Holy War in the Bible: Christian Morality and An Old Testament Problem
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...
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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.
Paul Copan (PhD. Marquette University) is Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics Palm Beach Atlantic University, Florida. He has authored and edited a number of books including True for You, But Not for Me: Deflating the Slogans That Leave Christians Speechless (Bethany House), That's Just Your Interpretation: Responding to Skeptics Who Challenge Your Faith (Baker). Russian translation completed June 2003. Co-authored with William Lane Craig, Creation ex Nihilo: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration (Baker Book House) and Jesus' Resurrection Fact Or Figment? (Intervarsity Press).
- <strong>part 1. The Challenge Of Holy War For Christian Morality</strong>
- 1. Orientation Amidst Diversity: An Introduction To The Volume
- Geth Allison & Reid Powell
- 2. Joshua And The Crusades
- Douglas S. Earl
- <strong>part 2. Old Testament Perspectives</strong>
- 3. Martial Memory, Peaceable Vision: Divine War In The Old Testament
- Stephen Chapman
- 4. A Neglected Witness To ‘holy War’ In The Writings
- Heath Thomas
- <strong>part 3. New Testament Perspectives</strong>
- 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 Gombis
- <strong>part 4. Biblical-theological Perspectives</strong>
- 7. Compassion And Wrath As Motivations For Divine Warfare
- David Lamb
- 8. Holy War And ~rx : A Biblical Theology Of ~rx
- Douglas S. Earl
- <strong>part 5. Ethical & Philosophical Perspectives</strong>
- 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 Stewart
- <strong>part 6. Theological Perspectives</strong>
- 13. The Unholy Notion Of ‘holy War’: A Christian Critique
- Murray Rae
- 14. 'holy War' And The New Atheism: A Dogmatic Response
- Stephen Williams
- <strong>part 7. Afterword</strong>
- 15. Old Testament Holy War & Christian Morality: Where Do We Go From Here?
- Jeremy Evans & Heath Thomas