Table of Contents
Winner, Best General Interest Book for 2001, Association of
Between 1980 and 2000, the number of prisoners in the U.S. has
tripled to over 2 million people, 70 percent of them people of color.
Indeed, by 2000, 3,600 people were on America's death rows. This
growth industry currently employs 523,000 people.
Among abuses that Mark Taylor notes in this "theater of terror" are
capital punishment, inordinate sentencing, violations of fairness in
both process and results, racism in the justice system and prisons,
prison rape and other terrorizing techniques, and paramilitary
With twenty-five years of involvement with prison reform, Taylor
passionately describes and explains the excesses and injustices in
our corrections system and capital punishment to foster compassionate
and effective Christian action. His book convincingly relates the
life-engendering power of God — demonstrated in Jesus' cross and
resurrection — to the potential transformation of the systems of
death and imprisonment.
Best General Interest Book for 2001
In November 2001, the Association of Theological Booksellers announced that The Executed God by Mark Lewis Taylor (Fortress Press, 2001) had won the Best General Interest Book for 2001 award.
The author was the featured speaker at the Association of Theological Booksellers' dinner meeting on Saturday, November 17 in Denver.
"A powerful critique of America as Empire and the challenge it poses for all who believe in the way of Jesus."
— James H. Cone, Union Theological Seminary, New York
"Mark Taylor's absorbing examination of our shameful execution obsession is without a doubt the finest and most discerning theological analysis of the death penalty now available. There is no doubt that the question is once again back in the public eye, and his graphic and penetrating book will surely help focus the discussion we all need."
— Harvey Cox, Harvard Divinity School
"Taylor attacks U.S. prisons as racist and unjust. ... Taylor's voice is ... uncompromising, making this a moving if controversial read."
— Publishers Weekly
"Taylor explores how the reality that Jesus of Nazareth was executed can and should shape Christian response to the U.S. growth in prisons and execution of prisoners. He places the story of Jesus in its gritty social context, challenging Christians to understand the forces of injustice fueling the rise of the prison state, and to explore creative resistance. This is a synthesis of fine theology, insightful political analysis, and moral challenge for people of faith."
— The Other Side
"In this hard-hitting and morally rigorous work of Christian prophetic criticism of American culture, the author spells out the 'theatre of terror' within the corrections system. . . . We were especially impressed with Taylor's plea for 'festivals of resistance' by Christians as an imaginative and playful way to do justice."
from the web site, "Spirituality and Health: Spiritual Rx"
Introduction: The Executed God
The Crucified God
From Crucified to Executed
Jesus of Nazareth and the Executed God
The Executed God and "the Death of Our Gods"
Arguing for a Theatrics of Counter-Terror: Way of the Cross/Way of the Book
PART ONE: The Theatrics of Terror
1. Lockdown America: Theater of Terror
Out of the Mouths of Babes and . . .
Theatrics of Terror: Six Dimensions
Conclusion: Lockdown America as Threat to All
2. Theatrics and Sacrifice in the U.S.-Led Imperium
Gulag America's Calculated Effect
Production, Punishment, and the Sacrificial Myth
A Strengthened Elite Class in America: An Untold Story
The Punishment System and Controlling Surplus Populations
How Terrorizing Punishment Serves the Economically Powerful
From Gulag America to Pax Americana
Conclusion: Surplus and Sacrifice in the U.S.-Led Imperium
PART TWO: A Theatrics of Counter-Terror
3. Way of the Cross as Adversarial Politics
A "Galilean" Jesus
Jesus and the Soldiers of Empire
How Adversarial Was Jesus' Politics?
The Anti-Imperial Paul: Imprisoned and Executed by Rome
Mark's Gospel: Drama of Anti-Imperial Resistance
Conclusion: Being Adversarial/Christians at the Crossroads
4. Stealing the Show: Way of the Cross as Dramatic Action
How the Executed Jesus Stole the Show
Today's Theatrics of Terror as Show
Dramatic Action: Bodies on the Line, Worlds Created
Conclusion: Stealing the Show as Triumph of God
5. Way of the Cross as Building People's Movements
Jesus and People's Movements
The Jesus Movement: Those Impious Galileans
Impious Galileans Today?
Dismantling the Police Function As We Know It
No More Prisons!
The Death of the Death Penalty
Conclusion: People's Movements and the Executed God
Epilogue: Christian Living: Toward a Fullness of Rebellion
For Further Reading: A Select Bibliography