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A Response to John P. Meier's 'Did the Historical Jesus Prohibit All Oaths?'

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John Meier's conclusion that Jesus' teaching in Mt 5:34-37 violates the Law of Moses is incompatible with the evangelist's insistence in 5:17 that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law. Jesus remains faithful to the Law by bringing it to its intended meaning, penetrating to the essence of its teaching. If the letter of the Law is violated, its spirit is upheld: the issue is not the oaths themselves, but the importance of unqualified truthfulness. This too is the meaning of the same material in Jas 5:12. The key to understanding Jesus and the Law is to be found in christological and eschatological realities associated with the person and mission of Jesus.

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