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Spring 2009 · Vol. 38 No. 1 · pp. 45–57 

Exousiology and Torah: A Suggestion for Mennonite Political Theology with Reference to the Reimer-Yoder Divide

Jodie Boyer Hatlem and Douglas Johnson Hatlem

Evangelical Anarchy or Sadducean Collaboration: described pejoratively by competing theologians, these are the major options available for Mennonite political theology beyond quietistic pacifism. James Reimer’s “ ‘I came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it’: A Positive Theology of Law and Civil Institutions” suggests palpable tension between John Howard Yoder’s “particular way of a retrieving Jewish-Christianity as a prototype for his free Church ecclesiology” and “his strong, almost Marcion-like Christocentrism as a basis for his uncompromising nonviolent ethic.” 1 Reimer proposes the need for “a more honest theology of law and civil institutions” to counter the specter “of some kind of ‘evangelical anarchy’—a prevalent assumption among some that if we were truly obedient to the Lordship of Christ we would not need institutions.” 2 Reimer has gone so far as to suggest that Mennonites ought to refrain from “condemning other Christians and the international community in their compassionate police-keeping, including military intervention in places like Sudan. In fact, we ought to encourage and support such acts of ‘love for the neighbor,’ even within our own ranks.” 3

A theology adequate to the task of institutionalizing a nonviolent, revolutionary politics requires a thoroughgoing reappraisal of the place of Torah in church life

A Yoderian response might be found in two places originally published in 1972. In describing the Powers in The Politics of Jesus, Yoder warns Christians “not to fall prey to the Sadducean or ‘German Christian’ temptation to read off the surface of history a simple declaration of God’s will.” 4 Yoder suggests that contemporary examples of those who follow “the strategy of the Herodians and the Sadducees” include not only those who wholeheartedly approve of a current order, but also “critic[s]-from-within-the-establishment” who would infiltrate political power centers in order to improve them in progressive steps. 5 Elsewhere, Yoder suggests that “Sadducean collaboration with the Roman Empire” was as least as great a mistake as Maccabean revolt. 6 We will begin by analyzing Yoder and Reimer’s positions on Mennonite political theology and supersessionism as it relates to law, proceed to suggest that Michel Foucault’s writing on power fits well within a Yoderian understanding of the Powers requiring a full-bodied conception of law that is from below, and conclude with a proposal for an understanding, via three Jewish thinkers, of the Torah as natural law that can provide the basis for Mennonite political theology precisely along those lines. In short, Yoder’s ambivalence with respect to Pharisaic-Rabbinic Judaism unacceptably leaves him open to the charge of evangelical anarchy or a-nomism; a theology adequate to the task of institutionalizing a nonviolent, revolutionary politics requires a thoroughgoing reappraisal of the place of Torah in church life.


Reimer has recently published a number of pieces critical of Yoder. Much of what he has written recently is in preparation for a larger project tentatively entitled “When Law and Civil Institutions are Just: Honesty in Pacifist Thinking.” 7 We will draw heavily on a single essay because it covers so much fruitful ground. At the titular heart of that essay is a suggestion that Yoder fails to grapple sufficiently with the Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew who declared that he came “not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.” Such a position results in a failure to give “explicit theological reflection on the world outside the church” 8 and demonstrates “the Marcion-like tendency of the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition (including Yoder) to think of the New Testament as having superseded the Old Testament if not outrightly replaced it.” 9 Finally, such a-nomism seems to contradict Yoder’s own understanding in For the Nations and elsewhere of a Jeremianic model of social involvement that makes “exilic-Diaspora synagogue Judaism” a “prototype for his free church ecclesiology.” 10 Reimer offers the thought of Mennonite Hebrew scripture scholars John Miller and Waldemar Janzen as alternatives to Yoder’s rather limited reading of Old Testament ethical literature. 11 Reimer moves in a section entitled “Jesus, Paul, and Torah” to contemporary New Testament scholarship to suggest that Jesus and Paul accepted a much more robust role for “public, civil law.” 12

We share Reimer’s concern with the prospect of a-nomism or evangelical anarchy in Yoder’s thought, agreeing with his attempt to expand the meaning of the law that Jesus came to fulfill beyond the limited cases enumerated in the immediate context of Matthew 5. Furthermore, we endorse Reimer’s insistence, drawn from Miller, that we might gain special insight into such a project by considering how Jewish thinking developed during the “Noachide epoch.” 13 While we cannot follow him all the way on this score, we find compelling the initial direction he takes in his section on “Paul and the Civil Authorities” including a “conditional affirmative” answer to the question of whether public law can be normative for Christians. Finally, however, Reimer’s work to date on law and civil institutions represents a false start.

