Luxury Communist Jesus

Ideology, the Work Ethic, and the Anti-work Politics of Jesus


  • Michael J. Sandford University of Sheffield



Capitalism, Jesus, luxury communism, work ethic, anti-work politics, egalitarianism


This article begins by outlining contemporary anti-work politics, which form the basis of Sandford’s reading. After providing a brief history of anti-work politics, Sandford examines recent scholarly treatments of Jesus’ relationship to work. An examination of a number of texts across the gospel traditions leads Sandford to argue that Jesus can be read as a ‘luxury communist’ whose behaviour flies in the face of the Protestant work ethic. Ultimately, Sandford foregrounds those texts in which Jesus discourages his followers from working, and undermines work as an ‘end in itself’, contextualising these statements in relation to other gospel texts about asceticism and the redistribution of wealth.

Author Biography

Michael J. Sandford, University of Sheffield

Michael Sandford earned his PhD from the University of Sheffield (2012), and has since taught at the University of Leeds, the University of Sheffield, Leeds Trinity University, and the Pacific Theological College. Michael's current research interests include radical political readings of the gospels, the historical Jesus, and contemporary representations of Jesus' masculinity and sexuality.


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How to Cite

Sandford, M. J. (2016). Luxury Communist Jesus: Ideology, the Work Ethic, and the Anti-work Politics of Jesus. Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, 7(3), 245–255.



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