Home  >  Beyond Retribution
Share |
Beyond Retribution
A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime, and Punishment
POD; Published: 6/8/2001
ISBN: 978-0-8028-4797-3
Price: $ 33.99
362 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
Add To Cart
Recently a growing number of Christians have actively promoted the concept of "restorative justice" and attempted to develop programs for dealing with crime based on restorative principles. But is this approach truly consistent with the teaching of Scripture? To date, very little has been done to test this claim. Beyond Retribution fills a gap by plumbing the New Testament on the topics of crime, justice, and punishment.

Christopher Marshall first explores the problems involved in applying ethical teachings from the New Testament to mainstream society. He then surveys the extent to which the New Testament addresses criminal justice issues, looking in particular at the concept of the justice of God in the teachings of Paul and Jesus. He also examines the topic of punishment, reviewing the debate in social thinking over the ethics and purpose of punishment--including capital punishment--and he advocates a new concept of "restorative punishment." The result of this engaging work is a biblically based challenge to imitate the way of Christ in dealing with both victims and offenders.

Choice Magazine, Outstanding Academic Book (2002)
Academy of Parish Clergy, Top Ten Books of the Year (2002)
Journal of Church and State
"Marshall's book is admirable for at least the following: his penetrating textual analysis, the maturity of his theological reflection, and the solidness of the foundation that he lays upon which a distinctively Christian program of criminal justice reform may be built. . . An essential contribution to the debate over the ethics of criminal justice systems in societies whose values are defined by the Judeo-Christian tradition."
Graham N. Stanton
"Splendid. . . Marshall tackles a controversial topic with vigor and admirable sensitivity. I am confident that his book will be widely acclaimed, even by those who take a different position. There is no comparable discussion."
Howard Zehr
"Beyond Retribution offers a badly needed look at New Testament teaching on justice and punishment. It faces tough issues head-on, encouraging a fundamental rethinking of many common assumptions about the place of punishment in Scripture and in society. It is particularly welcome for those of us who work and teach in the restorative justice field. Prior to this book, most of the biblical work in this area focused on the Old Testament. Highly readable, logically organized, thorough, and provocative, Beyond Retribution will interest criminal justice practitioners and theologians alike. "
Walter Wink
"The movement from retributive justice to restorative justice has, until now, lacked a thorough theological grounding. No longer. In Beyond Retribution Christopher Marshall provides a magisterial study that covers all aspects of the subject in a wise, evenhanded way. His cause is just, his publication timely, and his arguments persuasive. Now we simply need to let restorative, healing justice roll down like thunder."
Glen H. Stassen
"Marshall has written the best study of New Testament justice that I have encountered. He offers the best summary of the marks of the kingdom of God in the New Testament that I have seen. And he presents the best available study of divine and human punishment in the New Testament, interpreting both kinds of punishment as prophetic calls to repentance and restoration. Marshall brings together remarkably extensive literature in criminal justice theory as well as in biblical studies. Beyond Retribution does not simply protest against the present dysfunctional criminal justice system; instead, it offers a developed theory underlying a changed and much improved system that could finally be called 'just.' "
Mennonite Brethren Herald
"Beyond Retribution is a groundbreaking work that addresses issues of justice and punishment from the perspective of both the Old and New Testaments, as well as putting forward arguments about the purpose and ethics of punishment in society. This perspective on justice goes far beyond most Christian teachings, which strangely have relied primarily on the Old Testament."
Third Way
"In recent years the concept of restorative justice has come to the fore. This focuses on attempts to repair the damage caused by crime through a process which satisfies the needs of the victim, obliges the offender to acknowledge the harm they have done and make some form of reparation, and heals the hurt to the wider community. It has been suggested that this approach is consistent with the teaching of scripture, but until now no one has tried to substantiate this by direct study of the Bible. This book sets out to do just that, and it succeeds impressively."
"In this refreshing and insightful study, Marshall argues persuasively that our common notions of criminal justice as retributive or preventive do not accurately reflect the biblical conception and function of justice. . . Highly recommended, especially for libraries supporting programs in Christian ethics, biblical studies, criminal justice, or social work."