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.