Yoder’s flirtation with a-nomism is problematic not because it fails to give a positive theology of Christian relationship to the state, but because Yoder’s failure to thematize the law actually undermines his theology of church and history that resists the state. The law that Jesus came to fulfill (the Torah, in Matthew, rather than some generalized conception of civil or public law) represents a potential for nonviolent, non-statist law. 14 While the political theology of The Politics of Jesus excludes the Sadducean option of collaboration, the Zealot option of violent revolt, and the Essene option of societal withdrawal, it must and does find some room for common cause with the Pharisaic option.

In a chapter in The Politics of Jesus entitled “The Possibility of Nonviolent Resistance,” Yoder seeks to dispel an “air of irrealism” by pointing to other examples of effective nonviolent resistance, even in Jesus’ time. 15 Yoder begins with a situation in which Caesar’s effigies were brought into Jerusalem. Certain Jews appeared before Pilate, entreating him to remove the images and continuing after initial rejection for six days. Finally, Pilate surrounded the protesters with soldiers and threatened death unless they relented. “But they threw themselves upon the ground and laid their necks bare and said they would take their death very willingly rather than that the wisdom of their law should be transgressed.” 16 Pilate, we are told, ordered the images removed from Jerusalem. Yoder proceeds to an account of an event within a decade in which a nonviolent general strike successfully resisted a repetition of the “abomination desolation.” 17 These examples are drawn from material describing precisely the way of relating to the powers of their day that characterized Pharisaic political theology 18 and play an important part in Yoder’s overall argument. They “negate the sweeping assumption that in rejecting the Zealot option Jesus’ only other conceivable alternative would have been the end of the world or a retreat to the desert; in other words, to reject the responsible sword is to withdraw from history.” 19

In an essay in For the Nations: Essays Public and Evangelical, Yoder argues that Jesus “joins the rabbis who had already decided that the Maccabean experiment had been a mistake. He prefigures a later rabbi like Johanan ben Zakkai, who was to disavow the Zealot rebellion of A.D. 66–70.” 20 The use of the term “rabbis” to refer to a time before A.D. 70 is somewhat anachronistic. They were, in fact, Pharisees. Yoder goes on to describe Jesus’ public teaching ministry as “a renewed claim to the mantle of Moses as an instrument of God’s sustaining his people with bread in the desert, at the beginning of a new exodus.” 21 Here, Jesus’ ministry is described in a way stressing deep similarities that held between his political theology and the Pharisees.

The politics of Jesus is thus clarified, exemplified, or made plausible by reference to a Pharisaic political option. However, this is not the only way that Yoder typifies the “Pharisee option.” In “The Original Revolution” the Pharisees are identified with “proper religion,” 22 and in The Politics of Jesus Yoder quotes with approval an analysis of them as “personifying piety.” 23 What’s more, contemporary parallels of the Pharisees are said, like the Sadducees, to “take the side of the establishment.” 24 While acknowledging that the Pharisee option, like the Zealot option, “lay close on the path of Jesus,” they fit into the typology of “The Original Revolution” much like forebears of Christian fundamentalism:

These people kept themselves pure in the midst of the city by keeping rules of segregation. Certain areas of life were to be avoided; certain elements of culture are not for the Pharisee. Certain coins, certain crops, certain persons, certain occupations, certain days were taboo. So it is in our day; there are many who feel that it is both possible and desirable to distinguish by a clear line the “spiritual” or the “moral” issues, to which religion properly speaks, from “social” and “political” issues, which are not the business of religion. 25

