[b-hebrew] "Justice" in hebraic thinking
wattswestmaas at eircom.net
Sun May 16 12:43:02 EDT 2004
Thankyou Dora, I can promise you one thing i am not a liberal christian. It
is my experience (since i speak another language as well) that in order to
as fully as possible appreciate another language and understand it one is at
an advantage if sometimes you can tear away from the mental translation
process and simply feel it - this might be an unorthodox approach to
biblical hebrew generally speaking - but I was trying to do that with this
particular word. It offers much insight into trying to understand a
'concept' I believe. Regards Chris from Ireland.
From: Dora Smith [mailto:villandra at austin.rr.com]
Sent: 16 May 2004 18:23
To: wattswestmaas; B-Hebrew
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] "Justice" in hebraic thinking
I actually did quite a bit of study of the ancient Israelite concept of
justice. It is quite an interesting concept; the interest in on a
sustainable society, and it is completely pragmatic despite high sounding
I do not have all the details in my head but in several notebooks. But the
"justice" basically meant to restore a set of relationships or a community
to wholeness - which was defined rather as "shalom". Today we know that a
society can withstand much inequality and some poverty, but if widows and
orphans are massively left to themselves, large numbers of poor are not fed,
enough people are dispossessed, and the courts are corrupt, or if there is
too much fighting between groups who are in conflict, the society will not
last another two generations.
The concept was actually a Near Eastern one and not specifically an
Israelite one. The king was responsible to administer justice in the name
of the chief god whose responsibility justice was.
I think that some of my articles have an actual breakdown of what the words
mean but I have been ill and have alot to catch up on, and it may be some
days before I can check.
But the concept is too widely and consistently understood throughout the
Near East to have as narrow a meaning as that which you have found below.
I am curious - liberal Christianity has made absolute mush out of the
concept, and what you have below sounds like possibly some of their writing.
Though righteousness and justice were understood in very similar terms. To
do an act of righteousness enacted justice.
villandra at austin.rr.com
----- Original Message -----
From: "wattswestmaas" <wattswestmaas at eircom.net>
To: "B-Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2004 9:25 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] "Justice" in hebraic thinking
> Hello all, I would like peoples' comments please on the following:
> The word TSaDaK (justice) is never used in a negative way unlike in
> thinking; by this I mean that we would say that justice is done when the
> guilty are punished. But in hebrew I can only find Justice being used to
> "Aquit the Innocent". My immediate thinking was that i was simply being
> pedantically ridiculous, but this concept of never applying the word
> "Justice" to the enacment of a sentence against the guilty does have wider
> implications - biblically speaking. When I consider the opposites to this
> word I do not find the idea of "injustice" but rather more descriptive
> such as moral distortion, perverse and iniquity. Obvious I know, for
> lies at the heart of injustice; as I said comments and rejections are
> appreciated. Chris.
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