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Cover Art
Author Jewett, Robert.

Title Captain America and the crusade against evil : the dilemma of zealous nationalism / Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence.

Published Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans, [2003]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  303.48273 JEWE    AVAILABLE
Physical description xvi, 392 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 327-371) and indexes.
Contents 1. Challenge of a Contradictory Civil Religion 1 -- Strange Persistence of Biblical Language 1 -- Steady Theme of Redeeming the World 3 -- A Contradictory Civil Religion in the Time of Jihad 6 -- 2. Endangered Towers and the Crusade Against Jihad 10 -- Contradictory Responses 11 -- Background of September 11 13 -- Martial Response and Lost Opportunities 16 -- Militant Jihad's Rationale 18 -- Parallel Logic of Crusade and Jihad 20 -- 3. Popular Culture as a Bearer of the National Complex 26 -- Superheroic Entertainments and Civil Religion 27 -- Rise of the American Monomyth 28 -- Popularization of Crusading Zeal 35 -- American Superheroism as a Threat to Democracy 39 -- Challenge of Pop Fascism 42 -- 4. A Rod of Iron or a Light to the Nations 44 -- Birth of Israelite Zeal and Realism 45 -- Critique of Zealous Warfare by Prophetic Realists 48 -- Israel's Dilemma during the Roman Period 51 -- Book of Revelation and the Dominance of Zealotry 53 -- 5. America's Zeal to Redeem the World 55 -- Rise of a Millennial Mission 55 -- Clashes between Zealous Nationalism and Prophetic Realism 61 -- Zeal's Frustration and the Claim of Manifest Destiny 66 -- Religious Impulse in American Imperialism 68 -- World War I as a Millennial Crusade 71 -- World War II and the Disjunction between Zeal and Realism 75 -- 6. Frustration of American Zealous Nationalism 79 -- Cold War's Thwarted Crusade 80 -- Brinkmanship and the Ideology of Anti-communism 88 -- Arrogant Missteps of Global Idealism 96 -- Defeated Superheroism in Vietnam 100 -- Zealous Nationalism and the Loss of Honor 103 -- 7. Ascendancy of Mythic Politics 107 -- Artificial Euphoria and the Mayaguez Episode 108 -- Carter's Failure at Domestic Superheroism 112 -- Reagan and the Ephemeral Triumph of Macho Superheroism 115 -- Mirage of Invulnerable Defense 118 -- Illusions of National Innocence 119 -- Gulf War and the Lost Chance for Prophetic Realism 123 -- Clinton's Frivolous Use of Mythic Politics 126 -- 8. Rapturous Rebirth of Millennial Zealotry 131 -- Recent Popularity of the Doom Boom 131 -- Background of Millennial Theology 135 -- Calendars for the Rapture 138 -- Recent Forms of Millennial Civil Religion 142 -- Jerusalem and the End of Days 144 -- Responsible Uses of the Apocalyptic 147 -- 9. Global Popularization of Zeal and Jihad 149 -- Recent Militarization of Jihad 150 -- Zealous Fervor in Israel 155 -- Spiraling Sanctified Violence 160 -- Aum Shinrikyo in Japan 162 -- Seeking Responsible Forms of Zeal and Jihad 164 -- 10. Consumed by Zeal and Jihad 167 -- Zeal in the Bible 168 -- Hot Zeal in Its Modern Embodiments 170 -- Dominance of Cool Zeal 176 -- Artful Zeal's Destructive Legacy 180 -- All-consuming Nature of Zeal and Jihad 186 -- Need for Modest Zeal and Jihad 188 -- 11. Evil as a Grand Conspiracy 192 -- Conspiracy Theory in the Bible 194 -- A Realistic Theory of Evil 197 -- Grand Conspiracies in American Politics 200 -- Conspiracy Theory and the Vietnam War 206 -- Paths Away from the Grand Conspiracy 209 -- 12. Stereotypes of Good and Evil 214 -- Rise of Stereotypes in Biblical History 216 -- American Adaptations of Ancient Stereotypes 221 -- Six Features of Popular Stereotypes 223 -- Problematic Stereotypes in Recent History 226 -- Three Negative Effects of Stereotyping 231 -- Five Strategies to Overcome Destructive Stereotypes 237 -- 13. To Convert Them or Destroy Them 245 -- Redemptive Violence in the Bible 246 -- Violence and America's Sense of Mission 250 -- Mystique of Violence in American Wars 254 -- Hosea's Critique of the Mystique of Violence 261 -- Overcoming