The Bible and violence

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The Hebrew Bible and the New Testament contain many passages outlining approaches to violent activity, both for and against it, centering on the ancient nation of Israel and their involvement with Gentile nations. These same Scriptures also provide civil guidelines on the subject of violent activity as it pertains to individuals within the nation, distinguishing individualistic from nationalistic actions.

Hebrew Bible[edit]

Against violence[edit]


According to John I. Lawlor, professor of Old Testament, along with the Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word ḥāmas, generally translated "violence", refers almost exclusively to human action.[1][2] The word also connotes action motivated by arrogance, selfishness, or vindictiveness.[3]:4–5,16 Examination of the different uses of ḥāmas show it is not limited to physical violence but may refer to verbal, or even ethical violence as well.[4] An example of the biblical view of this kind of human violence is found in Psalm 73, which identifies the "wicked" as violent people who deny God's demand for, and attention to, justice (v. 11).[3]:3–5[5]

Ḥāmas sometimes appears as a cry to God in the face of injustice. The Psalms identify the victims of violence as the righteous (ṣaddîqîm), a term that denotes helplessness, humility, and dependence on God (Ps. 34:20–23) while the perpetrators of violence are the wicked (rĕšāʿîm), whose behaviors are destructive and life-threatening and whose activity is linked to their arrogance and disregard for God (Psalm 10).[3]:10–11 Tremper Longman and Peter Enns, referencing G.H.Wilson and B.S.Childs, say that, in response to the violence of the wicked, some psalms call on God to bring vengeance as though "God needs to be goaded into action by extreme language." (Ps. 109:17–19, 20) (Ps. 137:8).[3]:12[1][6]

Exodus 23:1, and Deuteronomy 19:16 characterize a false witness as ēd ḥāmas: a "violent witness".[7]

The Pentateuch also uses the terms gazal and asaq separately and in combination to describe violent taking/robbing/plundering which may or may not involve physical, verbal or other types of harm.[2] The violence of "plundering the poor" ( Isaiah 3:14, 10:2; Jeremiah 22:3; Micah 2:2, 3:2; Malachi 1:3), withholding the wages of a hired person (cf. Deuteronomy 24:14), political oppression (Hosea 12:7), charging oppressive interest (Ezekiel 22:12), and oppressing the alien (Ezekiel 22:7), are just some of the violent practices spoken against using this term.[2]

Natural Law and the lex talionis[edit]

Ethicist David VanDrunen says the lex talionis (an eye for an eye) is best seen as an expression of natural law and strict proportionate justice. It attempts to define retribution, or compensation, that is perfectly proportional to the harm caused. Historically, monetary compensation commonly took the place of literally taking an eye, but in the ancient world, the underlying concept of proportionality was a means of curbing disproportionate vengeful violence.[8]

John Barton says the prophet Amos, when speaking against foreign nations, showed they violated standards of behavior in warfare which they recognized as ethical based on natural law, then used those same standards to correct and oppose their violence.[9]

Use of violence[edit]

Jerome Creach, Old Testament scholar, says when looking at acts of divine violence in the Bible discussion must include the books of Genesis and Exodus, Joshua, Deuteronomy, the prophecies against foreign nations, especially Elijah and Elisha, women in the Bible and the Psalms.[10][11][12][13][3]:16 Eric Siebert defines 'divine violence' as: "violence God is said to have perpetrated, caused, or sanctioned in some way. Specifically, this includes (1) violence God commits without using human agents (e.g., sending down fire on Sodom and Gomorrah); (2) violence God commissions, typically unbeknownst to those being commissioned (e.g., using Babylon to punish Judah for their sins); and (3) violence God commands directly (e.g., ordering Israelites to wipe out Canaanites)."[14]

Abraham carries a lit torch in his left hand and a sword in a belted scabbard while leading his heavily burdened son uphill as two onlookers and their donkey gawk.
Abraham carries fire, a sword, and unrevealed intentions for his son carrying a heavy load uphill.
The Hebrew verb ḥāram means to utterly destroy (Deuteronomy 7:2) and the noun derived from it, ḥērem, denotes the separation, exclusion and dedication of something to God which may be set apart for destruction (Deuteronomy 7:26; Leviticus 27:28-29).[15][1] The Israelites were not allowed to touch, possess, or redeem these "devoted things" (Josh. 7:2).[3]:7[16]
Over half the occurrences of the verb and noun for the root ḥ-r-m are concerned with the destruction of nations, but it is not the only Hebrew term associated with destruction; other terms such as ṣamat, shamad, nakah, aqar, qatsah, shabat, and kalah are also used in this context.[1][2] For example, concerning those who worship idols, Deuteronomy 7:16 uses akal ("consume") when saying "You must destroy all the peoples the Lord your God gives over to you…". Deuteronomy 7:24, on the other hand, uses abad when saying "you shall make their name perish from under heaven…" while Deuteronomy 20:10-18 says "…you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. But you shall utterly destroy (ha-harem taharimem) them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord your God has commanded you…".[1]

