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The politics of the crucified: a study of the political theology of John Howard Yoder, Leonardo Boff and Jon Sobrino with special reference to the crucifixion

By John Christopher Peet


Jesus died violently on the cross, the form of execution imposed on those who threatened the Roman imperial order. What difference does this make to Christian political theology? What is the revelatory value of Jesus’ death with regard to political theology? This thesis explores these questions, using a Christocentric methodology and taking three theologians in particular as interlocutors -– the\ud Mennonite theologian John Yoder and the Latin American liberation theologians Leonardo Boff and Jon Sobrino – with special reference to an examination of the ways in which their political theologies are shaped by the cross. The first part of the thesis consists of a close analysis and comparison of the writings of the above theologians concerning the cross. In Yoder, the theme of a cruciform, non-violent and non-resistant church is emphasised. In Boff and Sobrino the cross is seen to represent a protest against suffering in the name of a crucified God in solidarity with a crucified people. In the second part of the thesis the perspective widens to examine two issues which particularly arise from this analysis – how a Christian doctrine of political power is affected by the crucifixion, and how the contemporary church, particularly in Britain, might adopt a ‘cruciform’ political praxis. The\ud conclusion is drawn that the chief Christian criterion for analysing political power is victimological – i.e. from the perspective of the victims of power, rather than those\ud who exercise it. In the light of this, and given its increasingly marginalised status, the church in Britain should abandon any pretensions to ‘Christendom’, formulate a\ud cruciform political theology and willingly live out a cruciform status

Publisher: School of Theology & Religious Studies (Leeds)
Year: 2010
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