Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Apocalypse against Empire, by Anathea E. Portier-Young

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Hearty congratulations to Thea Portier-Young of Duke University on the appearance of her new book, Apocalypse Against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism (click here). In this significant work of scholarship, Thea has demonstrated that the apocalyptic writings aimed to reveal a hidden transcendent reality with the power to overturn empire providing a basis for visible and heroic audience action. In Apocalypse and Empire she writes, “The early apocalyptic visionaries numbered among Judea’s elite. During the persecution they did not hide.” The device of pseudonymity was no cloaking device but asserted the “givenness” of their traditions. It was one of multiple dimensions of the apocalypses that aimed to expose the contingency of the imperial domination system. Empire imposed “a program of de-creation and recreation,” assigned to itself the roles of “creator and provider”; the apocalypses resolutely resisted. They offered up “a different totalizing narrative,” which long perdured, transcending their originating crisis.

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