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Ezekiel and the Ethics of Exile$
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Andrew Mein

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291397

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291397.001.0001

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From Responsibility to Passivity

From Responsibility to Passivity

(p.216) 7 From Responsibility to Passivity
Ezekiel and the Ethics of Exile

Andrew Mein

Oxford University Press

Thus far we have examined two ethical ‘strategies for survival’ in the book of Ezekiel which reflect the social situation of the Babylonian exiles. Both the ritualization and the domestication of sin and virtue can be seen as a response to their new and smaller moral world. In a situation where large-scale decisions of policy can no longer be taken, new rules for behaviour develop that enable the community to survive and maintain its distinctiveness and cohesion, and the old symbols are adapted to new circumstances. This chapter examines the place of hopes for salvation in Ezekiel's theology and ethics. In particular, it discusses the way in which hopes for the future in fact have a ‘cash value’ in the present, serving as another strategy for the survival of the community in exile. It also explores the shift from moral responsibility to moral passivity on the part of the people that accompanies the new note of hope in Ezekiel's prophecy.

Keywords:   prophecy, exile, Babylonia, sin, virtue, ethics, theology, salvation, moral passivity

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