Christianity and Social Systems: Historical Constructions and Ethical Challenges

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From the earliest interactions of Christians with the Roman Empire to today's debates about the separation of church and state, the Christian churches have been in complex relationships with various economic and political systems for centuries. Renowned theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether analyzes the ways Christian churches historically interacted with powerful systems such as patriarchy, racism, slavery, and environmentalism, while looking critically at how the church shapes these systems today. This book is neither an attack on the relationship between Christianity and these systems nor an apology but rather a nuanced examination of the interactions between them. By understanding how these interactions have shaped history, we can more fully understand how to make ethical decisions about the role of Christianity in some of today's most pressing social issues.
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Editorial Reviews

Catherine Keller
With unflagging clarity in the face of the immense spiral of human sociality and violence, Rosemary Radford Ruether again tells a gripping story. Accessible for students, handy for scholars, inspiring for activists, Christianity and Social Systems is a trustworthy and surprising resource for honest Christians or for secular critics. The Ruetheran Reformation roars on!
Carol Robb
Rosemary Radford Ruether's Christianity and Social Systems is a breathtaking, comprehensive, and accessible historical reconstruction of social systems from gender relations, slavery, nationalism and anti-semitism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, and corporate globalism through to current ecological threats. Using examples from around the globe, Ruether helps change agents understand how the current context has been shaped, and how churches can participate in constructing a new and just reality. A fascinating socio-historical treatment.
John B. Cobb
For decades Rosemary Radford Ruether has been describing the social history of human beings, especially in the West, with both objectivity and moral passion. She tells it as it is, letting the chips fall where they may. In the process, she has offended everyone, since in history no group turns out to be pure and innocent, but she has also offered hope. Since this hope is based on a realistic assessment of our past and present, it is the only kind that is truly real and useful. In this book the insights and wisdom derived from a lifetime of study and reflection are brought together. If any one book can be called Ruether's magnum opus, this is it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742546424
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 9/26/2008
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosemary Radford Ruether is Carpenter Professor of Feminist Theology Emerita, Graduate Theological Union, and visiting scholar, Claremont Graduate University and Claremont School of Theology. She is the author of numerous books, including Integrating Ecofeminism, Globalization, and World Religion.

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Table of Contents

1 Social Systems: Orders of Creation or Demonic Powers? 1

2 Models of Church and State: Historical and Theological 11

3 Patriarchy as a Social System 25

4 Modernizing Patriarchy: Women, Children, and Slaves 41

5 Anti-Semitism, European Nationalism, and Zionism 59

6 Racism in the United States: White, Black, Red, Brown, and Yellow 75

7 Social Ideologies: Sexism, Slavery, and Racism 91

8 Political-Economic Ideologies: Liberalism, Socialism, and Fascism 105

9 Economic Class in the United States 121

10 European Colonialism, 1492-1965 135

11 The Global Economy: Neocolonialism and Neoliberalism 155

12 U.S. and Global Militarism 167

13 Nicaragua in the Caribbean and Central American Context 183

14 The Two Koreas: Divergent Systems, Hope for Reunification? 199

15 South Africa: Constructing and Deconstructing Apartheid 213

16 Ecology: The Context for All Social Systems 227

17 Social Systems and the Church's Mission 243

App The Earth Charter 257

Bibliography 267

Index 281

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