The Committee of Public Safety Reviews “Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity”

The Committee of Public Safety has an excellent (and very flattering) review of my monograph, Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity.

Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity
Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity

From the review:

He is Trampling Out the Vintage Where the Grapes of Wrath are Stored « The Committee of Public Safety
tdaxp then details how the Christians broke Rome’s will to resist, pointing out that The Lord and Paul both understood Roman COIN (Paul was part of the Temple Police and an experienced persecutor/suppressor of troublesome minorities. Whether he was the first COIN operator to see the Light is unrecorded). Rome couldn’t be be defeated in conventional battle by any means a Jewish sect had at its disposal. The long record of failed Jewish revolts from Pompey the Great to Hadrian both before and after The Lord’s life demonstrated that clearly (to everyone but the Jews that is). tdaxp argues that Christianity had to adopt an alternate strategy. Time would wear down the Roman state. If Christianity could avoid being physically wiped out by Rome, it would eventually win.

Where Caiaphas saw the end of the Jewish nation (and the rule of the Sadducees), Diocletian saw the end of Rome. tdaxp argues that this was because the early Church would replace the Roman system where the state and human male authority figures was supreme over religion with a system where the state and human relationships were subject to the ultimate authority of God (even if God commanded that Christians should subordinate themselves to the state, God would still be the one offering the marching orders). Caiaphas and Diocletian decided that if a few undesirables had to die to keep the Roman power architecture alive than that was an acceptable price to pay. Pilate plays the Diocletian role in Taylor Caldwell’s novel I, Judas. When Pilate’s wife implores him not to execute Jesus, Pilate recognizes that Jesus’s subversion is not a parochial Jewish problem but a Roman problem as well: this obscure carpenter’s message can infect Gentile as well as Jew. Pilate orders Jesus’s execution because of this accurate perception of the threat.

tdaxp has a section I found particularly useful on the subversive power of women, an aspect of warfare that’s overlooked by most war commentators (a notable exception is Kautilya in The Arthashastra). Paul designed a strategy that used men, argues tdaxp, to spread the Good News in a loose network and women to form tight networks to support raising children for Christ. The family, instead of being an extension of the Roman state with the pater familias standing in for the Emperor, would become a subversive breeding ground for the Christian anti-state. I’ve seen similar arguments that one reason orthodox Christianity won out over its heretical variants like Gnosticism is that it gave women a valuable role (and played a valuable role by domesticating the male of the species).

The rest of the review is just great. It’s the best review I have received. The Committee clearly “gets the book,” and the review ends with a set of questions and talking points.

Read the review and buy the book, if you please. A good to celebrate Christmas is to celebrate the victory of the Christians.

Disclosure: The blogger at Committee of Public Safety has helped me edit my chapter on for Threats in the Age of Obama.

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