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The Crucifixion of the Warrior God, vols. 1-2

ISBN: 9781506420752
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Renowned pastor-theologian Gregory A. Boyd proposes a revolutionary way to read the Bible in this epic but accessible study. His “cruciform hermeneutic” stands as a challenge to the field of biblical studies and to all thoughtful Christians.

A dramatic tension confronts every Christian believer and interpreter of Scripture: on the one hand, we encounter Old Testament stories of God commanding horrendous violence. On the other hand, we read the unequivocally nonviolent teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. Reconciling these two has challenged Christians and theologians for two millennia.

Throughout Christian history, various answers have been proposed, ranging from the long-rejected explanation that these contrasting depictions are of two entirely different “gods” to recent social, cultural, and literary theories that attempt to dispel the conflict.

The Crucifixion of the Warrior God takes up this dramatic tension and the range of proposed answers in an ambitious constructive investigation. Over two volumes, Gregory A. Boyd argues that we must take seriously the full range of Scripture as inspired, including its violent depictions of God. At the same time, he affirms the absolute centrality of the crucified and risen Christ as the supreme revelation of God.

Developing a theological interpretation of Scripture that he labels a “cruciform hermeneutic,” Boyd demonstrates how the Bible’s violent images of God are reframed and their violence subverted when interpreted through the lens of the cross and resurrection. Indeed, when read in this way, Boyd argues that these violent depictions bear witness to the same self-sacrificial nature of God that was ultimately revealed on the cross.

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Key Features

  • Seeks to reconcile the violent depictions of the Old Testament God in the face of the crucified and risen Christ
  • Honors the Old Testament writings as the inspired Word of God
  • Bears witness to the self-sacrificial nature of God that was revealed on the cross


  • Volume 1: The Cruciform Hermeneutic
    • Introduction: The “Magic Eye” of the Crucified Christ
    • Part I: The Centrality of the Crucified Christ
    • Part II: The Problem of Divine Violence
    • Part III: The Cruciform Hermeneutic
    • Appendices
    • Indices
  • Volume 2: The Cruciform Thesis
    • Introduction: Something Else Is Going on
    • Part I: The Principle of Cruciform Accommodation
    • Part II: The Principle of Redemptive Withdrawal
    • Part III: The Principle of Cosmic Conflict
    • Part IV: The Principle of Self-Autonomous Power
    • Conclusion: “The Cruciform Story” about “What Else Is Going on”
    • Appendices
    • Indices

Top Highlights

“Rather, I will argue that because God supremely values authentic agape-love relationships, and because he does not want to dehumanize people, he relies on influential rather than coercive power to accomplish his purposes. For this reason, I submit, God had to accommodate his self-revelation to the spiritual state and cultural conditioning of his people in the ages leading up to Christ. Only gradually could God change people’s hearts and minds so that they could receive more and more truth about his true character and about his ideal will for them. And whenever God’s people have come to understand more about his true character and will, they have always been able to look back and find divinely intended meanings in earlier writings that the original authors could not have perceived.” (Page xxxv)

“Their response is puzzling until we realize that when Jesus read this passage, he stopped just before its final clause. This clause adds that the anointed one would declare ‘the day of vengeance of our God.’ To many first century Jews, this clause was the punch line. The most important thing the divinely empowered messiah was supposed to do was to deliver on the covenant’s promise of military victory. For them, to announce the day of the Lord’s favor toward Israel, his ‘treasured possession,’ was synonymous with announcing the day of the Lord’s vengeance against all who opposed Israel.” (Page 88)

“For the essence of faith in Scripture is not about blind submission to authoritative traditions or the quest for psychological certainty. It is rather an ‘Israelite’ faith in which the depth of a person’s faith in God is sometimes reflected precisely in their willingness to authentically ‘wrestle’ with him.” (Page 13)

Praise for the Print Edition

What Gregory A. Boyd does in The Crucifixion of the Warrior God is nothing less than a stunning reimagination of how to read the Bible afresh through the cross of Jesus.

—Scot McKnight, Northern Seminary

Gregory A. Boyd has written an impressive work: theologically alert, careful and thorough in its treatment of many difficult texts, comprehensively referenced, and moving in depth through both testaments. It deserves wide attention from readers across theological disciplines.

—Terence E. Fretheim, Luther Seminary

In this evocative new book, Gregory A. Boyd has taken the canonicity of Scripture seriously, avoiding both the pitfalls of Marcionism and Christomonism, and articulated what promises to reset the conversation around Scripture and violence.

—Myles Werntz, Hardin-Simmons University

The phrase ‘magnum opus’ and the term ‘magisterial’ truly apply to this two-volume work—for this is Gregory A. Boyd’s voluminous gift to the church as well as to the contemporary theological enterprise. I predict that these volumes will quickly take their place as must-reads for Christian exegetes and theologians of all stripes.

