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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Ritual Violence in the Hebrew Bible: New Perspectives
Olyan, Saul M., editor

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015 pp. 208. $74.00


Description: 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 been 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 before. The book seeks to explore what acts of ritual violence might have accomplished 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. It consists of an introduction and eight essays. Topics include cognitive perspectives on iconoclasm, the instrumental dimensions of ritual violence against corpses, the ritual of killing cities ("urbicide"), royal rites of military loyalty, the ends accomplished by the violence against Rechab and Baanah in 2 Samuel 4, material dimensions of the herem and Rwanda genocide compared, the exchange of women among men and its violent dimensions, and Josiah's ritual assault on Bethel. Authors include Debra Scoggins Ballentine, T. M. Lemos, Mark Leuchter, Nathaniel B. Levtow, Susan Niditch, Saul M. Olyan, RŁdiger Schmitt, and Jacob L. Wright.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, Social-Scientific Approaches

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Review by Jeremiah W. Cataldo
Published 12/8/2016
Citation: Jeremiah W. Cataldo, review of Saul M. Olyan, ed., Ritual Violence in the Hebrew Bible: New Perspectives, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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