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Holy War in Judaism – The Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Holy War in Judaism: The Fall and Rise of a Controversial Idea

Reuven Firestone


Holy war, defined for this study as war authorized or even commanded by God, is a fundamental part of biblical religion and a core institution of the Hebrew Bible. Jews of antiquity engaged in wars considered to be divinely sanctioned, but after crushing defeats against the Roman Empire this kind of response to communal threat became so self-destructive that Jewish leaders devised a means of removing holy war from the repertoire of Jewish political actions. The result was the tendering of two interpretive instruments, normative for nearly two thousand years, which would prevent Jewish zealots ... More

Keywords: Bible, holy war, Judaism, Jews, violence, terrorism, peace, conflict resolution, Roman Empire, Zionism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199860302
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860302.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Reuven Firestone, author
Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion