After many long months of editing and submissions, my article “The Grace of God in the Law of Moses: A Second Look at Israel’s Written Code” is finally published in the Fidei et Veritatis academic journal. For those interested, click on the embedded link above, and here’s the abstract of this work.
For centuries, the Mosaic Code (“MC”) has been viewed as Israel’s prescriptive legislation, whereby Jewish leaders were to judge infractions by the “letter of the law.” This view is one which permeates both pulpit and pew alike, even in this modern era. However, recent developments in scholarship are challenging this understanding of MC, concluding instead that this “law code” was not utilized in Israelite jurisprudence, but rather as a covenant contract that worked not prescriptively in the lives of the Jews, but rather descriptively, in that it relayed the heart of YHWH to its reader. Accordingly, MC was to be utilized in the civil sphere as idyllic law to help the civil magistrate to formulate just rulings. In the personal and interpersonal realm, this descriptive view of the law was to be utilized to change the individual from the inside out, thereby conforming the heart of the individual to the character and likeness of YHWH. Internal biblical data does show evidence of MC use as a prescriptive legislative tool, but the question must be asked, when did this shift from descriptive to prescriptive take place? This study argues that the conceptual shift of MC to a prescriptive law code took place during the Intertestamental Period, or, during the period of Greek Hellenization. This study likewise argues that during the ministry of Christ, the Lord came to challenge the prescriptive presuppositions of His Jewish counterparts, thus reforming their narrow understanding of MC to one which focuses primarily on the heart.