The theme of justice pervades the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. And all Christians agree that justice is important. We often disagree, however, about what justice means, both in Scripture and for us today. Many turn to Old Testament laws, the prophets, and the life of Jesus to find biblical guidance on justice, but few think of searching the letters of Paul. Readers frequently miss a key source, a writing in which justice is actually the central concern: the book of Romans.
In Resurrecting Justice, theologian Douglas Harink invites readers to rediscover Romans as a treatise on justice. He traces Paul’s thinking on this theme through a sequential reading of the book, finding in each passage facets of the gospel’s primary claim—that God accomplishes justice in the death and resurrection of Jesus Messiah. By rendering forms of the Greek word dikaiosynē as “just” or “justice,” Harink emphasizes the inseparability of personal, social, and political uprightness that was clear to Paul but is obscured in modern translations’ use of the words “righteous” and “righteousness” instead.
Throughout this book, Harink includes personal reflection questions and contemporary implications, helping readers connect Paul’s teaching to issues in their world such as church life, politics, power, criminal justice, and violence. Romans demands nothing less than a fundamental rethinking of all things in the light of the gospel. And in Romans the life, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus makes all the difference in how we think about justice. Resurrecting Justice makes clear that the good news of a justice that can come only from God is crucial not only for individual lives but for all peoples and nations of the world.
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Douglas Harink (PhD, University of St. Michael’s College) is professor of theology at The King’s University in Edmonton, Alberta. He is the author of Paul Among the Postliberals and 1 & 2 Peter in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. He is also the editor of Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision: Critical Engagements with Agamben, Badiou, Žižek, and Others.