This innovative exploration of the Exodus story focuses on the privileged and oppressive nature of the Egyptian empire rather than the liberation of the Israelites.
Set Them Free: The Other Side of Exodus
Published on October 15, 2014
In today’s world, where more than half of the people go to bed hungry each night and many lack basic shelter, first-world Christians may be more like members of the ruling elite of Egypt than the Hebrew slaves with whom they usually identify. We need to examine how our taken-for-granted privileges can unintentionally or unwittingly harm and oppress others.
The first part reviews the Exodus story, showing how its principle themes have been used and critiqued by liberation theologians. In the second part, Dykstra continues to tell the Exodus story by focusing on particular people and themes. Pharaoh, his daughter, and others such as the Egyptian midwives show us how to and how not to pattern our lives. They show us how, as privileged dwellers in the first world, we Christians need to distance ourselves from the trappings of empire and, with determination, become liberators rather than oppressors.
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- “A remarkable book of contextual biblical studies . . . Dykstra’s subject is the story of Exodus, not as told by the slaves, but from the perspective of the Egyptian empire. There she finds a haunting mirror of North American culture, of its oppression, self-aggrandizement, and brutal racism. The result is a splendid work of public theology.” —Kathleen M. O’Connor, Columbia Theological Seminary
- “The late Robert McAfee Brown used to worry about how we North American Christians, with our vantage point from ‘within Pharaoh’s household,’ might legitimately respond to Third World liberation theology’s appropriation of the Exodus story. Now from the heart of the Catholic Worker movement comes just such a reading, and it is fresh, literate, and deeply engaged. A sophisticated and compelling project.” —Ched Myers, author, Binding the Strong Man
- ”Prophetic, critical, and passionate. Never before has there been a volume that offers such a profound critical theological and social reflection on a biblical text, the world that shaped it, and the contemporary community who now reads it . . . This book is one of the best that I have read in a long, long time.” —Carol Dempsey, editor, Theology and Sacred Scripture