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Words of Wisdom, Words of Prophecy: Why and How Biblical Law Speaks in the Public Square

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPolitical Theology
Issue number1
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Jan 2017
DatePublished (current) - 3 Feb 2017


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.

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2016.1268832. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 417 KB, PDF-document


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