[quote="minion, post:1, topic:342989"]
I ask because I was watching youtube (it really has replaced my television), and was watching some of Fr. Barron's videos:
Violence in the Bible
Now, I realize I'm just an average guy reading the Bible, but what he says sounds like kind of a stretch to me, when Fr. Barron states things like the various people the Israelites killed down to a man are merely poetic, "symbolic" expressions of the purification of sin, or to emphasize a military victory by a poet, not meant to be taken literally.
Now, while I can understand a book such as Genesis using mythological language, it seems like a real stretch to carry that to his later examples, that seem pretty clear to me the Israelites were ordered to kill every man, woman, child, baby and their animals, or Samuel hacking a king to bits with a sword.
Maybe someone could provide some insight on Fr. Barron's words?
Maybe you can provide a more specific criticism other than just saying that "it seems like a real stretch."
Frank Spina, a Biblical studies professor at Seattle Pacific University (just to be clear, he's Episcopalian, not Catholic), argued in a talk I heard him give that we misread Joshua in seeing it as an account of holy war. He points out that the Israelites' "military tactics" are based in trust in God and do not look like normal military tactics at all, and that a lot of emphasis is placed on stories of people who "should" have been killed not being killed (Rahab and the Gibeonites) as well as on the story of Achan, a member of the chosen people who is wiped out together with his whole family because of his sin. Prof. Spina argues that the whole book should not be taken as a historical account but as a theological account of God's sovereignty and mercy in drawing "outsiders" into the people of God while casting out "insiders" who are unfaithful. In other words, the main "takeaway" from Joshua should not be "let's go kill those who are not like us" or even (as is more commonly the Christian attitude) "In the OT God wanted people to do this to preserve purity, but now we have a better way," but rather "in the OT, just as in the NT, God has this unsettling habit of blurring even lines that He Himself seems to have established."
At least that's my understanding of his idea--I only know it from one talk I heard him give and a brief conversation afterwards.
Maybe this is a "stretch" too--probably more so than Fr. Barron's interpretation in fact--but all such interpretations need to be examined on their merits rather than simple dismissed because they aren't what you are used to.