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Two Faces of ‘Fair Society’ in the OT Law Code

우택주 1

1침례신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In order to theologically appreciate the “Fair Society,” a political catchword recently raised by the Government, this study probes two faces of the Old Testament law codes in their socio-political background, especially on the laws of debt easement and the liberation of the debt slaves. This study assumes that the Old Testament is (1) state literature, (2) a minority report, and (3) ideological writings by the interested parties, which are all politically interwoven with each other. As a result, such laws as the debt easement and the liberation of debt slaves appeared in the Deuteronomic Code, the Covenant Code, and the Holiness Code were designed not only to propagandize the good image of the rulers and ruling parties towards the majority of the helpless people but also to weaken the power of the rival parties. Josiah, king of Judah in the Deuteronomic Code, Jeroboam I, king of Israel in the Covenant Code, the returning priest groups in the Holiness Code seem to have intended to do so. However, the social reality effected by those laws appeared to be hardly improved because of the corruption and depravity of the judicial system of those societies, as witnessed by the prophets and the long history up to the days of Jesus. Thus the law codes or any political catchwords for “Fair Society” could not improve the unfairness of the societies. This is the two faces of the law codes expressing the fair society. The main cause creating such unfair society were due to the covetousness of the few ruling elites no other than the helpless majority. In a sense, one can conclude, the Old Testament law codes as the normative literature of Christianity instruct us, the leader of the faith community and the intellectual groups of our society no less than the other power groups, to give up the various ways of life to extend our own power, wealth and privilege.

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