Did Jesus repudiate Old Testament violence?

I tend to like Greg Boyd, even if his “open” theology puts him in many people’s “heretic” column.  I have given away numerous copies of his Letters From a Skeptic (with a cautionary note about one reference to his “open” view of God) over the years, and still have a couple of copies on my shelf.

I think he has some interesting views, especially re pacifism, which is how he’s most well-known today.  Today, he writes,

What’s interesting is that Jesus himself repudiated the violence of the Old Testament — despite his belief that this collection of writings was inspired. Jesus taught, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also (Mt 5:38-39).

He points out that according to Moses, this “eye for an eye” practice was not optional:

Most interestingly, in Deuteronomy Moses goes so far as to stress that the law must not be waved aside out of compassion. “Show no pity,” the text says, “ life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deut 19:21). Yet, Jesus not only commands people to “show pity,” he replaces the Old Testament quid pro quo ethic with his radical ethic of unconditional love.

Interesting. Check out the whole article.

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