A few months ago I embarked upon a quest to define justice. Overall, this issue
has been a constant reminder of the ancient Greek god, Sisyphus. For each time the
wording seemed to appropriately describe justice, a certain concept or situation would be
cited which rendered the explication inadequate; indeed I can identify with Sisyphus'
continuous struggle pushing the boulder up the hill only to have to come back down and
repeat the process. Nevertheless, the concept of justice, however protean it may be, is
manifest in societies and individuals throughout history. Not only does this idea of justice
motivate peoples' actions, it also is the notion that actions render consequences. Hence,
perceptions and applications of justice are particular to certain groups or societies and
have an important affect on the everyday lives of individuals.
Having been said, I will now elucidate the purpose of this paper. My aim is to
illustrate the specific questions of justice as they pertain to The Gospels of Matthew,
Mark and Luke (commonly referred to as the synoptic gospels).
In this attempt, my
critical first step is to place the three gospels within the historical context of their
writing. A summary of the text will follow. I shall focus on a coherent set of events
common to all three works, but will also account for some discrepancies between the
story-lines. This establishes a framework from which to present a definition of justice
applicable to the synoptic gospels. Finally, I will address my inquiry to define justice.
The setting of the synoptic gospels brings us back to the Greco-Roman world of
the first century. Specifically, historians have put the writing of The Gospel of Mark at 70
A.D. and that of Matthew and Luke some where between 90-100 A.D. (Fredriksen pg4)
The Roman Empire...