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Teaching Religion and Violence$
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Brian K. Pennington

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372427.001.0001

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“A Time for War and a Time for Peace”

“A Time for War and a Time for Peace”

Teaching Religion and Violence in the Jewish Tradition

Chapter:
(p.47) Chapter 2 “A Time for War and a Time for Peace”
Source:
Teaching Religion and Violence
Author(s):

Michael Dobkowski

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372427.003.0002

This chapter examines violence, war, and power in Judaism and argues that Judaism has developed a range of perspectives on these issues. Certainly there is violence in the Hebrew Bible, most notably the wars of the Conquest that Israel may have waged against the Canaanites and Amalekites --but the Bible also clearly promotes the values of peace by emphasizing that all human beings are created in God’s image. Moreover, in bold interpretations of the biblical text, the rabbis in the Mishnah and Talmud construct a Judaism committed to peace and place severe limitations on the waging and prosecution of war. Medieval Jewish philosophy, particularly Maimonides and Nachmonides, develops the peaceful impulse even further in their interpretations of discretionary wars, Mil he met r’shut, and obligatory wars, Mil he met Hovah. Judaism also formulated the idea of dar chei shalom, the ways of peace, which asserts that the basic duties Jews have to other Jews extend to all of humanity. With the Holocaust, modern Zionism, and the state of Israel, however, Jews have both been victims of power and exercised power over others and have, once again, been forced to confront the place of peace, Shalom, and war in Judaism.

Keywords:   shalom, Rabbinic Judaism, Maimonides, Zionism, Holocaust, Israel, Discretionary wars, Mil he met r’shut, Obligatory wars, Mil he met Hovah, Dar chei shalom

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