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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for understanding a Christian relationship to the Old Testament, December 16, 2008
This review is from: Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Hardcover)
Christopher Wright's discussion on Old Testament Ethics not only new breaks ground in understanding the nature of the Old Testament, but it helps define Christian relationship to the Old Testament. By rejecting both hard dispensationalism and the three fold division (moral, civil, ceremonial), he paves the way for a much more paradigmic use of the Old Testament, all of the Old Testament. Wright creates usefulness out of the particularity of the Old Testament laws and contexts, which otherwise seems to get lost.

I do wish he had interacted more with Paul's understanding of Law, especially in Romans chapter 7. However, if you could only read one book on Old Testament ethics, this should be it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Old Testament Ethics for the People of God" Review, November 20, 2011
Let's get one thing straight from the beginning--Old Testament Ethics for the People of God by Christopher J.H. Wright, is a massive endeavor that is both breathtaking in scope and brilliance. It is difficult to evaluate a book that has been called "...a magnum opus" by David L. Baker. Nevertheless, I will attempt to undertake a brief review of this book.

The book breaks down into three main sections. Section one, entitled "A Structure For Old Testament Ethics" lays the groundwork for the entire book. Wright believes OT ethics should be viewed from three different, yet dependent lenses: the theological, social and economic. Wright devotes a chapter to each lens and covers each one well enough that it prepares the reader for his next section.

The next section, the real 'meat of the book' if you will, is entitled "Themes in Old Testament Ethics." As one might expect from the title, Wright explores the ethical ideas of various themes within the Old Testament, applying the various lenses to each situation. Each chapter felt pregnant with meaning for today, as Wright covered the topics of ecology, economics and the poor, the land, politics and the nations, justice and righteousness, law and the legal system, culture and family and the way of individuals.

While a detailed analysis is beyond the scope of this review, there were several major ideas that kept resurfacing throughout. First, Wright draws the readers attention to the communal aspect of ethics. Ethics were not just focused on the individual but the community. Second, all OT ethics are formed the presupposition that the whole Earth is the Lord's. Third, Wright reminds the reader that one of the major purposes of OT ethics was to reveal the nature of Yahweh to the nations. Each chapter was full of helpful ideas for the pastor and theologian. In my own experience of reading the book, I walked away with a deeper appreciation of how to interpret the Old Testament and in particular, how to understand the relevance of the Law in our own day. This is no superficial cutting and pasting of isolated texts ripped out of context to make them relevant for today. Rather, Wright has brought about a comprehensive understanding of how one might begin the task of Old Testament theology today!

The final section is by far the most academic, focusing on how to study Old Testament ethics. This section is clearly written for the scholar or beginning student, though I suspect even pastors could benefit reading through this section. While optional, it gives one a real appreciation of the amount of literature Wright has surveyed in his writing of this book.

Which leads to one of the greatest things I can say about the book--Wright keeps the pacing of this book perfect. He refuses to get bogged down in scholarly footnotes. Rather, the reader will find this magnum opus very accessible. For pastors and beginning students, this could not be more welcomed. Though my own research interest lies in New Testament, I found this book kept my interest and seldom left me feeling overwhelmed.

In conclusion, I simply cannot offer up enough praise for what Christopher Wright has accomplished with this book. Though it is already seven years old, if you still haven't read it, do yourself a favor and pick it up. If anything, it will leave you with a greater appreciation of the Old Testament and plenty of mental food to chew upon when it comes to ethics.

*Thanks to IVP Academic for providing me with a free review copy of this book. I was not forced to write a positive review of this book.*
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chris Wright does not disaapoint, June 20, 2011
By 
Stephen M. Spaulding (Colorado Springs, CO) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Hardcover)
I was first tuned into Chris Wright by his The Mission of God, (c. 2006) and I've not been disappointed since. He's likely the most accessible OT scholar alive today. That's a claim by a 'lay-theologian.' I'm certainly not up on the longer list of names which are seeking to keep abreast of current theology/philosophy in the OT genres, just perusing the accessible writings on a basic OT theology. He seems aware of this greater collection of writings but his style is articulate, seems comprehensive, and certainly brings back to life a significant section of Scripture which, for the bulk of the 20th century had been--by "evangelical scholarship" relegated to heavy spiritualizing and/or Messianic prophecies--at least from an American perspective. I have found that as an Evangelical, some of my best theology mentors have come from the other side of the Atlantic, especially from the U.K., thinking of Chris, but also N.T. Wright.

This is a foundational document--as is The Mission of God--in tying the primary themes of the O.T., their relation to ethics for the people of God in any age, and to the mission of the people of God, especially in this age. Thank you, Chris, for your hard work on this another volume which brings glory to God, as any good scholarship should.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book review, February 9, 2008
This review is from: Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Hardcover)
Christopher Wright presents scholarly insights into the Old Testament and Hebrew culture which need to be re-understood to better appreciate Western culture and its roots. This book is highly recommended for those who care to move beyond a superficial understanding of the Bible and superficial Christian faith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written book on a much needed topic., May 31, 2013
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This is a very broad and difficult topic, yet the author deals with it with such clarity. Not an easy read, but rewarding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Treatise on ethics from a world renowned OT scholar, May 12, 2012
By 
Daniel S (Denver, CO USA) - See all my reviews
Christopher Wright continues to solidify himself as a mainstay authority on matters Old Testament. This book is an excellent follow-up to his magisterial and popular "The Mission of God". What I love best about Wright is his intentionality to "map out" theological subjects within the broader context of the Bible --- how does this fit in to what God is doing overall? He did that superbly in Mission of God with looking at minute issues in missiology and micro-exegetical matters, and continues in this most recent collection of thought.
There is so much that one could discuss with Wright on this subject that it almost doesn't pay fair homage to the extensiveness of the book. I particularly like how he takes weighted, modernistic terms like justice, economics, institutions like the family, and others that have re-defined, dissected, and critiqued heavily in the last 200 years since the modernization of the world. Overall this book is incredibly helpful for those intrigued by the study of theological/Biblical ethics and particularly by the perspective of a world renowned Old Testament scholar.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent dissertation on the Old Testament and Ethics, November 30, 2013
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This review is from: Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Hardcover)
Excellent dissertation on the Old Testament and Ethics. While it is definitely on a scholarly level, it's wihtout a doubt an easy read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written Old Testament ethics, April 14, 2013
By 
E. Ritzema (Bellingham, WA) - See all my reviews
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From the early church on, the issue of how to interpret the Old Testament has been a live one. Are its laws still binding on Jewish Christians? Do Gentile Christians have to start living by its laws? Some answers regarding how to interpret it are found in the New Testament, but we moderns have still more questions: What about the destruction of the Canaanites? How did the Israelites view the environment? Do the laws God gave to the Israelites reflect the ideal way to govern a society, or was it a condescension to the Israelites' culture? If the Old Testament law is an ideal, what about its regulations concerning slavery? And on and on.

Wright's book is a fantastic one for answering such questions. He writes in dialogue with other scholars, but on a level that is intelligible to the average person who has never studied Hebrew or the ancient Near East. It is neither a quick read nor a light read, however, so I would only recommend it to those who are seriously seeking to investigate how Christians should view the Old Testament.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Text for Old Testament Ethics, January 11, 2013
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Wright's work is a masterful approach to this important subject. I will use this book for a fundamental basis of study in biblical ethics.
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Old Testament Ethics for the People of God
Old Testament Ethics for the People of God by Christopher J. H. Wright (Hardcover - July 23, 2004)
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