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MPS-201: Justice, Peace, Human Rights: Biblical Theological Foundations = DBI 445:
Biblical Seminar
Second Semester 2015-2016
RH Conference Rm. 5:30-7:00 PM T-Th.
Instructor: Noriel C. Capulong,Th.D., Old Testament Studies

Course Description and Aims

This course is an introductory examination of the various biblical roots and theological
understanding of the meaning of peace as Shalom in the Hebrew Bible and Eirene in the
Greek New Testament. The holistic and comprehensive aspects of the biblical concept of peace
which includes justice, well being and wholeness as manifested in the Old Testament traditions
and as taught and preached by Jesus and Paul in the Gospels and in the Epistles respectively
will be given emphasis along with the corresponding missionary mandate for peacemaking and
This course aims
1. to develop a deeper understanding of the rich and inter-related themes of peace and
human rights in the Bible, in the light of the prevalence of violence, injustice and conflict
ancient world of the Bible and today.
2. to appreciate both the diversity of perspectives among the biblical writings, in their own
socio-historical setting, but also endeavor to find areas of coherence, continuity and
3. to promote reflection on questions facing people today, in light of the Bibles transforming
vision of peace, justice and wholeness for all people and all creation.

Yoder, Perry B. Shalom: The Bibles World for Salvation, Justice, and Peace. Newton, KS: Faith
& Life
Press, 1987.
Modern translation of the Bible, e.g. NRSV, RSV, or NAB
Supplementary readings will be placed on library reserve, or otherwise made available.
Course Requirements
1. Preparation for and participation in class sessions:
**Read the biblical texts and chapters from the textbook listed in the course schedule
prior to the class session. Other short class preparation assignments may also be

2. Essay on My Experience with War, Violence, Injustice or Oppression, or My Response

to a Modern Account of War, Violence, or Injustice or My response to a Story of
Violence or War in the Bible. 750-1000 words
Due: July 7 (for sharing in class)
3. Brief reports on topics or reaction paper on assigned readings and lectures.
4. Research Paper: The research paper may (a) focus on a particular text or texts of
Scripture, (b) deal with a topic or theme related to peace and justice in the Bible, or (c)
involve an analysis of a contemporary issue from a specifically biblical perspective.
Length: 3000-4000 words. For suggested topics, see below. Due: October March 7.
5. Mid-term test
6. Final Examination
Summary of Grading:
Class preparation and participation
Written reports, reaction papers on assigned readings and lectures
Research Paper
Mid-term Test
Final Examination


Academic and Course Policies

Paper Submission of assignments
The default policy is that all assignments should be submitted in paper form; other
arrangements must be made in consultation with the instruction prior to the due date.
Due Dates and Extensions
Student are expected to hand in assignments on the due date and to write tests on the days that
they are scheduled. Permission for extensions will only be given for serious reasons such as
illness, family crises, etc.
Academic integrity
Plagiarism and cheating are serious academic offences. Students are expected at all times to
submit their own work and to properly acknowledge and document sources used based on the
Chicago Manual of Style Turabian. Such source include books and articles, and also the Bible,
internet sources, hand-outs and class notes, and work of other students or professors. If it
becomes evident that the student has plagiarized an assignment, the assignment will receive a
failing grade. See further the Student Handbook

Course Schedule

Nov. 17

Intro to the Course

Nov. 19

Biblical concepts of peace (shalom and eirene)

and justice (mishphat/tsekada)

Dec. 8
10, 15

Sharing of initial and reaction papers

In the Beginning, peace and justice in Gen. 111; sinfulness; Gen. 1-2 (creation [tob or good]
vs chaos, Gods creativity and human
accountability; meaning and implication of the
human as created in image of God; human
stewardship and partnership in the care of
creation). Gen.3 (betrayal of trust, loss of
innocence, desire to be like God, quest for
immortality). Gen.4 (beginning of violence,
jealousy, hatred, murder of ones own brother vs
Gods graciousness). Gen. 6-9 (Gods response
to human wickedness, destruction and creation
of a new humanity) Gen 11-(Human pride and
trust in ones own ability [huburis], aspiration to
reach the place of God- highest expression of
sin, seed of its own destruction).

Dec. 17

Jan 7

Shalom and Liberation: Peace and Justice in the

Wake of the Exodus
Towards the creation of an alternative
community. Settlement in the land; alternative
system of land management/ the jubilee and
sabbatical laws
Political and economic components of liberation.
Warfare in Israel; Holy/Yahweh War; Royal/Zion
theology vs trusting in ones own and others
military strength; implications on the rise of
conflicts and wars in our modern times.

