Final thoughts on Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat’s study, Colossians Remixed.
First, this is a definitive study of using empire ideology to comprehend both a Pauline letter and bringing those insights into our world. It selectively looks at Colossians in light of that empire ideology.
Second, the “commentary” is one of the few so conversant with postmodernity and how postmoderns hear a text like one of Paul’s letters.
Third, I’m unpersuaded of the centrality of the empire theme in Colossians. It can be “read into” Colossians but I’m not so sure it is that easy to “read it out of” Colossians. The “image” connection isn’t persuasive to me; the lordship connection clearly has implications for empire — whether in Paul’s mind or not.
Fourth, this book taps into the anti-Bush, welfare state-leaning critique of Western, esp USA culture and for this reason I predict, if a Democrat wins the next election, this book will no longer have any biting edge. Which is to say, it is a tract for our times for some of us. It is not an exposition of Colossians for all times. My own political independence attracts me at times to some of what they write but many times I come to similar conclusions for other reasons.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. I liked most of it; I disagreed at times because I didn’t think the case was proven. If I can see empire implications in the theology of Paul that does not mean that I think Paul had that in his mind as he wrote this letter.
It would be fun to teach Colossians with this book as a constant point of interaction. How, I would ask in that setting, does Colossians speak to our world? For me, it would be other than empire.