This chapter examines the foundational text of Judaism. The first reading argues that the Bible promotes violence. The key problem is God’s covenant with the Israelites that implies that the Israelites are superior to other nations. The moral difficulty with this idea comes out in full force with the divine command to annihilate the Canaanites and Amalekites. The same problem is evident in the depictions of the messianic era in which the enemies of Israel will be destroyed. The second reading argues that the Bible promotes peace. The Bible, in fact, has a mostly positive view of non-Israelites. In the first chapter of Genesis, human beings are created in God’s image. God’s covenantal relationship with Israel does not assume that the gentiles are inferior to the Israelites. Israel’s purpose is to serve in a mediating role so that the nations receive God’s blessings.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.