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date: 29 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

It has become commonplace to characterize the historical books using the concept of violence and to regard this characterization as posing a problem demanding a solution, usually repudiation of the texts. This article indicates that “violence” is an interpretative concept supplied by readers and that such characterization was absent prior to the 1990s. The nature of the concept of violence is then analyzed, and the article argues that it has rhetorical and ideological force to urge the repudiation or rejection of what is described as violent. With reference to the historical books, the label of violence as an overall interpretative lens is used ideologically to block appreciation and appropriation of the texts and the traditions that they represent. Thus it should not be readily accepted by Jewish and Christian readers. However, localized use of the concept can bring into focus some of the interpretative issues and challenges concerning particular stories.

Keywords: violence, ideology, myth, conceptual analysis, moral responses, moral judgments, book of Joshua, book of Judges, Josiah

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