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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys biblical laws relevant to social power and the distribution of resources and addresses challenges of assessing the legislation and finding potential for the application of its principles within the modern world. The goal of social justice in biblical law is not to overturn the existing social order but to preserve pre-existing privileges of individuals within their respective socioeconomic statuses. Thus, laws protect and aid persons who are socially, legally, and/or economically vulnerable (e.g. poor, widows, fatherless, and resident aliens), and remedy problems of those who are already suffering from loss of their status (e.g. debt slaves). Biblical law fosters a society in which people enjoy fair representation and have access to resources with which to independently support themselves. Social justice is based on ethical values that must be taught, encouraged, and accepted as part of the collective world view; it is not enough to legislate and enforce them.

Keywords: social justice, social ethics, social status, social power, socially marginalized, socially weak, social welfare

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