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Tag: Moses

Prophets and Politicians in Transition

In a time of transition, Moses models what is needed: assurance that the foundational covenant will be preserved by those called from the midst of the people to listen to and speak for God.

The Implicit Grammar of the Transfiguration—Luke 9:28–43a

The transfiguration reveals the implicit grammar of Jesus’ politics and political identity. This identity did not require a retreat to heaven, but confrontation and crucifixion in Jerusalem.

The Politics of Crossing the Red Sea—Exodus 14:19-31 (Richard Davis)

The divine violence of the drowning of the Egyptians in the deliverance of the Israelites through the Red Sea raises challenging questions about the character of liberation and the foundation of nations.

The Politics of Empowerment—Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29 (Robert Williamson)

In Numbers 11 the power of leadership that had formerly been concentrated in Moses was spread more widely among the people. This vision of the diffusion of leadership throughout the body politic is one with many challenging lessons for our current situation.

The Politics of Extraordinary Ordinariness—Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9 (Alastair Roberts)

Moses taught Israel that its primary calling as a people before the nations was not conflict but witness through its showcasing of the goodness, wisdom, and righteousness of the divinely given law. Likewise, the chief political task of Christians is found in the cultivation of a quiet extraordinariness in the most ordinary affairs of life.

The Politics of New Covenant Vision—Jeremiah 31:31-34 (Alastair Roberts)

The promise of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34 contains political dimensions that typically pass unrecognized, but which provide a rich description of an ideal polity. This prophetic vision can serve as a powerful counterpart and companion to more conventional political utopias and idealized societies.

In this column, I want to engage in what Reynolds Price once referred to as “a serious way of wondering” about Exodus 20: 15-18—i.e., the moment at which the Israelites experience the divine self-revelation at the foot of Mount Sinai. Normally, this passage is understood as a theophanic event. To the extent that it involves the constitution of a nation or polity, it has usually been understood as a theocracy. Its intellectual expression (insofar as it addresses the issue of covenantal authority grounded in divine self-revelation) would therefore take the form of a political theology. To the extent that we read the above passage in this way, we have already rendered a decision—the essential significance of the passage would lie in the divine self-revelation. The fear which the Israelites experienced would amount simply and solely to a fear of God. Conversely, an acceptance of the commandments would amount to an acceptance of the political theology undergirding the theocracy.