Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Old Testament Genocide

Philip Jenkins "argues that Christians and Jews should struggle to make sense of these violent texts as a central element of their tradition, rather than hurry past them or ignore them altogether," reports The American Conservative's Patrick Allitt in his review of the scholar's latest book — Christian Jihad.

This troubling "orgy of militarism, enslavement, and race war" has prompted believers either "to take them at face value and act accordingly" or "to overlook or exclude these genocidal texts." Early heretics "argued that the God of the Old Testament, capricious, brutal, and violent, was the antithesis of the God of Jesus in the New Testament;" however, "against the Marcionites and the Manicheans, some of the Church Fathers, including Origen and Augustine, denied that the genocidal passages should be taken literally." Moderns "use the genocidal passages to argue against religion itself." Prof. Jenkins himself, following the "historical criticism" approach, believes "much later writers attributed to Joshua actions that never happened."

The reviewer makes it clear that the author is "right to show the unreasonableness of thinking that Islam is essentially a religion of violence and war and Christianity a religion of peace" and that "we should be a lot more self-aware and self-critical when we think about our religion and a lot slower to condemn the violent tendencies in the religions of others."

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

Perhaps related: what's the deal with the Sons of God and the daughters of men, while we're at it?

February 1, 2012 at 10:23 PM  

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