Eric J. Gilchrest, "New Testament Apocalypticism and a Theology of the Cross: Answering Dystopianism," 41–52
This essay explores the dystopian realities expressed in the Christian Scriptures and beyond. In order to provide an “answer” for dystopia, it walks through dystopianism as played out in the Hebrew Bible, apocalyptic Judaism, and the apocalypticism of the New Testament. Throughout the essay, dystopianism is defined in two ways: the removal of Israel from the land (exile) and the removal of God from the land (divine abandonment). After recognizing the importance of God-forsakenness during the moment of Jesus’s crucifixion, the essay turns to Luther’s theology of the cross as a way forward for thinking about dystopianism both in the Bible and beyond.
Melissa A. Jackson, "The Hebrew Bible’s Prophets Answer Dystopia," 53–71
In “answering dystopia,” the Hebrew Bible’s prophets present a number of responses. Bringing together prophetic literature and dystopian imaginings reveals their shared foundational elements: (1) a concern for society’s future that is rooted in the present, (2) a role as social critic, exposing current failings and projecting a “then” resulting from “now,” and (3) a temporality that is layered, engaging in more than one context. From these shared elements, the prophets “answer” dystopia via three dualities: (1) a dual vision of the future, an outlook that holds in tension both destruction and restoration, (2) a dual agency of humanity and God, both parties sharing “responsibility” for the future, and (3) a dual fidelity to God and to one another, a commitment enacted in everyday living. Three implications nuance this prophetic “answer” to dystopia: opting for a both/and tension over either/or, understanding the future as potential rather than fixed, and emphasizing community over individualism.