Holy War in the Bible: Christian Morality and an Old Testament Problem  -     Edited By: Heath A. Thomas, Jeremy Evans, Paul Copan
    By: Heath A. Thomas, Jeremy Evans & Paul Copan, eds.
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Holy War in the Bible: Christian Morality and an Old Testament Problem

IVP Academic / 2013 / Paperback

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It has bewildered Christians for generations, and it has disturbed all readers of the Bible-the challenge of a seemingly genocidal God who commands ruthless, unmerciful warfare.

The theme of divine warfare is not limited to the Old Testament historical books, however. It is also prevalent in the prophets and the wisdom literature. Yet, it doesn't stop there. The New Testament book of Revelation is also full of similar imagery. The questions we are left with multiply.
  • Why does God apparently tell Joshua to wipe out whole cities, tribes or nations?
  • Is this yet another example of dogmatic religious conviction breeding violence?
  • Did these texts help justify or inspire the Crusades?
  • What impact do they have on Christian morality and just war theories today?
  • How does divine warfare fit with Christ's call to "turn the other cheek"?
  • Why does Paul employ warfare imagery in his letters?
  • Do these texts warrant questioning the overall trustworthiness of the Bible?
These controversial yet theologically vital issues call for thorough interpretation, especially given a long history of misinterpretation and misappropriation of these texts. Yet this book does more. A range o9f expert contributors engage in a multi-disciplinary approach that considers the issue from a variety of perspectives: biblical, ethical, philosophical and theological.

While the writers recognize that such a difficult and delicate topic cannot be resolved in a simplistic manner, the different threads of this book weave together a satisfying tapestry. Ultimately, we find in the overarching biblical narrative a picture of divine redemption that shows the place3 of divine war in the salvific movement of God.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 083083995X
ISBN-13: 9780830839957
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

The challenge of a seemingly genocidal God who commands ruthless warfare has bewildered Bible readers for generations. The theme of divine war is not limited to the Old Testament historical books, however. It is also prevalent in the prophets and wisdom literature as well. Still it doesn’t stop. The New Testament book of Revelation, too, is full of such imagery. Our questions multiply.
  • Why does God apparently tell Joshua to wipe out whole cities, tribes or nations?
  • Is this yet another example of dogmatic religious conviction breeding violence?
  • Did these texts help inspire or justify the Crusades?
  • What impact do they have on Christian morality and just war theories today?
  • How does divine warfare fit with Christ’s call to "turn the other cheek"?
  • Why does Paul employ warfare imagery in his letters?
  • Do these texts warrant questioning the overall trustworthiness of the Bible?
These controversial yet theologically vital issues call for thorough interpretation, especially given a long history of misinterpretation and misappropriaton of these texts. This book does more, however. A range of expert contributors engage in a multidisciplinary approach that considers the issue from a variety of perspectives: biblical, ethical, philosophical and theological. While the writers recognize that such a difficult and delicate topic cannot be resolved in a simplistic manner, the different threads of this book weave together a satisfying tapestry. Ultimately we find in the overarching biblical narrative a picture of divine redemption that shows the place of divine war in the salvific movement of God.

Author Bio

Jeremy Evans (Ph.D., Texas A&M University) is associate professor of philosophy at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is coauthor of .

Editorial Reviews

"The articles, on the whole, are in dialogue with salient scholarship, and the footnotes will serve as fertile ground for additional research. . . . the book moves the discussion forward."
"[T]he book serves as a valuable resource on this difficult issue. . . . it has definitely advanced the discussion."
"[A] series of thoughtful essays. . . . Given that the contributors do not always agree with one another, no one should expect to treat this volume as the last word on this complex subject. However, fresh light is shone on the major issues and one hopes that it might at least be a step on the way."
"While God does not need to be rescued from false caricatures, his followers do need reinforcements to withstand the faith-shaking attacks from New Atheists and others. This book provides helpful biblical, historical, theological, and philosophical reinforcements."
"This is an excellent resource for the scholar, student, pastor, or Bible student who seeks to know more about the concept of holy war in the Bible."

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