Contending for Justice: Ideologies and Theologies of Social Justice in the Old Testament

Contending for Justice: Ideologies and Theologies of Social Justice in the Old Testament

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By (author) Walter Houston

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  • Publisher: T.& T.Clark Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 230mm x 18mm | 458g
  • Publication date: 14 January 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 0567033546
  • ISBN 13: 9780567033543
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 270,984

Product description

This book offers a fully revised and updated analysis of the texts on social justice in the Old Testament; highlighting their importance in shaping a Christian theological approach to injustice."Contending for Justice" analyses texts on social justice in the Old Testament and argues that despite their ideological character they may still assist in shaping a Christian theological approach to social and global injustice. The book argues on the one hand that a class interest is involved in all texts on the subject of social justice, and on the other that, that the very interest demands that they should appeal to the broadest possible public by using generally accepted ethical and theological ideas.Four elements are set out in a hermeneutical proposal: texts should be understood as rhetoric in real social situations, as ideology protecting a social position, as defining recognized ethical values, and theologically as having a critical and constructive potential for the interpreter's own situation.A second chapter attempts to sketch the social conditions in which such texts were formed. The hermeneutical scheme is then applied, but not rigidly, to a wide range of texts: prophetic denunciations of oppression, texts in a variety of genres defining the characteristics of the just individual, texts in the "Psalms" and "Isaiah" defining the duty of the king to protect the poor, visions of a just community in the prophets, words of Torah aimed at protecting the indebted poor and restoring an independent peasantry, and assertions of the justice of God. The book concludes with brief reflections on the value of the Old Testament as a resource in the struggle for justice.This new paperback edition is fully revised and updated.

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Author information

The Rev. Dr Walter J. Houston is Chaplain Fellow in Theology at Mansfield College, Oxford, UK. He is a contributor to the Oxford Bible Commentary and Eerdmans Bible Commentary.

Review quote

"'A splendid contribution to a very major issue, a most interesting and thought-provoking study' Richard Coggins, formerly Senior Lecturer in Old Testament Studies, King's College London, UK '[A] marvellous combination of reading everything, being open to the most radical of ideas, but keeping a cool head, a critical spirit, and a desire to discover things in the OT of theological and ethical value.' John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament at Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA"

Table of contents

Preface; Preface to the First Edition; 1. Texts and Contexts; 2. The Ancient Social Context; 3. Oppression and the Prophets; 4. Justice and the Patron; 5. Justice and the King; 6. Justice and the People; 7. The God of Justice; 8. The Old Testament: A Resource in the Struggle for Justice.