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The Idea Of Justice And Its Bearing Upon Law And Mercy

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Chapter Summary

The concept that might be said to exemplify the transformation of late Roman intellectual life from a pagan to a Christian world view is the concept of justice. It underlies nearly every aspect of Christian thought, including redemption, charity, christology, history, moral conduct, law, and mercy. Scholars have long assumed that the Christian understanding of justice was an amalgamation of the Old Testament theology that was drawn from the book of Deuteronomy and of the Stoic conception of practical ethics. Human compassion and mercy, in all its imperfection, were the fluid means by which the ideals of justice, as they existed in the divine rationality, were implemented. The view that the order of the universe was sometimes imperceptibly, yet nonetheless inevitably, just persisted in comforting Leo's congregations, who viewed their world as changing in ways that they could not have fully comprehended.

Keywords: Christian world; concept of justice; divine rationality; human compassion; late Roman intellectual life; law; Leo; mercy; Old Testament theology

10.1163/ej.9789004170520.i-422.19
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