Blessed Are the Peacemakers: A Biblical Theology of Human Violence
Edited By: Jonathan Lunde
Stock No: WW0125549
Blessed Are the Peacemakers: A Biblical Theology of Human Violence  -     Edited By: Jonathan Lunde
    By: Helen Paynter

Blessed Are the Peacemakers: A Biblical Theology of Human Violence

Edited By: Jonathan Lunde
Zondervan / 2023 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW0125549

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Product Description

This volume in Biblical Theology for Life series dives deeply into the topic of human violence. Before exploring what the Bible says about violence, Old Testament scholar Helen Paynter sets out the contours for the study ahead by addressing the various definitions of violence and the theories of its origins, prevalence, and purpose. What is violence? Is there such a thing as "natural violence"? Is violence a human or social construct or can we describe natural phenomena as violent? How does the concept of violence relate to the concept of evil? Violence is everywhere; is it escapable? How do we resist violence?

Having queued up the questions, Paynter takes us to the Bible for answers. Starting with the creation narratives in Genesis considered in comparison with the ancient Near Eastern myths and moving to the conquest of Canaan—the most problematic of biblical narratives—she investigates how these deep myths speak to the origins of human violence and its consequences. The prevalence of violence through biblical history is inescapable. Scripture reveals the hydra-like nature of human violence, investigating types of violence including but not limited to: structural violence, verbal violence, sexual violence, violence as public/political act, racialized violence, including "othering." Through the voices of the prophets and then in the teaching of Jesus, the Bible reveals that the seeds of violence exist within every human heart. Even though we see evidence of resistance movements in the Bible, such as the responses to attempted genocide in Exodus and Esther, it is only on the cross that an absorption of violence by God takes place: a defeat of violence by self-sacrifice. Along the way, Paynter considers other relevant biblical themes, including the apocalypse, "crushing the serpent's head," and the concept of divine vengeance, culminating in the resurrected Christ's lack of vengeance against those who did him to death. In light of the New Testament, we will consider how the first Christians responded to the structural violence of slavery and patriarchy and how they began to apply Jesus' redemptive, non-vengeful theology to their own day.

The book concludes by discussing of what this means for Christians today. For many of us who live without routine encounters with or threats of violence, we must consider our responsibility in a world where our experience is the exception. With attention to the multi-headed hydra that is violence and the concealed structures of violence in our own Western society, Paynter challenges readers to consider their own, perhaps inherited, privilege and complicity. The question of how we regard "others," both as individuals and as societies, is a deeply relevant and urgent one for the church: The church can and should be a wholly non-othering body.

Product Information

Title: Blessed Are the Peacemakers: A Biblical Theology of Human Violence
By: Helen Paynter
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2023
Dimensions: 9.125 X 7.375 (inches)
Weight: 1 pound 5 ounces
ISBN: 0310125545
ISBN-13: 9780310125549
Series: Biblical Theology for Life
Stock No: WW0125549

Author Bio

Rev. Dr. Helen Paynter (PhD, University of Bristol) is director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence and teaches Old Testament at Bristol Baptist College in England. She is author of several books, including God of Violence YesterdayGod of Love Today?Telling Terror in Judges 19, and Reduced Laughter.

Endorsements

“A deeply thoughtful, compassionate, and challenging examination of human violence—in Scripture, in history, and in our chaotic and terrifying modern age. Drawing from a vast array of sources, Paynter offers a wealth of insights and applications. I benefited greatly from her hard work--and from her tender heart for a broken world. I'm sure you will too.”

Joseph W. Smith III, author of Sex and Violence in the Bible and Transparency: A Cure for Hypocrisy in the Modern Church
“Boldly facing the pervasiveness of human violence and the charges of Christianity's complicity in it, Paynter employs rigorous research to delineate various theories, supplemented by stories and discussion questions, so that readers can begin to arrive at their own decisions on timely and timeless issues. Blessed Are the Peacemakers can serve as a resource for consultation on almost any issue dealing with violence, an exegetical guide to key biblical texts, and a practical instruction for faithful living. This will become an indispensable book to support individuals and churches who desire to live justly and peaceably amid a violent world, aiding their desire to live out the hope of God’s kingdom now.”

Amy Peeler, Kenneth T. Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College
“Helen Paynter is a seasoned biblical scholar who has devoted herself to the study of violence and Scripture. Her book Blessed Are the Peacemakers is a superb distillation of her careful engagement of this topic over the years. Whether one is a Christian just-war proponent (as I am) or a pacifist, every reader will not only find much rich, biblically rooted material to ponder, but each one will likewise be challenged to look afresh at what it means to be a peacemaker for Christ in this world.”

Paul Copan, Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University, and author of Is God a Moral Monster? and Is God a Vindictive Bully?
“One way to read Paynter’s work is as the story of Peace, from its creation at the beginning of the world to its consummation in the age to come. The book takes the reader across the biblical canon, stopping at insightfully chosen, familiar texts, to surprise us with sightings of Peace. At every point, the ‘then’ of the biblical text is made immediate and urgent with the everyday realities of ‘now.’ It calls both scholar and common reader, the global south as much as the north, to attend to Peace, and delight in the prosperity of its paths.”

Havilah Dharamraj, academic dean and head of the department of Old Testament, South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (Bangalore, India)
“Paynter’s Blessed Are the Peacemakers is truly an impressive volume! Her wise and thoughtful guidance through the dense foliage of Scripture’s troubling texts renders the biblical panoramas of peace and peacemaking even more breathtaking. This book is theoretically informed, exegetically rich, and eminently pastoral and practical. From dealing with challenging violent texts to boots-on-the-ground issues like gun control, capital punishment, racism, and migration, this volume provides insightful and realistic guidance for Christians who want to respond well to the problems of violence in Scripture and in the world today.”

Matthew Lynch, associate professor of Old Testament, Regent College, and author of Flood and Fury: Old Testament Violence and the Shalom of God

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