A study of key texts on war and peace selected from Exodus, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Isaiah. Attention will be given to the theological implications of these texts.

Unit code: BA3006W

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Describe selected scholarly theories about human and divine participation in biblical respresentations of war.


Rigorously exegete a biblical text related to the themes of war or peace.


Analyse the biblical background to notions of ‘just war’ and pacifism.


Reflect critically on the concept of genocide and its applicability in understanding Deuteronomy 20 and Joshua’s conquest narratives.

Unit sequence

36 points in Hebrew Bible


Lectures, tutorials, online interaction

Indicative Bibliography

  • Conrad, Edgar W. Reading Isaiah. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991
  • Crouch, Carly L. War and ethics in the Ancient Near East: Military violence in the light of cosmology and history. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009
  • Dever, William G. Who were the Israelites and where did they come from? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003
  • Kang, Sa Moon. Divine war in the Old Testament and in the ancient near east. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1989
  • Kelle, Brad & FR Ames (eds). Writing and reading war. Atlanta: SBL, 2008
  • Lind, Millard. Monotheism, power, justice. Elkhart: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1990
  • Niditch, Susan. War in the Hebrew Bible. Oxford: OUP, 1993
  • Ollenberger, Ben C. Zion, the city of the great king. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1987
  • Rad, Gerhard von. Holy war in ancient Israel. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991
  • Swartly, Willard M. Violence renounced: Rene Girard, biblical studies and peacemaking. Telford: Pandora, 2000
  • Tatz, Colin M. With intent to destroy: Reflecting on genocide. London: Verso, 2003
  • Williams, James G. The Bible, violence and the sacred. San Francisco: Harper, 1991
  • Wood, John A. Perspectives on war in the Bible. Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998
  • Yoder, Perry B. and Willard Swartley (eds). The meaning of peace. Louisville: Westminster, 1992
  • Younger, K Lawson. Ancient conquest accounts. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay 2,000 words

2000 40.0
Exegetical Essay

Exegetical paper of 2,000 words

2000 40.0
Tutorial Paper/Seminar Paper

Tutorial paper of 1,000 words

1000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 16 Oct, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-11-14 12:32:10 +1100