In the story about the Binding of Isaac, son of Abraham,[17][18] God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah by binding him and placing him on a makeshift altar.[19] Abraham is about to carry out the execution when an angel of God stops him at the last minute.[20]

Violence is part the context of the story of the conquest of Canaan.[21]:319–320 For example, in Deut 20:16-18 God orders the Israelites to "not leave alive anything that breathes… completely destroy them …".[22][23] thus leading many scholars to characterize the exterminations as genocide.[24][25] Other examples include the story of the Amalekites and the commandment to exterminate them,[26] the story of the Midianites,[27]:245 and the battle of Jericho.[27]:289–296

The instruction God gives in Deut 20:16-18 is for the Israelites to exterminate "everything that breaths". Van Wees goes on to say that these campaigns were largely fictional.[22][28] In the archaeological community, the Battle of Jericho has been thoroughly studied, and the consensus of modern scholars is that the battles described in the Book of Joshua are not realistic.[29] For example, the Book of Joshua describes the extermination of the Canaanite tribes, yet at a later time in Judges 1:1-2:5 suggests that the extermination was not complete.[30][31]

Likewise, it is not clear whether the tribe of the Amalekites were exterminated or not. 1 Samuel 15:7-8 implies ("He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword.") that - after Agag was also killed - the Amalekites were extinct, but in a later story in the time of Hezekiah, the Simeonites annihilated some Amalekites on Mount Seir, and settled in their place: "And five hundred of these Simeonites, led by Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, invaded the hill country of Seir. They killed the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they have lived there to this day."[32]

Scholars point out that collective punishment, particularly punishment of descendants for transgressions committed by ancestors of gentiles, is common in the Jewish Bible.[33]

  • Make ready to slaughter the infidel’s sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and possess the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants.[34]
  • Then I heard God say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children.”[35]
  • Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.[36]

New Testament[edit]

Against violence[edit]

Foster Bible Pictures 0002-1

There are a number of passages within the New Testament supporting non-violence, the pursuit of peace, and loving one's fellow man: Ephesians 4:32; Luke 6:27; Matthew 5:43-48; Matthew 26:52; Romans 12:17-21; 1 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:9-10, such that the majority of scholars view the New Testament as not advocating for or upholding violence.[37]:1–3 Many scholars such as Herbert A. Hoyt, John Howard Yoder and Myron Augsberger go further, saying the New Testament actively promotes pacifism and non-resistance.[38][39] Arthur F. Holmes says: "Not all Christians will agree with this picture...because of disagreement over the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. Generally, the Christian pacifist appeals to the New [Testament]... The just war theorist, however, is apt to see the law of love in the Old as well as the New, so that the New fulfills, reinforces and interprets the Old without superseding it."[40]

Use of violence[edit]


According to author David J. Hawkin, Professor of Religious Studies, the central act of violence in the New Testament is the crucifixion of Jesus.[41] Evan Fales, Professor of Philosophy, goes further, calling the crucifixion and its doctrine of substitutionary atonement "psychologically pernicious" and "morally indefensible". Fales founds his argument on John Locke’s statement that revelation must conform to our understanding. While philosopher and Professor Alvin Plantinga answers by saying this rests upon seeing God as a kind of specially talented human being.[42]

Gustave Doré - Christ on the Cross

There are sayings of Jesus that have been described as promoting violence:[43]

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword.

However, Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible,[44] as well as other Christian sources[45] note that the context of the discussion is Jesus sending out his disciples with a warning that they will face "the sword" of persecution by those outside of the Christian faith. This contributes to the "non-violent picture of Jesus and his disciples by envisaging the opposition they will face without recourse to violent resistance"[45]

And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.[46]

Jesus holds a whip in his hand in striking position while merchants scramble away, or brace for blows.
A 19th century rendition of the Cleansing of the Temple.

