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The Problem of War in the Old Testament
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The Problem of War in the Old Testament


Eerdmans 1979

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.

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The predominance of war in the Old Testament troubles many Christians. However, it is an issue that must be faced, says Peter Craigie, because it has serious ramifications for contemporary Christian attitudes about war.

Craigie categorizes the problems into two kinds—personal and external. The personal problems arise from the Christian’s attempt to grapple with the emphasis on war in a book fundamental to the faith. Three areas are considered here: the representation of God as a Warrior; God’s revelation of himself in a book that preserves an extensive amount of war literature; and the seemingly conflicting ethics taught in the Old and New Testament.

The external problems are critiques against the Bible and the Christian faith, based on the war-like nature of the Old Testament and the close association between Christianity and war throughout history. Only by examining and understanding the problems of war in the Old Testament will Christians be able to respond intelligently to attacks on their faith, to educate their youth about the nature of war, and to influence modern attitudes toward war.

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.

Key Features

  • Addresses the theological and practical dilemmas of war and violence in the Old Testament
  • Explores the “spiritualization” of Old Testament texts
  • Surveys practices of war and religion in the Ancient Near East


  • The Contemporary Problem
  • The Old Testament’s Legacy of War
  • God the Warrior
  • The Problem of “Holy” War
  • The Prohibition of Murder
  • War and the State
  • The Meaning of Defeat in War
  • Peace in the Old Testament
  • Some Conclusions

Praise for the Print Edition

Dr. Craigie is acutely aware of the ethical problems posed by his subject, and his study should be helpful to others who are equally aware of these problems. I am glad to commend this book.

—F. F. Bruce, University of Manchester

Professor Craigie approaches a difficult subject in an irenic, open manner, conveying both his grasp of the subject matter and his deep concern as a theologian and churchman for helping lay people think about a troubling problem in a fresh way. . . . Any person or group seeking to wrestle with the problem of war in the Old Testament will find Craigie’s thoughtful study one of the most helpful resources available.

—Patrick D. Miller Jr., Princeton Theological Seminary

Product Details

About Peter C. Craigie

Peter C. Craigie (1938-1985) was educated at the universities of Edinburgh, Durham, and Aberdeen and holds the Ph.D. from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He was academic vice president and professor of religious studies at the University of Calgary in Alberta.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition