looks at why a theocratic empire was predicted to overthrow the Roman empire and challenges the idea that the kingdom was understood to have been as egalitarian as is often argued. Traditions about economic role reversal in the end times – which are likely to have been so prominent due to perceptions of socio-economic change – are likewise constrained by hierarchical thinking. The ‘revolutionary’ and ‘imperialist’ tendencies are also present in the earliest ‘Christological’ traditions, as seen in, for instance, the role of king, judge, and even exorcist. A comparison with ancient ‘monotheizing’ tendencies among elite and imperial thinking shows how potentially compatible Christology and empire were. The cliché that Constantine was a betrayal of Jesus’ teaching may be true to some extent but it is hardly the full story.

Keywords:   kingdom of God, Christology, messiah, judge, monotheism, rich and poor, empire, imperialism, theocracy

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