The Politics of Jesus | John Howard Yoder (Ch. 5)


Chapter 5: The Possibility of Nonviolent Resistance


Chapter five is a mere three pages long with one page consisting of a lengthy quote from Josephus. In it Yoder demonstrates that there were ways the Jewish people of Jesus’ day could resist Rome without turning to violent Zealotry. Using Josephus, he showed how the Jews would rather die than accept Caesar’s effigies in their holy city. Pilate was moved by their passion as they laid bare their necks to his judgment. The second time they tried this Pilate massacred them.

The Jews were also successful in non-violent protest when they went on strike in lieu of worshiping Caligula. A year without crops would have serious consequences for both Caligula’s tax revenue as well as the Jewish people’s food supply.


There’s not too much to say here. The history lesson was interesting. I think it’s a stretch to call these events nonviolent resistance. While the nomenclature’s technically accurate, the participants would obviously have had no idea of the baggage that term carries today.

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