The Justice of Exodus

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2018

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Abstract

This dissertation traces the theme of justice through the whole narrative of Exodus. Its aim is to explicate how YHWH’s reclamation of Israel for service-worship as narrated in Exodus reveals a distinct theological ethic of justice that is grounded in YHWH’s character and Israel’s calling within YHWH’s creational agenda. It adopts a synchronic, text immanent interpretative strategy which takes specific note of canonical and inner-biblical connections. This exposition gives particular attention to two other overlapping motifs in Exodus that help illuminate the theme of justice. First, it considers throughout the importance of Israel’s creation traditions for grounding Exodus’s theology of justice. It shows that the ethical disposition of justice imprinted upon Israel in the events of Exodus is built upon and is an application of YHWH’s creational agenda of justice. This becomes evident when Exodus is understood against the backdrop of creation theology and as a continuation of the plot of Genesis, a reading that Exodus itself invites. Second, because the book of Exodus functions as a pedagogical narrative—i.e., a persuasive story that is meant to form readers in normative, paradigmatic ways, this work highlights how an educational agenda is woven throughout the text. The narrative gives heightened attention to the way YHWH catechizes Israel in what it means to be the particular beneficiary and creational emissary of YHWH’s justice. The interpretative lenses of creation theology and pedagogy furthermore help in explaining why Israel’s salvation and shaping, in turn, embodies a programmatic applicability of YHWH’s justice for the wider world.

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Doctor of Theology

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Bills, Nathan (2018). The Justice of Exodus. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/20185.

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