On the Book of Job, Justice, and the Precariousness of the Criminal Law

Law, Culture and the Humanities, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2008.

35 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2006 Last revised: 26 Jul 2017

See all articles by Benjamin L. Berger

Benjamin L. Berger

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Abstract

The criminal law has been subject to both increased demands in the societal functions that it is expected to perform, and heightened scrutiny for those points at which it fails to achieve these ends. The resulting pressures put into question the criminal law's capacity to perform justice. Rather than turning to contemporary sources to assess the criminal law's relationship to claims of justice, the author uses an analysis of the ancient myth found in the Book of Job as a means of exposing the irresolvable tensions at the core of the criminal law system's quest for justice. In the end, injustice manifests as senseless suffering. The profound precariousness of contemporary criminal law is that its prescribed task is to make sense of suffering but it is always unable to wholly achieve this goal and is, indeed, always on the precipice of making things worse.

Keywords: Criminal Law, Legal Theory, Hebrew Bible, Humanities

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Berger, Benjamin L., On the Book of Job, Justice, and the Precariousness of the Criminal Law. Law, Culture and the Humanities, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2008.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=874765

Benjamin L. Berger (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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