The Political Samaritan

How Power Hijacked a Parable

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Nick Spencer
  • New York, NY: 
    Bloomsbury Academic
    , January
     208 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Nick Spencer forthcoming.


Nick Spencer sets out to rescue an innocent parable, mugged for political ends, ignored by passers-by, and then left for half-dead at the edge of the English language. 

The parable of the Good Samaritan has been used by almost every major British politician over recent years – from Theresa May and Tony Blair to Margaret Thatcher and Jeremy Corbyn. But they don't all use it to say the same thing.

Discussing the various figures who've politicised the Samaritan, Spencer – described by the Economist as 'like a prophet crying in the post-modern wilderness' – explains why and how Jesus' famous parable got mixed up in politics. From abolitionists to warmongers, prime ministers to activists such as Dr Martin Luther King, he uncovers the reasons for the parable's popularity – and then asks the killer question: who gets it right? 

If the Good Samaritan has been dragged on to the political stage, whose side is he on?

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Nick Spencer is Research Director at Theos, the public theology thinktank. He writes and speaks on religion, politics and society and is the authorof several books on the subjects, most recently Freedom and Order: History, Politics and the English Bible and Darwin and God.

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