Violence in the New Testament by Shelly Matthews, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Violence in the New Testament

Violence in the New Testament

by Shelly Matthews
     
 

While much work has been done on the role of Jews in the crucifixion of Jesus in post-Holocaust biblical scholarship, the question of violence in subsequent community formation remains largely unexamined. New Testament passages suggesting that early Christ-believers were violently persecuted--the "stone throwing" passages from John, the "persecuted from town to

Overview

While much work has been done on the role of Jews in the crucifixion of Jesus in post-Holocaust biblical scholarship, the question of violence in subsequent community formation remains largely unexamined. New Testament passages suggesting that early Christ-believers were violently persecuted--the "stone throwing" passages from John, the "persecuted from town to town" passages in Matthew, the stoning of Stephen in Acts, Paul's hardship catalogue in II Corinthians, etc.-- are frequently read positivistically as windows onto first century persecution; at the other extreme, they are sometimes dismissed as completely a-historical. In either case, scholars up until now have provided little in the way of methodological reflection on how they have reached such conclusions. A further problematic issue in previous readings of passages suggesting such violence is that the perpetrators of violence are frequently cast as "Jews" while the violated are cast as "Christians," in spite of the growing consensus that it is impossible to tease out these two distinct and separate religious identities, Jew and Christian, from first century texts.

This volume takes up crucial methodological questions about how to read passages suggesting violence among Jews in texts that eventually became part of the New Testament canon. It situates this intra-religious violence within the violence of the Roman Imperial order. It provides new readings of these texts that move beyond the "Jew as violator"/"Christian as violated" binary.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Compiled by religion scholars Matthews (Furman Univ.) and Gibson, this collection presents eight scholarly papers, six of which had been prepared originally for a special session of the Society of Biblical Literature, whose main theme dealt with violence among Jews and Christians. The purpose of each paper is to examine selected New Testament texts that deal with violence (e.g., the letters of St. Paul; Revelation 2:22-23; Acts 6:8-8:1; and Matthew's and John's Gospels) in their larger historical context of the Roman Imperial period of the first century C.E. This allows each author to offer a rigorous reassessment of how best to interpret the use of violence in these texts. Methodological issues raised concern the connection between the biblical texts to actual reality, as well as of biblical narrative to history. The goal is to help modern-day believers correctly understand the mention of violence in the New Testament as not supporting the "Jew as violator" vs. "Christian as violated" theological dichotomy that may have given rise historically to much anti-Semitism. Although well written and aimed at a general audience, the papers may be too technical for a wide general audience. For academic libraries only.-Charlie Murray, Somersworth, NH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780567025005
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
03/09/2005
Pages:
168
Sales rank:
1,178,584
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.36(d)

Meet the Author

Shelly Matthews is Associate Professor of Religion at Furman University, the co-editor of Walk in the Ways of Wisdom: Essays in Honor of Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, and the author of First Converts: Rich Pagan Women and the Rhetoric of Mission in Early Judaism and Christianity.

Independent scholar based in Princeton New Jersey who has taught at Oberlin College and Rutgers University. She is also the author of The Jewish Manumission Inscriptions of the Bosporan Kingdom, Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism, edited by Peter Schäfer and Martin Hengel. Tübingen: Verlag Mohr Siebeck (1999). She and Shelly Matthews initiated the SBL Consultation on Violence and Representations of Violence among Jews and Christians.

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