Jesus' cleansing of the Temple is an example of direct violent action by Jesus, although it is an example of chastisement and not an attempt to create great bodily harm.[47]


The Son of Man and the seven lampstands

The apocalyptic Book of Revelation is full of imagery of war, genocide, and destruction. It describes the judgments of God against humanity. Steve Friesen wrote that Revelation has been used to justify "Christian hostility toward Jews, Christian imperialism and Christian sectarian violence".[48] Historian Arthur Mendel identified the apocalyptic vision anchored in the Hebrew Bible, focused in the New Testament and spread through Christianity, as the inspiration for violent revolutionary movements that he traced throughout subsequent Western history, including communist revolutions.[49]

Professors James W. Bailey and Lyle D. Vander Broek say Revelation is the only book of apocalyptic genre in the New Testament, but that the Gospels and the book of Acts use apocalyptic language and forms. They define this as language that "views the future as a time when divine saving and judging activity will deliver God's people out of the present evil order into a new order...This transformation will be cataclysmic and cosmic." Whenever Jesus calls people to a new vision in light of God's impending kingdom, judgment, or a future resurrection, he is using apocalyptic speech.[50] For example, Jesus uses apocalyptic speech in Matthew 10:15 when he says "it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town," and in Mark 14:62, where he alludes to the book of Daniel with himself in the future "sitting at the right hand of God."

Bailey and Vander Broek go on to say, "In the material about John the Baptizer there also appear apocalyptic images: 'the wrath to come' (Luke 3:7); 'the axe ... lying at the root of the tree' (Luke 3:9); the Coming One with 'winnowing fork ... in His hand' (Luke 3:17); and chaff burning with 'unquenchable fire' (Luke 3:17)."[50]:124

Editors Shelly Matthews and E.L.Gibson described the lack of study focusing on violence in the New Testament in comparison with works focused on violence in the Hebrew Bible, and noted Richard Horsely and Warren Carter's work on the Roman Empire; Jennifer Glancy's work on slavery; and Michel Dejardins' work Peace, Violence and the New Testament as exceptions.[51] David J. Neville also quotes Michel Dejardins whose work says the New Testament overall has an apocalyptic worldview, and that this "vision of reality is 'overtly violent' because it is premised on divine or divinely authorized eschatological violence. Neville also discusses Russel Pregeant (Knowing Truth Doing Good) saying "he too regards apocalyptic eschatology as inherently violent." Neville, who was seeking theological methods to address the violent imagery, wrote: "the interpretive creativity clearly evident in so many of the New Testament writings led some of those writers to relativize or even eliminate divine vengeance from the apocalyptic scenario" and that "eschatological judgment is more about ... righting than requiting wrongs" and emphasized Jesus' eschatological blessings in the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-26).[52]

James W. Jones points out the "clear and final demarcation of the saved and the damned, of good and evil, ... is central to any violent apocalyptic vision."[53]

Charles B. Strozier, psychoanalyst historian says:"The most troubling dimension of 'endism' is its relation to violence. ... fundamentalists generally believe... transformation can only be accomplished violently, and that the move from our time into the next requires mass death and destruction when "...this earth will be purged in the fires of God's anger, that Jesus will return, and that a new heaven and a new earth will be reborn".[54]

Theological reflections and responses[edit]

The theological problem of theodicy deals with how evil can exist if God is omnipotent, omniscient, and good. People of faith who emphasize pacifism have struggled with biblical passages describing God as warlike or violent since these passages conflict with their worldview.[55][56]

Sociological reflections and responses[edit]

Scholar Nur Masalha writes that the "genocide" of the extermination commandments has been "kept before subsequent generations" and served as inspirational examples of divine support for slaughtering enemies.[57]

Arthur Grenke claims that the view of war expressed in Deuteronomy contributed to the destruction of Native Americans and to the destruction of European Jewry.[58]

Niels Peter Lemche asserts that European colonialism in the 19th century was ideologically based on the Old Testament narratives of conquest and extermination and that some radical Zionist groups have brought the same idea to bear in Israel.[59]

Scholar Leonard B. Glick states that Jewish fundamentalists in Israel, such as Shlomo Aviner, consider the Palestinians to be like biblical Canaanites, and that some fundamentalist leaders suggest that they "must be prepared to destroy" the Palestinians if the Palestinians do not leave the land.[60] Several scholars draw similar conclusions.[61][62][63]

Marcionism and supersessionism[edit]

