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In this clarifying essay, renowned biblical scholar John Collins delves into the lethal side of the biblical text, asking whether the Bible endorses or even foments violence and how its many violent texts may best be understood in today's volatile religious and political context. This work is based on his Presidential Address to the Society of Biblical Literature.
Renowned biblical scholar John J. Collins asks tough questions about the relationship between the portrayals of violence in the Bible and how they have been used throughout history. The Crusaders, Puritans, and abolitionists all used the Bible to justify their use of violence - and this process continues. In light of today's religious and political rhetoric, how shall we interpret these ancient documents? How can we understand the biblical stories, prophecies, and songs in their historical contexts and avoid making self-serving and even violent use of them?