War in the Hebrew Bible: A Study in the Ethics of Violence

Paperback | January 1, 1995

bySusan Niditch

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Texts about war pervade the Hebrew Bible, raising challenging questions in religious and political ethics. The war passages that readers find most disquieting are those in which God demands the total annihilation of the enemy without regard to gender, age, or military status. The ideology ofthe "ban," however, is only one among a range of attitudes towards war preserved in the ancient Israelite literary tradition. Applying insights from anthropology, comparative literature, and feminist studies, Niditch considers a wide spectrum of war ideologies in the Hebrew Bible, seeking in eachcase to discover why and how these views might have made sense to biblical writers, who themselves can be seen to wrestle with the ethics of violence. The study of war thus also illuminates the social and cultural history of Israel, as war texts are found to map the world views of biblical writersfrom various periods and settings. Reviewing ways in which modern scholars have interpreted this controversial material, Niditch sheds further light on the normative assumptions that shape our understanding of ancient Israel. More widely, this work explores how human beings attempt to justifykilling and violence while concentrating on the tones, textures, meanings, and messages of a particular corpus in the Hebrew Scriptures.

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From Our Editors

Texts about war pervade the Hebrew Bible, raising challenging questions in religious and political ethics. Among the most disquieting war passages are those in which God demands the total annihilation of the enemy without regard to gender, age, or military status. The ideology of the "ban", however, is only one among a range of attitud...

From the Publisher

Texts about war pervade the Hebrew Bible, raising challenging questions in religious and political ethics. The war passages that readers find most disquieting are those in which God demands the total annihilation of the enemy without regard to gender, age, or military status. The ideology ofthe "ban," however, is only one among a range...

From the Jacket

Texts about war pervade the Hebrew Bible, raising challenging questions in religious and political ethics. Among the most disquieting war passages are those in which God demands the total annihilation of the enemy without regard to gender, age, or military status. The ideology of the "ban", however, is only one among a range of attitud...

Susan Niditch is at Amherst College.

other books by Susan Niditch

Judges: A Commentary
Judges: A Commentary

Hardcover|Jan 16 2008

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see all books by Susan Niditch
Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 5.55 × 8.27 × 0.51 inPublished:January 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195098404

ISBN - 13:9780195098402

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From Our Editors

Texts about war pervade the Hebrew Bible, raising challenging questions in religious and political ethics. Among the most disquieting war passages are those in which God demands the total annihilation of the enemy without regard to gender, age, or military status. The ideology of the "ban", however, is only one among a range of attitudes towards war preserved in the ancient Israelite literary tradition. Applying insights from anthropology, comparative literature, and feminist studies, Niditch considers a wide spectrum of war ideologies in the Hebrew Bible, seeking in each case to discover why and how these views might have made sense to biblical writers, who themselves can be seen to wrestle with the ethics of violence. Niditch thus challenges the stereotype of the violent "Old" Testament - of law versus gospel, justice versus mercy, and judgment versus love. To understand attitudes about war in the Hebrew Bible, Niditch argues, is to understand war in general: the motivations, justifications, and rationalizations of those who wage it. In addition, this exploratio

Editorial Reviews

"[A] careful analysis of the various texts comprises a useful contribution to the discussion of the ethics of warfare."--Law, Religion, and Theology