No evidence exists that the Pharisees attempted to cordon off the spiritual and moral from the social and political. It is also more than a little strange that Yoder, who concerned himself so regularly with Body Politics as necessary to sustain the church’s social ethics, should disparage the Pharisees for taking care with respect to coins, crops, occupations, and days as if such concerns are apolitical, having nothing to do with a social vision. 26 Yoder here fails to take into account his own description of nonviolent political resistance while appearing to take aim at the pietism of contemporary forms of Protestantism or evangelical fundamentalism that involve a strict public/private distinction. It is an alarming case in which typological reasoning trumps Yoder’s own understanding of social ethics. Such thinking is scarcely reconcilable with Yoder’s own later commitment to the synagogue as a non-centralized Judaism, a model of how Christians might live in the city, maintaining a biblical identity while still seeking the peace of that city. 27

We return, then, to Reimer’s suggestion of a Yoderian “evangelical anarchy” versus Jesus’ claim to fulfill the law. Two essays on Yoder’s legacy by Reimer were produced before the posthumous publication of Yoder’s The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited, a work in which Jewish philosophical theologian Peter Ochs comments in turn on each of the essays that make up the collection. 28 Reimer works with some of the same material that would later make up the The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited as a way of forwarding John Miller’s alternative reading of the Jewish story, one that Reimer takes to be less pejorative, and therefore less supersessionist. 29 Yoder’s brief treatment of Pharisaic Judaism in The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited (and in precisely the essay that Reimer deals with most extensively) is the most favorable presentation of them within his entire body of writings. He places the Pharisaic school of Hillel in a long line that came to define a diasporic, rabbinic Judaism. 30

As such, it is disappointing that Yoder’s attention to questions surrounding the Torah is far from thoroughgoing. Yet there are hopeful wisps. In an essay first presented publicly in 1982, “Jesus the Jewish Pacifist,” Yoder for once notices that Rabbinic Judaism’s “gather[ing] around the record of the ancient revelation of the Torah” was critical in sustaining its avoidance of violence. 31 He writes,

For two millennia Judaism has lived its ages of toleration and its ages of renewed exile or even martyrdom . . . Their literature . . . created a special genre . . . the rabbinic rhapsodic ‘praise of Peace.’ Occasionally privileged after the model of Joseph, more often emigrating, frequently suffering martyrdom nonviolently, they were able to maintain identity without turf or sword, community without sovereignty. They thereby demonstrated pragmatically the viability of the ethic of Jeremiah and Jesus. In sum: for over a millennium the Jews of the diaspora were the closest thing to the ethic of Jesus existing on any significant scale anywhere in Christendom. 32

In this vein, we might recall a line from For the Nations where “[t]he coming of the Messiah means the coming of all the nations to the knowledge of Torah, not a privilege for the people who have been sharing the witness of hope ever since Moses.” 33 Why do reflections such as these not form the basic material for an essay such as “Judaism as a Non-non Christian Religion”? As is, this essay draws the sharpest rebuke from Peter Ochs.

Instead of renarrating Jewish commitment to Torah as producing its communities’ structural indistinguishability from a peace church, the best example of a nonviolent, messianic people witnessing to the way of the word amidst myriad violent cultures and nations, Yoder argues that Rabbinic Judaism should be seen as almost entirely a reactionary movement against schismatic, Constantinian, metaphysical Christianity. Yoder almost totally ignores the place that Christian aversion to Torah played in the split, and follows so many others who have entered the fray of Jewish-Christian relations and almost solely focused on the historical nature of the schism rather than also on a way forward.

While noticing that adherence to Torah could allow Jewish communities to sustain themselves “without turf or sword,” Yoder never fully corrected an understanding in The Politics of Jesus of the Torah as among the fallen principalities and powers. Even in the updated 1994 edition of The Politics of Jesus, Yoder follows the limited view of Galatians 4 in including the Torah as one of the fallen powers of this world, “seeking to separate us from the love of God, . . . holding us under their tutelage” and “prevent[ing] us from attaining to filial maturity.” 34 While Yoder acknowledges “the law” as “nevertheless righteous and good” and insists that “we should obey it,” his focus on “the ‘exousiology’ of the apostle, that is, his doctrine of the Powers,” precludes more careful attention to Paul’s treatment of the law in Romans where the Torah itself is never taken as anything less than good, but is rather itself captured by the overarching logic of sin. 35


At this point, we might helpfully place Yoder’s “exousiology” in conversation with the most penetrating philosopher of power in the twentieth century, Michel Foucault.