As the early Christian Church began to distinguish itself from Judaism, the "Old Testament" and a portrayal of God in it as violent and unforgiving were sometimes contrasted rhetorically with certain teachings of Jesus to portray an image of God as more loving and forgiving, which was framed as a new image.[64]

Marcion of Sinope, in the early second century, developed an early Christian dualist belief system that understood the god of the Old Testament and creator of the material universe, who he called the Demiurge, as an altogether different being than the God about whom Jesus spoke. Marcion considered Jesus' universal God of compassion and love, who looks upon humanity with benevolence and mercy, incompatible with Old Testament depictions of divinely ordained violence. Accordingly, he did not regard the Hebrew scriptures as part of his scriptural canon.[65] Marcion's teaching was repudiated by Tertullian in five treatises titled "Against Marcion" and Marcion was ultimately excommunicated by the Church.[66]

Supersessionist Christians have continued to focus on violence in the Hebrew Bible while ignoring or giving little attention to violence in the New Testament.[64][67][68][69][70][71][72]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon — New American Standard". Bible Study Tools. Retrieved 3 August 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d Lawlor, John I. "Violence". Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Creach, Jerome F. D. (July 2016). "Violence in the Old Testament". Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion. pp. 1–21. 
  4. ^ G. Johannes Botterweck; Helmer Ringgren (1979). Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. 4. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 478–87. ISBN 0802823270. 
  5. ^ Wright, Jacob L. (2008). "Warfare and Wanton Destruction: A Reexamination of Deuteronomy 19:19–20 in Relation to Ancient Siegecraft". Journal of Biblical Literature. 127.3: 423–458. 
  6. ^ "Longman III", Tremper; Enns, Peter, eds. (2008). Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry and writings, A compendium of contemporary Biblical scholarship. Downer's Grove Illinois: Inter Varsity Press academic. pp. 470, 471. ISBN 978-0-8308-1783-2. 
  7. ^ Stroebe, H. J. (1997). Ernst Jenni and Claus Westermann, ed. "“חמס ḥāmas, violence”". Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament translated by Mark Biddle in 3 vols. 1. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. pp. 437–439. 
  8. ^ Drunen, David (2008). "Natural Law, the Lex Talionis, and the Power of the Sword". Liberty University Law Review. Liberty University School of Law. 2 (3): 945–967. Retrieved 29 July 2017. 
  9. ^ Barton, John (1980). Amos’s Oracles Against the Nations: A Study of Amos 1:3–2:5. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. 
  10. ^ Meyers, Carol (1988). Discovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 43. 
  11. ^ Gignilliat, Mark S. (2014). Nathan MacDonald and Ken Brown, eds. Monotheism in Late Prophetic and Early Apocalyptic Literature: Studies of the Sofja Kovalevskaja Research Group on Early Jewish Monotheism — Who is a God Like You? Refracting the One God in Jonah, Micah and Nahum. III. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck. pp. 70–71. 
  12. ^ Zenger, Erich (1994). A God of Vengeance? Understanding the Psalms of Divine Wrath. Translated by “translated by Linda M. Maloney”. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 70– 71. 
  13. ^ Miller Jr., Patrick D. (2004). The Psalter as a Book of Theology in The Way of the Lord: Essays in Old Testament Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. pp. 214–225. 
  14. ^ Siebert, Eric (2016). "Recent Research on Divine Violence in the Old Testament (with Special Attention to Christian Theological Perspectives)". Currents in Biblical Research. Sage. 15 (1): 8–40. doi:10.1177/1476993X15600588. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  15. ^ Lohfink, Norbert (1986). by G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren, eds. ḥāram in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament,. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. p. 197. 
  16. ^ Stern, Philip D. (1991). The Biblical Ḥērem: A Window on Israel’s Religious Experience. Brown Judaic Studies. 211. Atlanta: Scholars Press. p. 173. 
  17. ^ Jewish Virtual Library. "Akedah". Accessed March 25, 2011
  18. ^ Judaism 101: A Glossary of Basic Jewish Terms and Concepts Accessed March 25, 2011
  19. ^ Genesis 22:9
  20. ^ Genesis 22:5 and 22:8
