By Prof Jonathan Burnside, Professor of Biblical Law (University of Bristol Law School).
Biblical law is certainly an area where perceptions are key. Even if you don’t know very much about biblical law, you’ll likely have an opinion about it.
What does biblical law make you think of? What associations spring to mind, especially when you turn off the internal editor? For some of us the associations are primarily negative. We might see it as being out-of-date, violent or misogynistic. Our perceptions may be profoundly moulded by the fact it has the death penalty for certain offences. For some of us, our associations may be exactly the reverse. We might see biblical law as being ethically relevant – authoritative, even. We may see it, positively, as being concerned with liberating the oppressed, protecting the weak, and seeking justice. (more…)