The Political Samaritan

The Political Samaritan : How power hijacked a parable

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Nick Spencer sets out to rescue an innocent parable, mugged for political ends, ignored by passers-by, and then left for half-dead at the edge of the English language.

The parable of the Good Samaritan has been used by almost every major British politician over recent years - from Theresa May and Tony Blair to Margaret Thatcher and Jeremy Corbyn. But they don't all use it to say the same thing.

Discussing the various figures who've politicised the Samaritan, Spencer - described by the Economist as `like a prophet crying in the post-modern wilderness' - explains why and how Jesus' famous parable got mixed up in politics. From abolitionists to warmongers, prime ministers to activists such as Dr Martin Luther King, he uncovers the reasons for the parable's popularity - and then asks the killer question: who gets it right?

If the Good Samaritan has been dragged on to the political stage, whose side is he on?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 12.7mm | 232g
  • Bloomsbury Continuum
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • No illustrations
  • 1472942213
  • 9781472942210
  • 53,664

Review quote

Engagingly written, wide-ranging, and important ... this journey through the political Samaritan's uses/misuses, meanings, and citations leaves us with whole new sets of questions about the politics of our society and the place of religion within it. * Church Times * Illuminating ... an intriguing display of how scripture takes on a life of its own in public life * Reading Religion * Brilliant ... a political archeology of Jesus's famous parable, a kind of exegetical investigation into the parable's politics, and how - startlingly - the good Samaritan somehow sits on both sides of the political aisle ... Here is a chance to dig deep into some thoughtful, original public theology that will not offer you partisan triggers ...
Spencer's little book is so creative, so fascinating, that I wish there were more political archaeologies of the prodigal son, the unforgiving servant, the two debtors, wise and foolish builders, and so on. Alas, this tiny book is only one for now, so I commend it to you. * Comment (Cardus, Canada) *
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About Nick Spencer

Nick Spencer is Director of Theos, a Christian think tank.

He is the author of Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury) and Freedom and Order: History Politics and the English Bible (Hodder and Stoughton).
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