A Modern Interpretation of the Violence Found in Scripture

with Yale Divinity School Professor John J. Collins

Saturday, January 26, 2019, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Mercy by the Sea is committed to working toward a culture of nonviolence whether in response to acts of mass violence, the daily violence our children face on the streets or in their homes and schools, or to the violence of poverty and inequality. One of the ways Mercy addresses this concern is through continuous education. Toward that goal, we have invited Professor John J. Collins to speak on violence found in Scripture as seen through the lens of a twenty-first century understanding of ancient beliefs. He writes:


The God of the Old Testament is depicted as a "a man of war." The authors of Scripture described the command to annihilate the Canaanites in Deuteronomy and its apparent implementation in Joshua. These writings have a chilling resonance in our current and troubled times. There are some counter-narratives, but on the whole, violence and religion go hand-in-hand in the Old Testament. But does the New Testament offer an alternative perspective? The sayings of Jesus about turning the other cheek and loving one's enemies are remarkable, but there are understandings in the New Testament of the expectation of divine vengeance in the future. This defers, rather than rejects violence.

So how does a contemporary understanding of God and evolving human consciousness challenge traditional interpretation of Scripture? Professor Collins, Old Testament scholar, will be sharing his wisdom and insights on this complicated and timely topic, exploring a modern understanding of ancient beliefs. A question-and-answer period and conversation will follow.

Please join us for what will be a fascinating and engaging lecture and a comfortable cup of tea on a cold winter afternoon! To reserve seats, RSVP with Rosemary Jones in Guest Services at (203) 245.0401 ext. 114 or register online at mercybythesea.org. A free-will donation would be appreciated at the talk.

John J. Collins is Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale University. His recent books include The Apocalyptic Imagination (3rd ed; Eerdmans, 2016), Scriptures and Sectarianism (Mohr Siebeck, 2014, paperback ed. Eerdmans, 2016), and The Invention of Judaism: Torah and Jewish Identity from Deuteronomy to Paul (University of California, 2017). He is editor of the Oxford Handbook of Apocalyptic Literature (2014) and serves as general editor of the Anchor Yale Bible and Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library. Professor Collins has served as president of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Catholic Biblical Association. He was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He and his wife, Adela Yarbro Collins, received the Gutenberg Research Prize from the University of Mainz in May 2018 for outstanding lifetime achievements in theology and the history of religion.

Sessions:  1
Date:  1/26/2019
Meeting Time:  Saturday 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Instructor:  John J. Collins