Luke-Acts: Gospeling Peace Amid Empire BIB526 / B

Instructor: Drew Strait, PhD

Luke is the only author in the New Testament to compose a biography of Jesus and a biography of the early church. As such, Luke affords us a unique window into how first-generation Christ-followers lived out the teachings of Jesus as they proclaimed “peace through Jesus Christ” from Jerusalem to Rome (Acts 10:36). This course animates Luke’s theology of peace and justice through comparative analysis with a neglected conversation partner in Lukan studies: namely, the “Roman peace” (pax Romana). Rome’s ideology of peace served as a metonym for “imperialism,” wherein Rome coercively pacified subjects through (1) military domination, (2) enslavement, and (3) racism (or the stigmatization of distant peoples as inferior). In conversation with Rome’s peace, we will investigate how Luke’s Gospel of Christ’s peace disrupts pax through coercion with an alternative global imaginary and body politic of shalom-justice that is anti-violent, inclusive, cosmic, corporate, restorative, reparative, transformative, and justice-making. We will also attend to Luke’s ethnic reasoning and the ways Luke imagines churches that neither erase nor hierarchically rank human difference.