Politics of Jesus, beginning

Yoder’s Argument

Thesis 1: Jesus’s ministry has a political claim that we often hide from ourselves (Yoder 2).  The Mainstream Ethic

Yoder attacks what he believes to be a mainstream view of Jesus’s ethics (5ff).

  1. Jesus’s ethic was meant for a short interim.
  2. Jesus was a wandering rural figure.
  3. Jesus lived in a world in which he had no control.
  4. His message was ahistorical.
  5. He was interested simply in worship.
  6. He died a substituionary death (and that’s the only point).  

Yoder is against a “Creation Ethic” (8).   While his primary target is natural law ethics, he also lists “situation ethics” under the same label: we discern the right be studying the realities around us (9).

Thesis 2:  Because of Jesus’s “humanness,” there is the possibility of a distinctively normative, Christian ethic (10).

Yoder is against any kind of “natural law ethic,” and for him natural law = creation = nature = reason = reality.  While I suspect Yoder paints with a rather broad brush, one can’t help but note a few points he scores: these models are usually “ascribed a priori a higher or deeper authority than the ‘particular’ Jewish or Christian sources of moral vision” (19).


About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
This entry was posted in politics, theology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Politics of Jesus, beginning

  1. cal says:

    Despite Leithart’s poor and absurd attempt, I think Yoder remains a bombshell in terms of ethics. I’ll be interested to see the comments you make along the way.

    Addendum: It’s also interesting to see Yoder’s interest in Barth and how he utilizes him. I don’t think Yoder is anti-Creation in the same way some radical Barthians are, but he certainly pulls the rug out from trying to stop with some universal apriori. It’s interesting to read Yoder’s essay on the particularity of Christ alongside DB Hart’s articulation in the Intro of The Beauty of the Infinite.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s