In Yoder’s account, “the Powers” are both what preserves human society and what hold humans in the throes of servitude. The common expression “the powers that be,” insofar as it could include a wide variety of power-brokers from the head of the school board, to the editor of the newspaper, to a local shop owner, is capable of bearing much of the weight of the term’s meaning. Yoder exhaustively lists the Powers to include the state, politics, class, national interest, accepted morality, democracy, decency, place of clan or tribe, respect for ancestors and family, the justice system, race, ideology, morality and more. The Powers are variously described in the New Testament as Angels and Archangels, Thrones and Dominions, Principalities and Powers, Heights and Depths, Wisdom, and the Authorities. 36

The Powers are not adiaphoric; they are fallen and have a distinct trajectory and their own intentionality. The Powers are not empty forms waiting to be filled by a moral agent; they are in rebellion. While the egotism of the Powers is constituted by all the little egotists which belong to these Powers, the depravity of the Powers is much more than the sum of its parts. The Powers have claimed for themselves an absoluteness that does not rightly belong to them. As Yoder says, “we cannot live with them.” 37 But, also “we cannot live without them.” 38 They mediate the providential sovereignty of God and the grace that makes the rain to fall upon the just and the unjust. The Powers were created by God, declared to be good, and established to provide order and structure to human communal life. This very necessity is the condition of our extreme slavery. “Our lostness and our survival are inseparable, both dependent upon the Powers.” 39 Yet, “we have no access to the good creation of God.” 40 We no longer know the secret logic that makes the Powers “good.” Although we cannot know how they are good, even a tyrant is better than chaos and even “pagan and primitive forms of social and religious expression although unworthy of being imitated, remain a sign of the preserving patience of God to a world that has not yet heard of its redemption.” 41

Redemption, for Yoder, is the result of Jesus having lived a life that rejected the sovereignty of the Powers while yet being, in some sense, submissive to them. Jesus lived a life that was politically and soteriologically powerful, completely rejecting the Powers’ claims to sovereignty. The Lord of the world entered into it and made a public spectacle of the Powers’ self-arrogation. Jewish leadership forsook the holiness of Sabbath and Roman government officials forsook law and justice in order to combat a lordship that they could not possess. 42

As noted above, Torah is problematically included as one of the Powers. Paul’s understanding of the “the Law” in Galatians functions as one of the primary motifs for Yoder’s understanding of New Testament exousiology. Yet, it is simply not possible to say of Torah that we know nothing of God’s intentions for humanity from them. The very same Letter to the Galatians, for instance, allows a disciplinary centrality to the Law. A further problem stems from Yoder’s claim that post-exilic Judaism is the visible community that has best lived out a communal politics that denies the Powers’ struggle for lordship. If it is not Torah that under writes rabbinic politics, what else could it possibly be?

With this question in mind, we turn to the thinking of French philosopher Michel Foucault on power. Some thinkers, most notably David Toole, have already noticed profound similarities between Yoder and Foucault’s thematizing of power and the Powers. 43 Toole argues that in Yoder’s thought as well as in Foucault’s, there is no “outside” to power. The Powers are inescapable aspects of all society, culture, and life together. Power, for Foucault, “is not an institution, and not a structure, neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society.” 44 Power “comes from below,” and “[w]here there is power, there is resistance.” 45

If power is non-structural, non-imperial, and non-instrumental then resistance is to be understood wholly differently. Toole quotes Yoder’s statement that “we must ‘dismantle the notion . . . that Caesar is the privileged mover of history’.” 46 The state is not meaningless when it comes to power, but society cannot be altered if “the mechanisms of power that function outside, below and alongside the State apparatus, on a much more minute and everyday level, are not also changed.” 47 Foucault’s historical treatment posits a “profound transformation of the mechanism of power” from juridical power based on the concept of the sovereign, which is “the right to take life or let live,” to administrative regimes, whose justification gives them the “power to foster life or disallow it to the point of death.” 48 It is in this context that Foucault first deploys the term biopolitics. 49

