Revelation and Idolatry: Holy Law and Holy Terror
Genre XL, Spring 2007
17 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2009
Date Written: January 31, 2009
The Book of Exodus describes the identity of justice and the law. 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 is justice substantive; in political theory, which includes those who endorse "procedural justice" when they abandon substantive justice -- this radical biblical vision, wherein the law is justice is surely unique. This is not an understanding of the law as a series of prescriptions, the "yoke of the law" but the minimal requirement of respect for another's life and responsibility for those lacking protection: the widow, orphan, and poor. Emmanuel Levinas has noted the revolutional aspect of this revelation of justice, and defined the heirs of Abraham as those who have duties toward the other.
Keywords: law, justice, idolatry, responsibility, Bible, Exodus, Levinas
JEL Classification: K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation