"The scriptural laws dealing with widows, strangers, and orphans are conventionally viewed as rules meant to aid the plight of vulnerable persons in ancient Israelite society. In Injustice Made Legal Harold V. Bennett challenges this perspective, arguing instead that key sanctions found in Deuteronomy were actually drafted by a powerful elite to enhance their own material condition and keep the peasantry down." Building his case on a careful analysis of life in the ancient world and on his understanding of critical law theory, Bennett views Deuteronomic law through the eyes of the needy in Israelite society. His unique approach uncovers the previously neglected link between politico-economic interests and the formulation of law. The result is a new understanding of law in the Hebrew Bible and the ways it worked to support and maintain the dehumanization of widows, strangers, and orphans in the biblical community.
Assistant professor of religion at Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia.