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Nick Spencer’s “very small but profound book” is reviewed by Robert Joustra
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Rowan Williams once related how, when he mentioned the good Samaritan to a class of puzzled schoolchildren, the students asked him whether there had been phones in biblical times. Kids say the darnedest things, but when it comes to the parables of Jesus, and the good Samaritan in particular, we are all more often than not little Whiggish schoolchildren, reading the parable through our own historical and ideological spectacles, oblivious to our presentism, our worldview, our moment.
The insight of this story, found in the postscript of Nick Spencer’s newest, little book, The Political Samaritan: How Power Hijacked a Parable, is part of what makes this book brilliant. It is a political archeology of Jesus’s famous parable, a kind of exegetical investigation into the parable’s politics, and how—startlingly—the good Samaritan somehow sits on both sides of the political aisle. Spencer lays out a sophisticated summary of the church’s history of interpretation of the parable, out of which at least seven dominant themes emerge. The difficulty in pinning the Samaritan down is not new.
Read the full article at cardus.
Robert Joustra reviews Nick Spencer’s new book, The Political Samaritan: How Power Hijacked a Parable.
Robert teaches politics & international studies at Redeemer University College, where he is also Director of the Centre for Christian Scholarship. He is the author and editor of several books, most recently The Religious Problem with Religious Freedom: Why Foreign Policy Needs Political Theology (Routledge, 2017). He is a Fellow with the Center for Public Justice and an Editorial Fellow with The Review of Faith & International Affairs.
Posted 18 January 2018
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