For Foucault, biopolitics emerges from the way in which nation-states, in the centuries after the Reformation, began to employ models drawn from pastoral care, monasticism, and the Old Testament in order to govern the body–both corporate and individual. 50 This new power was initially a way of opposing monarchical sovereignty. It is centered on individual bodies in terms of disciplining and attempting to optimize production and reproduction, while simultaneously operating on a national level where it increasingly takes up processes involving statistics and life-governing administration. Modern power is exemplified not only in the sword or the bomb, but at a much more basic level in life-administering regimes. Insofar as Mennonite political theology tends toward being for or against the king, the sovereign, or the state as the locus of historical efficacy, Foucault and Yoder require an abandonment of top-down political thought in favor of working at power from below.

With such an insistence in mind, we turn to the potential of Torah as a non-statist, nonviolent law “from below.”


To date, Reimer’s theological project on law and civil society fails to demonstrate a requisite grappling with philosophical and theological conceptions of power. Yoder, meanwhile, a theological ethicist by trade, never extensively made use of his exousiology to think theologically about law, in spite of the fact that law is often the final forum in which ethical decisions are made. 51 We agree with Reimer’s assessment of the need, as one section in “I came not to abolish” is entitled, for “Re-enfranchising the Old Testament Law for a Christian View of Civil Life.” 52 However, Reimer has not justified the kind of blithe movement he makes at the end of “I came not to abolish.” An entire article, whose conclusion should be something like a call for Christian re-engagement with Jewish law, instead ends with an incongruous platitude. “Christians, including Mennonites,” suggests Reimer, must take responsibility for and within a larger legal culture since “Jewish law codes are prototypes for later constitutional law and therefore are foundational for the development of Western civil law and the entrenchment of individual and corporate rights and natural justice.” 53

“Jews,” as Reimer rightly insists in the same final paragraph, “did not understand law self-righteously or legalistically but as based on divine encounter and grace.” 54 The “Pharisee option” did actually come far closer to Jesus’ path of nonviolent resistance than any contemporaneous alternative. Far from “personifying piety,” “taking the side of the establishment,” or partitioning the spiritual from the political, Pharisaic political theology could best be characterized as making use of an oral tradition to relate the teachings of the Torah to every detail of life. 55 While in some respects this led to straining after gnats, the Pharisees and the rabbinic tradition that followed generally refused to swallow the camel of violently propped legal institutionality. Early on, the rabbinic tradition basically abolished the death penalty. More impressively, it sustained itself as a comprehensive and living legal system for nearly two millennia with extraordinarily rare recourse to the state violence of militaries, police, prisons, or armed court guards.

We have written favorably of Robert Cover’s contrast between imperial law and, what he terms, paideic law. 56 Cover’s understanding of law is far broader than legal codes and courts. We all live within a nomos, according to Cover, a narrative world which creates and gives meaning to understandings of right and wrong. Imperial law relies primarily on violence and the threat of violence to maintain order and security within its world of meaning. By contrast, paideic law celebrates, wonders, and revels in a body of law that is passed on by way of education rather than enforced by violence. Rabbinic law is the primary example of paideic law for Cover. However, Anabaptist traditions, even to the extent that they function with an anti-law understanding of divine grace as foundational, fit within his expanded understanding of a nomos governed by nonviolent, paideic law. 57

One of the major difficulties with “re-enfranchising Old Testament law” for gentile Christians is in knowing where to begin. One confronts the immediate problem of deciding whether to take the biblical witness at face value, in which case the problem of violence is renewed in full force. If, on the other hand, the general nonviolence of the rabbinic tradition is embraced, then how do we approach the massively daunting task of coming to grips with rabbinic literature?

David Novak has argued extensively for a Jewish understanding of natural law that might address such questions. Where Yoder rejects the possibility of natural law because he sees it undermining “ ‘particular’ Jewish or Christian sources of moral vision,” Novak highlights the work of Elijah Benamozegh. 58 In an extraordinarily long footnote, The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited addresses Novak, Benamozegh, and natural law. 59 Unfortunately, Yoder is far too concerned to establish a historical point about the way rabbinic law used the concept to give up on a Jewish mission to the wider world. While it is clear from the reaction garnered to date that Yoder’s historical argument is non-trivial, he has allowed what was to completely trump the very different impact of such a project in contemporary times. 60 For what Benamozegh and Novak have been up to is a way of using the concept of the Noachide to recover the possibility of a wider Jewish mission with respect to Torah and the nations.

