Old Testament Ethics for the People of God Paperback – 18 Jan 2010
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This is a rich and thought-provoking work. -- Andrew Mayes; Church Review (Church of Ireland); August 2004
This is careful evangelical scholarship at its most approachable.
-- Paul Goodliff; Baptist Times; 10/03/05
a comprehensive survey of OT ethics accessible to the general
reader, and written with enviable clarity -- W J Houston; Journal for the Study of the Old Testament; June 2005
essential reading for ... coming to grips with the contribution of
the OT to Christian ethics and Christian living. -- David McKay; Reformed Theological Journal; November 2004 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
Chris Wrights accessible and comprehensive Christian approach
to Old Testament ethics incorporates his widely appreciated 'Living as the
People of God' (fully revised and updated), material from 'Walking in the
Ways of the Lord', and surveys of historical and contemporary scholarship. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
`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!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The basic motivation that Wright uses to analyze OT ethics is to reveal the underlying principle that animates the moral code. These principles are then extrapolated to reveal how they applied in the tribal, agrarian, ancient Israelite society, and how the same principles apply to modernity. By implication, this debunks the myth that the OT was a mere historical era that has no cotemporary relevance; it also steers us away from segregating the law into distinct categories and then choosing which ones are pertinent. Ultimately, the book leads us out of the darkness of confusion and into an embracing light of understanding that is unafraid to ask deep, probing, and critical questions. Even more, this approach clarifies how OT ethics informs our understanding of environmental stewardship, economics, “chosen-ness”, Zionism, secular law, family life and social interactions as a whole. It also successfully addresses difficult topics such as war, the death penalty for certain offenses, and slavery. In my personal opinion, the chapter on Justice and Righteousness (8) is brilliant and will forever change the way one thinks about secular law and the legal system.
Old Testament Ethics for the People of God was recommended to me by a well-respected and very well-read seminary professor, and I am tremendously grateful for the wisdom and insight provided in this marvelous book. It is my opinion that any Christian serious about Bible study or who demands a rigorous, considerate analysis of Old Testament ethics must read this book. This is a soaring beacon of theological light so important that your understanding of the Bible will be incomplete without it. Highest possible recommendation and for the works of Christopher J.H. Wright in general.
This is a foundational document--as is The Mission of God--in tying the primary themes of the O.T., their relation to ethics for the people of God in any age, and to the mission of the people of God, especially in this age. Thank you, Chris, for your hard work on this another volume which brings glory to God, as any good scholarship should.
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