Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rev. Right, historian:

From the Bill Moyers interview:
BILL MOYERS: When I hear the word "black liberation theology" being the interpretation of scripture from the oppressed, I think well, that's the Jewish story--

REVEREND WRIGHT: Exactly, exactly. From Genesis to Revelation. These are people who wrote the word of God that we honor and love under Egyptian oppression, Syrian oppression, Babylonian oppression, Persian oppression, Greek oppression, Roman oppression.
Persian oppression? According to the Bible, it was Cyrus the Great who told those in exile to go back and rebuild the temple. He was considered Yahweh's anointed and the Jews offered prayers for him. Other Persians, like Ahasuerus (likely Xerxes) showed favor to the Jews (book of Esther).

The Jews, wrestling with the tension between "doing right by the Lord" and the compromises required by statecraft, were inclined to forsake a king and have the priests attend to religious matters, as long as they lived under a begnign hegemon. The Persian Empire was precicely that (unlike the Greek Seleucids and the Romans, which tried to impose alien cultural norms).


Post a Comment