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Analysis Of The Law Versus The Spirit Of The Law Essay

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The dispute over the letter of the law versus the spirit of the law is one that has likely generated exegetic debate for centuries. Although it would be tempting to reduce the conflict of literalist interpretation and radicalization as a split between Jewish and Christian tradition, a deeper reading into the foundation of this dispute yields a more comprehensive analysis of the argument. In the three synoptic gospels, and in the book of John, Christ teaches that laws were not put in place solely to instill fear of punishment, but for the benefit of its practitioners. It is in the Sabbath’s reinterpretation, through Christ’s liberal compassion, that the Old Testament transition of letter to spirit is fully evolved, and that the son of man operates to fulfill the spirits of his disciples, not condemn them. Although the notion of the Sabbath originates in Genesis 2:2, its definition as law is commanded to Moses, in Exodus 20, verses 8 to 11. Perhaps the vagueness of interpretation begins with the intermediary line of command from God, through Moses, to the Israelites. Moses is given the challenge of taking statements of finality and codifying them into a legal system. The nuances of circumstance are likely to create dispute, and so for the layperson to comprehend God’s direction, it must be interpreted through the variability of human experience. For divine information to be transferred successfully to humans, without its true meaning being lost in the process, God must
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