Beyond Retribution. A New Testament Vision for Justice, by Christopher D. Marshall

By Christopher D. Marshall

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Extra info for Beyond Retribution. A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime, and Punishment

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17 INTRODUCTION but to love even their enemies, not merely to avoid adultery and murder but to eschew lust and anger, not simply to forgive fellow believers who offend against them, and to do so repeatedly, but even to bless those who hate and persecute them. They are summoned to nothing less than divine perfection (Matt. 5:21-48). These radical demands, several of which concern dealing with offenders and offending, are best thought of not as new laws to be obeyed, but as new moral challenges to be pursued in response to the dawning kingdom.

In view of the enormity of 31 INTRODUCTION such an undertaking, what follows is by no means a fully fledged study in Christian ethics on the topic of crime and punishment. My aim is more modest than that in two respects. On the one hand, although in places (especially in Chapter 3) I explore wider legal and moral questions so as to provide a "realistic" context for my exegesis, I make no pretense to being a criminal justice specialist or a social ethicist, or to have mastered the relevant literature in these fields, which is mountainous.

Stambaugh and D. Balch, The Social World of the First Christians (London: SPCK, 1986), 32-34; A. A. Ruprecht, "Legal System, Roman," DPL, 546-50; and D. J. : Hendrickson, 1999), 141-64. 26. Note especially Luke's emphasis on the miscarriage of justice in the trial of]esus (Luke 23:4, 14-15, 22; 23:47; Acts 3:13-18; 4:10, 24-29; 7:51-53; c£ Mark 15:10). The innocence ofJohn the Baptist is implied in Mark 6:24-28. While it is true that in Acts rhe Roman courts frequently vindicate the innocence of the apostles, this is not because of the intrinsic justness of the system (c£ Acts 16:19-40; 24:25) but because of Roman indifference to internal Jewish squabbles.

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