Faith in the Face of Empire
By: Mitri Raheb
WINNER, CATHOLIC PRESS ASSOCIATION BOOK AWARD - SCRIPTURE (POPULAR) Honorable Mention
"Both an accessible introduction to the subject and an eloquent reminder for those more familiar with the subject this book deserves a wide audience."--Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"VERDICT Raheb's voice is important and should be heard by decision makers in our country and abroad; this book would be fruitful reading for congregational groups." --Library Journal
"Mitri Raheb challenges accepted notinos and offers a vision of imagination and hope . . . " --Peter Makari, Executive, Middle Eastern Affairs, UCC/Christian Church
"To understand the Israeli/Palestinian conflict requires those on both sides be considered with respect. Mitri Raheb's book gives an impassioned, thoughtful and well written expression on the hurts and hopes of a Palestinian Christian. While you may not agree with everything in his appraisal of the issues andHistory of this conflict, what he has to tell us deserves serious consideration." --Tony Campolo, Professor Emeritus, Eastern University
"Provocative and compelling. It will make believers and non-believers alike question their deeply held assumptions about the historical Jesus and what being a Christian means." --Salim Tamari, Institute for Palestine Studies
Through Palestinian eyes, a challenging view of how the reality of empire shapes the context of the biblical story and the ongoing experience of Middle East conflict.
Jesus was a Middle Easterner. If he were to travel through Western countries today he would be 'randomly' pulled aside and scrutinized. For Mitri Raheb, a Palestinian Christian living under Israeli occupation, the Middle Eastern context of the biblical story is crucial to its understanding and its relevance to his people today. A Palestinian reading of the Bible begins with an awareness of the role of empire--a constant feature of Palestine for thousands of years, from the Babylonians and Egyptians, to the Romans, Ottomans, British, and the state of Israel. Each empire imposed its own system of control undergirded by an imperial theology.
For "the people of the land," those who endure from one empire to the next, the question, "Where is God?" carries practical and theological urgency. For Raheb, faith in God is the hope that there is something greater than empire. Jesus embodied that hope, and so Raheb spells out Jesus' political program in relation to the Roman Empire of his time, its relevance for his community, and the biblical values relevant for the Middle East, past and present.
Mitri Raheb is the President of Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethlehem as well as the president of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. He serves as the Senior Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, Palestine. In 2015 he was awarded the Olof Palme Prize, along with Israeli journalist Gideon Levy. He is the author of several books, including I Am a Palestinian Christian and Bethlehem Besieged.