This fresh approach to troubling biblical texts explores the "family violence" passages in Deuteronomy, tracing their ancient interpretation and assessing their contemporary significance. Three laws in Deuteronomy command violence against a family member--the enemy in the household--who leads others away from covenantal obligations to God. This book examines such "constructive" violence carried out to protect the covenant community by investigating the reading practices of ancient Jewish and Christian interpreters of Scripture and their applications of these passages. It also helps modern readers approach biblical texts that command violence in the family, providing a model for the ethical interpretation of these difficult texts.
Caryn A. Reeder (PhD, University of Cambridge) is assistant professor of religious studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.