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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good offering - it makes the most tedious, boring bits of OT law relevant and even vibrant,
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This review is from: Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Hardcover)
C. J. H. Wright's `OT Ethics for the People of God' offers a wonderfully readable and engaging explanation of the ethics of "The Law". I bought this to compare and contrast (as they say) with Stassen and Gushee's `Kingdom Ethics' because Stassen and Gushee focus their ethical exposition specifically on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. I'm a much more of an OT orientated fella' so was keen to see how Wright's volume measured up.
`OT Ethics' is a `fully revised, updated and integrated edition of [Wright's earlier works] `Living as the People of God' and `Walking in the Ways of the Lord'.' As such is represents a very polished and thorough presentation of OT ethics while retaining the essential readability that some theological books lack. Wright divides his work into three large parts of fourteen chapters:
Part One: A Structure for OT Ethics
1. The theological angle
2. The social angel
3. The economic angle
Part Two: Themes in OT Ethics
4. Ecology and the earth
5. Economics and the poor
6. The land and Christian ethics
7. Politics and the nations
8. Justice and righteousness
9. Law and the legal system
10. Culture and family
11. The way of the individual
Part Three: Studying OT ethics
12. A survey of historical approaches
13. Contemporary scholarship: a bibliographical essay
14. Hermeneutics and authority in OT ethics
Appendix, bibliography and indexes follow
In comparing Wright with Stassen and Gushee, the most significant difference is that the later focus on the practicalities of how to apply Jesus' ethical advice from the Sermon on the Mount to our daily lives. Wright's aim seems more focused on explaining and expounding OT ethics as they were applied to the ancient Israelites. That's not to suggest that Wright neglects expounding how OT ethics should be applied to twenty-first century Christian values (far from it!), but Wright's work reads much more like a commentary than Stassen and Gushee's, which reads more like a (sometimes, specifically North American) self-help book. Wright's `OT Ethics' seeks to thoroughly unpack OT ethical understanding and clarify and correct the misconception of a miserable, vengeful OT God v. a cuddly, fluffy NT God. And he succeeds wonderfully!
Wright's `OT Ethics' is an easy to read, deeply penetrative investigation of OT ethical systems, well and logically laid out with bold main headings and bold italicised sub-headings with indented text or bullet points where necessary. Wright is hugely successful in changing the erroneous perception of two different Gods (OT v. NT), and two different legal/ethical understandings in the testaments. In the end, I found Wright's work more satisfying (and better laid out) than Stassen and Gushee's, but the later is more effective if you want to know precisely how to apply their ethical understandings to your life. Both titles are excellent and offer a hugely useful comparison, but if you only get this one, you'll not be disappointed: you've just got to admire anyone who can make the likes of Leviticus interesting AND relevant!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking to the Old for the New,
This review is from: Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Paperback)
I am studying a degree in applied theology and this book along with lectures incorporating this book, has helped me look back at the Old Testament of the Bible and see how things that were written to the people of God back then can and definately do apply to us today. this book looks at contemporary issues which i didn't think were dealt with in the Bible let alone in the Old Testament.
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Old Testament Ethics for the People of God by Christopher J H Wright (Paperback - 18 Jan 2010)