Do the violent portrayals of God and his chosen people in the Old Testament perplex you and you want to wrestle with and try to resolve this tension? Then this course is for you.
This course will focus on peace and violence as Old Testament themes. It will examine the apparent violence of God, as well as the commands for human violence. It will further unpack the prophetic response to the violence, including the prophecies of the Prince of peace and kingdom of peace. And we will examine how Christ, the apostles and the early church responded to these Old Testament texts.
This course seeks to answer such questions as, What do we make of apparent acts of direct divine violence? (e.g., the flood narrative). What do we make of apparent commands to divinely-sanctioned human violence? (e.g., so-called genocide texts like 1 Sam. 15)? How does the Old Testament itself understand and critique the violence narratives? What do we (and the New Testament) make of the Messianic prophecies that include Messianic violence? How did Christ and Paul amend and adopt these? How might we understand the Old Testament violence texts as revelation of God and of humanity and embrace them as part of a grand narrative of redemption?
- Lecture 1 — Intro to Peace and Violence in the Old Testament (22:28)
- Video Clip — Brad Jersak and David Goa: "The Bible and the Land of Shades" (Parts 1 & 2)
- Video Clip — Stanley Hauerwas: "Old Testament Violence" (The Work of the People)
- Video Clip — Pete Enns: "No One Saw This Coming" (The Work of the People)
- Supplemental Reading — Brad Jersak: "Sodom, the Destroyer, and the Christlike God" (PTM Blog)
- Supplemental Reading – Eric Seibert: Ch. 1 – "Introduction: The Bible Should Never Be Used to Harm Others" (The Violence of Scripture)
- Lecture 2 – Matt Lynch: "Noah: Human Violence and Divine Re-Creation" (40:02)
- Video Clip — Greg Boyd: "The Crucifixion of the Warrior God" (The Work of the People)
- Video Clip — James Alison: "A Huge Shift of Epoch" (The Work of the People)
- Supplemental Reading — Brad Jersak: "Psalm 58 - King David's First Mashup" (Clarion Journal of Spirituality and Justice)
- Supplemental Reading — Brad Jersak: "The God of Every Day Wrath – Psalm 7" (Clarion Journal of Spirituality and Justice)
- Lecture 3 – A Christocentric Polyphonic Approach to Biblical Authority (20:42)
- Video Clip — Ellen Davis: "It's More Than You See" (The Work of the People)
- Supplemental Reading — Jonathan Bonomo: "What is the Christotelic Hermeneutic and Why Should You Care?" (christthetelos.wordpress.com)
- Supplemental Reading – Andrew Klager: "Beyond Arguing about Divine Inconsistency in the Old and New Testaments: An Orthodox Perspective on Union and 'Knowing'" (Clarion Journal of Spirituality and Justice)
- Supplemental Reading – Andrew Klager: "Understanding Biblical Violence: An 'Oikonomic Approach'" (Clarion Journal of Spirituality and Justice)
- Supplemental Reading – Eric Seibert: Ch. 5 – "Developing Good Reading Habits-Becoming Ethically Responsible Readers" (The Violence of Scripture)
- Lecture 4 – Pete Enns: "God Lets His Children Tell the Story" (35:29)
- Video Clip — Pete Enns: "Jesus Is Bigger Than the Bible" (The Work of the People)
- Video Clip — Pete Enns: "The Bible Just As It Is" (The Work of the People)
- Supplemental Reading — Pete Enns: "5 Modern Insights About the Old Testament That Aren’t Going Anywhere" (Pete Enns Blog)
- Supplemental Reading – Eric Seibert: Ch. 8 – "Keeping the Old Testament from Being Used to Justify War" (The Violence of Scripture)
- Lecture 5 – The Joshua Conquest Texts (20:06)
- Video Clip — Pete Enns: "God Did What?" (The Work of the People)
- Supplemental Reading — Brad Jersak: "But Did They Find the WMDs? Scripture Faithfully Questions Scripture" (PTM Blog)
- Supplemental Reading — Brad Jersak: "Q&R – Why the Prophetic Directives to Destroy?" (PTM Blog)
- Supplemental Reading — Brad Jersak: "Reading the Psalms Christianly: Apocalyptic Poetry and Resurrection Prophecies" (PTM Blog)
- Lecture 6 – Isaiah’s Vision of the Shalomic Kingdom: God’s "I Have a Dream" Speech (31:09)
- Video Clip — Walter Brueggemann: “The Land Promise” (The Work of the People)
- Video Clip — Walter Brueggemann: "Shalom, the Common Good, and Salvation" (The Work of the People)
- Supplemental Reading — Brad Jersak: "Doesn't Isaiah 59:1–2 Teach Separation from God?" (Brad Jersak Blog)
- Supplemental Reading – Eric Seibert: Ch. 10 – "The Necessity and Urgency of Reading the Old Testament Nonviolently: Some Conclusions" (The Violence of Scripture)
Instructor: Rev. Dr. Brad Jersak (Reader Irenaeus) is Lecturer of Peace Theology at the Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice and holds a PhD in Theology and Religious Studies from Bangor University (Wales) and is an author and teacher based in Abbotsford, Canada. In addition to his teaching responsibilities for IRPJ, he has taught New Testament and Patristics as a core faculty member at Westminster Theological Centre in the UK and is currently on faculty at St. Stephen's University in New Brunswick as the Dean of Theology & Culture. After serving as pastor and church-planter for twenty years, he now travels for Fresh Wind Christian Fellowship and serves as reader at All-Saints Orthodox Monastery (Dewdney, BC).
Brad’s focus today is on writing accessible theology, facilitating 'listening prayer' seminars, and teaching college courses. His research, teaching, and writing emphases include the gospels, cruciform theology, contemplative spirituality applied to prophetic justice, and a theology of hope (Her Gates Will Never Be Shut). He is the author or co-author of thirteen books on atonement theology, eschatology, cruciform theology, Simone Weil, and George Grant and is currently the senior editor of CWR Press and St. Macrina Press. His most recent books are A More Christlike God: A More Beautiful Gospel, A More Christlike Way: A More Beautiful Faith, and IN: Incarnation & Inclusion, Abba & Lamb.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should you expect to get out of this course?
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- recognize the reality of violent worldviews, descriptions and practices in the OT Scriptures of God and how these were associated with divine violence;
- recognize how the themes of peace and reconciliation function across the Old Testament corpus and prepare us for the Prince of peace;
- be able to address the question of Old Testament violence and how it has been misused as a revelation of God and justified Christian malpractice;
- evaluate ‘what about’ questions regarding specific divine or divinely-sanctioned violence texts in the OT, such as the flood, the conquest, Levitical violence and the prophecies of ‘wrath.’
- become critically aware of the powerful lenses through which we approach and thus interpret the Old Testament and how Christ himself becomes our lens.
What is the format and length of the course?
This course has six modules with a total of about 3 hours of lecture material, plus other additional video and written content. Each section contains an exclusive and substantial detailed video lecture that's synchronized with a Keynote presentation ranging from over a half an hour to one full hour long and supplemental video clips from IRPJ's partner and friend, The Work of the People, that are hand-picked by the instructor. This course also includes an exclusive lecture from a couple of IRPJ's Guest Lecturers — Matt Lynch and Pete Enns — as well as supplemental readings provided as PDFs. The course is a completely self-paced, online course.
What materials will I need and will I have access to the lecturers?
All you will need is a computer with internet access and access to the recommended textbooks books (optional). Students can access all exclusive recorded video lectures once enroled. Unfortunately, the instructor is not available to interact or answer questions. Our suggestion would be to dialogue with a group of people going through the course, and to seek out a local practitioner.
How long do I have access to the course?
A lifetime. After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like — across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.