Course outline
Dr. Gordon Zerbe, guest
lecturer. Readings for an
informed discussion: Refer to
any dictionary of the Bible in the
Library, Reference section. Ex.
Interpreters Dictionary of the
Bible, Harpers Dictionary of the
Bible, etc; Yoder and Swartley,
chapter 2; Yoder chapter 2;
Zerbe, Peace & Justice in the
Bible Submit a reaction paper
to the lecturer of Dr. Zerbe.
Write your own summary and
response to the materials that
you have read.
Sharing in class
Yoder, ch 3-4; Capulong,
RHOTPC, vol. 1, ch 6.
Gen 1-11; Interpreters Bible.
Vol.1, Interpretation, vol.1

Exodus 1-14; 22:21-27; 23:6-11;

Duet.26: 5-9; 16:20; 23:19;
24:14-15, 17-21; Joshua 13:721;43,44; Psalms 16:5-6; 78:55;
Lev.25; Exod.21; Deut.15
Preparation to discussion
Janzen, War, Christian
Perspectives; lind, Yahweh in a
Warior, Exod.14:13-14;15;
Joshua 1-2; Psalms 24:8-10,
Isaiah 30:15-18;30:1-1; 31:1, 4-5

(holy war tradition). Forreporting

Jan 14

Peace & Justice: Covenant Law and the State:

Gods Instrument for Shalom Justice

Jan. 21

Peace & Justice in the Prophets

Jan. 28

Mid-tern Test

Feb. 4

Psalms and Wisdom: The life of wholeness as

experienced in worship, as it journeys through
faith orientation (hymns), disorientation
(laments) and reorientation (thanksgiving);
Wisdoms understanding of the good life, the
built in norms that guide the person towards
success vs the realities that tend to contradict
the traditional assumptions of Wisdom teaching.


Jesus in the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, Sin

and Forgiveness amidst Pax Romana


Paul the Apostle and the Epistle


Peace, Justice and Atonement


Towards a Theology of Peace for all creation;

crossing borders, breaking boundaries, creating
channels for understanding and reconciliation:
elements of the New Testament and the New

Mar. 10
Mar. 10

Submission of Research Paper

Final Exam

Suggested Topics for Major Research Paper

Yoder, ch. 6&7; Deut. 16:18-20;

17:14-20; Psalms 72; Is.11:1-9
(For reporting in class,
considering the topic in light of
contemporary issues on
government and JP and HR
Yoder, ch 8; Amos 2:6 (going
beyond the law); 4:1-3; 5:10-12,
21_24; 6:1-6; *:4-6; Micah 2:1-2;
3:1-4; 6:8 (For reporting in class)
Capulong, RHOTPC, vol.2,
For reporting in class

Yoder, ch9; Hauerwas,

Peaceable Kingdom, ch5; Yoder
and Swartley, pp.156-163. (For
reporting in class)
Horsley, In the Shadow of
Empire, Ulrich Mauser, ch6-7;
Zerbe, Pauls Ethic of
Nonretaliation and Peace,
Swartley, pp.177-222. (For
reporting in class)
Yoder, ch5 (For reporting in
Isaiah 65:17-25; Revelation 21;
C.Dale White, Making a Just
Peace, Visioning together for
the kind of peace we are called
to uphold and live for. (Group

Option 1: a paper focusing on a particular text or texts in Scripture

Some examples:
Isaiah 2/ Micah 4/ Joel 3 (swords into plowshares/ plowshares into words)
Vision of shalom in Isaiah (e.g. chaps 2, 9, 11, 35, 65)
Zechariah 9
A text focusing on justice in the prophets
A key story of conflict or reconciliation in the OT (e.g. Gen 13; other examples in Zerbe,
Triumphal entry of Jesus (in one or 4 Gospels)
The temple incident (in one or 4 Gospels)
MATTHEW 5:38-48
2 Corinthians 10: 1-6; Ephesians 6:10-18 (spiritual warfare imagery)
Romans 12:14-21
Romans 13:1-10
Option 2: a topic or theme related to peace and justice in the Bible
The Theology of War in the OT (or some aspect of it)
Isaiahs Pacifism and Zion Theology
The Jubilee Year/Sabbath year
Yahwehs War against Israel in the Prophets
The Social Justice Message in Amos the Prophet
Justification in Pauls writing
War, peace, and justice in Revelation
Neighbourly love and social justice in the book of James
The teaching of Jesus on peace issues.. (e.g. wealth and poverty, care for the needy,
violence, etc.)
The imagery of social reversals in Jesus preaching
The theme of peace in Lukes Gospel
Option 3: an analysis of contemporary issue/ topic from a biblical perspective
Christian response to modern warfare
The just war theory in biblical perspective
Economic injustice (or some aspect or example of it, e.g. globalization) in biblical prospective
Conflict in the church, family, or school, or work place
Violence against nature/creation in biblical perspective
Violence against women in biblical perspective
Racism and the Bible
Restorative/transformation justice: biblical foundations
For further dialogue about paper ideas, please see the instructor

