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
From the review:
He is Trampling Out the Vintage Where the Grapes of Wrath are Stored Â« The Committee of Public Safety
tdaxp then details how the Christians broke Romeâ€™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 couldnâ€™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 Lordâ€™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 Caldwellâ€™s novel I, Judas. When Pilateâ€™s wife implores him not to execute Jesus, Pilate recognizes that Jesusâ€™s subversion is not a parochial Jewish problem but a Roman problem as well: this obscure carpenterâ€™s message can infect Gentile as well as Jew. Pilate orders Jesusâ€™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 thatâ€™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. Iâ€™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.
Adam of The Metropolis Times (and a fellow exile from blogspirit) has now joined Shane, Stephen, Mike, and fl in reviewing my monograph, Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity: The 4GW Against Rome, and the COIN to Save It.
Adam’s review is excellent. He “gets” my reason for writing the book, and his main criticism (it is too short) is what every writer loves to hear. From the review:
The brief book outlines [tdaxp's] application of generational war theory and contemporary military strategy to Christianity’s peaceful conquest of the Roman Empire. Rome was extremely successful at defending against military and political threats. Christianity succeeded because it didn’t set out to conquer Rome, but to co-opt it. They succeeded because they “loved their enemies” and turned every Christian man and woman into a cultural warrior. Less than three centuries later, they won.
My background in these areas is very limited, and alphabet-soup of strategic theories (PISRR, OODA, etc.) can be intimidating. Fortunatly, Strategies takes each theory one step at a time and makes it easy for laypersons to comprehend things like a ‘Penetrate-Isloate-Subvert/Subdue-Reorient-Reharmonize’ loop. This is the book’s biggest strength in my opinion. Many, if not most, of its complex ideas are best illustrated graphically, and [tdaxp] is not afraid to supplement his explanations with a plethora of clear, simply constructed graphs and charts. Even if early Christianity in particular is not of interest to you, Strategies is worth picking up just for the clear explanations of military theory that is relevant in today’s political debates – Counter-Insurgency Operations (COIN) in particular. Other examples, such as Vichy France and IMB, assist the reader’s understanding.
Read Adam’s full review, or buy the book today!
Major props to Mike Dewitt (of Spooky Action) and fl (of Primrose Road) for both examining my monograph, Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity: The 4GW Against Rome, and the COIN to Save it).
Mike and fl bring remarkably different perspectives to the book. I appreciate both of their time in reading the review, thinking about it, and distilling those thoughts into analysis & questioning. Mike writes:
What if I told you that Jesus and St. Paul were the architects of the greatest insurgent (fourth-generation warfare) campaign ever? What if I used Scripture and contemporary Roman records to show exactly how they did it (and how the Romans recognized the threat and responded, ultimately failing)? That’s exactly what [Dan tdaxp] does in “Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity: 4th Generation Warfare (4GW) Against the Roman Empire, and the Counterinsurgency (COIN) Campaign to Save It”. In an intellectual tour de force, Dan not only convincingly explains how precepts such as “If someone forces to you to go one mile, go with him two miles” and “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent” served as foundations for the Christian revolution; he then explains how Muhammed designed Islam to defeat Christianity. And to top things off Dan analogizes the two religions to Microsoft and IBM. At just over 40 pages Dan’s book is a short, clear, and profound read. It WILL change the way you look at history, current events, and the future, whether you’re an atheist, agnostic, or a practicing Catholic like me. I realize that last sentence defies credulity, but the ideas in this book ARE that powerful!
While fl pens:
I’ve also recently had the chance to read Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity, which I would review in depth were I qualified in any way to review a political science text. It’s actually a very clearly-written book (in the interest of full disclosure, the author is a friend of mine) and a useful primer for terms regularly encountered in the political science blogosphere, especially those related to military strategy. The book is an interesting read regardless of what side of the political spectrum one is on — though the analyses often skew right, this is more of a text intended to expound terminology, not ideology. My only [major] concern is that the history element of the book rests on the assumption (stated explicitly in the introduction) that the New Testament is for the most part an accurate historical record. I’d like to hear Dan’s explanation of what warrants this assumption (i.e. I challenge him to a duel).
Feedback like this is what blogging (and writing) is all about.
My blogfriend (and wedding reception guest!) Shane Deichman was kind enough to join Stephen Pampinella in reviewing my monograph, Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity: The 4GW Against Rome, and the COIN to Save It. From Shane’s review:
Wizards of Oz: Review: tdaxp’s Revolutionary Strategies
Dan has done a remarkable job applying contemporary theories of warfare and network science to the early Christian / late Roman era. The most notable strength in Revolutionary Strategies is his inventive correlation of the defensive strategies employed by Caiaphas (the chief antagonist of Jesusâ€™s ministries) to those of Diocletian (the late-3rd century Roman emperor who ordered the most severe persecution of the Christian faithful). Accompanying this analysis is a very cogent application of the theories of Boyd (Penetrate – Isolate – Subvert – Reorient – Reharmonize, or PISRR), with modern examples like Vichy France that match the dynamics in the early Christian church.
Most significantly, Danâ€™s book opens several new fronts on the debate over the nature of insurgency â€“ and counterinsurgency. For instance, is the ex post facto presumption of â€œco-optionâ€ by the splinter Jewish sect that has become the Christian church practical? Or, rather, was the Christian faith â€œculturally appropriatedâ€ by the Roman empire upon Emperor Constantineâ€™s conversion to Christianity in the early 4th century? While Dan asserts the former through the hypernetworking of the Apostle Paul, I believe this is a topic worthy of broader study. For instance, was Paul (nÃ©e Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee) savvy enough to realize that his peers in Jewish leadership were attracting the ire of Rome? Did Paulâ€™s ministries throughout the Mediterranean seek to increase the rift between Jerusalem and the splinter sect of Christian faithful? And were the Gospels written in a manner to give Rome (and particularly Pilate) a â€œpassâ€ in the crucifixion of Jesus? (Note that three of the four Gospels were published immediately prior to the First Jewish-Roman War and the subsequent destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.)
Relatedly, Mark Shea (the prominent Catholic podcaster whose show I subscribe to) discusses two of my posts. His post, “A Guy with a Blog Wants to Annex Mexico” begins by discussing the Manifest Destiny of the American Nation, but neatly ties it into my discussion of multiple inventions and multiple evolutions. Thanks Mark!
(Mark previously showed some interest in “Jesusism-Paulism, the web series that became Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity.)