I wrote a reflection on Acts 1:15-26 over on the Political Theology blog. Within it I discuss some of the significance that the biblical accounts of the suicide of Judas should have for our political theology:
The gory manner of Judas’s death and Peter’s application of imprecatory psalms to him sits uneasily with many modern Christian sensibilities, so much so that verses 18-20 of this passage are generally excised from our lections. Yet, unsettling as such themes may be to our ears, it is difficult adequately to understand Luke’s vision of Christ’s mission without an appreciation of the deathly ‘shadow’ that Christ casts over his opponents.
Whether in Judas’s prophetically foretold suicide (1:18-20), the Holy Spirit slaying Ananias and Sapphira for their attempted deception (5:1-11), Peter’s cursing of Simon the sorcerer (8:9-24), the angel striking Herod and condemning him to a gruesome demise (12:20-24), or Paul’s blinding of Elymas the sorcerer (13:6-11), Luke repeatedly presents the Spirit’s mission as one that can have devastating and even fatal consequences for those who oppose it, who seek to claim God’s power for themselves, or who attack his people. Christ will place his enemies under his feet, will overcome the nations that rage against him, and will judge his wicked servants. While Christ is good, he is far from safe.
Read the whole piece here.
Not sure about the category of Political Theology, but the whole article is greatly appreciated, deep and illuminating, as Christian Biblical Theology in exegesis and application, a gracious chastening, particularly in light of liberal understanding and interpretation of Judas’ betrayal and death, a sytem of interpretation, which CS Lewis castigated in “Fern Seeds and Elephants.” Thank you. This is where I seem to differ from a lot of those who comment on your non scripture writings. I much prefer your biblical theology essays.
Amusingly, today, in The Times newspaper (Uk) there was a piece about novelist Ian McEwan and his son. It illustrates the modern emphasis on reader/subjective interpretion of scripture against authorial intention. McEwan’s son had to write an essay, on McEwan’s 1997 novel, “Enduring Love,” as part of his “A Level” homework. McEwan helped his son to write the essay – “I confess I did give him a tutorial and told him what he should consider …the teacher disagreed fundamentally with what he had said. I think he ended up with a C+”
Not only that, the teacher believed that the novel’s stalker was the “carrier of the authorial and moral centre, wheras I (McEwan) thought he was a complete madman.”
There we have it: reader v author.