Marx and the Bible | Sojourners

Marx and the Bible

Marx and the Bible. By Jose Porfirio Miranda. Orbis Books, 1974. $8.95 $4.95 paperback.

Of late, the following question is being insistently asked by a growing number of Christians: what has Athens to do with Jerusalem? Miranda adds his voice with great force to the chorus. The reader of his book might be forgiven for asking, however, what has Moscow (or Peking, or Havana) to do with Jerusalem? Miranda’s instant reply would be: much, in every way.

The attempt to answer the question positively could be made on several levels. Empirically, only Marxism and a biblical Christian faith seem to have the capacity to stir young people to reject the ideology of a technocratic society in favor of a society in which human, not mechanistic, values really count.

Miranda works on a different level: that of the interpretation of the biblical text. His purpose is not academic--to publish another highly refined dissertation on the theology of the Old Testament, but polemical--to demonstrate unambiguously the God who reveals himself in the prophetic word. “We are not concerned to find parallels between the Bible and Marx; simply to under stand the Bible,” he says. Rigorous, objective interpretation of the Bible, an eschewing of the method which uses the Bible to prove dialectical materialism, lack of interest in incidental similarities between the biblical message and Marx’s manifesto: such is Miranda’s declared policy in writing this book.

Then why bother to bring Marx in at all? What has socio-political analysis to do with the correct rules of biblical interpretation or Das Kapital with the Book of Isaiah?

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