Bit of a different format this week, as we spend (almost) the entire, shorter episode on Romans 13. If we put ourselves in the shoes of an oppressed and colonised people, we find a very different perspective on government emerge from this text than the one typically heard in affluent, Western democracies. Guided by Sung Uk Lim's 2015 paper, A double-voiced reading of Romans 13:1-7 in light of the imperial cult, we venture into the world of 1st century Roman politics and religion, and ask what we can bring back to our own place and time.

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There almost was no episode this week, as last week we had a poorly toddler in the house. I couldn't let this chapter in Romans go, though, especially not after we did Romans 1 last time. If Romans 13 doesn't deeply challenge and unsettle us, then probably we're bibling all wrong.

The place of the Christian in contemporary society and political life is a fraught question, with very different approaches taken in different counties, and in different Christian traditions. It's a question with no glib answer, or simple, pious response; but it's one that we can't honestly avoid if we have any intention of shining the light of the gospel into our world.

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Lim, Sung U. (2015). A double-voiced reading of Romans 13:1-7 in light of the imperial cult, HTS Theological Studies, 71(1), 01-10.
HTS Theological Studies (open access)


Divinity of the Emperor, from History of Shinto on BBC Religion and Ethics.

Mikhail Bakhtin's Dialogic, publisher extract from Key Terms in Literary Theory (Mary Klages, 2012; Bloomsbury Publishing).


Romans 1, Romans 13