  21. ^ Ian Guthridge (1999). The Rise and Decline of the Christian Empire. Medici School Publications, Australia. ISBN 978-0-9588645-4-1. the Bible also contains the horrific account of what can only be described as a "biblical holocaust". For, in order to keep the chosen people apart from and unaffected by the alien beliefs and practices of indigenous or neighbouring peoples, when God commanded his chosen people to conquer the Promised Land, he placed city after city 'under the ban" -which meant that every man, woman and child was to be slaughtered at the point of the sword. 
  22. ^ a b Deut 20:16-18
  23. ^ Ruttenberg, Danya, Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices: War and National Security Danya Ruttenberg (Ed.) page 54 (citing Reuven Kimelman, "The Ethics of National Power: Government and War from the Sources of Judaism", in Perspectives, Feb 1987, pp 10-11)
  24. ^ Grenke, Arthur, God, greed, and genocide: the Holocaust through the centuries, pp 17-30
  25. ^ Philip Jenkins - quoted in NPR article "Is The Bible More Violent Than The Quran?" by Barbara Hagerty. Online at Is The Bible More Violent Than The Quran? : NPR.
  26. ^ A. G. Hunter "Denominating Amalek: Racist stereotyping in the Bible and the Justification of Discrimination", in Sanctified aggression: legacies of biblical and post biblical vocabularies of violence, Jonneke Bekkenkamp, Yvonne Sherwood (Eds.). 2003, Continuum Internatio Publishing Group, pp 92-108
  27. ^ a b Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God delusion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-618-68000-9. 
  28. ^ Van Wees, Hans (April 15, 2010). "12, Genocide in the Ancient World". In Bloxham, Donald; Dirk Moses, A. The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191613616. 
  29. ^ Ehrlich, pp 117
  30. ^ Judges 1:1-2:5
  31. ^ Ehrlich, p 119
  32. ^ 1 Chr 4:42-43
  33. ^ Krašovec, Jože, Reward, punishment, and forgiveness: the thinking and beliefs of ancient Israel in the light of Greek and modern views, BRILL, 1999, p 113. He cites the following examples of collective punishment (of descendants) in the Bible:
    Ex 20:5 - "You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments."
    Deut 5:9-10
    Exodus 34:6-7: "And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."
    Deuteronomy 7:9-10 - "Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. 10 But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him."
    Jeremiah 32:18 - " You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the fathers' sins into the laps of their children after them. O great and powerful God, whose name is the LORD Almighty"
  34. ^ Isaiah 14:21
  35. ^ Ezekiel 9:5
  36. ^ Numbers 31:17-18
  37. ^ Bergman, Michael; Murray, Michael J.; Rea, Michael C., eds. (2011). Divine Evil?: The Moral Character of the God of Abraham. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-957673-9. 
  38. ^ Clouse, Robert G. (1986). War: Four Christian Views. Winona Lake, Indiana: BMH Books. 
  39. ^ Yoder, John Howard (1994). The Politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdman's. 
  40. ^ Holmes, Arthur F. (1986). "The Just War". In Clouse, Robert. War: Four Christian Views. Winona Lake, Indiana: BMH books. p. 124. 
  41. ^ Hawkin, David J. (2004). The twenty-first century confronts its gods: globalization, technology, and war. SUNY Press. p.  121. 
  42. ^ Fales, Evan (2011). "chapter 3: Satanic Verses: Moral Chaos in Holy Writ". In Bergman, Michael; Murray, Michael J.; Rea, Michael C. Divine evil? The Moral Character of the God of Abraham. Oxford University Press. pp. 91–115. ISBN 9780199576739. 
  43. ^ Stroumsa, Gedaliahu G. "Early Christianity as Radical Religion" (PDF). In Ilai Alon, Ithamar Gruenwald, Itamar Singer. Concepts of the other in Near Eastern religions. p. 176. 
  44. ^ John Gill, Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1746-63
  45. ^ a b Jeremy Gabrielson, Paul's Non-Violent Gospel, James&Clarke, 2013, 52
  46. ^ Luke 22:35-38
  47. ^ War, A Catholic Dictionary: Containing some Account of the Doctrine, Discipline, Rites, Ceremonies, Councils, and Religious Orders of the Catholic Church, W. E Addis, T. Arnold, Revised T. B Scannell and P. E Hallett, 15th Edition, Virtue & Co, 1953, Nihil Obstat: Reginaldus Philips, Imprimatur: E. Morrogh Bernard, 2 October 1950, "In the Name of God : Violence and Destruction in the World's Religions", M. Jordan, 2006, p. 40
  48. ^ Friesen, Steve (2006). "Sarcasm in Revelation 23 Churches Christians True Jews and Satanic Synagogues". In Barr, David L. The Reality of Apocalypse: Rhetoric and Politics in the Book of Revelation. Society of Biblical Literature. p. 127. ISBN 9781589832183. 
  49. ^ Mendel, Arthur P. (1999). Vision and Violence. University of Michigan Press. pp. 40, Introduction. ISBN 0472086367. 
  50. ^ a b Bailey, James L.; "Vander Broek", Lyle D. (1992). Literary Forms in the New Testament: A Handbook. Louiseville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press. p. 122,123. ISBN 0-664-25154-4. 
