Holy War in the Bible: Christian Morality and an Old Testament Problem

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830839957
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 4/5/2013
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,462,322
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Heath A. Thomas (Ph.D., University of Gloucestershire, UK) is assistant professor of Old Testament & Hebrew at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He also serves on the editorial board for the Southeastern Theological Review and as the book review editor.

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 Taking Christian Moral Thought Seriously.

Paul Copan is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He has written several books, including Creation Out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical and Scientific Exploration, and he has edited several others, including The Rationality of Theism and Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

Formerly he served with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and taught at Trinity International University (Deerfield, Illinois).

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Table of Contents

Part 1. The Challenge of Holy War for Christian Morality
1. Orientation Amidst Diversity: An Introduction to the Volume
Geth Allison & Reid Powell
2. Joshua and the Crusades
Douglas S. EarlPart 2. Old Testament Perspectives
3. Martial Memory, Peaceable Vision: Divine War in the Old Testament
Stephen Chapman
4. A Neglected Witness to 'Holy War' in the Writings
Heath ThomasPart 3. New Testament Perspectives
5. Vengeance, Wrath, and Warfare as Images of Divine Justice in John's Apocalypse
Alan Bandy
6. The Rhetoric of Divine Warfare in Ephesians
Timothy GombisPart 4. Biblical-Theological Perspectives
7. Compassion and Wrath as Motivations for Divine Warfare
David Lamb
8. Holy War and ~rx : A Biblical Theology of ~rx
Douglas S. EarlPart 5. Ethical & Philosophical Perspectives
9. Crusade in the Old Testament and Today
Daniel Heimbac
10. The Ethics of 'Holy War' for Christian Morality and Theology
Paul Copan & Matthew Flannagan
11. The Prophets' Call for Peacemaking Practices
Glen Stassen
12. 'Holy War', Divine Action, and New Atheism: Philosophical Considerations
Robert StewartPart 6. Theological Perspectives
13. The Unholy Notion of 'Holy War': A Christian Critique
Murray Rae
14. 'Holy War' and the New Atheism: A Dogmatic Response
Stephen WilliamsPart 7. Afterword
15. Old Testament Holy War & Christian Morality: Where do We Go from Here?
Jeremy Evans & Heath Thomas
Selected Bibliography
Contributors
Names Index
Scripture Index
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