Law and the Gift of Justice

Regina Mara Schwartz

in Crediting God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233199
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823233212 | DOI:
Law and the Gift of               Justice

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This chapter addresses the following question: What is the relation of theology to politics, of revelation to revolution? To approach this question, the chapter turns to the question of justice (the preoccupation of the Hebrew Bible), for the infusion of this ethical concern is vital: political life must be lived under the horizon of justice. A radical identity of the law and justice characterizes revelation in the Hebrew Bible, especially in Exodus. Because elsewhere the gap between justice and the law is so wide—in Christian theology when it sees the Pharisaic law as inhibiting the realization of justice; in philosophy, where, from Plato on, law is formal while justice is substantive; in political theory, which includes those who endorse “procedural justice” when they abandon substantive justice—this radical biblical vision, when the law is justice, is unique. It offers a reading of Emmanuel Levinas's political theology as a counter to political theologies extracted from the Pauline tradition.

Keywords: political theology; politics; justice; Hebrew Bible; law; Emmanuel Levinas

Chapter.  6525 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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