Preview Response

Justice / Social Sciences

Chris Marshall

Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice in the School of Government, at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand


Professor Wolterstorff’s introductory pages on the meaning of justice and its connection to human dignity and rights is brilliantly clear and pertinent to my area of work, as well as to the wider field of scholarship. His distinction between first order and second order justice is very helpful, not least because it can be used to reinforce the central principle of restorative justice – namely, that “second-order” interventions should not be understood simply as “reprimands, punishments and the like” but, more fundamentally, as the attempt to restore first-order justice, to make things right again. Of course, speaking generically of “human interactions” and “rendering persons their due” does not always capture the profoundly covenantal or relational emphasis of biblical justice or its cosmic scope. But it is certainly true that, in every field of endeavour, “whenever human beings interact with each other, they are divinely called to treat each other justly”.