God at War: A Study of Power in the Exodus Tradition

Hardcover | November 1, 1994

byThomas B. Dozeman

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The destruction of the Egyptian army in the Book of Exodus is the primary story of salvation for Israel; God is the chief combatant in this story. "Yahweh is a warrior!" So goes the victory hymn in Exodus 15:3 after the annihilation of the enemy by Yahweh, marking the importance held by thisshow of divine power. This unleashing of divine power and its militaristic imagery has long caught the attention of scholars as starkly nationalistic. Thomas B. Dozeman furthers this study by addressing the theological problem of divine power in the Exodus story and, by extension, the Judeo-Christian attempt to deify nationalism by calling its wars holy. He interprets Exodus as liturgy, the Day of Yahweh, celebrating God's defeat of Pharaoh andthe ultimate ascendancy of Israelite authority. This liturgy, though, did not remain static, but changed as the national experience of exile changed the practice of Israelite worship. An isolated event evolved into an extended account of salvation history, in which the life of faith becomes awilderness march to the promised land. Dozeman traces how revisionary embellishments in the plot structure and characters of the Exodus story reflected the new understanding of divine power. By combining literary and historical interpretation this study offers the first serious inquiry into the ideaof divine power, and makes a major contribution to resurgent research on the Pentateuch as a whole. No scholar concerned with biblical historiography and its justification of holy wars can afford to ignore this book.

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From Our Editors

The destruction of the Egyptian army in the Book of Exodus is the primary story of salvation for Israel and center stage is a portrait of God in combat. Indeed, the annihilation of the enemy is commemorated by a victory hymn with the words of praise, "Yahweh is a warrior!" Such unleashing of divine power with militaristic imagery and n...

From the Publisher

The destruction of the Egyptian army in the Book of Exodus is the primary story of salvation for Israel; God is the chief combatant in this story. "Yahweh is a warrior!" So goes the victory hymn in Exodus 15:3 after the annihilation of the enemy by Yahweh, marking the importance held by thisshow of divine power. This unleashing of divi...

Thomas B. Dozeman is at United Theological Seminary (Ohio).

other books by Thomas B. Dozeman

Methods for Exodus
Methods for Exodus

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see all books by Thomas B. Dozeman
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.65 × 6.57 × 0.83 inPublished:November 1, 1994Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195102177

ISBN - 13:9780195102178

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From Our Editors

The destruction of the Egyptian army in the Book of Exodus is the primary story of salvation for Israel and center stage is a portrait of God in combat. Indeed, the annihilation of the enemy is commemorated by a victory hymn with the words of praise, "Yahweh is a warrior!" Such unleashing of divine power with militaristic imagery and nationalistic motives has long caught the attention of scholars. In God of War, Thomas B. Dozeman examines ancient Israel's confessions of divine power in the exodus. He interprets the story of the exodus as liturgy that undergoes change as Israelite worship was transformed through the experience of exile. The reinterpretation of the exodus, he argues, was achieved through additions to the story and not through the writing of new versions. Dozeman proposes that additions to Exodus were intended to modify plot structure and character interactions, creating, in the process, a new understanding of divine power. What began as a liturgy of the Day of Yahweh, celebrating God's triumph over Pharaoh at sea and kingship in the land, evolved in

Editorial Reviews

"This book is very well grounded in current pentateuchal research and explores an exciting alternative to dominant reconstructions of the history of this material...highly recommended for seminary and research libraries."--Religious Studies Review