By Patricia M. McDonald
Patricia M. McDonald argues that many biblical tales, learn as a part of a canon from Genesis to Revelation, comprise resouces for turning violence to provider of God and humanity.
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Extra info for God and Violence: Biblical Resources for Living in a Small World
Abel and his gift communicate effectively with God, whereas Cain and his gift do not. As if to reinforce the point, the author tells how the cry of Abel’s blood elicits a divine response (4:10): in the biblical world, victims of injustice have automatic access to God’s hotline. Such stories serve to bring to people’s attention those whom they would not otherwise notice. Life in the Human Family As many commentators have pointed out, this story of the two brothers is about living as a member of humanity, where all are siblings.
This leads into the story of Israel, which begins when God calls Abram and gives him a blessing (12:1-3) that includes a divine promise of progeny and land (Gen. 15). One would expect, therefore, a halt in humanity’s downward spiral into conflict that the trajectory of Genesis 1–11 had set up, from Cain to the Flood and the results of human inability to communicate after Babel. This is indeed the case. For the patriarchal narratives in Genesis 12–50 contain relatively little violent behavior from anyone; on the contrary, they depict a significant degree of peacemaking, especially on the part of the patriarchs themselves.
29). As far as outsiders are concerned, Isaac emulates Abraham in fearfully risking the honor of his wife and the integrity of those among whom he lives by trying to pass off his wife as his sister so as to avoid trouble for himself while living in the land that God had told him to reside in (26:1-11). Although his scheme does not work as planned, Isaac nevertheless secures protection for himself and Rebekah by these means (v. 11). 62 God and Violence Isaac then goes on to prosper to an extent that worries Abimelech, the king of the Philistines of Gerar, among whom he is living at the time.
God and Violence: Biblical Resources for Living in a Small World by Patricia M. McDonald