Biblical theology is confronted with tensions between love and justice. There are sometimes attempts to avoid these tensions by dissolving one side of the opposing concept. One such attempt is to identify love and mercy as the essence of Christian theology, overcoming law and reciprocal justice. However, such a dissolution is irresponsible not only ethically, but also theologically—as the discussion in a number of the studies collected in the present volume will demonstrate.
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Justice and love, especially love for the enemy, seem to be in tension with one another. Although the command to love appears as an imperative in both testaments and is related explicitly to Torah in the New Testament, it is often seen as standing in opposition to the law. Mercy, in its turn, is seen as standing close to love and in tension with justice.
Biblical theology, and theology more generally, is confronted with such tensions in many ways. Some have attempted to avoid these tensions by dissolving one side of the opposing concept, for example, by identifying love and mercy as the essence of Christian theology, which overcomes law and reciprocal justice. However, such a dissolution is irresponsible not only ethically, but also theologically – as the discussion in the present volume demonstrates.
The volume contains a number of papers presented in the Biblical Ethics section at the SBL Annual Meetings of 2014 and 2015. The studies shed light on various aspects of the questions surrounding the relationship of law and love, justice and mercy, both in the Old and the New Testament, and across the boundary between the two testaments.