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The Political Samaritan

The Political Samaritan

How the perennially popular story of the Good Samaritan is deployed in supposedly secular politics. (2017)

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The decline of biblical literacy, among politicians and public, has not been as straightforward or complete as is sometimes imagined. There is evidence for decline way back into the nineteenth century and even today politicians not are wholly ignorant of, indifferent to or scared of using biblical stories, phrases and images. A good example of this is the story of the Good Samaritan.

The parable of the Good Samaritan has been used by almost every major British politician over recent years – from Theresa May and Tony Blair to Margaret Thatcher and Jeremy Corbyn. But they don’t all use it to say the same thing.

In this book, Nick Spencer explains why and how Jesus’ famous parable got mixed up in politics. From abolitionists to warmongers, prime ministers to activists such as Dr Martin Luther King, Spencer uncovers the reasons for the parable’s popularity – and then asks the killer question: who gets it right?

If the Good Samaritan has been dragged on to the political stage, whose side is he on?

The Political Samaritan: How Power Hijacked a Parable (2017) is published by Bloomsbury. Paperback £12.99, ebook £10.99. Order your copy now.
Nick Spencer

Nick Spencer

Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, including Magisteria: the entangled histories of science and religion (Oneworld, 2023), The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). He is host of the podcast Reading Our Times.

Watch, listen to or read more from Nick Spencer

Bible, Morality/Ethics, Politics, Secularism


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