  51. ^ Matthews, Shelly; Gibson, E.Leigh, eds. (2005). Violence in the New Testament. N.Y., New York: T & T Publishers Intl. pp. 2, 3. ISBN 0-567-02500-4. 
  52. ^ Neville, David J. (2013). A Peaceable Hope: Contesting Violent Eschatology in New Testament Narratives. Grand Rapids Michigan: Baker Academic. ISBN 978-1-4412-4015-6. 
  53. ^ Jones, James W. (2008). Blood That Cries Out From The Earth: The psychology of Religious Terrorism. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. 
  54. ^ Strozier, Charles B. (2002). Apocalypse: On the Psychology of fundamentalism in America. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock. pp. 2, 251. ISBN 1-59244-043-6. 
  55. ^ Hawkin, David J. (2004). The twenty-first century confronts its gods: globalization, technology, and war. SUNY Press. p. 121. ISBN 9780791461815. 
  56. ^ Seibert, Eric A. (2009). Disturbing divine behavior: troubling Old Testament images of God. Fortress Press. 
  57. ^ Masalha, Nur, The Bible and Zionism: invented traditions, archaeology and post-colonialism in Palestine-Israel, Volume 1, Zed Books, 2007, pp 273-276:
    "Prior revisits the old ground [in his book The Bible and colonialism: a moral critique] … First, the biblical narrative, with its 'divine promise' was inherently linked with the mandate to ethnically cleanse or exterminate the indigenous people … third, in the narrative of the Book of Deuteronomy the divine command to commit 'genocide' is explicit. Fourth, genocide and mass slaughter follow in the Book of Joshua. These highly dubious traditions of the Bible have been kept before subsequent generations of Jews and Christians in their prayers…. The historical evidence, however, strongly suggests that such genocidal massacres never actually took place, although these racist, xenophobic and militaristic narratives remained for later generations as powerful examples of divine aid in battle and of a divine command for widespread slaughter of an enemy…. [Professor Bernardo Gandulla, of the University of Buenos Aires], while sharing Prior's critique of the perverse use that Zionism and the State of Israel have made of the Bible to support their 'ethnic cleansing' policies in Palestine, … Prior … found incitement to war and violence in the very foundation documents of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In the Hebrew Bible, for instance, there is a dominant strand that sees God as ethnocentric and militaristic. Furthermore, in their conquest of Canaan, the Israelites are commanded by Yahweh to destroy the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine. Later in the days of the Israelite kingdoms, they are urged to show no pity, but to massacre their enemies…. Today, both Christian Zionists in the West and Israeli messianics continue to refer to the Hebrew Scriptures for archetypal conflicts, which guide their attitudes towards the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine: the Palestinian Muslims and Christians." Masalha refers to: Prior, Michael P., The Bible and colonialism: a moral critique, Sheffield Academic Press, 1997.
  58. ^ Grenke, Arthur, God, greed, and genocide: the Holocaust through the centuries, New Academia Publishing, LLC, 2005, pp 17–18: "Discussing the influence of Christian beliefs on the destruction of the Native peoples in the Americas, Stannard argues that while the New Testament view of war is ambiguous, there is little such ambiguity in the Old Testament. He points to sections in Deuteronomy in which the Israelite God, Yahweh, commanded that the Israelites utterly destroy idolaters whose land they sought to reserve for the worship of their deity (Deut 7:2, 16, and 20:16-17). … According to Stannard, this view of war contributed to the .. destruction of the Native peoples in the Americas. It was this view that also led to the destruction of European Jewry. Accordingly, it is important to look at this particular segment of the Old Testament: it not only describes a situation where a group undertakes to totally destroy other groups, but it also had a major influence on shaping thought and belief systems that permitted, and even inspired, genocide."
  59. ^ Lemche, Niels Peter, The Old Testament between theology and history: a critical survey, Westminster John Knox Press, 2008, pp 315–316:"The [Biblical] story of the 'morally supreme people' that defeats and exterminates another, inferior, nation was part of the ideological baggage of European imperialists and colonizers throughout the nineteenth century. It was also carried by European Jews who,... migrated to Palestine to inherit their ancestral country … In this modern version of the biblical narrative, the Palestinian population turned into 'Canaanites', supposed to be morally inferior to the Jews, and of course the Arabs were never considered their equals … The Bible was the instrument used to suppress the enemy".
