– The key idea quotation seems to contradict any of the nuance of Mikhael’s work and states Kinnamon’s opinion as fact. It is interesting that this quotation appears at all, given the publication timeline of this sort of material. Supposing it is a later editorial insertion, I wonder what the original “key idea” might have been. Participants may want to read the Scripture and then suggest another “key idea” before reading the study material.
– At the conclusion of the 1st ¶ of the lesson the author writes, “We never hear of a “merciful war,” a “kind war,” or a “constructive war.” My marginal note reads, “what about the war on poverty? the war on AIDS?”
– Using the undefined term “post-biblical” (p.53, 2nd full ¶) may not be all that helpful. A brief allusion to Augustine’s thought as a source for the concept of holy war might also have been a good idea.
– In that same ¶ the author makes the statement that the Hebrew & Greek texts of the Bible didn’t use the term “holy war”. I wonder if there is a Hebrew equivalent of “jihad”. March’s context piece on p. 55 talks about “herem” and indicates that “the Israelites were not alone in this practice.” Is “herem” the same as “jihad”? This would take more research than you & I have time to do.
– Also in that ¶, the author uses the term “authorizes” for God’s instruction to Joshua about the place of defeated people in the land. “Authorize” sounds like it was Joshua’s idea & God reluctantly just let it happen, whereas the text puts the words in God’s mouth as a clear command. This makes God sound impotent against the will of Joshua & Israel.
– The blanket statement in the next ¶ that “far greater mass destruction has been wrought by modern military force than ever happened in antiquity” may be true but is not supported with factual data or sourced.
– Question 1 at the top or p. 54 is not useful for discussion of the text. Whether we accept war or not, it happens.
– I fail to find any connection between the photo of the seal on p. 55 & the text on that page. If it is there only because it belonged to an ancient woman, it is superfluous and condescending. Is it necessary to have something related to women in a study of a biblical text that has few prominent females mentioned just because it is a study for women? (But I digress.)
– Does the text say that God gave Jericho to Joshua’s army because Jericho was disobedient as the writer suggests on p. 56? And is there any real logic for the point about war in stating that Jericho may not have been as grand as the Bible implies. The last ¶ on that page sounds like an attempt to defang the God of the Bible & make him no different from any of the cultural gods of the period.
– The question at the top of p. 57 is loaded.
– In the 3rd ¶ on p. 57 the writer draws a distinction between “holy” & “religious” as adjectives applied to war, but is not specific about the different terms, only implying that one is mythical & the other is always wrong. My note: why is one unspecified concept different than any other specified concept?
– At the end of the same page the author writes, “The Canaanites were ejected from the land of promise because of their disregard for God,” & references Deuteronomy 9:4-5. However, she seems to have overlooked the end of verse 5, which states that the purpose of ejecting the people of the land was “that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, Abraham & to Isaac & to Jacob.” The author’s conclusion of the ¶ at the top of the next page is that (biblical) “history has been shaped to fit a theological frame.” May it not also be true that history has been revised to fit a contemporary ideological frame?
– My response to question 4 on p. 58 is: what evidence do we have that the stories are not authentic? There is nothing overt in the context section referenced that would lead to one conclusion or the other.
– Question 5 on that same page is not particularly nuanced?
– The writer uses the text of Ephesians 6 (the full armor of God passage) to make her case that the only valid war for Christians is with the devil, or evil as an undefined concept, using only the tools specified in the text. Observation: Pol Pot was not defeated with only the Bible.
– The prayer on p. 59 is good in its emphasis on life.
– Rather than selected statements from General Assembly Minutes on page 60, the editors could have pointed readers to the Social Witness Policy Compilation, pp. 113-152, for a fuller, more nuanced understanding of the denominations statements on war. In any event, readers should be aware of the dates attached to the statements that are presented here & be encouraged to factor in the social context of the late 1960s in which the cited statements were adopted as they discuss the relevance for either the time of Joshua or our own conflicted time.
– Remembering that the Suggestions for Leaders on p. 61 was not written by the study’s primary author, it is useful to compare the statement of the Lesson Theme with the actual lesson. It begs the question: how effectively did the study author, or the sidebar writer for that matter, “critically separat[e] our modern idea of war from the stories of the conquest of Canaan [to] help us better understand these stories on their own terms”?