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The Kingdom of God, 'Utopia' and Theocracy

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image of Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

While the phrase 'the kingdom of God' has obvious political overtones, its use by Jesus has most often been interpreted in social, eschatological and theological terms. This paper will survey representative interpretations of this concept in the secondary literature, and attempt to situate Jesus' understanding of 'the rule of God' within the spectrum of Greco-Roman and hellenistic Jewish political thought, with special reference to utopian and theocratic ideas. In addition, the paper will examine Jesus' use of this utopian and theocratic phrase in the context of Jewish nationalism under Roman rule, as explicated by D. Mendels.

Affiliations: 1: St. Thomas More College Saskatoon, SK, Canada


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