Congratulations to NABPR member, Jennifer Garcia Bashaw on the publication of her new book Scapegoats: The Gospel through the Eyes of Victims (Fortress Press, 2022). Dr. Bashaw’s research interests include Gospels studies, the work of Rene Girard, Biblical Hermeneutics, Homiletics, Spiritual Formation, and Religion and Pop Culture. Her recent academic contributions include work on Girard and dystopian literature, empathetic imagination in preaching, and characterization in the Gospels.
Scapegoats are innocent victims who have experienced blame and violence at the hands of society. René Girard proposes that the Gospels present Jesus as a scapegoat whose innocent death exposes how humans have always created scapegoats. This revelation should have cured societal scapegoating, yet those who claim to live by the Gospels have missed that message. They continue to scapegoat and remain blind to the suffering of scapegoats in modern life.
Christians today tend to read the New Testament as victors, not as victims. The teachings and actions of Jesus thus lose much of their subversive significance. The Gospels become one harmonized story about individual salvation rather than distinct representations of Jesus’s revolutionary work on behalf of victims. Scapegoats revisits the Gospel narratives with the understanding that they tell scapegoats’ stories, and that through those stories the kingdom of God is revealed. Bashaw goes beyond Girard’s arguments to show that Jesus’s whole public ministry (not only his death) combats the marginalization of victims. These scapegoat stories work together to illuminate an essential truth of the Gospels–that Jesus modeled a reality in which victims become survivors and the marginalized become central to the kingdom.
Praise for the book
At a time when the gospel is being co-opted to support anti-gospel hatred of the marginalized and xenophobia toward the other, Scapegoats is a prophetic summons. Peter Enns author of How the Bible Actually Works and host of The Bible for Normal People podcast
Scapegoats is definitely a must-read for both academics and ministerial practitioners - Angela N. Parker, McAfee School of Theology
Jennifer Garcia Bashaw, Scapegoats: The Gospel through the Eyes of Victims, Fortress Press, 2022, ISBN: 9781506469379. https://www.fortresspress.com/store/product/9781506469379/Scapegoats.
Blockquotes and images via Fortress Press header image by Cover Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash
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