Synopsis: Two parables that have become firmly lodged in popular consciousness and affection are the parable of the Good Samaritan and the parable of the Prodigal Son. These simple but subversive tales have had a significant impact historically on shaping the spiritual, aesthetic, moral, and legal traditions of Western civilization, and their capacity to inform debate on a wide range of moral and social issues remains as potent today as ever. Noting that both stories deal with episodes of serious interpersonal offending, and both recount restorative responses on the part of the leading characters, Compassionate Justice draws on the insights of restorative justice theory, legal philosophy, and social psychology to offer a fresh reading of these two great parables. It also provides a compelling analysis of how the priorities commended by the parables are pertinent to the criminal justice system today. The parables teach that the conscientious cultivation of compassion is essential to achieving true justice. Restorative justice strategies, this book argues, provide a promising and practical means of attaining to this goal of reconciling justice with compassion. Endorsements: "This is how political theology ought to be done. Marshall takes the fundamentally local problem of how communities restore relationships broken by criminal behavior and applies the insights of Jesus' best-known parables. Marshall shuttles back and forth between the biblical narratives and the best of social science to enhance both . . . I felt like I was reading Jesus' parables for the first time, and I also learned to think in new ways about criminal justice." --William T. Cavanaugh, Senior Research Professor, DePaul University "In his important new book, Marshall presents penetrating readings of the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son and uses these to provide fascinating new insights into the nature of restorative justice. The book culminates with an outstanding analysis of the role compassion should play in criminal justice. This is essential reading for anybody interested in serious thinking about the meaning of crime and justice." --Gerry Johnstone, Professor of Law, University of Hull "Few but Marshall could have written this book. In it he brings the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son into a lovingly detailed conversation with the main facets of restorative justice. The result is a deeply instructive journey . . . The gospel announces peace, and Marshall maps out here, recalling the words of Jesus, the only path--a steep and narrow way, much overlooked--that leads to peace. Those who reject the tyranny of the urgent and attend to Marshall's patient prose will experience an insightful, remarkable, and profoundly important book." --Douglas A. Campbell, Associate Professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School "Compassionate Justice is an impressive addition to the burgeoning literature on restorative justice. However, it is much more than that. This is a theologically rich account of the foundations and contradictions of substantive justice viewed though the lens of the two most beloved biblical parables: the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. It is imaginative and compelling and powerfully demonstrates the author's deep understanding of justice issues and his commitment to the ethical ideals of mercy and compassion." --Warren Brookbanks, Professor of Criminal law, University of Auckland, New Zealand Author Biography: Chris Marshall teaches in the Religious Studies Programme at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. His many publications include, Faith as a Theme in Mark's Narrative (1989), Kingdom Come: The Kingdom of God in the Teaching of Jesus (1993), Beyond Retribution: A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime, and Punishment (2001), Crowned with Glory and Honor: Human Rights in the Biblical Tradition (2001), and The Little Book of Biblical Justice (2005).
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