No one can read far in the Hebrew Bible without encountering depictions of violence carried out by human beings, sometimes in the name of God, or indeed violence carried out or commanded by God from Cain's murder of Abel to the slaughter of Canaanite populations and much, much more. For those who read the Bible as sacred scripture, such depictions can pose tremendous moral and theological challenges. For all of us, they pose historical questions as well: Where did these invocations of divinely sanctioned violence come from? How are we to understand them in a world where the lessening of violence is a desperate need?
Eric A. Seibert faces these challenges head-on, offering perspectives on the roles human and divine violence play in different parts of the Old Testament, evaluating the biblical presentation of "virtuous violence," and proposing strategies for reading the Bible out of a commitment to nonviolence. At last he offers "soundings" in biblical texts where we encounter alternative voices, often neglected, that seek and announce ways of peace.