Jesus and the Prophetic Vision of Shalom

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Date: 
Monday, 1 September 2008

Published in: Leitfaden für ein künftiges Engagement für gerechten, levensförderlichen Frieden—Optionen zur Umstezung der Beschlusse von Freising und Porto Alegre, edited by Ulrich Duchrow and Martin Gück, Kairos Europa, 2008. 4 pp.

The modern Western church’s functional ideas of “peace” have wandered far a field of the biblical meaning of shalom in at least two important respects. The spiritualized trajectory of our ecclesial discourse speaks in terms of “peace of mind” or “inner peace,” privatized notions which are usually quite insulated from the historical terrain of violence and injustice in the world. For Christian social thought (both conservative and liberal), on the other hand, the meaning of peace is all too often reduced to the absence of war. While the cessation of hostilities is no mean feat in our militarized world, this definition hardly captures the full biblical scope of shalom.

Mennonite theologian Willard M. Swartley’s recent Covenant of Peace: The Missing Peace in New Testament Theology and Ethics (Eerdmans, 2006) notes that shalom appears well over 200 times in the Hebrew Bible. He contends that four characteristics were required to achieve the condition of shalom (best articulated in Psalms 85:10 and 89:14):


1. chesed: steadfast love;
2. emunah: faithfulness;
3. tsedaqah: righteousness; and
4. mishpat: justice.
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by Ched Myers

All articles on this site were written by Ched Myers unless otherwise specified.