Jesus and the Politics of Compassion

Jesus’s Attack on the Purity System, by Marcus J. Borg

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The open table fellowship of Jesus embodied his alternative vision of an inclusive community

For Jesus, compassion was more than a quality of God and an individual virtue: it was a social paradigm, the core value for life in community. To put it boldly: compassion for Jesus was political. He directly and repeatedly challenged the dominant sociopolitical paradigm of his social world and advocated instead what might be called a politics of compassion. This conflict and this social vision continue to have striking implications for the life of the church today.

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Blake and Marx

The Humanised Universe of Blake and Marx, by Minna Doskow

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Both William Blake and Karl Marx address themselves to the central philosophical problem of their times, the relation of human subjectivity to the external world. Beginning with the new science of Bacon and his followers, and continuing through the philosophers of the Enlightenment, a breach between subject and object developed, between a self-defining subject who knows, wills, and reasons, and a given, objectified nature, including human nature, with which the subject must deal. Nature was seen as “mechanistic, atomistic, homogenizing” and based on contingency as was man, who as part of nature partook of its character. Reacting to this dualistic view, Blake and the other European Romantics of the 1790s sought a way to heal the breach between subject and object and reintegrate man with his world. Building on the Romantic attempt, and Hegel’s critical adaptation of it, Marx, too, a generation after Blake, attempted to heal the rift brought about by the Enlightenment.

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