Politics of Jesus

by John Howard Yoder

Paperback, 1972





Tradition has painted a portrait of a Savior aloof from governmental concerns and whose teachings point to an apolitical life for his disciples. How, then, are we to respond today to a world so thoroughly entrenched in national and international affairs? But such a picture of Jesus is far from accurate, argues John Howard Yoder. Using the texts of the New Testament, Yoder critically examines the traditional portrait of Jesus as an apolitical figure and attempts to clarify the true impact of Jesus' life, work, and teachings on his disciples' social behavior. The book first surveys the multiple ways the image of an apolitical Jesus has been propagated, then canvasses the Gospel narrative to reveal how Jesus is rightly portrayed as a thinker and leader immediately concerned with the agenda of politics and the related issues of power, status, and right relations. Selected passages from the epistles corroborate a Savior deeply concerned with social, political, and moral issues. In this thorough revision of his acclaimed 1972 text, Yoder provides updated interaction with publications touching on this subject. Following most of the chapters are new "epilogues" that summarize research conducted during the last two decades -- research that continues to support the insights set forth in Yoder's original work. Currently a standard in many college and seminary ethics courses, The Politics of Jesus is also an excellent resource for the general reader desiring to understand Christ's response to the world of politics and his will for those who would follow him.… (more)


Eerdmans, William B.@publishin (1972), 260 pages


(108 ratings; 4.3)

User reviews

LibraryThing member pomorev
This is one of the best books I've read this year!
LibraryThing member ericbradley
John Howard Yoder was at least twenty-five years ahead of his time when he first wrote this rich piece. While many, including himself, may regard it as a apologetic toward Christian pacifism, I really think it lays a thesis of taking all the teachings of Jesus seriously and living them out. My
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favorite chapter is his working through Romans 13, and looking at it through the larger context of Romans 12-14. A must for every critically thinking Christian.
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LibraryThing member jd234512
This was a book I've been wanting to read for quite a while so I definitely went in with high expectations. As I read through the introduction, I was extremely happy to find out that this would not be a book that simply perpetuated(or supported those who perpetuate) the social justice Jesus. In my
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opinion this does what many who support this do in providing for a narrow Jesus who has a very one dimensional agenda. Yoder makes it very clear that it will be a thorough study and will not settle for simply meeting any agenda.

With that said, however, the book gets off to a pretty slow pace and it is not really into the second half until he really gets into some of the meat and potatoes(or tofu and potatoes...all things to all people). Later on we are brought more fully into the realm of the kingdom that Jesus was bringing and announcing. It wad not what was expected and seemed to disappoint some, yet it was an enlargement of the nature of God.

Additionally in one of the last chapters we see some discussion on justification that is extremely similar to what had put Bishop Wright on the hot-seat in recent months. It was encouraging to see some of the beginning roots of when this analysis of the Reformation's opinion on justification with references to Stendahl and Markus Barth used to make his point. Yoder must not have had the same attention on him as Wright but it is helpful to note that in any fair analysis of the Bible there should never be a closed opinion. I enjoyed this book very much an would enjoy reading more by him in the future.
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LibraryThing member aevaughn
I will never read the Gospels in the same way after reading this book. I also appreciate how he shows this works into Paul's writings as well. Hopefully, one day I'll get to do a class on this book.
LibraryThing member stcloudlibrary
If there were 30 stars to give I would. This book made me do an about face, a metanoia, as a Christian, and the freedom to be.
LibraryThing member Arctic-Stranger
Yoder, a Mennonite and a pacifist, engages the academic New Testament crowd with this overview of Jesus' stance on non-violence. (For Yoder that is the majority of Jesus' politics.) Yoder uses the academic work on Jesus very well, and makes a very compelling case. He focuses mostly on Luke. This is
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not neccessariy an overview of the topic--more a focused study on one aspect of the "politics of Jesus."
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