Benamozegh, a nineteenth century Italian rabbi, provides a brilliant account of Noachide law, a way of doing natural law that fully addresses misgivings about the propriety of natural law. Benamozegh insists on a strict identity between natural reason and the Mosaic Law in a way reminiscent of Yoder’s phrase, picked up by Stanley Hauerwas in the title of his Gifford lectures, regarding those who bear crosses. Where a whole host of Christian thinkers from Aquinas forward have used the concept of natural law as a means of avoiding a more thoroughgoing application of the Torah as law, there is no way, on Benamozegh’s understanding, to turn a natural law or Noachide logic against the actual demands of the commandments. They are perfectly synonymous. One could say with Benamozegh that those who keep Torah are working with the grain of the universe. Benamozegh was once asked for his thoughts by a Catholic friend tinkering with conversion to Judaism. His reply included a suggestion that no radical conversion was necessary. Christians can begin with the Noachide and gradually take on obedience to more of Torah as understanding and capability increase. Benamozegh is thus able to make an alliance with Enlightenment reasoning that, at once, radically changes Enlightenment discourse and provides a way for Christians to begin with the Noachide as a way into the universe of Mosaic law as natural law.

If Jesus were born in Bethlehem today, he would undoubtedly view the political theology of most North American Mennonites as something akin to Sadducean cooperation. Palestinians, perhaps especially Palestinian Christians, would understandably place little hope in the power of Torah observance. What if, however, such observance was combined with, even flowed out of, a thoroughgoing rejection of violent nation-states? What if alternatives to Mennonite political quietism include not only evangelical anarchy or allegiance to the nation state, but also a nonviolent commitment to Torah as law from below that resists the state? What if we were to retain a thoroughgoing commitment to nonviolence while re-engaging biblical law and making “tactical alliances” where possible with more universal forms of reason and ways of being in the world? This is what the Reimer-Yoder divide allows for and calls forth. 61 This is the possibility offered up by Jewish thinkers Benamozegh, Cover, and Novak.


