What happened before Mt. Sinai and led up to it
In plain English, in your own words, respond to people at the dinner table in the following scenario. You are home for the weekend, or a guest in the home of a fellow student, and in a moment of weakness you blurt out that you are taking this class. Even worse, you mention that you have been doing social justice in the Mount Sinai covenant. Naturally, someone (probably your dad) says: “I thought the law given at Mount Sinai was just a bunch of laws. How can there be anything about social justice in there?”
Everybody looks at you–what are you going to say? But you get lucky. Someone (probably your mom) wisely says, “It might be hard to explain right here on the spot, and besides you would never get a chance to eat. So could you put it in writing for us? With sources and all that? Then we could absorb it better and talk about it the next time you are here.”
To do this well, don’t just do the covenant by itself. You need to explain all the things related to the Mt. Sinai covenant, because they are the context for it and give it much larger meaning. These include:
-What happened before Mt. Sinai and led up to it.
-The purpose, nature, and content of the covenant itself.
-What happened next, such as the desert experience and its meaning, and what Moses said before he died.
-Using the Meta as your basic framework would be a good guide.
Caution: the subject of this paper has some potential to go off topic, so let me offer a few guidelines. This is actually intended to avoid problems which have cropped up in the past, when sometimes students have gone off on personal rants about things like undeserving recipients of welfare, etc. These guidelines are also meant to have some teaching substance buried in them somewhere.
1. The assignment expects y’all to know and understand the terminology in the Unit 1 online document “Terminology: Force, Violence And Social Justice,” and also the definition of justice in the OT. This of course means, among other things, knowing the difference between social justice and charity; and also knowing the difference between social injustice on the one hand and individual wrong actions or individual rights on the other.
2. Naturally, our cultural values will influence how we view social justice. To be candid, some of our cultural views on the subject are (as my kids would say), “like, so American,” rather than global or timeless, and even then from a position of prosperity and privilege compared to lots of other people in the nation or beyond.
3. Naturally, there will be some flexibility in the definition of social justice, and there should be. However, at some point there is a limit on this, or words don’t mean anything. In our own cultural context, we will have a tendency to turn our definition or discussion into what is functionally the American myth of individualism and the rewards of individual hard work. This is understandable because in this nation that is what we are taught to think. But whatever the undeniable merits of those views (I was raised on them and try to live by them), they are not quite on the topic of social justice. See that word “social” in the phrase? That means the society, the community as a whole. Our subject for this course is not defined so much in terms of individuals and individual efforts as in terms of social structures and systems.