Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the Bible's Violent Verses  -     By: Philip Jenkins
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Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the Bible's Violent Verses

HarperCollins / 2012 / Paperback

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Product Description

* A fearless examination of violent verses in the Bible---and a call to view them more honestly. From the slaughter of the innocents to war in John's Revelation, Jenkins compares the frequency of aggressive biblical passages to those in the Qur'an, challenging our stereotypical assumptions about Islam and providing a framework for interaction with Muslims. 256 pages, softcover from HarperOne.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.31 X 0.58 (inches)
ISBN: 0061990728
ISBN-13: 9780061990724

Publisher's Description

A New Vision for Understanding Bloodshed in the Bible

Laying Down the Sword brings to light biblical texts that have been hidden from view and overturns popular stereotypes that continue to generate more heat than light. Jenkins offers a way to read these troubling passages, presents a vital framework for understanding the Bible, and calls believers in every tradition to create a more honest and deeper-rooted faith.

Author Bio

Philip Jenkins, the author of The Lost History of Christianity, Jesus Wars, and The Next Christendom, is the Distinguished Professor of History and member of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University. He has published articles and op-ed pieces in The Wall Street Journal, New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe and has been a guest on top national radio shows across the country.

Editorial Reviews

“A provocative and timely comparison of the legacies of violence in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. With verve and sweeping insight, Jenkins challenges all of our stereotypical assumptions about religion, bloodshed, and terror.”
“This book is a wonderful example of the kind of rigorous work Christians must do if they are to retain intellectual credibility.”
“Jenkins has outdone himself. This is by far the best piece of work he has ever done, dealing with one of the most controversial issues Christians struggle with day-in and day-out.”

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  1. 1 Stars Out Of 5
    Criminalizing Christianity
    November 8, 2011
    Value: 1
    The book "Laying Down the Sword" by Philip Jenkins, from the start contains statements such as "commands to kill, commit ethnic cleansing, to hate and fear other races, are all in the Bible". What I just quoted is inside the dust jacket of the book in view. These kinds of statements set the tone for the rest of Jenkins' work. Some of the chapters bear incendiary titles such as: "Warrant for Genocide" (in reference to the Bible) and "Judging God".

    When Jenkins comes up with such a title: "Laying Down the Sword", the reader would expect an irenic tone, but alas, he picks up the sword and starts an intellectual genocide. He unsuccessfully tries to criminalize God, the Bible, Christianity, and de-legitimize the Jewish nation. This rhetoric is akin to Soviet ideologists of the defunct Communist era. Jenkins positions himself above history, nations, circumstances, and simplistically judges the human history starting with the conquest of Canaan, and going all the way to the Iranian nuclear program. Interestingly enough, he is lenient on Iranians, the greatest exporters of terrorism, and somehow condemns the Israelis who sent a virus (Stuxnet) into Iranian computers to slow down their evil intent (p. 20, 156).

    He goes so far in his unwarranted accusations to even say that the writings in the Koran were influenced by brutal physical punishment, crucifixion, and beheadings, from the Roman Christian world (p. 95). But he doesn't stop here. He is soft on Arab terrorism (p. 248) and finds Christianity as a role model for Islamic terrorism (p. 250).

    Here are some samples of Jenkins' militant oratory: "the Bible overflows with texts of terror" (p. 6); "Moses mass murderer" (p. 179); "Ezra and Nehemiah are xenophobic books" (p. 70); "Phineas is a racial assassin" (p. 71).

    Jenkins cannot hide his hubris and anti-Christian, anti-Jewish resentments. He tries here and there to insert a conciliatory note but it is just insignificant. He excels in a lack of understanding the historical/cultural background of the Bible. He is an expert of out-of-context quotations. He doesn't have basic epistemological ability in spite of his Ph.D from Cambridge. He is a living example that neither Cambridge nor a Ph.D can make you a true scholar, if you don't have the vocation for it.

    Paul Dan
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