Toward Old Testament Ethics

Front Cover
Zondervan, 1991 - Religion - 368 pages

Biblical ethics is a subject that has been almost totally neglected in this century. Only six men have written a major work on Old Testament ethics in the last hundred years, and only two of these works, both written before 1900, are in English. This lack of materials on Old Testament ethics serves to underscore the significance of Walter Kaiser's Toward Old Testament Ethics. Dr. Kaiser has no illusions about providing a simple solution to questions of Old Testament ethics. He is familiar with the complexities of this subject and begins his work in Part I by addressing such questions as: How can ethics be defined? Is there an overarching structure to ethics as presented in the Old Testament, or is there only an unrelated series of laws? Do ethics of the Old Testament have any relevance for us today? What are the exegetical principles to be used in a study of Old Testament ethics? Part II examines the moral texts of the Old Testament, in particular the Decalogue, the book of the covenant (Exodus 20:22--23:33), and the law of holiness (Leviticus 18--20). Dr. Kaiser unfolds the intention of these various laws, showing how they relate to each other and form a framework for ethics. Part III explores the content of Old Testament ethics, namely, how holiness relates to worship, work, relationship, social justice, the sanctity of life, marriage and sex, wealth, use of the truth, and motives for action. Moral difficulties in the Old Testament present stumbling blocks to many who read these books. How are we to relate to a God who, at times, seems fickle, deceptive, and hateful? How are we to champion the offensive view of women and slaves, the particulars of God choosing Israel, and the imprecations that appear from time to time in the biblical texts? Reponses to these and other difficulties from Part IV. The book concludes with a discussion of Old Testament law and New Testament believers. Dr. Kaiser shows how these laws, written thousands of years ago, still challenge God's people to live holy lives.

 

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Contents

CHAPTER
1
The Nature and Task of Old Testament Ethics
23
The Use of the Bible in Establishing Ethical Norms
39
Exegetical and Theological Principles in Old Testament Ethics
57
Exodus 20117 Deut 5621
81
Leviticus 1820
112
Summary
125
CHAPTER 9
139
Holiness in Wealth and Possessions
209
Holiness in Obtaining and Using Truth
222
Holiness in Motive and Heart
235
TESTAMENT
247
The Morally Offensive Character and Acts of Men and Women
270
The Morally Offensive Precepts and Sanctions in the Law of God
284
OLD TESTAMENT ETHICS
306
Index of Hebrew Words Discussed
317

Holiness in the Family and Society
152
Holiness in a Regard for Life
164
Holiness in Marriage and Sex
181

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About the author (1991)

Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (PhD, Brandeis University) is distinguished professor emeritus of Old Testament and president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Dr. Kaiser has written over 40 books, including Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching; The Messiah in the Old Testament; and The Promise-Plan of God; and coauthored An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning. Dr. Kaiser and his wife, Marge, currently reside at Kerith Farm in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin. Dr. Kaiser's website is www.walterckaiserjr.com.

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