Annihilate Amalek!

Bernhard A. Asen

in Fighting Words

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780520258310
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780520954083 | DOI:
Annihilate Amalek!

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This chapter explores Christian interpretations of an important Old Testament “text of terror” that mandates uncompromising violence against a perennial nemesis of Israel. The author, Bernhard Asen, begins with an analysis of the context of 1 Samuel 15 before taking up the phenomenon of “total warfare” as articulated there and interpreted in subsequent scripture and tradition. He then reflects on how Christians have dealt, and might deal in the future, with the patrimony of such texts. In the process, Asen offers a fine example of how focusing on a single arresting text exegetically can generate further reflection on the reality of large-scale violence in service of what religious communities might consider a divinely revealed mandate.

Keywords: Old Testament; historical books; total warfare; Amalekites; Christian exegesis

Chapter.  10054 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology of Religion

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