  60. ^ Glick, Leonard B., "Religion and Genocide", in The Widening circle of genocide, Alan L. Berger (Ed). Transaction Publishers, 1994, p 46::"[God] looked with favor on what we may fairly call their [Israelite] proto-genocidal destructiveness. The Book of Joshua provides us with one of the earliest texts in which a deity quite plainly promotes the destruction of a people. As the Hebrews, under Joshua's leadership, undertake the conquest of Canaan, they massacre everyone who stands in their way…. It is instructive (and distressing) to note that contemporary Jewish ultra-nationalists in Israel root their politics in the Book of Joshua and equate their territorial aspirations with the will of God. Here, for example, is Shlomo Aviner, a prominent theorist of the Gush Emunim … movement: 'from the point of view of mankind's humanistic morality we were in the wrong in (taking the land) from the Canaanites. There is only one catch. The command of God ordered us to be the people of the land of Israel'. Others have identified the Palestinians as 'Canaanites' who are engaged in a 'suicidal' struggle opposing God's own intentions; hence the Jewish people must be prepared to destroy them if they persist in pursuing their collective 'death-wish'."
  61. ^ Whitelam, Keith W., The invention of ancient Israel: the silencing of Palestinian history, Routledge, 1996, especially pp 71–121. Cited by Ehrlich, pp 117 "Keith Whitelam (1996) has published a book [The invention of ancient Israel: the silencing of Palestinian history] in which he has implied that the modern European imperialist Zionist Jewish movement has drawn inspiration from the biblical conquest tradition … Parallels are thus drawn in Whitelam's thought between the genocidal Israelites presumably of Joshua's day and the racist Zionists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and also between the ancient Canaanites and the modern Palestinians … the interpretations attributed to [Whitelam] of the place of the book of Joshua and its … genocidal account of Israel's emergence in the land that it claims as its own pose a challenge to Judaism…. It thus behooves us to ask … how has the Jewish community dealt with these foundational narratives, saturated as they are with acts of violence against others?…."
  62. ^ Boustan, Ra'anan S., Violence, Scripture, and Textual Practice in Early Judaism and Christianity, BRILL, 2010, page 4-5
    "Later readers of the Bible dramatically transformed this divine directive [Deut 20:15-18] through hermeneutic alignment of the Canaanites with the current detested 'other'. Thus the Canaanites have been identified with … Palestinians (by militant Zionists), and scores of other 'enemies' of Israel. In doing so, the violence perpetrated against these groups is not only justified, but indeed, part and parcel of the original divine plan. The violent legacy of the Bible is a product of both its own violent narrative and the hermeneutics of violence applied to it".
  63. ^ Hitchens, Christopher, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Random House, Inc., 2007, p 101
  64. ^ a b Meyer, Marvin; Hughes, Charles (2001). Jesus Then and Now: Images of Jesus in History and Christology. A&C Black. p. 238. ISBN 9781563383441. Explaining what separates Christianity from Judaism and Jesus from Jewish tradition is a precarious enterprise. Most of the lines often drawn between the Jewish and Christian faith are false and supersessionist. Most familiar is the dichotomy according to which, in praise of either a schizophrenic Bible or a schizophrenic Lord, an "Old Testament God of wrath" is ranged against a "New Testament God of love." On an entirely different level, though still largely supersessionist, are the society-person, rituality-spirituality, law-grace, and fear-freedom dualities. 
  65. ^ Metzger, Bruce. Canon of the NT ISBN 978-0-19-826180-3; The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 characterized Marcion as "perhaps the most dangerous foe Christianity has ever known."; Harnack's Origin of the New Testament: "Marcion, on the contrary, treats the Catholic Church as one that “follows the Testament of the Creator-God,” and directs the full force of his attack against this Testament and against the falsification of the Gospel and of the Pauline Epistles by the original Apostles and the writers of the Gospels. He would necessarily have dealt with the two Testaments of the Catholic Church if the Church had already possessed a New Testament. His polemic would necessarily have been much less simple if he had been opposed to a Church which, by possessing a New Testament side by side with the Old Testament, had ipso facto placed the latter under the shelter of the former. In fact Marcion’s position towards the Catholic Church is intelligible, in the full force of its simplicity, only under the supposition that the Church had not yet in her hand any “litera scripta Novi Testamenti.”"
