Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sabbath and Jubilee by Richard H. Lowery

My new subway reading is Sabbath and Jubilee by Richard H. Lowery, a recent gift from my parents. Somehow lost in the close alliance between the Religious Right and secular contemporary political conservatives is the awkward fact that ancient Jewish and Christian teachers spoke up boldly for the welfare of the poor. Lowery offers both a scholarly summary of the scriptural principles of Sabbath (a day of rest) and Jubilee (periodic forgiveness of debts). It is full of insight on economic justice issues surrounding food and agriculture in the ancient world and today.

Since I haven't finished reading yet, here is my parents' nice summary:
Chapter 2 tells how the monarchy [in the time of Saul and David] disrupted the self-sufficient agricultural households and then the monarchs had to try to act or appear beneficently to patch up the broken system. Each of the chapters has an effective summary. It leads up to chapter 8 on Jesus' understanding and acting out of Sabbath and Jubilee. A remarkable chapter 9 concludes on a modern spirituality of Sabbath and Jubilee.