Tag Archives: resistere

Bonhoeffer's Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology & an Ethic of Resistance

bonhof black jc

Reggie L. Williams, assistant professor of Christian Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary, has a new book out from Baylor University Press: Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology And An Ethic Of Resistance. Recently there’s been a push to mold Dietrich Bonhoeffer to make him more palatable to conservative evangelical sensibilities, mostly overlooking his involvement with Black churches and its leaders in Harlem. I for one am glad that scholarship like Williams’ is becoming available. I hope to get a copy, either a review or purchased copy of the text.

RESISTERE, latin for resist: Daniel (VULG), Ezekiel, and the Imago Dei

“He said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me 21 days. So Michael, one of the chief of the princes, came to help me, and I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia, and have come to help you understand what is to happen to your people at the end of days. For there is a further vision of those days.” Daniel 10:12-14 NRSV.

Like Ezekiel a prophet before him, Daniel was blessed to see the Son of Man, the very Image Of God shining brightly before him. Daniel was overwhelmed, he was pale, & he was so sick, all of the people around him were frightened (v. 8), he did not have the voice to speak. But when he heard the mighty roar (v. 6) of this Image, Daniel was strengthened. The Image informs Daniel that the struggle between the Persians and the Jewish people and exile was not one of flesh, but between spiritual forces. Daniel is equipped to work for God and God’s empire because of his lifelong path of courage and humility. The king of Persia, the most powerful man on the planet at the time, was arrogant, was simply just not ready to experience God’s reign.  This is why in the Latin Vulgate, resistere is used for the action that the Persian ruler was taking, namely resisting God’s will. The Son of Man / Image of God promises that not only will he lead YHWH’s battle against the Persian empire (take that 300 and 300:Rise Of An Empire! ), but that he will also RETURN to fight the militaries from ancient Greece as well. These words would bring comfort to Daniel the Jewish prophet in exile, because he was exceedingly fearful of the rising Greek forces (7:15). The beginning of resistance to the wicked kingdoms of the Earth is humility in the presence of the Triune God, and being present with the humiliated of the world. #resistere

RESISTERE, latin for resist: Judges 6 & the right kind of resistance

“Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.”

– Judges 6:2 NIV

So the way I judge a Bible/ Bible translation is its wording for my favorite chapter, Judges 6. I know some go with Romans, others, Isaiah, and others the Gospel of John. But honestly, Judges 6, and story of Gideon from beginning to end (chapter 9 with the rise and fall of his tyrant son) is my fave. Anyways, I have been trying to get back to trying to study Latin, and the little Greek I used to know. I have come across an interesting PLOT TWIST. In the Greek text (LXX) and Hebrew (MT), in verse 2, both versions have the Israelites running, hiding in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. The scenes are ones of desperation, fear, terror. In the Latin Vulgate however, a verb is added: repugnandum. Repugnant, as in the Israelites stood in opposition, and failed.

I think the key here is to understand remember YHWH’s message to a nameless prophet before God eventually commissioned Gideon., “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me” (Judges 6: 8-10).
Suffice to say, not all persons and would be “revolutionaries” who come in the name of “resistance” are legit.  For example, PaleoConfederates today and of yesteryear who are committed to White Supremacy and The Lost Cause, see themselves as a form of resistance.  In actuality, they have rejected the God of Exodus, and they do not understand what freedom and reconciliation in Christ Jesus means.  In sum, all political movements are empty without the God of Liberation at the forefront. Israel’s “repugnance” at the Midianites (because they could NOT stand) up to their oppressors was due to the fact that they had abandoned the very source of their freedom, the God of Abraham. ‪#‎resistere‬.