Item description for Practicing the Politics of Jesus: The Origin and Significance of John Howard Yoder's Social Ethics (The C. Henry Smith Series) by Earl Zimmerman...
Overview Zimmerman makes significant contributions to Yoder studies, including the use of archival material to provide insight into the development of Yoders thought and his relationship to mentors and peers.--Craig A. Carter, author of "The Politics of the Cross: The Theology and Social Ethics of John Howard Yoder." (Christian)
Publishers Description Practicing the Politics of Jesus holds potential to be the definitive study of how John Howard Yoder's intellectual journey and social ethics came to intertwine. Through treatment of Yoder's thought that is insightful and sophisticated yet surprisingly accessible given the profundity of the issues being analyzed, Zimmerman lays out the relevance of the politics of Jesus for people committed to the power of God's transforming love. As foreword writer John Paul Lederach mentions, the book reads almost like a novel--because Zimmerman has managed skillfully to reveal how Yoder's personal and church-related narratives helped shape his theology. Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries sees Zimmerman's book as "a very helpful summary of Yoder's thought" and "a well-researched, well-written volume illuminating decades of scholarly discussion, especially in the U.S., concerning issues of war and peace."
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Studio: Cascadia Publishing House
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.62" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date May 31, 2007
Publisher Cascadia Publishing House
ISBN 1931038430 ISBN13 9781931038430
Availability 66 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 10:46.
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More About Earl Zimmerman
Earl Zimmerman was born in 1950.
Earl Zimmerman has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Practicing the Politics of Jesus: The Origin and Significance of John Howard Yoder's Social Ethics (The C. Henry Smith Series)?
Politics takes practice Apr 10, 2007
One of the challenges in interpreting the work of John Howard Yoder has been placing him in his proper historical, theological, and social location. Yoder's presence and influence in theological reflection have increased dramatically over the last fifteen years although Yoder's peculiar perspectives sometimes leave readers confused about how to interact with his thought.
Zimmerman's Practicing the Politics of Jesus begins to reorient our understanding of Yoder by focusing upon his most influential work (The Politics of Jesus, 1972). In successive chapters Zimmerman lays out the North American Mennonite, European ecumenical, and German theological influences on Yoder's intellectual development. Zimmerman is the first to utilize the extensive collection of Yoder's archival papers and letters as another interpretive key to his work. As a fellow Mennonite, Zimmerman brings the right ear to Yoder's compositions and describes them in a way that contributes to our growing sense of the significance of Yoder's achievement.
Zimmerman begins by placing Yoder's work in it proper historical location as part of a mid-century North American Mennonite conversation about the church and the world. Yoder was a precocious scholar (reminding one of the young Dietrich Bonhoeffer) and Zimmerman notes that he seems to have emerged fully formed with clear convictions that did not substantially change. He demonstrates, especially through Yoder's correspondence with Harold Bender and his interaction with the theology of Guy Hershberger and Lawrence Burkholder, that there is an astonishing truth to this intuition. The tensions revealed in these debates are still current in Mennonite circles today, especially around issues of ecclesiology and the relationship of church and world.
Zimmerman provides an invaluable chapter on the impact of Yoder's European service and study to his developing theology. Not only did post-war Europe stir the embers of Yoder's missional vision, but it performed a crucial role in forcing Yoder to articulate his views in a pluralistic context, where Mennonite dispositions, convictions, and fears were not all absorbing. Zimmerman is especially good in discussing Yoder's ecumenical activities and in describing how his studies in Anabaptist history (represented by his dissertation on sixteenth-century anabaptists) were a way that Yoder actually continued his primary theological interests in a context where the anabaptist vision was not well understood. Zimmerman notes the influence of Oscar Cullman as more determinative of Yoder's views than the work of Karl Barth.
The final two chapters embody Zimmerman's constructive theological work with Yoder, including a valuable ten-point outline of Yoder's views. He also discusses in detail how such contemporary efforts in "just peace" and peace-building (by Eastern Mennonite University and others) incorporate and build upon Yoder's work.
What I most appreciate about this book is Zimmermans' deft attempt to change the flow of Yoderian interpretation. He seems be drawing more parallels with liberation theology, and providing some distance from those more aligned with radical orthodoxy and neo-catholicism. Zimmerman presents a Yoder that does indeed describe a "sectarian" church (non-traditional, non-hierarchical, non-sacramental), but is nevertheless engaged, political, and involved in confronting the powers.
Zimmerman also lifts up one of Yoder's central convictions that the languages of "pluralism/relativism" (as Yoder calls them) are the water we Christians must swim in. We cannot privilege our own "correct" interpretations (either through a bibliocentric, ecclesiocentric, or even fideistic foundationalism) and then require others to play on our turf and according to our grammatical rules. Jesus models for us a servant role that learns how to work in the strange thought worlds of others while still maintaining our core convictions. This involves a willingness to be countercultural and unpopular, while not seeking to be merely contrarian (i.e. the world is not always wrong!). And this discernment about the relationship of church and world is organically linked to the necessary praxis of the peacemaking community that follows Jesus in a violent world.