A semantic study of God’s righteousness and justice in the Hebrew Bible that draws exegetical, theological, and philosophical conclusions about the character of God and God’s relationship with humanity.
God’s work of creation and salvation for the good of Israel, humanity, and the world manifests the nature of God’s being. Thus, if we can understand God’s characteristics of righteousness and justice, we can better understand God.
In the Hebrew Bible, these aspects of God are not expressed by abstract concepts but by semantic elements within literary structures. From this premise, Jože Krašovec undertakes the present study to put semantics into dialogue with exegesis and theology to illuminate exactly how God’s righteousness and justice in the Old Testament should be understood.
In the first part of the book, Krašovec analyzes occurrences of the Hebrew root ṣdq (meaning righteous) and other synonyms, working systematically through the entire Old Testament canon. In the second part, he builds off this lexical study with a more broadly exegetical, theological, and philosophical exploration of guilt, punishment, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Krašovec concludes, among other things, that the biblical writers use “righteousness” as an expression of God’s affection for faithful people, especially those in distress because of persecution. God’s righteousness therefore exists in the Hebrew Bible in relation to the righteousness of human individuals and communities. Justice—whether in the form of forgiveness for the penitent or punishment for those who have hardened their hearts against God—is always carried out with the goal of building better community among God’s people.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Craig G. Bartholomew Preface Introduction Part One: Dimensions of God’s Righteousness in Acts of Creation and Redemption 1. Comparative Scrutiny of the Concept of Justice in Antiquity 2. The Semantics of the Righteousness of God in the Hebrew Bible 3. Righteousness of God in the Book of Isaiah and in Its Major Translations 4. Righteousness of God in the Book of Psalms and in Its Major Translations 5. Righteousness of God in Other Books of the Hebrew Bible 6. Justification of God and His Word in Psalm 51:6 and Romans 3:4 7. The Place of the Word in the Bible and Theology of Justification Part Two: Dimensions of God’s Righteousness and Justice between Punishment and Forgiveness 8. The Place of the Concepts of Justice, Reward, Punishment, and Forgiveness in the Hebrew Bible 9. Dimensions of Justice between Cosmic Order and Personal Relations 10. Theories on Justification of Punishment 11. From a Cosmic and a Judicial Concept of Justice to Actions beyond Justice 12. Ontological and Moral Foundations of Compassion, Mercy, and Forgiveness Conclusions Bibliography Indexes
Jože Krašovec is professor of biblical studies at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and a full member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. A former president of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament, Krašovec is the author of numerous monographic studies and articles published in Slovene, English, German, French, and other languages.
“Professor Krašovec is a foremost authority on divine righteousness, justice, and related topics in the Old Testament, which makes this ‘summa’ of his work over several decades especially welcome. Exegetical rigor frequently blends with apt literary allusion and quotation in this magisterial treatment of great, interconnected biblical themes.” — Robert P. Gordon University of Cambridge
“This wide-ranging book studies the concepts of righteousness and justice in the Hebrew Bible in a thorough manner, showing for the most part their positive redemptive qualities, and how they are intimately connected with God’s desire to restore that which is broken in his creation. There is not only a detailed study of the biblical text but also consideration of the translations of these words in the various versions of the Scriptures.” — Stephen G. Dempster Crandall University
“In this expansive study, Jože Krašovec clearly and insightfully outlines both the semantic fields and the variety of contexts in which ‘justice’ and ‘righteousness’ appear in the Old Testament. More than merely clarifying the semantic range of the vocabulary, however, Krašovec sketches the full implications of the language for the theology of the Old Testament. This book will be essential reading for anyone who wants to probe deeply into the Old Testament’s call for ‘righteousness and justice.’” — Jerome F. D. Creach Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
“The first section of this extraordinary volume offers a comprehensive analysis of the Hebrew root ṣdq and its synonyms in the Old Testament. The second section is an exposition of the complex relationship among ‘righteousness’ (the usual translation of nouns formed from ṣdq) and concepts of justice, reconciliation, punishment, and forgiveness in the Bible. Krašovec demonstrates in detail the ‘supremacy of forgiveness and reconciliation over the imperatives of punishment.’ Very impressive!” — J. Clinton McCann Jr. Eden Theological Seminary
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