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Ethics and the Old Testament
John Barton

1563382342 Retail Price: $18.00
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Format: Paperback, 120pp.
ISBN: 0334028949
Publisher: SCM Press
Pub. Date: 2Rev Ed edition December, 2002

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From The Publisher:

Establishing the relevance of Old Testament ethics to contemporary life is, John Barton concedes, an uphill task. For many Christians today, let alone those with no religious commitment, to find some way of accommodating them into a coherent moral system by which to live in the late twentieth century seems implausible at best and ridiculous or even immoral at worst.

However, John Barton is convinced that in many areas of ethical enquiry the Old Testament has much to teach us, and he argues this case in this new book, which developed out of lectures given both in Canada and in Oxford. During it he look again at the Ten Commandments; the narrative about David and his children; the ethical issues of ecology; sexual morality and property; human morality as the express command of God; and the motivation for moral conduct.

By the end of the book it is clear that although the Old Testament comes to us from a remote, alien and apparently unsophisticated context, the powerful minds who worked on its books still have things to say which remain evocative and suggestive for our own moral enquiries.


... helpful... stimulating and insightful... superb introductory text... it is impossible not to appreciate the clarity and fairness of his discussions.
Denver Journal

... easily accessible to first-year students, but raises enough questions to profitably serve upper-levels as well.
—Paul J. Wood, University of St. Thomas, reviewing for Religious Studies Review

... accessible and helpful... valuable model for students and pastors who interpret the Bible clearly, courageously, helpfully, and without reductionism.

...a valuable tool for students of moral theology and Christian ethics as well as the Old Testament.
—America: The National Catholic Weekly

In this provocative work, Barton examines the role the Old Testament can play in the formation of contemporary ethical thinking.
—Religion and Liberty

... useful as a graduate textbook... supplementary book at the undergraduate level... brevity and lucid erudition ...
—Stone-Campbell Journal, Paul Kissling, Professor of Old Testament, Great Lakes Bible College

Once again, Barton has demonstrated the quality of his biblical theology. The book will appeal to a broad adult audience.
—Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., reviewing for The Bible Today


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About the Author

John Barton is Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture in the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Oriel College.

Table of Contents

1The Vitality of Old Testament Ethics1
2Ethics and Story19
3Three Ethical Issues37
4Divine Commands or Natural Law?58
5Why Should we be Moral?77

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