Interpretation Of Text : ' Divine Presence Amid Violence ' Essay
Divine Presence Amid Violence
Reading the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is very challenging due to stories that are deeply enmeshed in violence. This violence completely contradicts my modern day interpretation of the compassionate Christ that I learned about while singing, Jesus, Loves Me.
The Hebrew Bible presents some extremely violent text and when taken out of context it becomes difficult to find a connection between the compassion of Christ and a wrathful or vengeful God depicted in these Old Testament stories.
Walter Brueggemann, in his book Divine Presence Amid Violence provides an interpretation of one of these controversial stories found in Joshua 11. He explores the domination of the Canaanite people as potential service of protecting the people and land of Israel. With this thought Brueggemann states, “It is likely that the violence assigned to Yahweh is to be understood as counter violence, which functions primarily as a critical principle in order to undermine and destabilize other violence” (63).
Brueggemann begins with a discussion on how the principle that Scripture is revelatory is necessary due to the differences of contexts and cultural settings. He states the attention to hermeneutics convinces many that there is no single, sure meaning for any text (ix). Therefore, the revelatory power of the text is recognized and given the true form that reflects and shapes the interpretation of the…