Marxism is one of the revolutionary social-scientific theories that has come to have a prominent place in New Testament studies in the United States. It is often combined with liberation theology and applied to apocalyptic texts. This book argues that the basic presuppositions of these three ideological systems are ultimately at odds with one another. The study then traces the kinds of moves scholars in New Testament studies have made to overcome this problem.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"'Theory is like a snowblower,' I was once told: 'it helps to move the stuff around'--for too long this view has governed our field, presuming that something called meaning predates our tools. A Clash of Ideologies argues for the alternative: theories make the material significant and the method each theory drives comes with costs. If Biblical Studies is to be part of the Human Sciences then this is precisely the message its practitioners need to hear. --Russell T. McCutcheon University of Alabama
"Reed has uncovered the unexamined assumption of biblical scholarship, namely that the Bible holds the answers to the social issues confronting us in the twenty-first century. He does this by exposing the faulty logics of several major hermeneutical traditions of New Testament scholarship that he calls 'ideologies.' This also serves as a brilliant announcement of an historic change in the reasons for the long-standing investment in biblical studies. The Bible can no longer serve as the theological foundation for ideological argumentation. It has now to be seen as the Christian myth with its own problematic social ideology." --Burton Mack Claremont Graduate University, Emeritus
"By highlighting the fundamental and irresolvable incompatibility between Marxist materialism and its distinctive view of religion, and any emancipatory projects rooted in religion--whether ancient apocalypticism or modern liberation theology--Reed's important, timely, and persuasive book establishes the continued and even enhanced salience of Marxist insights into and critiques of biblical texts. An outstanding indictment of the too-common tendency in our field to advocate radical social transformation while maintaining the transcendent authority of privileged biblical texts." --William Arnal University of Regina
"New Testament scholars have made use of social science approaches for more than half a century. Not surprisingly, they have often done so with a theological agenda in mind. Randy Reed, in this most competent and astute critical study, explores with a special emphasis on Marxist theories how such marriages between theology and social theory have created inconsistencies and contradictions." --Martin Riesebrodt University of Chicago
Randall W. Reed
Randall W. Reed is Assistant Professor of Religion at Appalachian State University.