I have been discussing the book of Joshua and its descriptions of violence inflicted on others on orders of the God of Israel — massive military campaigns and massacres (is there any reason NOT to call it a genocide of the inhabitants of Canaan?).  I have wanted to cover this material as background to the New Testament book of Revelation, where the slaughter is even more full scale.  One of my points is that the contrast between the “God of wrath” in the OT and the “God of love” in the NT does not really hold up, especially in view of the New Testament’s final book; another will be that the devastation of Revelation is indeed consistent with a common motif of Scripture.  I will be getting to that later, and emphasizing it, since at the same time it is inconsistent  with another motif of Scripture.

But first I want to address a question lots of people typically have about these stories of the Conquest of Canaan in the book of Joshua.   Did any of this happen?

Here’s how I discuss the matter in my book The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction (Oxford University Press), a book you should consider getting if you’re interested in knowing both what’s in the Bible and what scholars say about it from historical and literary perspectives.


The Historical Value of the Narrative

When considering the historicity of the narratives of Joshua, the first thing to re-emphasize is that

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