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Abstract: Origen’s Interpretation of Violence in the Book of Joshua (Chenoweth)

Title: Origen’s Interpretation of Violence in the Book of Joshua

Author: Mark Chenoweth

Abstract: If libertarians advocate for a highly restricted use of violence in society, it is incumbent upon Christian libertarians to offer a hermeneutic approach to scripture that is at least compatible with this ethic. Origen of Alexandria’s exegetical method, although very strange from a modern perspective, is a consistent biblical hermeneutic compatible with the libertarian restriction on violence. This article examines Origen’s interpretation of violence in the book of Joshua. I begin by looking at his exegetical method as a whole, which he describes in his On First Principles and then move on to his allegorical interpretation of Joshua. Although I do not intend to offer a systematic defense of Origen’s approach, simply introducing the Christian libertarian to Origen’s take on the violence opens up the current Christian debate on the interpretation of the conquest narratives to a hermeneutic world that goes far beyond (without negating) the findings of historical criticism.

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