the Illusions of Redemptive Destruction 270 -- 14. Neither Humiliation nor Defeat 273 -- Victory as the Reward for Piety in the Old Testament 275 -- Deuteronomic Principle in American History 276 -- Mythic Responses to Defeat 281 -- Impact of Defeat on Civil Religion 285 -- Bringing Prophetic Resources to the Experience of Defeat 288 -- 15. Crusades Against Symbolic Desecration 294 -- Struggle to Prevent Flag Desecration 297 -- Danger of Sanctifying National Symbols 301 -- Holiness as a Theological Issue 302 -- Muslim Campaigns against Desecration 304 -- Ominous Parallels in the Flag Desecration Campaign 306 -- Biblical Links between Desecration and Zealous Violence 309 -- 16. Prophetic Realism in Response to Jihad 313 -- Isaiah's Vision for Conflict Resolution 315 -- A Vision of Global Government 316 -- Waning American Support for International Law 319 -- Recovering America's Constitutional Mission 323.
Summary As immediate and relevant as today's headlines, this book sets forth a bold argument with direct implications for political life in America and around the world. Combining incisive cultural analysis and keen religious insight, Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence maintain that American crusading -- so powerfully embodied in popular entertainments -- has striking parallels with Islamic jihad and Israeli militancy. According to Jewett and Lawrence, American civil religion has both a humane, constitutional tradition and a violent strand that is now coming to the fore. The crusade to rid the world of evil and "evildoers" derives from the same biblical tradition of zealous warfare and nationalism that spawns Islamic and Israeli radicalism. In America, where this tradition has been popularized by superheroic entertainments, the idea of zealous war is infused with a distinctive sense of mission that draws on secular and religious images. These crusading ideals are visible in such events as the settling of the western frontier, the World Wars, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and America's present war on terrorism.
In exploring the tradition of zealous nationalism, which seeks to redeem the world by destroying enemies, the authors provide a fascinating access to the inner workings of the American psyche. They analyze the phenomenon of zeal -- the term itself is the biblical and cultural counterpart of the Islamic concept of jihad -- and address such consequential topics as the conspiracy theory of evil, the problem of stereotyping enemies, the mystique of violence, the obsession with victory, and the worship of national symbols such as flags.
This critical book, however, is also immensely constructive. As Jewett and Lawrence point out, the same biblical tradition that allows for crusading mentalities also contains a critique of zealous warfare and a profound vision of impartial justice. This tradition of prophetic realism derives from the humane side of the biblical heritage, and the authors trace its manifestations within the American experience, including its supreme embodiment in Abraham Lincoln. Isaiah's "swords into plowshares" image is carved on the walls of the United Nations building, thus standing at the center of a globally focused civil religion. Grasping this vision honored by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alike includes recognizing the dangers of zealous violence, the illusions of current crusading, and the promise of peaceful coexistence under international law. Instructive, relevant, and urgent, Captain America and the Crusade against Evil is sure to provoke much soul-searching and wide debate.
Other author Lawrence, John Shelton.
Subject Political messianism -- United States.
Millennialism -- United States.
War on Terrorism, 2001-2009 -- Causes.
Civil religion -- United States.
Islam -- Relations -- Christianity.
Christianity and other religions -- Islam.
United States -- Foreign relations -- 2001-2009.
United States -- Foreign relations -- 20th century.
United States -- Politics and government -- 2001-2009.
ISBN 0802860834 (alk. paper)