Reception History of חרם In Deuteronomy 7:1–2 And 20:16–18 Open Access

Heo, Jaeseok (Spring 2018)

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The thesis questions the problem of simplistic appropriation of חרם: How do biblical scholars and ministers in the twenty-first-century understand the command of חרם and the following conquest narratives? How do they suggest alternative approaches heeding and paying attention to several crucial misuses in history? Therefore, this paper chooses חרם, as the representative concept of war violence in the Hebrew Bible, to suggest alternatives and corrections. The thesis explores how a voice of חרם has been accepted and interpreted in the history of interpretation. The benefit of this approach is not to produce a unified answer, but to entertain multiple possible interpretations and receptions, but to resist a simplistic/literal application of חרם. Especially, through an overview of historical/ancient Near Eastern materials and cases of reception history, the thesis will connect the insight of the ancient Near Eastern context to reception history of groups of receivers in multiple contexts. Through an overview of cases of reception history, the thesis will insist that interpreting חרם should not be fixed in a just theoretical dimension, but should be discussed in the actual field of religion and faith.

Table of Contents

I. INTRODUCTION············································································· 1

A. Issues and Research Importance························································· 1

B. Method: Reception History······························································· 4

C. Organization················································································· 7


II. חרם IN LITERATURE REVIEWS······················································ 11

A. Gerhard von Rad············································································ 11

B. Moses Weinfeld············································································· 12

C. Susan Niditch················································································ 13

D. Mark G. Brett················································································ 15

E. Jerome F. D. Creach········································································ 17


III. BIBLICAL חרם, AS A CONSEQUENCE OF RECEPTION······················ 19

A. The Mesha Inscription····································································· 21

1. חרם in the Mesha Inscription: Meaning and Interpretation···················· 23

2. חרם in the Mesha Inscription and the Hebrew Bible··························· 24

B. The Vessel Treaty of Esarhaddon························································ 26

1. חרם in the Vessel Treaty of Esarhaddon: Meaning and Interpretation······· 28

2. חרם in the Vessel Treaty of Esarhaddon and the Hebrew Bible·············· 30

(A) Subject and Setting································································· 30

(B) Object of Accusation······························································· 31

(C) Adjudication·········································································· 31

C. Synthesis: חרם, A Consequence of Reception······································· 33



A. Deuteronomy 7:1–2and 20:16–18······················································· 36

1. Translation Issue·········································································· 37

2. Genre and Literary Context···························································· 39

3. Historical Context: חרם in Historical Deuteronomy···························· 44

4. Summary··················································································· 48

B. In the Deuteronomistic History·························································· 49

1. The Incongruent Conquest Report: Joshua 11:16–23 and Judges 1–2········ 49

2. The Conquest Narrative of Jericho and Ai·········································· 51

3. Archeological Discoveries from the Site of Jericho······························ 52

C. Synthesis: חרם in Deuteronomy and Deuteronomistic Literature·············· 53


V. חרם, A BEGINNING OF RECEPTION················································· 55

A. Early Christianity: Origen’s Allegorical Reception of חרם······················· 56

B. Reception in the Colonialism Era: Cotton Mather and Lin Onus················ 58

1. Cotton Mather: “Against the Amalek”··············································· 59

2. Lin Onus: And on the Eighth Day (1992)··········································· 63

3. Summary··················································································· 65

C. Korean Church: A Microcosm of the Reception History of חרם················ 66

1. Whal Kim: חרם, Korean War, and North Korea·································· 70

2. Sa-Moon Kang: Tactical Usages of חרם and the Conquest Narratives····· 73

3. A Group of Christians: “Circling” Bong-Eun Sa·································· 76

4. Jung-Min Cho: חרם as Removing Idolatry within the Church System····· 83

5. Summary··················································································· 86

D. Synthesis: חרם, A Beginning of Reception··········································· 87


VI. CONCLUSIONS············································································· 89


BIBIOGRAPHY·················································································· 92

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