Selected Bibliography

Ariarajah, S. Wesley. Axis of Peace. Geneva: World Council of Churches.
Brown, Robert McAfee. Religion and Violence. 2nd ed.Philadelpia: Westminster Press, 1987. A
study of
the nature of and alternatives to violence. Not a biblical study.
Brown, Terry and Christopher Lind, eds. Justice as Mission; Agenda for the Church. Chap.11,
War and
Peace, p.207-234.
Capulong, NorielC. Reading and Hearing the Old Testament in the Philippine Context, vol.1.
Quezon City; New Day publishers and United Church of Christ in the Philippines, 2003
Capulong, NorielC. Reading and Hearing the Old Testament in the Philippine Context, vol.2
Quezon City; New Day publishers and United Church of Christ in the Philippines, 2009
Dorr, Donal.Spiritual and Justice. Quezon City, Phil.: Claretian Publications,1985
Groody, Daniel G. GlobalizationI, Spirituality, and Justice: Navigating the Path to Peace.
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008
Hendrickx, Herman. Social Justice in the Bible. Quezon City, Philippines: Claretian, 1988
Horsey, Richard ed. In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful
Resistance. Louisville and London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008
Janzen, Waldermar. Still in the Image: Essays in Biblical Theology and Anthropology. Winnipeg:
CMBC Publications, 1982. Essays 15,16, and 17 deal with war/peace. Note especially
#15: war in the Old Testament.
Mauser, Ulrich. The Gospel of Peace: A Scriptural Massage for Todays World. Louisville:
Westminster/John Knox, 1992.
Stassen, Glen H. Just Peacemaking: Transforming Initiatives for Justice and Peace. Louisville,
1992, esp.chap.2- Turning Toward the Sermon on the Mount: Central Text
for Peacemaking and Justicemaking, pp.33-52; chap.3_ Transforming Initiatives in New
Swartley, Willard M., ed The Love of Enemy and Nonretaliation in the New Testament.
Louisville: Westminter/John Knox Press, 1992. The essays of this volume take up two
pervasive New Testament
teachings that are foundational to peace: Jesus
commands to love enemies and not to retaliate
against those who do evil (Preface,
p.xi). An introductory survey of research and an extensive bibliography enhance the
White, C.Dale. Making a Just Peace. Human Rights and Domination Systems.
Nashville:Abingdon Press, 1998.
Wink, Walter. Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World Domination.
Fortress, 1992
Wink, Walter. Naming the Powers: The Language of Power in the New Testament. Minneapolis:
Fortress, 1984
Yoder, John Howard. The Politics of Jesus: VicitAgnusNoster [Our Lamb Has Bees Victoriuos].
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972. The Classic Mennonite statement of pacifism rooted in
Jesus creation of an alternative community of peace through his suffering and
invitation to his followers to shoulder the cross.
Yoder, Perry and Williard swartley, eds. The Meaning of Peace: Biblical Studies. Louisville:
Westminter/John Knox Press, 1992. [new 2001 ed with expanded bibliography]
Translation of classical German studies on the meaning of war and peace in both Testaments,
with the introductory essays to each Testament section by the editors.
Yoder, Perry B. Shalom: The Bibles Word for Salvation, Justice and Peace. Newton, KS: Faith
& Life, 1987. The study of shalom and related terms and of their centrality for Christian
theology and practice

Zerbe, Gordon. Pauls Ethic of Non-retaliation and Peace. The Love of Enemy and
Nonretaliation in the New Testament. Studies in Peace and Scripture 3. Ed. W.
Swartley. Philadelpia:Westminter/John Knox Press. Studies 1992. Pp.177-222.
Zerbe, Gordon. Peace and Justice in the Bible. Forthcoming in a volume edited by H.
Huebner and H.Muhammad Legenhausen, CMU Press. Adapted from a {resentation at
the Forth Shia Muslim Mennonite Christian dialogue conference, on the theme Peace
and Justice. Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, Qom, Iran. May 2427,2009
Justice in the OT:
Boecker, Hans Jochen. Law and Administration of Justice in the Old Testament and Ancient
East. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1980
War in the OT and the Bible:
Lind, Millard C. Yahweh is the Warrior: The Theology of Warfare in Ancient Israel.
Scootdale/Kitchener: Herald Press, 1980. Lind argues that early Israel was called to be,
and partially was, an alternative society abstaining from war. With the coming of
kingship, this was eroded.
Rad, Gerhard von. HolyWar in Ancient Israel. Trans. Marva J. Dawn. Introd. By Ben C.
Ollenburger. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991. (Based on third German ed., 1958). The
classic and ground-breaking study of holy war that generated a great amount of
research in the last half century. Ollenburgers introduction surveys holy war/
Yahweh war research helpfully.
Criminal and Restorative Justice:
Zerbe, Gordon. Forgiveness and the transformation of Conflict: The Continuity of a Biblical
Paradigm. In Reclaiming the Old Testament: Essays in Honour of Waldemar Janzen,
ed. G.Zerbe. Winnipeg: CMBC Publications, 2001. Pp.235-58
Journal Issues:
War and Peace in Scripture and Tradition. Interpretation: A journal of Bible and Theology. Vol
38/4. (October 1994)
Violence in the Bible. Interpretation: A journal of Bible and Theology. Vol 58/4 (October 2004)