Ritual Violence in the Hebrew Bible: New Perspectives

ISBN : 9780190249588

Saul M. Olyan
208 ページ
156 x 235 mm

Although the relationship of the Hebrew Bible and violence has been of interest to scholars in recent years, ritual violence in its various manifestations has been underexplored, as have the theoretical dimensions of ritual violence. This volume is intended to bring into relief the full range of violent rites represented in the Hebrew Bible, many rarely, if ever, considered. It seeks to explore what acts of ritual violence might accomplish socio-politically in their particular settings and the ways in which engagement with theory from a variety of disciplines can contribute to our understanding of ritual violence as a phenomenon. The volume consists of an introduction and eight essays. Topics include cognitive perspectives on iconoclasm, the instrumental dimensions of ritual violence against corpses, the ritual killing of cities ("urbicide"), royal rites of military loyalty, the ends accomplished by political violence in David's story, comparison of the Rwanda genocide and material dimensions of the biblical herem, the exchange of women among men and its violent dimensions, and the ritual assault on cities. Authors include Debra Scoggins Ballentine, T. M. Lemos, Mark Leuchter, Nathaniel B. Levtow, Susan Niditch, Saul M. Olyan, Rudiger Schmitt, and Jacob L. Wright.


"Introduction: Ritual Violence in the Hebrew Bible," Saul M. Olyan, Brown University

"What Ends Might Ritual Violence Accomplish? The Case of Rechab and Baanah in 2 Samuel 4," Debra Scoggins Ballentine, Rutgers University

"Dispossessing Nations: Population Growth, Scarcity, and Genocide in Ancient Israel and Twentieth-Century Rwanda," T. M. Lemos, Huron University College, University of Western Ontario

"Between Politics and Mythology: Josiah's Assault on Bethel in 2 Kgs 23:15-20," Mark Leuchter, Temple University

"Cognitive Perspectives on Iconoclasm," Nathaniel B. Levtow, University of Montana, Missoula

"'The Traffic in Women': Exchange, Ritual Sacrifice, and War," Susan Niditch,

Amherst College

"The Instrumental Dimensions of Ritual Violence Against Corpses in Biblical Texts," Saul M. Olyan, Brown University

"Establishing Communitas: Royal Rites of Military Loyalty and their Socio-Religious Function," Rudiger Schmitt, Westfalisch Wilhelms-Universitat Munster

"Urbicide: The Ritualized Killing of Cities in the Ancient Near East," Jacob L. Wright, Emory University


Saul M. Olyan is the Samuel Ungerleider Jr. Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University. The primary focus of his current research is a book entitled Friendship in the Hebrew Bible, to be published by Yale University Press. His next book will focus on representations of ritual violence in biblical texts.