Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Why ethics?

Though ethical behavior was essential in the ancient Near East, a moral imperative based on a discernment of God’s nature, as is found in Israel, was lacking. The gods had not revealed themselves, and they were not known to be consistent in character. Consequently, we find many of the same ethical expectations in the ancient world at large as we find in Israel, but the source of such norms in Israelite thinking (God instead of society), the reasoning behind them (holiness for retaining the presence of God) and their objectives (being godlike) are all very different. The ethical norms of the ancient Near East are most concerned with order versus disorder in society whereas in Israel the main focus is on relationship with deity and what is right or wrong as one seeks to live in accordance with the holiness of God. We likewise find similar ritual performances, but, again, they are driven by a very different ideology.—The Lost World of Adam and Eve, pp. 146–47

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