For Jim Flynn and Pat Geier
A Reflection on John Dominic Crossan God & Empire: Jesus against Rome, Then and Now 
In the past few awful, maleficent years of the Bush Administration, a spate of books has appeared in which the word “empire” is used as applicable to the United States itself. In his latest work, Scripture scholar John Dominic Crossan brings his research on the historical Jesus to bear on this timely, terrifying matter of empire.
Crossan’s book is a sustained meditation on three options available to us in the early 21st century: Civilization, Anti-Civilization, and Post-Civilization. According to Crossan, Civilization, contrary to its uncritical and zealous celebrants, is full of barbarism. For one recent example, think of 20th century Germany and its philosophical, intellectual, musical, and cultural wealth and its death camps. Empires of successive civilization have wielded military, economic, political, and ideological power to further their self-serving aims. Read the rest of this entry »