Caesar's Coin Revisited; Christians and the Limits of Government

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"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's," said Jesus, "and to God the things that are God's." What does this mean in a time and place drastically different from first-century Palestine? As more and more Christians from differing traditions exercise power in the political arena, what theological principles should shape their views of the role of government? Protestant and Catholic scholars of diverse views debate these questions in Caesar's Coin Revisited. From his provocative analysis of the "Caesar's coin" biblical passage (Mark ...
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Overview

"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's," said Jesus, "and to God the things that are God's." What does this mean in a time and place drastically different from first-century Palestine? As more and more Christians from differing traditions exercise power in the political arena, what theological principles should shape their views of the role of government? Protestant and Catholic scholars of diverse views debate these questions in Caesar's Coin Revisited. From his provocative analysis of the "Caesar's coin" biblical passage (Mark 12:13-17), Luis E. Lugo concludes that while Christians should fulfill appropriate demands of citizenship, they must always remember that governmental authority lies within the all-encompassing sphere of God's authority. Jean Bethke Elshtain argues that because the very nature of "Caesar" has changed in our modern world, we must rethink the "things" that are his. She enhances her insights with an engaging examination of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer's resistance to the Nazis. Kenneth L. Grasso demonstrates that Catholic social thought views the state as having a moral function: to establish social conditions conducive to the common good. He also explores the implications of this social teaching in the economic sphere. Doug Bandow, speaking from a libertarian perspective, points out that Scripture and tradition offer only guidelines, not a blueprint, for godly government. In his view, "social, moral, and economic matters more properly fall to the Church and other private institutions than to the state." Four other scholars - James V. Schall, S.J., Wilfred M. McClay, Max L. Stackhouse, and Glenn Tinder respectively - challenge and affirm these insights in responding essays. Each of the four chapters then ends with a lively discussion in which the eight contributors and a dozen other informed scholars and practitioners exchange views.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
These papers from a conference on the obligation of the Christian citizen to the state explore a variety of responses to Jesus' injunction to "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." For example, University of Chicago professor of ethics Jean Bethke Elshtain examines the question of the emperor's sovereignty and the state's power through a reading of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's reaction to Hilter's state. The Cato Institute's Doug Bandow argues for the necessity of a limited government. Each chapter contains responses from all the conference participants with the end result being that Caesar's Coin constructs a meaningful dialogue among thinkers at all points along theological and politicalcontinuums. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802842022
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/1/1996
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 5.95 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Caesar's Coin and the Politics of the Kingdom: A Pluralist Perspective 1
A Catholic Response 23
2 Caesar, Sovereignty, and Bonhoeffer 45
A Response 58
3 Man, Society, and the State: A Catholic Perspective 79
A Protestant Response 115
4 The Necessity of Limited Government 141
A Response 162
Appendix: Conference Participants 183
Notes 185
Index of Names 193
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