God, Justice, and Society: Aspects of Law and Legality in the Bible

God, Justice, and Society: Aspects of Law and Legality in the Bible

by Jonathan Burnside

Hardcover(New Edition)

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What is the real meaning of 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'? Where did the idea for the 'Jubilee 2000' and 'Drop the Debt' campaigns come from? And what, really, are the 'Ten Commandments'? In God, Justice, and Society, Jonathan Burnside looks at aspects of law and legality in the Bible, from the patriarchal narratives in the Hebrew Bible through to the trials of Jesus in the New Testament. He explores the nature of biblical law, legal thinking, and legal institutions by setting the biblical texts in their literary, social, and theological context.

Burnside questions the biblical texts from the perspective of an academic lawyer and criminologist and asks what the biblical materials contribute to our understanding about the nature and character of law. He examines much of biblical law and narrative that has formed the basis of Western civilization, while at the same time exploring differences between biblical law and modern legal concepts and legal assumptions. The resulting book is a cross-disciplinary analysis which recognizes the integration of law and theology.

God, Justice and Society presents biblical law as an integration of instructional genres in the Bible which together express a vision of a society ultimately accountable to God. Burnside seeks to understand both the application of law and legal theory to the Bible and the extent to which biblical law contributes important insights into legal dilemmas in today's world.

A holistic teaching website to support this book, containing downloadable resources, is available at www.seekjustice.co.uk.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199759217
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 11/03/2010
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 584
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Burnside is Reader in Biblical Law at the School of Law, University of Bristol, England. He has degrees in Law and Criminology, both from the University of Cambridge, as well as a doctorate in Law from the University of Liverpool. His work explores the relationship between law, theology and criminology from theoretical and applied perspectives, beginning with Relational Justice: Repairing the Breach (1994, Waterside Press). He joined the School of Law in 2001, becoming Reader in 2007. His doctoral thesis in biblical law was published as The Signs of Sin: Seriousness of Offence in Biblical Law (2003). He was appointed by the Home Office and the Prison Service England and Wales to head an evaluation of faith-based units in prisons in England and Wales, which was subsequently published as part of a wider, cross-programmatic, study of faith-based units in prisons around the world (My Brother's Keeper: Faith-Based Units in Prisons, 2005).

Table of Contents


How to use this book
Introduction: The horizon of biblical law
Chapter One: The Character of Biblical Law
Chapter Two: A Deal With God
Chapter Three: Beyond Sinai
Chapter Four: Justice as a Calling
Chapter Five: Humanity and the Environment
Chapter Six: People and Land
Chapter Seven: Social Welfare
Chapter Eight: Homicide and Vengeance
Chapter Nine: Theft
Chapter Ten: Marriage and Divorce
Chapter Eleven: Sexual Offences
Chapter Twelve: New Laws for a New Age
Chapter Thirteen: The Trials of Jesus
Conclusion: Law in the purpose of God

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