An interesting point that Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek made yesterday in his talk. He challenges the way many read their bible in the English-speaking world in the face of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. The issues revolves around the translation of dikaiosynē. This Greek word can be translated either ‘righteousness’ or ‘justice’. For example, reread these passages with justice rather than how we hear them normally (translated as righteousness):
Matthew 5:6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be filled.
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first for the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things will be given to you as well.
They have a different ring to them, don’t they? Dr. Ateek gave words to something I have been thinking – when many hear ‘righteousness’ they automatically assume a personal, private holiness and piety. Justice gives a connotation of how we relate to others as well.
Does this change the passages? Or is it still the same way? Or do you believe that Jesus was indeed talking about personal piety and not larger justice issues?