Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Law Is Radical As The Gospel Is Radical

So many of the people who read The Bible base the meaning of the words and passages on concepts we have now about such things.   That's especially the case of the economic and social justice laws. As has been pointed out, one of the effects of The Mosaic Law would be a tendency to lessen social class and inherited wealth.   Today's Catholic liturgy has one such passage as the first reading.

The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai,
“Seven weeks of years shall you count–seven times seven years–
so that the seven cycles amount to forty-nine years.
Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, let the trumpet resound;
on this, the Day of Atonement, the trumpet blast shall re-echo
throughout your land.
This fiftieth year you shall make sacred
by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.
It shall be a jubilee for you,
when every one of you shall return to his own property,
every one to his own family estate.
In this fiftieth year, your year of jubilee,
you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth
or pick the grapes from the untrimmed vines.
Since this is the jubilee, which shall be sacred for you,
you may not eat of its produce,
except as taken directly from the field.

“In this year of jubilee, then,
every one of you shall return to his own property.
Therefore, when you sell any land to your neighbor
or buy any from him, do not deal unfairly.
On the basis of the number of years since the last jubilee
shall you purchase the land from your neighbor;
and so also, on the basis of the number of years for crops,
shall he sell it to you.
When the years are many, the price shall be so much the more;
when the years are few, the price shall be so much the less.
For it is really the number of crops that he sells you.
Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God.
I, the LORD, am your God.”

"Do not deal unfairly," is a commandment that would wipe out just about all of the American, British, etc. laws dealing with property and debt.  If there is an open invitation in secular law in the United States it is to cheat, swindle, ruin and grind other people into the ground, stealing everything from them and duping them into running off debts they will never be able to pay,  something that is encouraged by large swaths of pop culture and pop-science of the type mentioned in the post below.  Yet those most aggressive in the law, when it comes to other people sleeping with consenting adults, mostly, these laws which are far more extensive and far more embedded into the fiber of scriptural justice are entirely ignored.   I can't imagine this one making it onto a right-wing judges chamber walls or into a legal decision, even indirectly as the ones dealing with the contemporary understanding of same-sex sex does.   You won't hear CNBC talking about it, I'd guess.

1 comment:

  1. And if you follow the command of the Jubilee,it's that much harder to deal unfairly with others.
    Also eliminates Carnegie's concern for an estate tax.
    Too bad nobody ever took it seriously.