Vol. 18, no. 2 (2022): Steven J. Friesen

New Testament Studies as a Kyriarchal Discipline: Making the World Safe for White, Male, Capitalist, Imperialist, Christian Supremacy

Steven J. Friesen, University of Texas at Austin


This essay surveys four leading university-level, English language introductory textbooks to the Christian Testament and subjects them to a multifaceted kyriarchal evaluation along the lines laid out by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. Despite differences in audience and context, each text has common traits, including idealist definitions of religion that reflect dominant trends in the discipline. Such idealist definitions of religion marginalize material interests, leading to interpretations of early Christian texts that impose capitalist ideology, privilege whiteness, assert Christian supremacy, support male domination, and justify empire. In this way, New Testament Studies provides ideological support for white, male, capitalist, imperialist, Christian hegemony.

Key words

anti-Judaism, capitalism, gender, kyriarchy, New Testament introduction textbooks, supersessionism, whiteness

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