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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Lawyer should have known.
# 16378

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I came across a very good article on Love your neighbor

The implication seems to mean the lawyer should have known the answer to his question

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Link to Luke 10:25-37
[Edited to provide link. Mamacita, Host]

[ 16. February 2017, 15:36: Message edited by: Mamacita ]

Posts: 2193 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
Gee D
# 13815

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That parable found its way in quite biblical language into the foundational decision of Donoghue v Stevenson . The leading decision was that of Lord Atkin, perhaps the greatest of UK judges last century. His Lordship aid:

The rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law, you must not injure your neighbour; and the lawyer's question, Who is my neighbour? receives a restricted reply. You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then, in law, is my neighbour? The answer seems to be – persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question

Although an appeal on a Scots case, those words laid the basis for most of the subsequent civil litigation in the courts of the UK, Canada, Australia and NZ for the remainder of the century.

Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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The key phrase, to my mind, is that the lawyer wanted to justify himself. He'd been caught out by Jesus, answering his own question and looked a bit foolish. So, he does what lawyers do - he takes the seemingly simple and probes it to see how it will apply in practice. You see it constantly in action in the way that legal codes develop as each case presents slightly different arguments and precedent is set - "do not kill", lawyers start asking "is it OK to kill in self defence?", followed by detailed definition of what constitutes self-defence. Then what if someone was mentally unwell, and unaware of the consequences of their actions?

"Who is my neighbour?" was probably one of those questions that law students loved to debate late into the night over a few too many beers. Or, what a teacher would ask their students to get them thinking about how laws apply in different circumstances. The lawyer in this story has been made to look a bit foolish, and turns the tables by asking Jesus a question normally asked of students. Of course, Jesus doesn't join the game of debating the question but (as he does) goes and tells a story.

Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
# 16378

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A friend sent me this observation:

A snippet on news this morning may be interesting to cite, next time that parable comes up (if you keep files for future lections it's Proper 10, year C so almost 2-1/2 years away.) Folk in Las Vegas noted a statistically relevant higher incidence of reported car-pedestrian accidents when pedestrian was a person of color as opposed to Caucasian. (I forget if different color of driver was significant or mentioned). So a social scientist tested whether there was a difference in observing law about cars stopping when pedestrian stepped into crosswalk, depending on color of pedestrian and, no surprise, there was strong evidence of at least unconscious bias. People far less likely to honor the law if the pedestrian was POC.

A point I found interesting, was that in comparing well-to-do neighborhoods to poorer or commercial areas, the effect of pedestrians color was not as striking, BUT drivers were far less likely to stop for any pedestrian.
Having been a psych major myself, I think of many factors that might be involved and tested for: did they compare speeds of cars? At a higher speed (in wider, smoother, richer streets) drivers might assume it's safer just to keep going than try to stop. Or do they subconsciously assume that their time is more valuable than a person merely walking (and stopping would cost them more time than the walker's pause). Are their minds preoccupied so that they don't even notice a person. Is it an area where pedestrians are so rare that drivers don't even look for them?

What are the biases and blinders that keep us from noticing or respecting the person in a more vulnerable position? What excuses do we come up with for just passing by?

Posts: 2193 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
# 17802

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Try retelling the story in a slightly different order:

There was a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho and as they were travelling they came across an injured man lying by the side of the road.

This is a classic joke format (there was an Englishman, and Irishman and a Scotsman . . .) where the first two people react exactly as one would expect and the third person acts out of character. It is that sudden reversal of expectation that brings the listener up short and makes the point memorable..

If Jesus had simply answered the lawyer by saying “If you see someone injured by the roadside, go and help him”, would the conversation have made it even into the first draft of the gospel? And would the lawyer’s question still resonate down the centuries to the extent that it is the foundation of the modern law of negligence in common law countries?

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Latchkey Kid
# 12444

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For the last few years I have decided that Jesus turned the question around.
He did not answer the question asked. He said "You are the neighbour to anyone who needs a neighbour".

'You must never give way for an answer. An answer is always the stretch of road that's behind you. Only a question can point the way forward.'
Mika; in Hello? Is Anybody There?, Jostein Gaardner

Posts: 2592 | From: The wizardest little town in Oz | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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I'm not even convinced Jesus does answer the question. The parable, in one sense, parallels the first part of the conversation.

Part I
Lawyer "What must I do to be saved?"
Jesus "What do you think?"
Lawyer "Love God, love your neighbour"
Jesus "See, you already know the answer to your question"

Part II
Lawyer "who is my neighbour?"
Jesus tells a story
Conclusion: Even a Samaritan would know who his neighbour is, and how to show his love for his neighbour. How can a teacher of the law not know this?

Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Lakefront liberal
# 3659

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I think Jesus not only answers the question (which is, pretty much, a "Duh!" sort of thing), but he does two really Jesus-y things.

First, he plays with his audience's prejudices by making the "bad guy" (Samaritan) the hero of the story. (The same trick he pulls in the story of Pharisee and the tax-collector. )

Second, and this is more to the point, is how Jesus changes the focus by rewording the lawyer's question:
Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?
Jesus flips the answer around, changes the emphasis from passive (thinking of "neighbor" as the one who receives the kindness) to active (the neighbor as the one who acts kindly).

I can imagine him having great fun playing with his audience like this.

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

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Sarah G
# 11669

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Whilst the parable clearly teaches us to help the needy, regardless of background, that's not what it's mainly about. If it were, a Good Jew would have been helping a poorly Samaritan.

This parable takes on a whole new life once the C1 Jewish background is factored in. While C1 Israel was waiting for God to restore them, a common question was: “When God acts to establish His Kingdom, who is in, and who is out”?

The Greek term for 'justify' does not mean the lawyer was indulging in self-justification, or justifying giving such an easy question. It is a technical term for drawing the boundaries of the covenant, and the lawyer was therefore making sure he was in, and asking Jesus which categories were out.

Jesus' brilliant answer forces the lawyer to admit (v36-37): the Jew in the ditch discovered that the Samaritan was his neighbour, and the priest and the Levite were not. That therefore the people who God would call His own were not all the 'religiously proper' ones normally thought to be in, but many people generally thought to be out.

You could probably hear the sharp intake of breath in Scotland.

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