—William Hamilton Barnes, University of Minnesota

This is a most welcome and daring study that may indeed change the terms of our ongoing wonderment about how to read scripture and how to trust and obey the God who dwells therein.

—Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

  • Title: The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Interpreting the Old Testament’s Violent Portraits of God in Light of the Cross, Volumes 1 & 2
  • Author: Gregory A. Boyd
  • Volume: 1 & 2
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Print Publication Date: 2017
  • Logos Release Date: 2017
  • Pages: 1600
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Jesus Christ › Crucifixion; Violence in the Bible
  • ISBNs: 9781506420752, 9781506420769, 1506420753, 1506420761
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-29T22:59:24Z

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Gregory A. Boyd (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary) is a pastor at Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. Previously, he was a professor of theology at Bethel University, also in St. Paul. His books include Recovering the Real Jesus in an Age of Revisionist Replies, Letters from a Skeptic, God of the Possible, Repenting of Religion, Seeing is Believing, Escaping the Matrix, The Jesus Legend, Myth of a Christian Nation, Is God to Blame, God at War and Satan and the Problem of Evil.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


7 ratings

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  1. Manuel Becker

    Manuel Becker


    Fantastic book! The author puts Jesus in the centre of hermeneutics and this is absolutely correct in my opinion.
  2. Robert J Richardson
  3. J.R. Miller

    J.R. Miller


    Boyd provides an a hermeneutic that is based on his belief that only the cross of Christ is the right revelation of God and every passage in the OT and NT must be understood through this single act that defines love. For example, Boyd reads 1 Samual 15 and concludes that there is no way the Jesus of the cross would ask for the Amalekites to be slaughtered for something they did 400 years earlier when they were only trying to protect their land from the invading Israelites. So this command is simply the authors perception of God based on their perception of him that was shaped by ANE religion that valued violent deities. God's love in this is that he allowed his name to be connected with these people despite their evil only so he could lead them to the cross of Jesus. Paul Copan offers a stronger hermeneutic for understanding OT violence, but if anyone is studying this field for academic research, this is probably a good book to interact with.
  4. Peter Rollo

    Peter Rollo


  5. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    This is not a short book (given the 2 volumes), but I did find it a worthwhile read. As the Author made known his Anabaptist viewpoint, as well as his strong support of Origen, I wondered how I as a Lutheran Pastor would find this work. First, I think the Author does quite a good and fair job in his dealings with Luther (and Augustine), and I have always had a Christ-centred, and as the Author argues, a Cross-centred view of Scripture - and that this must influence my hermeneutics, especially when it comes to the OT. So overall I was pretty much in agreement or at least sympathetic with the Author's arguments and proposals in volume 1. I did feel that he was arguing for more of a Pacifism than I am currently comfortable with. I also feel that he treated Jesus' actions when cleansing the Temple needed more work. The instances of Jesus' harshness (or appearance of harshness) are too easily dismissed / explained giving how crucial these need to be handled for the overall hermeneutic that is being argued to stand. Sadly, I didn't enjoy the 2nd volume as much - which I found strange as I expected to see the implementation of the hermeneutic to turn some of the areas in which I was only sympathetic to more in favour of the Author. Whilst I still agree with many of his arguments and his application, I came to feel as though the Author was pushing the model too far. I think he does a marvellous job of examining the sacrifice of Isaac, for example - but the areas of Theodicy (such as Job), and of natural disaster / judgement (such as the Flood) just feel like "passing the buck". That is, it comes across that God is not "at fault" since he has allowed other people / other forces (with the possibility of heavenly forces controlling nature strongly argued) to carry out these deeds. But to my thinking, if these people / forces cannot do these actions without God allowing it, then it really doesn't matter how reluctant or heart-broken God is, as Sovereign the responsibility is still his. So whilst I agree that God's judgement is often the removal of his protection as the Author argues, I don't see how this makes God "non-violent". I also think the Author has given too much weight to many of the arguments of the New Atheists, and thus comes across as trying to prove the God is non-violent so as to answer them - which I think fails. I did appreciate his examining of works by Paul Copan - an author whom I do enjoy (and similar to the current Author don't fully agree with) - but do think that the Author too easily dismisses some of the arguments (similar to my complaints above about Cleansing of the Temple). So I think this is a good book for those who wish to re-examine their understanding of the Old Testament (as well as NT books like Revelation), with a good coverage throughout Church History. This book is aimed at those with more of a scholarly interest, and is well referenced - with a very nice section near the end encouraging much further reading!
  6. James McAdams
    During his earthly ministry, Jesus rebuked contemporaries for failing to believe the scriptures, and thus failing to grasp who He was or what He was doing. This book is 1,400 pages of Greg Boyd making the same mistake. One of the most painful reading experiences of recent years.
  7. David Paul

    David Paul


    $25 more than Kindle...does it come in a 14K gold case?
  8. zpogemiller




Print list price: $58.99
Save $18.00 (30%)