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God, Justice, and Society
Jubilee Centre, May 2012
Any book on Biblical Law that manages to work into its chapter sub-headings the titles of contemporary films, tv programmes and the title of a Pink Floyd track has surely got to be worth a look?
God, Justice and Society is written by Dr Jonathan Burnside who is Reader in Biblical Law at Bristol University. He's also a Jubilee Centre trustee and author of ground-breaking work for Jubilee Centre such as Consent versus Community and Status and Welfare of Immigrants.
He says that "the goal of [God, Justice, and Society] is to explore aspects of law and legality in the Bible and to do so from the perspective of a modern lawyer." At 542 pages God, Justice, and Society looks a daunting read. This is a shame, because it's such a great and readable book with little that is impenetrable to the non-specialist.
Jonathan compares Biblical Law in the Old and New Testament with our modern law and highlights how the latter strongly reflects our individualistic society. This compares very unfavourably with Biblical Law which is fundamentally concerned with relationships and thus with addressing the impact that offences have on the whole community. It might be tempting for non-lawyers to think that this isn't relevant to them. But any discussion of criminal justice, of dealing with sexual offences and ethics, or consideration of property rights or social welfare, will be better informed as to God's heart for these issues through reading this book.
While society around us pillories Biblical Law as primitive, reading Jonathan's book acts as a real antidote, demonstrating how full of God's grace and wisdom Biblical Law really is.
If you still feel that the book is too much to read (and even though our paperback edition is only Ã?Â£19.99 including UK postage) then please look at this overview of the book by Will Kynes on The Kirby Laing Institute For Christian Ethics website. We also have more information on the book here and Jonathan Burnside has a website full of associated resources (including a study guide) here.
Best of all, read it for yourself by buying the book here.
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