The other day I got into a conversation with a fellow Christian about the Joshua genocide. Like many Christians, he had a sense that there was something problematic here, but had never paused to wrestle with it. When I told him there was a lively and diverse conversation within the church over so-called “texts of terror” and how to understand them, he was both surprised and perplexed. He had no idea that such a conversation was being had. In his mind, one either accepts that the text is inspired and so God commanded genocide, or you deny that the text is inspired and that God commanded genocide.
That dichotomy is a false one and it is high time that we acquaint more Christians with the diversity of resources available on this very topic. With that in mind, I’ve drawn together a limited bibliography of writings from the past 35 years written by evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Catholics and Jews that address various issues relating to (i) the Bible as inspired, (ii) reading passages of biblical violence. I have purposely not included works that focus on themes of atonement or hell because this would quickly render the bibliography unmanageable.
So here is my hope: once more Christians recognize the conversation is already very much in progress, they can leave the stultifying false dichotomies behind and begin to confront anew the nature of biblical violence, the meaning of the Bible, and the call of Christian discipleship.
- Boyd, Greg. The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Reinterpreting the Old Testament’s Violent Portraits of God in Light of the Cross, forthcoming.
- Brueggemann, Walter. Divine Presence amid Violence: Contextualizing the Book of Joshua (Wipf and Stock, 2009).
- Collins, John J. Does the Bible Justify Violence? (Augsburg Fortress, 2004).
- Copan, Paul. Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God (Baker, 2011).
- Copan, Paul, Jeremy Evans and Heath A. Thomas, eds. Holy War in the Bible: Christian Morality and an Old Testament Problem (IVP Academic, 2013).
- Cowles, C.S., et. Al. Show Them No Mercy? 4 Views On God and the Canaanite Genocide (Zondervan, 2003).
- Craigie, Peter. The Problem of War in the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 1979).
- Creach, Jerome F.D. Violence in Scripture. Interpretation, Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church (Westminster John Knox, 2013).
- Earl, Douglas. The Joshua Delusion? Rethinking Genocide in the Bible. (Wipf and Stock, 2011).
- Enns, Peter. The Bible Tells Me So: Why defending Scripture has made us unable to read it (HarperOne, 2014).
- __________. Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the problem of the Old Testament. (Baker Academic, 2005).
- Hazony, Yoram. The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
- Jenkins, Philip. Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible’s Violent Verses (HarperOne, 2012).
- Lamb, David. God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament angry, sexist and racist? (IVP, 2011).
- Levenson, Jon. The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity (Yale University Press, 1995).
- Longman, Tremper III and Daniel G. Reid. God is a Warrior (Zondervan, 1995).
- McKnight, Scott. The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking how you read the Bible (Zondervan, 2010).
- Niditch, Susan. War in the Hebrew Bible: A Study in the Ethics of Violence (Oxford University Press, 1995).
- Romer, Thomas. Dark God: Cruelty, sex and violence in the Old Testament (Paulist Press, 2013).
- Roncace, Mark. Raw Revelation: The Bible They Never Tell You About (CreateSpace, 2012).
- Seibert, Eric. The Violence of Scripture: Overcoming the Old Testament’s Troubling Legacy (Fortress Press, 2012).
- __________. Disturbing Divine Behavior: Troubling Old Testament Images of God (Fortress Press, 2009).
- Smith, Christian. The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism is not a truly evangelical reading of scripture (Brazos, 2012).
- Sparks, Kenton. Sacred Word, Broken Word; Biblical Authority and the Dark Side of Scripture. (Eerdmans, 2012).
- __________. God’s Word in Human Words: An evangelical appropriation of critical biblical scholarship. (Baker Academic, 2008).
- Stark, Thom. The Human Faces of God: What Scripture reveals when it gets God wrong (and why inerrancy tries to hide it (Wipf and Stock, 2011).
- Weaver, Denny. The Non-Violent God (Eerdmans, 2013).
- Webb, William. Corporeal Punishment in the Bible: A Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts (IVP Academic, 2011).
- Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks (Cambridge University Press, 1995).
- Wright, Christopher J.H. The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith (Zondervan, 2008).
II. Randal Rauser Chapters and Articles
- “Would a Most Perfect Being Command Genocide?” (chapter 21), in The Swedish Atheist, the Scuba Diver and Other Apologetic Rabbit Trails (InterVarsity, 2012).
- Chapters 6, 8 and 10 in God or Godless: One Atheist, One Christian, Twenty Controversial Questions (with John Loftus) (Baker, 2013).
- “‘Let Nothing that Breathes Remain Alive’: On the Problem of Divinely Commanded Genocide,” Philosophia Christi, 11, no. 1 (2009), 27-41. Online: https://randalrauser.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Rauser11.1.pdf
- “‘I want to give the baby to God’: Three theses on devotional child killing,” Presented at the Evangelical Philosophical Society Annual Meeting (Atlanta, GA, 2010): Online: https://randalrauser.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Three-Theses-on-Devotional-Child-Killing.pdf
- “On William Lane Craig’s Defense of the Canaanite Genocide,” (13 parts), Online: https://randalrauser.com/articles/popular-articles/
- “How good is God Behaving Badly? A Review,” Online: https://randalrauser.com/2012/11/how-good-is-god-behaving-badly-a-review/
- “Violence and the Good Book: My Interview with Eric Seibert,” Online: https://randalrauser.com/2013/01/violence-and-the-good-book-my-interview-with-eric-seibert/
- “An Unbelievable Defense of the Amalekite Genocide,” Online: https://randalrauser.com/2013/01/an-unbelievable-defense-of-the-amalekite-genocide/
- “Rape, Moral Perception, and Biblicism,” Online: https://randalrauser.com/2012/08/rape-moral-perception-and-biblicism/
III. Tentative Apologist Podcast Interviews
- Peter Enns on Inerrancy and the Bible, Online: https://randalrauser.com/2014/04/peter-enns-on-inerrancy-and-the-bible/
- Mark Roncace on Raw Revelation, Online: https://randalrauser.com/2014/02/mark-roncace-on-raw-revelation/
- Eric Seibert on biblical violence and the Canaanites, Online: https://randalrauser.com/2014/01/eric-seibert-on-biblical-violence-and-the-canaanites/
- Yoram Hazony on the Bible as Philosophy, Online: https://randalrauser.com/2013/12/yoram-hazony-on-the-bible-as-philosophy/
- Michael Hardin on Violence and the Atonement, Online: https://randalrauser.com/2013/10/theologian-michael-hardin-on-violence-and-atonement/
IV. Additional Online Resources
1. “My Ways are Not Your Ways: The Character of the God of the Hebrew Bible” (11 sessions), Online: http://philreligion.nd.edu/videos/conference-videos/my-ways-are-not-your-ways-the-character-of-the-god-of-the-hebrew-bible/