Arnold Toynbee on Nationalism

“Nationalism is the real religion today of a majority of people. [It] has been superseded only nominally by the higher religions, each of which aims at converting the whole of mankind to its own prescription for putting the individual in touch with ultimate reality. Almost all of us are nationalists under the skin.”

–Arnold Toynbee, 1971, quoted in Karl Menninger, Whatever Became of Sin?

One Response to “Arnold Toynbee on Nationalism”

  1. James Strickler says:

    Your thoughts in the Toynbee quote and the outline on Christian Politics seem in accordance with Wright’s thoughts on nationalism (especially on pages 118-121, & 123-124). I agree that dominant understanding of power and politics in the church, and between the dominant culture and the way of Jesus must be questioned – and separated. It seems to me such a separation is done in the best and in the most succinct way by the Greek word nikao. Nikao, of coarse, is translated as conquer or overcome. However, it seems to me that nikao is consistently and erroneously translated as conquer (in Rev.) or as overcome (in Rom. 12:31). The distinction and separation between the two ways of understanding power and politics (either by the dominant culture’s dominative relationships or the way of Jesus, cf. Mark 10:42-43), it seems to me, is best separated by translating nikao according to what it refers to or qualifies. I suggest that nikao should only be translated as conquer in Rev. 5:5, 11:7, and 13:7, and overcome everywhere else. I further suggest that Rom 12:31 should be translated as, “Do not be conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

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