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Publication - Professor Jonathan Burnside

    Words of Wisdom, Words of Prophecy

    Why and How Biblical Law Speaks in the Public Square


    Burnside, J, 2017, ‘Words of Wisdom, Words of Prophecy: Why and How Biblical Law Speaks in the Public Square’. Political Theology, vol 2017., pp. 1-17


    The study of biblical law enables us to pursue justice. Its application involves selecting from a body of discourse and emerges not only from “rules” but from narrative and worldview. It also means internalising a fixed text and improvising a faithful response. It is shaped and constrained at every point by practical wisdom. Religious beliefs should not be excluded in principle and cannot be excluded in practice from a liberal democracy. As has always been the case, communicating biblical law means recognising and surmounting difference through argument, appeal and persuasion. A key part of this communicatory strategy, whether ancient or (post)modern, is fleshing out biblical law in compelling, real-life situations. Questions of application and communication are thus closely linked. Although its application may be counter-cultural, biblical law is comprehensible when instantiated in practical action.

    Full details in the University publications repository