Original Research - Special Collection: UP Faculty of Theology Centenary Volume One

Violence in the Christian Bible: Assessing Crossan’s use of ‘violence’ as a key analytical concept

Johan Strijdom
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3445 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3445 | © 2016 Johan Strijdom | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 April 2016 | Published: 08 November 2016

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Johan Strijdom, Department of Religious Studies and Arabic, University of South Africa, South Africa

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In this article Crossan’s analysis of violence in the Christian Bible is assessed by means of two overlapping strategies. The first strategy takes seriously the insistence by scholars of comparative religion that the application of theorised key concepts to case studies may throw new light on an issue. By taking David Chidester’s mapping of definitions and theories of the concept of ‘violence’ as a point of reference, Crossan’s conceptualisation of violence in the Bible is assessed. Secondly, Burton Mack’s critical application of Girard’s theory of violence to early Christian myth formations and their legacy in the West is compared with and used to assess Crossan’s analysis. In conclusion, the imperative to reflect further on the ethical question of violence is highlighted.


Violence; Christian Bible; Crossan


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