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Between Babel and Beast: America and Empires in Biblical Perspective
     

Between Babel and Beast: America and Empires in Biblical Perspective

by Peter J. Leithart
 

The United States is one of history's great Christian nations, but our unique history, success, and global impact have seduced us into believing we are something more-God's New Israel, the new order of the ages, the last best hope of mankind, a redeemer nation. Using the subtle categories that arise from biblical narrative, Between Babel and Beast analyzes how the

Overview

The United States is one of history's great Christian nations, but our unique history, success, and global impact have seduced us into believing we are something more-God's New Israel, the new order of the ages, the last best hope of mankind, a redeemer nation. Using the subtle categories that arise from biblical narrative, Between Babel and Beast analyzes how the heresy of Americanism inspired America's rise to hegemony while blinding American Christians to our failures and abuses of power. The book demonstrates that the church best serves the genuine good of the United States by training witnesses-martyr-citizens of God's Abrahamic empire.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Theologian and pastor Leithart (Defending Constantine) presents a complex biblical view of empires and a critical approach to American political and commercial imperialism. Starting with the prototypical empires of Babel and Abraham, Leithart argues that both the Old and New Testaments do not oppose empires. Rather, God approves of empires when they support Israel and the Kingdom of God. The author further argues that early American leaders created a civil religion touting America as the new Israel, with the goal of world-wide liberty. The peril of this approach lies in allowing Americans to imagine the country a righteous empire justified in its wicked imperial actions. The solution, for Leithart, is to repent of and repudiate this civic religion. This process, only briefly laid out, involves divorcing the civic from the religious in symbols and celebrations and increasing the strength and influence of Christian churches. Leithart's argument at times seems to meander, and a greater emphasis on the solution to American imperialism and exceptionalism would help readers feel more equipped to counter its evils. Overall, though, the work offers a picture of how far America falls short of being what it claims. (June)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608998173
Publisher:
Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date:
07/06/2012
Pages:
214
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Peter J. Leithart is a Senior Fellow of Theology and Literature at New St. Andrews College, Moscow, Idaho, and serves on the pastoral staff of Trinity Reformed Church. He is the author most recently of Athanasius (2011). He and his wife, Noel, have ten children.

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