Sympathy for Jonah: reflections on humiliation, terror and the politics of enemy-love
The story of Jonah is sacred to all three Abrahamic faiths and remains a recognizable legend even in the most secularized corners of the West. And yet the maritime prophet’s story has been trivialized as a quaint children’s tale, his character has been blasted by unsympathetic commentators, and even his alleged tomb has now been destroyed by Islamic State militants who, in 2014, took the city of Mosul on the Nineveh Plains. Now that Nineveh is once again in the grip of tyrannical violence and communities across the West and the Middle East are deep in a time of discord and soul-searching, we might do well to recover the story of Jonah, a guiding light, who marches into the very heart of empire and confronts it with the radical politics of the kingdom of God, even as his own certainties are shaken to the core.
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