Ancient Laws and Contemporary Controversies

Ancient Laws and Contemporary Controversies : The Need for Inclusive Interpretation

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Description

Many Christians ignore most Old Testament laws as obsolete or irrelevant. Others claim to honor them but in fact pick and choose among them very selectively in support of specific agendas, like opposition to homosexual rights. Yet it is a basic tenet of Christian doctrine that the faith is contained in both the Old and the New Testament. If the law is ignored, an important aspect of the faith tradition is denied. In this book Cheryl Anderson tackles this problem head on, attempting to answer the question whether the laws of the Old Testament are authoritative for Christians today. This question is crucial, because some Christians actually believe that the New Testament abolishes the law, or that the major Protestant reformers (Luther, Calvin, Wesley) rejected the law. Anderson acknowledges the deeply problematic nature of some Old Testament law, especially as it applies to women. For example, Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29 both deem the rape of an unmarried female to have injured her father rather than the female herself. Deuteronomy requires the victim to marry her rapist. Anderson argues that biblical laws nevertheless teach us foundational values. They also, however, remind us of the differences between their ancient context and our own. She suggests that we approach biblical law in much the same way that Americans regard the Constitution. The nation's founding fathers were privileged white males who did not have the poor, women, or people of color in mind when they agreed that "all men are created equal." The Constitution has subsequently been amended and court decisions have extended its protections to those who were previously excluded. Although the biblical documents cannot be modified, the manner in which they are interpreted in later settings can and should be altered. In addition to her work as a scholar of the Old Testament, Anderson has been a practicing attorney, and has worked extensively in critical, legal, feminist and womanist theory. This background uniquely qualifies her to apply insights from contemporary law and legal theory to the interpretive history of biblical law, and to draw out their implications for issues of gender, class, and ethnicity.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 476.27g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195305507
  • 9780195305500
  • 597,525

Review quote

Cheryl Anderson's book opens up Biblical law from the perspective of women, gays, the poor, indigenous and colonized peoples and wrestles with issues of Biblical authority in that context. This is a key work for those concerned with the role of the Bible in promoting inclusive justice. * Rosemary Radford Ruether, Professor of Theology, Claremont Graduate University *show more

About Cheryl Anderson

Associate Professor of Old Testament, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminaryshow more

Table of contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS; CHAPTER 1: THE NEED FOR INCLUSIVE BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION; A.UNMASKING THE CHURCH; B; UNMASKING THE ACADEMY; CHAPTER 2: PROBLEMATIC BIBLICAL LAWS: THE VIEW FROM THE "OTHER" SIDE; A; WALDEMAR JANZEN: THE FAMILIAL PARADIGM; B; CHRISTOPHER J.H. WRIGHT: WHAT ABOUT THE CANAANITES?; C; JOHN BARTON: THE BASIS OF OLD TESTAMENT ETHICS; CHAPTER 3: RUTH AND ESTHER AS MODELS FOR THE FORMATION OF GOD'S PEOPLE: ENGAGING LIBERATIONIST CRITIQUES; A; FEMINIST/WOMANIST CRITIQUES: EMPOWERING THE MARGINALIZED; B; QUEER CRITIQUES: CHALLENGING THE EXCLUSIVE FOCUS ON MALES; C; POSTCOLONIAL CRITIQUES: STRUGGLING AGAINST THE COLONIAL EMPIRE; A; FEMINIST/WOMANIST CRITIQUES: WHO REALLY WINS?; B; QUEER CRITIQUES: TO "PASS" OR NOT TO "PASS" IS THE QUESTION; C; POSTCOLONIAL CRITIQUES: IMPERIAL/COLONIAL POWERS, MARGINALIZATION,AND VIOLENCE; CHAPTER 4: JESUS, PAUL, THE LAW AND INCLUSIVE BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION; A; INTRODUCTION; B; JESUS AGAINST THE PHARISEES AND THEIR GREAT TRADITION; C; JESUS: ELEMENTS OF INCLUSIVE BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION; 1. JESUS CONSIDERS THE IMPACT OF AN INTERPRETATION ON THE MARGINALIZED; 2; JESUS' NEW INTERPRETATION IS GROUNDED IN THE BIBLICAL TRADITION; 3; JESUS IDENTIFIES THE ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT OF GOD; 4; JESUS INCLUDES THE EXCLUDED; 2; PAUL, THE LAW, AND INCLUSIVE BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION; A; INTRODUCTION; 1; WOMEN 2; SLAVERY; 3; SEXUALITY; B; PAUL: ELEMENTS OF INCLUSIVE BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION 1; PAUL INCLUDES THE EXCLUDED AND HE BASES IT ON THE BIBLICAL TRADITION; 2; PAUL CONSIDERS THE IMPACT OF AN INTERPRETATION OR POLICY ON THE MARGINALIZED; 3. PAUL IDENTIFIES THE ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT OF GOD; CONCLUSIONS; CHAPTER 5 : THE PROTESTANT REFORMERS AND INCLUSIVE BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION; A. A REFORMED CONTRIBUTION: THE WORD OF GOD; B. A LUTHERAN CONTRIBUTION: THE INDWELLING CHRIST; C. A WESLEYAN CONTRIBUTION: THE LAW OF LOVE; CHAPTER 6: BIBLICAL AUTHORITY AND THE ETHICS OF BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION; CHAPTER 7: THE NEED FOR AN INCLUSIVE APPROACH CONTINUES: THE UNITED STATES, THE FOUNDING FATHERS, AND THE NATIONAL IDENTITY; BIBLIOGRAPHYshow more

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