Let Justice Roll: Prophetic Challenges in Religion, Politics and Society. Edited by Neal Riemer. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1996. 231 pp. $62.50 cloth; $23.95 paper.
As a Jesuit priest living the past nine years in the inner city (Camden, N.J.), who has attempted in various small ways to enact prophetic witness (painting over Drug Murals, holding all night prayer vigils to end violence, etc.), and as a teacher of sociology, who last semester argued with a student who vociferously held "there's nothing wrong with sweatshops or child labor," I applaud the dozen essays in this collection. Our society truly needs such erudite, lucidly written reflections on how to actually attain a more just society.
Although saying little startlingly original, these essays cover much ground, provoke needed thought on topics raised, and challenge us to take seriously the example of the office of prophecy presented in the Bible. While not pretending to have the ultimate answers for a weary world, these authors do offer serious discussion on crucial methods for tackling the tasks ahead.
Paul Hanson provides an excellent treatment of the social and historical position of prophets in Israel, while Michael Walzer connects the practice of prophecy to the "one universal rule: "don't oppress the poor" (p. 34), and holds hope that those practicing the prophetic mode today can engage in effective social criticism. Glen Tinder, while eloquently recognizing that "politics is required by love" (p. 42), raises the difficult questions about Christianity's seeming failure to radically usher in the Kingdom of peace and justice in the past two thousand years. Tinder distinguishes eschatological hope from mere optimism, argues that the prophetic tradition "helps us see how to be human in inhuman times" (p. 53), and makes us aware of the salvific, historical role of human suffering.
In addressing particular issues, Rosemary Radford Ruether convincingly makes the case that, throughout history, women have been consistently disenfranchised by prophetic movements they often enable and support. …