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Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the Bible's Violent Verses

Overview

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.

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Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the Bible's Violent Verses

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Thomas S. Kidd
“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.”
Patrick Allitt
“This book is a wonderful example of the kind of rigorous work Christians must do if they are to retain intellectual credibility.”
Tony Campolo
“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.”
Publishers Weekly
That the Bible contains texts commanding the wholesale slaughter of people is at the heart of this most recent book by the high-profile author of Jesus Wars and The Next Christendom. Jenkins, who holds a joint appointment at Penn State University and Baylor University, is a Christian who tackles the challenge of how believers might take seriously the Bible’s most explicitly violent texts without committing the atrocious acts they seem to promote. To get there, he discusses the history of the most problematic, genocidal texts, especially those in Deuteronomy and Joshua, as well as their history of use. This is the book’s main strength. His comparison of the Bible with the Qur’an on the issue of violence seems more apologetic (everybody’s got ugly texts) than instructive, though it may serve to correct modern assumptions that Islam is uniquely violent. Suggestions for how believers should acknowledge and discuss such texts include a review of methods of interpretation as well as parameters limiting the options. He finds no silver bullet, but Jenkins’s frank admission is itself disarming. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061990724
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/6/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,382,822
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Jenkins, the author of The Lost History of Christianity, Jesus Wars, and The Next Christendom, is the Distinguished Professor of History and a 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. He divides his time between Pennsylvania and Texas.

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Table of Contents

Definitions vii

Introduction: Motes and Beams 1

Part 1 Scripture as Problem

1 Everything That Breathes 29

2 Truth and History 49

3 Words of the Sword 73

Part 2 The Inheritance

4 Sons of Joshua 99

5 Warrant for Genocide 123

6 Amalekite Nightmares 143

Part 3 Truth and Reconciliation

7 Judging God 167

8 Coming to Terms 183

9 Historians and Prophets 209

10 Preaching the Unpreachable 227

11 Scripture Alone? 243

Acknowledgments 253

Notes 255

Index 297

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2011

    This book is a value to society

    We should thank Mr Jenkins for an in depth, clear, and immense work that will benefit our unserstanding about religion and it can equal to violence and how divisive it is.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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