Does the Bible Justify Violence?

By John J. Collins | Go to book overview

4
Eschatological Vengeance

The examples of the Zealots and the Puritans may help to dispel any notion that religion evolves in a linear way and that the violence of Joshua or of Phinehas was a vestige of primitive religion, transcended in later Judaism and Christianity. It is true, however, that most of the biblical endorsements of violent human action are set in the context of early Israel, even if they were written later. The highly ritualized accounts of warfare in the books of Chronicles are also set in an earlier time and are unlikely to stir the blood in any case. In the literature of the Second Temple period, however, the focus is often on the future rather than on the past.1 The late prophetic and apocalyptic literature is not necessarily less violent in its rhetoric than Deuteronomy or Joshua, but it has less emphasis on human action and more on the expectation of the eschatological judgment of God.

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Does the Bible Justify Violence?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Does the Bible Justify Violence? iv
  • Contents v
  • Introduction 1
  • 1- The "Ban" 4
  • 2- History and Ideology 14
  • 3- Story and Example 17
  • 4- Eschatological Vengeance 21
  • 5- Violence and Hermeneutics 28
  • Abbreviations 35
  • Notes 37
  • Select Bibliography 53
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