Catalogue

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War in the Hebrew Bible : a study in the ethics of violence /
Susan Niditch.
edition
Paperback ed.
imprint
New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1995.
description
xii, 180 p. ; 21 cm.
ISBN
0195098404 (pbk) 0195076389
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1995.
isbn
0195098404 (pbk) 0195076389
general note
First published; 1993.
catalogue key
4615026
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 157-172) and indexes.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1993-07:
Niditch explores the ideologies of war in the Old Testament and seeks to understand the communities that produced them. She isolates six major approaches: an early form of holy war (the "ban") as a human sacrifice to God; a form of the ban developed by the Deuteronomic tradition that is presented as just retribution upon Israel's external and internal enemies; a priestly ideology of war found in Numbers 31; a "bardic" tradition that features a chivalric code of honor between professional warriors on both sides; a "trickster" ideology in which socially marginal groups overcome more powerful enemies by outwitting them; a warfare of expediency in which the powerful recognize no limits on actions they take to gain military objectives. She also suggests that some texts, such as 1-2 Chronicles, have the seeds of "an ideology of nonparticipation" that relies on God for military vindication. The implications of the latter ideology for modern ethics is, disappointingly, not elucidated. Advanced undergraduate; graduate; faculty. J. R. Davila; Central College (IA)
Reviews
Review Quotes
"[A] careful analysis of the various texts comprises a useful contribution to the discussion of the ethics of warfare."--Law, Religion, and Theology
"A careful, morally sensitive, and thought-provoking treatment of the issues of violence and warfare in the Hebrew Scriptures."--Biblical Interpretations
"A careful, morally sensitive, and thought-provoking treatment of theissues of violence and warfare in the Hebrew Scriptures."--BiblicalInterpretations
"An enriching, challenging, and provocative book for scholars of the Bible as well as readers from religious and secular backgrounds."--Digest of Middle East Studies
"An enriching, challenging, and provocative book for scholars of the Bibleas well as readers from religious and secular backgrounds."--Digest of MiddleEast Studies
"A sophisticated and enlightening study on the various war ideologies of ancient Israel."--Old Testament Abstracts
"A sophisticated and enlightening study on the various war ideologies ofancient Israel."--Old Testament Abstracts
"A very helpful study, ethically sensitive and methodologically sophisticated. I will certainly use this volume as a teaching text for years to come."--Harold C. Washington, Saint Paul School of Theology
"A very helpful study, ethically sensitive and methodologicallysophisticated. I will certainly use this volume as a teaching text for years tocome."--Harold C. Washington, Saint Paul School of Theology
"A very helpful study, ethically sensitive and methodologically sophisticated. I will certainly use this volume as a teaching text for years to come."--Harold C. Washington, Saint Paul School of Theology "Represents a unique contribution to the issue of war in the Hebrew Bible. I find Dr. Niditch's work thought-provoking. It provides new ways of thinking about biblical ideologies of war and should initiate useful debate on the issues."--Theodore Hiebert, Harvard Divinity School "A sophisticated and enlightening study on the various war ideologies of ancient Israel."-- Old Testament Abstracts "Essential reading not only for students and scholars of the Bible, but for anyone interested in issues of war and peace today."-- Theological Studies "An enriching, challenging, and provocative book for scholars of the Bible as well as readers from religious and secular backgrounds."-- Digest of Middle East Studies
"A very helpful study, ethically sensitive and methodologically sophisticated. I will certainly use this volume as a teaching text for years to come."--Harold C. Washington,Saint Paul School of Theology "Represents a unique contribution to the issue of war in the Hebrew Bible. I find Dr. Niditch's work thought-provoking. It provides new ways of thinking about biblical ideologies of war and should initiate useful debate on the issues."--Theodore Hiebert,Harvard Divinity School "A sophisticated and enlightening study on the various war ideologies of ancient Israel."--Old Testament Abstracts "Essential reading not only for students and scholars of the Bible, but for anyone interested in issues of war and peace today."--Theological Studies "An enriching, challenging, and provocative book for scholars of the Bible as well as readers from religious and secular backgrounds."--Digest of Middle East Studies
"Essential reading not only for students and scholars of the Bible, but for anyone interested in issues of war and peace today."--Theological Studies
"Essential reading not only for students and scholars of the Bible, butfor anyone interested in issues of war and peace today."--TheologicalStudies
"Intricately argued, scholarly and illuminating."--Manna
"One must commend [Niditch] for furthering the debate and for forcing biblical scholarship to look more seriously at the difficult ethical issues raised by the war traditions found in the Hebrew Bible. This, combined with its easily accessible writing style, makes this book essential readingfor anyone interested in how biblical images might be mined and utilized in constructing a modern ethical approach to violence and warfare."--The Journal of Religion
"One must commend [Niditch] for furthering the debate and for forcingbiblical scholarship to look more seriously at the difficult ethical issuesraised by the war traditions found in the Hebrew Bible. This, combined with itseasily accessible writing style, makes this book essential reading for anyoneinterested in how biblical images might be mined and utilized in constructing amodern ethical approach to violence and warfare."--The Journal ofReligion
"Provide[s] a helpful collection of passages that are relevant for the ongoing discussion of scriptural violence."--Bible Review
"Provide[s] a helpful collection of passages that are relevant for theongoing discussion of scriptural violence."--Bible Review
"Represents a unique contribution to the issue of war in the Hebrew Bible. I find Dr. Niditch's work thought-provoking. It provides new ways of thinking about biblical ideologies of war and should initiate useful debate on the issues."--Theodore Hiebert, Harvard Divinity School
"Represents a unique contribution to the issue of war in the Hebrew Bible.I find Dr. Niditch's work thought-provoking. It provides new ways of thinkingabout biblical ideologies of war and should initiate useful debate on theissues."--Theodore Hiebert, Harvard Divinity School
"Stimulating and interesting....This is a good book, scholarly, helpful, unsettling and disturbing."--Provident Book Finder
"Stimulating and interesting....This is a good book, scholarly, helpful,unsettling and disturbing."--Provident Book Finder
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long 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.
Long Description
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 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. 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 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 while concentrating on the tones, textures, meanings, and messages of a particular corpus in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
This book is a sympathetic study of the writers of Israelite tradition who are themselves dearly troubled by issues in the ethics of war. The book sets in a new and more complex light the various and sometimes conflicting biblical attitudes to war.
Unpaid Annotation
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.
Table of Contents
Abbreviations
Introductionp. 3
The Ban as God's Portionp. 28
The Ban as God's Justicep. 56
The Priestly Ideology of War in Numbers 31p. 78
The Bardic Tradition of Warp. 90
The Ideology of Tricksterismp. 106
The Ideology of Expediency and Biblical Critiquep. 123
Toward an Ideology of Nonparticipationp. 134
Conclusionsp. 150
Referencesp. 157
Additional Readingsp. 171
Index of Biblical Citationsp. 173
General Indexp. 178
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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