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The Biblical Polemic Against Empires

ISBN: 9781683591252


The Biblical Polemic Against Empires

Reading the Bible in light of its Ancient Near Eastern context can dramatically influence the way we interpret Scripture. The Biblical Polemic Against Empires analyzes the Babylonian concept of deity, with particular orientation to theocracy. Professor Burns illustrates how three themes—deity, kingship, and city—govern the biblical polemic. These themes correspond to three principles: theocracy, correspondence, and interpenetration, which inform our understanding of the biblical arguments against idolatry.

By focusing on specific prophetic narratives, Burns argues that the biblical authors’ concern for truth is present on virtually every page in Scripture. By comparing competing texts in the Bible and Ancient Near Eastern materials, he highlights a direct attack on Babylonian principles. Special attention is devoted to prophetic narratives from protology to eschatology in the biblical revelation.

Burns demonstrates the importance of understanding Babylon’s theocratic culture and how it influenced Scripture’s authors.


  • Introduction
    • The Scope
    • The Sources
    • The Method
    • The Cosmological Framework
  • The Principle of Theocracy
    • The Nature of Mesopotamian Theocracy
    • The Ideals of Mesopotamian Theocracy
    • The Realities of Mesopotamian Theocracy
  • The Principle of Correspondence
    • The Background of the Principle
    • The Definition of the Principle
    • The Application of the Principle
    • The Source of the Principle
    • The Realities behind the Principle
  • Biblical Contrasts to the Principle of Correspondence
    • The Contrast with Archetypes
    • The Contrast with the Character of the Religion
  • The Principle of Interpenetration
    • The Background of the Principle
    • The Definition of the Concept
    • The Application of the Principle

Product Details

  • Title: The Biblical Polemic Against Empires
  • Author: Lanier Burns
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 563

J. Lanier Burns (ThM, ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary; PhD, University of Texas, Dallas) is senior research professor of theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. Since 1973, he has served as the president of the Asian Christian Academy in Bangalore, India.

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