  1. A Mind Patient and Untamed: Assessing John Howard Yoder’s Contribution to Theology, Ethics, and Peacemaking, ed. Ben C. Ollenburger and Gayle Gerber Koontz (Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing House, 2004), 251.
  2. Ibid., 247.
  3. As quoted from a conference paper by Reimer, “Is Force Sometimes Justified? Gibt Es ‘Legitime Gewalt?’ ” We are using the quotation from Andy Alexis-Baker’s “The Gospel or a Glock? Mennonites and the Police,” The Conrad Grebel Review 25, no. 2 (2007): 42 n13.
  4. The Politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994), 155.
  5. Yoder, “The Original Revolution,” in his For the Nations: Essays Public and Evangelical (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans 1997), 169–71. The essay was first published as chapter one in his book of the same title, The Original Revolution: Essays on Christian Pacifism (Scottdale, PA: Herald, 1972).
  6. “See How They Go with Their Faces to the Sun” (first presented two decades later in 1992) For the Nations, 75.
  7. Reimer, “I came not to abolish,” 247.
  8. Ibid. A similar argument can be found in “Theological Orthodoxy and Jewish Christianity: A Personal Tribute to John Howard Yoder,” in The Wisdom of the Cross: Essays in Honor of John Howard Yoder, ed. Stanley Hauerwas et al. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999), 432.
  9. Reimer, “I came not to abolish,” 256.
  10. Ibid., 251.
  11. Ibid., 252–59.
  12. Ibid., 259–67, esp. 262.
  13. Ibid., 253.
  14. For more specific suggestions on non-statist, nonviolent law see our essay “Law Without Violence,” in The Conrad Grebel Review’s issue on Mennonites and Policing, vol. 26, no. 2 (2008): 36–49.
  15. Yoder, Politics of Jesus, 89ff.
  16. As quoted at ibid., 90.
  17. Ibid., 91–92.
  18. See E.P. Sanders’ treatment of the Pharisees in Judaism: Practice and Belief, 63 BCE–66 CE (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press Intl, 1992).
  19. Yoder, Politics of Jesus, 92.
  20. “Are You the One Who Is to Come,” 205.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Yoder, “Original Revolution,” 173.
  23. Yoder, Politics of Jesus, 146.
  24. Yoder, “Original Revolution,” 174.
  25. Ibid.
  26. See John Howard Yoder, Body Politics: Five Practices of the Christian Church Before the Watching World (Scottdale, PA: Herald, 2001).
  27. See the Introduction to For the Nations, esp. pp. 1–9.
  28. Yoder, The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited, ed. Michael G. Cartwright and Peter Ochs (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003).
  29. Reimer, “Theological Orthodoxy and Jewish Christianity,” 440ff.
  30. Yoder, “Jesus the Jewish Pacifist,” Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited, 77.
  31. Ibid., 81. (Note 1 on p. 87 dates this essay at 1982.)
  32. Ibid., 81–82.
  33. Yoder, For the Nations, 129–30 (emphasis his).
  34. Yoder, Politics of Jesus, 141.
  35. Ibid., 141 and 143.
  36. Ibid., 137–42.
  37. Ibid., 143 (emphasis his).
  38. Ibid., (emphasis his).
  39. Ibid.
  40. Ibid., 141.
  41. Ibid., 157.
  42. Ibid., 145ff.
  43. Toole, Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo: Theological Reflections on Nihilism, Tragedy, and Apocalypse (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998), especially chapters 5, 6, and 7 (pp. 129–226).
  44. Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume 1 [1976] trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage, 1990), 93.
  45. Ibid., 94–95.
  46. Toole, 217.
  47. Toole, quoting Foucault, 218.
  48. Foucault, History of Sexuality, 136, 138 (emphasis his).
  49. A number of thinkers including Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Žižek, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have begun using the concept in their own ways that fail to grasp the most important aspects of Foucault’s work on biopolitics.
  50. Foucault’s Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège de France 1975–1976 (trans. David Macey [New York: Picador, 2003]), especially chapter four, makes this case.
  51. Richard Patrick Church, in First Be Reconciled: Challenging Christians in the Courts (Scottdale, PA: Herald, 2008), has attempted to give us a Yoderian perspective in this regard.
  52. Reimer, “I came not to abolish,” 256ff.
  53. Ibid., 270–71.
  54. Ibid., 270.
  55. Jodie Boyer Hatlem asked David Novak in private conversation in December 2008 how he would characterize the Pharisees’ political theology. This sentence aims to capture the essence of his reply.
  56. We have discussed Cover’s “The Supreme Court, 1982 Term—Foreword: Nomos and Narrative” (Harvard Law Review 97, no. 4 [1983]: 4–68) in “Law Without Violence,” The Conrad Grebel Review 26, no. 2 (2008): 40–42.
  57. See Cover, “Nomos and Narrative,” 28 n76.
  58. Yoder, Politics of Jesus, 19. See Novak, The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism: An Historical and Constructive Study of the Noachide Laws, Toronto Studies in Theology no. 14 (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 1983) and Benamozegh, Israel and Humanity (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist, 1995).
  59. Yoder, Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited, 98–100.
  60. Ochs and Daniel Boyarin take up opposing, critical positions of Yoder at precisely this point. Ochs, The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited, 158–59 and Boyarin “Judaism as a Free Church: Footnotes to John Howard Yoder’s The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited,” Cross Currents 56, no. 4 (2006–7).
  61. The language of “tactical alliances” comes from Yoder’s essay, “But We Do See Jesus,” The Priestly Kingdom: Social Ethics as Gospel (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), 61.
Jodie Boyer Hatlem has a masters degree from Duke Divinity School and is currently a Ph.D. student in Modern Religious History at the Centre for the Study of Religion (University of Toronto). Douglas Johnson Hatlem also has a masters degree from Duke Divinity School. He now works as a street pastor with homeless people in downtown Toronto where he is regularly involved with matters pertaining to law and violence.

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