  66. ^ Pixley, Jorge V. (2004). Jeremiah. Chalice Press. p. 65. ISBN 9780827205277. 
  67. ^ Phelan, Jr, John E. (2013). Essential Eschatology: Our Present and Future Hope. InterVarsity Press. p. 154. ISBN 9780830864652. The view that Christianity had replaced Israel is frequently called supersessionism.....The early church did fend off an attempt to make the break with Israel complete. The church rejected Marcion's attempt in the second century to demonize both the Hebrew Scriptures and the God they revealed.... In spite of Marcion's condemnation, the echoes of his heresy are still heard every time someone speaks of the "Old Testament God of wrath" and the "New Testament God of love." 
  68. ^ Carroll, James (2002). Toward a New Catholic Church: The Promise of Reform. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 53. ISBN 0547607474. When the wrath of an Old Testament God is "replaced" with the love of a New Testament God —and this formulation remains central to Christian preaching —how can Jews not take umbrage at the insult to the Jewish heart such a contrast implies and at the distortion of the fundamental proclamation of Torah, which is God's love? The technical term for this habit of mind is supersessionism, and a number of Christians, aware of what it can lead to in the post-Holocaust era, have sought to repudiate it. 
  69. ^ Leith, Mary Joan Winn (April 2004). "A God of Love and Justice". Bible Review. 20 (2). 
  70. ^ Matthews, Shelly; Gibson, E. Leigh (2005). Violence in the New Testament. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. pp. 2–3. ISBN 9780567397461. With a lens sharpened by engagement with these larger theoretical questions of violence in religion, we focus here on texts of the New Testament. The issue of religious violence in canonical gospel, epistle, Apocalypse, and Acts alike has been underscrutinized in general, and—rather more inexplicably—neglected even in studies devoted specifically to violence "in the Bible." For example, a recent edition of Religious Studies News, an Internet journal of the Society of Biblical Literature, advertises itself as a feature on violence in the Bible, yet articles focus with virtual singularity on Hebrew Bible texts and Hebrew Bible atrocities.... But by raising questions only about Hebrew texts, this issue performs a sort of violence of its own—the "real" problem lies in the "Jewish" texts, not in the Christian Testament....More troubling than studies of violence in the Bible that ignore the New Testament are those that lift up the New Testament as somehow containing the antidote for Old Testament violence. This is ultimately the case, for instance, in the work of Girard, who embedded his views on mimetic violence and scapegoating in a general theory of religion and culture that he crowned with a triumphalist reading of Christian Scripture. 
  71. ^ Levine, Amy-Jill (2009). The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus. Harper Collins. p. 220. ISBN 9780061748110. Watch out tor the heresy known as Marcionism, named for Marcion, a mid-second century Christian who distinguished between the God or the Old Testament (and Judaism) and the God of the New (and so Christianity). The most common manifestation of Marcionism today is the false juxtaposition of the "Old Testament God of wrath" to the "New Testament God of love." 
  72. ^ Soulen, R. Kendall (1996). The God of Israel and Christian Theology. Fortress Press. pp. 1–2. ISBN 9781451416411. Ever since Christians first appeared on the scene, they have confessed that the God of the Hebrew Scriptures acted in Jesus of Nazareth for all the world. That is the center of Christian faith. All the rest turns on this. A curious consequence of this confession is that simply because Christians are Christians they inevitably adopt some specific posture toward the Jewish people, a posture that is always theological and practical at once....The question, then, has never been whether Christians should speak and act with reference to the Jewish people. Rather, the question has been how they should do so, and how what they would say and do would affect the existence of the Jewish people. For most of the past two millennia, the church's posture toward the Jewish people has come to expression in the teaching known as supersessionism, also known as the theology of displacement.... In the early nineteenth century, some progressive Christian theologians carried the idea of supersessionism to a new level. According to them, the God of Jesus Christ was not revealed by the Hebrew Bible at all, and therefore had never entered into a special relationship with the Jewish people in the first place. 

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