The relation between violence and the Christian religion or the role of violence in Christianity is of course not a new problem. However, like other difficult, controversial, and incredibly important issues, it is often left unaddressed or given scant attention in Christian circles including Christian seminaries. Thankfully, at least some modern and postmodern theologians, philosophers, and other Christian thinkers—Frederick Douglass, Jung Mo Sung, James Cone, J. Kameron Carter, William T. Cavanaugh have engaged the subject of violence and its relation to and manifestations within the Christian tradition. Because I personally find this issue difficult, important, and extremely relevant to our current (post)modern context, I have decided to host a series of guest posts on the topic. My interest in this series, however, is somewhat narrowly focused in a biblical hermeneutical direction. That is, in dialogue with other Christians via this guest post format, I want to have a conversation about what Scripture itself says, promotes, prohibits, permits or seems to say promote, prohibit, permit about violence, majoring on those difficult passages dealing with genocide, slavery, and the like—all with a view to developing a Christian hermeneutical trajectory that would enable us to intelligently and compassionately engage contemporary issues.
I have listed below specific topics for engagement and hope to receive two to three submissions per topic presenting different and perhaps even opposing perspectives. I welcome Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant contributors, liberal as well as conservative. (Recently, a number of thoughtful non-Christians and atheists have written excellent works dealing with violence. As a philosopher, I find these works incredibly valuable; however, for this series, I am looking for contributions exclusively from Christians, as I want the series to serve as a resource of sorts for Christians interested in this subject area and who also find it a challenge to their faith.
Generally speaking, the posts should be between 500–1500 words, with a strict maximum limit of 1500 words (see below for contact information and topics for proposals). I've already received several excellent proposals; however, there are still slots open for mini-essays for (2) and (3)--African American or Afrocentric hermeneutical readings are especially welcome. Regarding (4), I need a counterpoint mini-essay arguing against an Anselmian-based view of the atonement--Eastern Orthodox and (post)modern theological readings are especially sought, though other views are welcome as well. Thus far, I have not received any proposals for (5), but my hope is that posting the announcement here will generate a few Girardian-related proposals.
- How should a Christian interpret the divinely commanded mass killings (genocide) commanded of the Old Testament (e.g. Joshua 6, 10, etc.)? Should we read these allegorically, literally, or what? Other passages on violence may be engaged as well.
- How should a Christian interpret passages in the Old Testament (e.g. Exodus and Leviticus) that at least appear to permit slavery?
- How does a Christian make sense out of seemingly opposed views on slavery (e.g. Philemon, and I Cor 7:23 verses 1 Peter) in the New Testament?
- Does one’s view of atonement make a difference in how one interprets the violent acts recorded in Scripture? If so, how?
- A Girardian dialogue related to any of the above topics or focusing on particular passages of Scripture is quite welcome
If you are interested in participating, please send me an email or post a comment on my blog: email@example.com.