An Eye for an Eye

An Eye for an Eye--The Place of Old Testament Ethics Today

Christopher J. H. Wright, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1983, 224 pages, $8.95, paper.

Reviewed by Ron Du-Preez, Ph.D. student, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

As the subtitle of this book suggests, it attempts to provide a comprehensive framework within which Old Testament ethics can be understood. Wright avoids subjectivity in the use of the Bible by dividing the book into two parts: The first deals with basic Old Testament ethics and discusses the background and context; the second part provides a selection of ethical issues in Old Testament times. Most of the material involves social ethics, since the author believes the primary thrust of the Old Testament is social--the story of a people.

Wright states, "Old Testament ethics are built upon Israel's understanding of who and what they were as a people, of their relationship to God, and of their physical environment--their land."

There is a repeated emphasis on the close relationship between the Old and New Testaments. Wright says: "Without minimizing in any way the radical newness of the impact of Jesus, there is clearly a profound continuity between the Testaments in this theological and historical origin of biblical ethics."

The author sees the whole law, especially the Decalogue, as enshrining both the vertical and horizontal dimensions integral to the covenant, but still con tends the Decalogue is not a universal moral law imposed on the church. Rather, he believes it contains cultic, family, and civil requirements.

Even with such treatment of the Ten Commandments, the thinking Adventist will find this book helpful in under standing and practicing ethics as out lined in the Old Testament.


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Reviewed by Ron Du-Preez, Ph.D. student, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

August 1988

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