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

3.69 (26 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Nidditch here deals with a wide spectrum of war ideologies in the Hebrew Bible, seeking to discover why and how these views might have made sense to biblical writers. She challenges the stereotype of the violent 'Old' Testament. She argues that to understand attitudes about war in the Hebrew Bible is to understand war in general, and how human beings attempt to justify killing and violence.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 139.7 x 205.74 x 15.24mm | 158.76g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0195098404
  • 9780195098402
  • 486,388

Back cover copy

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 exploration reveals much about the social and cultural history of Israel, as war texts are found to map the world views of biblical writers from 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 justify killing and violence. Niditch's unique study will be of particular interest to students of Judaism, the Bible, and religion, as well as ethicists and historians concerned with relating classical sources tocontemporary issues.show more

Review quote

This is a short but dense book which creatively explores many of the differing traditions of war in te Bible...this is in my opinion probably the most sophisticated book on war in the Bible which I have had the pleasure of reading. It certainly should take its place alongside T.R. Hobbs's A Time for War: A Study of War in the Old Testament (Wilmington, Delaware, 1989) as one of the two indispensable books on the subject in biblical studies...Niditch has written amost interesting book, full of excellent insights into the text and containing much stimulating and provocative discussion of difficult texts. Journal of Theological Studies Vol 46 no 1 'intricately argued, scholarly and illuminating book' Lawrence Freedman, King's College, London, Manna, Spring 1994 'Susan Niditch argues her case well ... Susan Niditch has read very widely in the literature of war in general as well as within the Old Testament, and this increases the value of this study.' The Expository Times, Volume 104, September 1993 `both timely and instructive ... Susan Niditch argues her case well ...Susan Niditch has read very widely in the literature of war in general as well as within the Old Testament, and this increases the value of this study ... much to offer to all of our readers The Expository Times' `a unique contribution ... I find Dr. Niditch's work thought-provoking and worthy of publication ... [it] provides new ways of thinking about biblical ideologies of war and should initiate useful debate on the issues.' Theodore Hiebert, Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Harvard Divinity Schoolshow more

Rating details

26 ratings
3.69 out of 5 stars
5 23% (6)
4 42% (11)
3 19% (5)
2 12% (3)
1 4% (1)
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