Poverty, Wealth, and Empire presents an antidote to the liberal Jesuses that are constantly being constructed by theologians and historians in universities and seminaries in the West. Sandford's programme is to pay attention to those texts where Jesus appears hostile to his audiences, or even invokes the idea of divine judgment and violence against certain groups. Drawing on a variety of texts in the Synoptic Gospels, Sandford finds violent denunciations of the rich and those who neglect the needy to be a consistent theme in Jesus' teaching. R ather than deploying biblical texts to support an antiimperial or liberationist agenda, Sandford foregrounds troubling and problematic texts. Among them are wisdom sayings that justify poverty, texts that denigrate particular ethnic groups, and the ideology inherent in Jesus' teachings about 'the Kingdom of God'. On such a basis Sandford is able to call into question the effectiveness of mainline Christian scholarly interpretations of Jesus in dealing with the most profound ethical problems of our time: poverty, domination and violence. Always alert to the assumptions and prejudices of much Western New Testament scholarship, Sandford draws attention to its intellectual contradictions, and, furthermore, to the way in which this scholarship has sometimes served to undergird and justify systems of oppression-in particular by its demonstrable dodging of the issue of material poverty and its causes. Building on recent debates in postcolonial biblical criticism, Sandford offers a decidedly 'illiberal' reading of Jesus' sayings on divine judgment, focusing on the paradoxical idea of a 'nonviolent' Jesus who nevertheless makes pronouncements of divine violence upon the rich.
Poverty, Wealth, and Empire by Michael J Sandford was published by Sheffield Phoenix Press in March 2014. The ISBN for Poverty, Wealth, and Empire is 9781909697270.