Beyond Retribution. A New Testament Vision for Justice, by Christopher D. Marshall

By Christopher D. Marshall

Booklet by means of Christopher D. Marshall

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Extra info for Beyond Retribution. A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime, and Punishment

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Yet even if we grant the universality of God's justice, the fact remains that every human attempt to give account of that justice and to apply it concretely to real-life situations is unavoidably particular, and hence partial and falli67. Contemporary ethicists stress that justice is a complex, many-sided reality depending on the types of relationships involved. E. C. Biesner, for example, distinguishes between voluntary, involuntary, and accidental relationships, and identifies five types of justice, each of which he illustrates from the Bible.

Even a cursory review of this material provides a fascinating insight into the social location of the early Christian communities and their perspective on the surrounding social order. It also offers meager comfort for those who would want to base a strong "law and order" platform on the biblical text. Take law to begin with. The New Testament writers have a great deal to say about law, none so extensively and reflectively as the apostle Paul. Paul's perspective on law is exceedingly complex and the subject of enormous debate in current New Testament scholarship, but it is noteworthy that he expresses extreme skepticism about the ability of an external law-code to control human wrongdoing.

Mark 9:42; Matt. 18:6. 37. Matt. 27:5. 38. Luke 4:29. 39. Matt. 25:51; Luke 12:46; cf. Acts 13:11. 40. Luke 20:6;John 8:5; 10:31; cf. Matt. 21:44; 23:35; Acts 7:59-60. 41. Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:2-11. 42. Rev. 1:9. 43. Acts 12:6; 28:20; cf. 23:29; 26:31. 44. Acts 16:23-24. 45. Mark 10:34; 15:15; Matt. 10:17; 18:34; 23:34; 27:26; Luke 23:22;John 19:1; Acts 16:22; 22:24. 46. Heb. 11:37. 15 INTRODUCTION (which came in many forms), 47 and crucifixion. 48 Quite often the victims of such barbarities are not evildoers but those at the margins of mainstream Jewish and Greco-Roman society.

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