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Making Sense of Old Testament GenocideChristian Interpretations of Herem Passages$
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Christian Hofreiter

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198810902

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198810902.001.0001

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Reading Herem from the Dawn of the Enlightenment until Today

Reading Herem from the Dawn of the Enlightenment until Today

(p.214) 7 Reading Herem from the Dawn of the Enlightenment until Today
Making Sense of Old Testament Genocide

Christian Hofreiter

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews more recent examples of the reception of herem texts and demonstrates that many if not all of the ancient and medieval approaches to reading herem as Christian scripture continue to have their adepts in modern times: largely uncritical readings (K. Barth), devotional–allegorical interpretations, and violent uses. Many of the moral criticisms also continue to be restated (M. Tindal). Responses to these criticisms sometimes follow a traditional, divine command ethics structure (R. Swinburne) or attempts are made to combine a divine command ethics with the concepts of accommodation and progressive revelation (E. Stump). Yet other approaches bring to bear the categories of myth, metaphor and hyperbole (D. Earl, W. Moberly, N. MacDonald, K. Lawson Younger, N. Wolterstorff). Perhaps the most significant innovation of the modern period is the combination of historical–critical research with an attempt to read herem as Christian scripture (E. Seibert, P. Jenkins).

Keywords:   apologetics, Karl Barth, criticism of the Bible, enlightenment, genocide, herem, religion and violence, Matthew Tindal

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