James Crossley, a professor of Bible, Society and Politics, analyzes the story of Easter across the political spectrum, using Monty Python’s ‘The Life of Brian’ and political movements of the last half-century in Great Britain to interpret the story of Easter in the passion gospel.
Crossley explores Thatcherism and how her vision of Jesus was a response to the cultural shifts reflected in the ‘Life of Brian’. From the essay:
On the one hand, we have Thatcher who, from the 1970s onwards, was explicitly using Jesus and the Bible as a key source for her emerging neoliberalism, as well as representing the core values of England, Britain and the West.
This Bible was, of course, was constructed in sharp contrast to Marxism and Soviet Communism. Thatcher’s Bible and Thatcher’s Jesus was about — and was the authority for — individualism, freedom, tolerance, rule of law, and English or British heritage. It also had a particularly influential (and then distinctive) emphasis on individual wealth creation and charitable giving as a partial alternative to state provision of welfare. As she famously claimed of Jesus’ parable, ‘no-one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well’.
What do you think of modern political interpretations of Jesus? Do you have a favorite one?