Burnside on the Spirit of Biblical Law

Here’s a very interesting article just published by Jonathan Burnside (Bristol), The Spirit of Biblical Law.  The abstract follows:

The Bible—paradoxically—has been deeply influential on Western civilization, including law, yet our assumptions are deeply hostile to its having any influence in the modern world at all. This article subverts the view that there is nothing we can learn from biblical law. Instead, it suggests that it is possible to speak of ‘the spirit of biblical law’. This means seeing biblical law as more than just an object of textual critique. Biblical law can be caricatured in a number of ways; however, this is an inadequate way of reading the subject. We need to recover the spirit of biblical law by looking at a number of its substantive areas, including: property and money; economic organization; race relations and immigration; the role, nature and accountability of Government; family structure; our relationship with the environment and the pursuit of justice. As we do so, we discover that the spirit of biblical law has an ethos which is worth exploring as an imaginative and moral resource.

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