Reflections on Divine Violence in the Old Testament
As some of you know, for the last five years I’ve been working on a book addressing the problem of divine violence in the OT. (For alleged violence in the NT, see Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld, Killing Enmity: Violence in the New Testament (Baker Academic, 2011). It will be a highly academic tome, approximately 600 pages in length, and is entitled The Crucifixion of the Warrior God (InterVarsity). I plan to accompany it with a much shorter, popular level work articulating roughly the same thesis, which I’ve tentatively entitled Jesus Versus Jehovah?, though I haven’t yet official proposed this to IVP or any other publisher.
The forthcoming Crucifixion of the Warrior God has generated a good deal of interest, for the problem of divine violence in the OT is something that a large number of people are wrestling with today. It is especially problematic for followers of Jesus who embrace Jesus’ example of laying down his life for his enemies as something we are to imitate and who take seriously his unqualified teachings on loving enemies and swearing off all violence (e.g Mt. 5:38-48; Lk 6:27-35). For this reason I’ve decided to blog on aspects of my forthcoming book over the coming months. I’m not going to “let the cat out of the bag,” so to speak, for I can’t possibly replicate the fully developed argument of my book in this venue. Yet, while I will continue to offer video blogs responding to questions, I will regularly offer some little reflections from my book that I hope will be helpful.
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