The Bible Caught in Violence


The Bible Caught in Violence is a project carried out by biblical scholars from the Faculty of Theology of the University of Szczecin. The project began in 2015. Within it, two international conferences were held:
Miłujcie waszych nieprzyjaciół Szczecin (Poland)-Rosow (Germany) 23-24.11.2015 The Bible Caught in Violence Szczecin (Poland)-Rosow (Germany) 5-6 May 2017
As a result of these events, two edited volumes have been published:
• Miłujcie waszych nieprzyjaciół. Chrześcijanie wobec prześladowań (Szczecin 2016); • The Bible Caught in Violence (Peter Lang (2019).
The project involved scholars representing various academic disciplines, such as biblical scholars, historians, specialists in literature and theologians belonging to different scientific backgrounds: Austria, France, Lithuania, Nigeria, Poland, Italy.
The project aims to analyze the most controversial biblical texts on violence. Preferred are methodologies: historical and critical method and literature analysis. During the session the results of research on the following texts will be presented: Jgs. 11:29-40; Gen 22:1-19; Lam. 2-3 and Matt 5:38-42. Papers


Bible, Violence, Lamentations, Law of Talion, Ethnic Conflicts, Jesus’ Social Context, Book of Revelation


Cezary Korzec
University of Szczecin

Piotr Goniszewski University of Szczecin

Warsaw 2019 

Session Plan

Dominika Muńko, University of Szczecin

Gen 34 in the Light of Modern International Legislation on Resolving Conflicts Between Nations
Abstract: Violence ... what is it and what constitutes it? Where is the border between violence – nonviolence situated? Is there any cure for the severe repercussions in the life of the individual and society? Undeniably, violence is an integral part of human existence. Thus, a reflection on the understanding of its meaning seems to be needed and necessary. What is more, significantly, the topic of violence appears also in the Bible.
In Gen 34 there are two relevant threads visible. One relates to the use of violence for revenge. The second, complementary associated with the first one, touches on the issue of the war, that isaggression in social and legal dimensions. In terms of international law, war is understood as an armed attack against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another state.
In this context, the article will attempt to classify tensions discussed in the text of Gen 34, in terms of a conflict between the ethnic communities. It will finally lead to the presentation of international legislation as promoting peaceful solutions.

Cezary Korzec, University of Szczecin

I the Strong Man in the Face of His Wrath (cf. Lam 3:1). A Man in Face of Divine Violence
Abstract: The unique characteristics of Lam 3:1 make the text difficult and intriguing at the same time. In this chapter, they are the starting point to consider an extremely important issue: the attitude of humans towards violence, the source of which is God himself.
A literary study of Lam 3:1 places it within the broader context of Lam 1–3, and allows one to extract the original thought of the author of Lamentations. The man who identifies himself as a warrior, a strong man, in the experience of a crisis caused by the hostile action of God (cf. Lam 1–2) faces a new experience: the way of God's actions is a kind of expression of his faithfulness. The only possible answer is therefore heroic faith.

Krzysztof Bardski, University card. Stefan Wyszyński, Warsaw

Jesus’ Contestation of Socially Rooted Mechanisms of Violence
Abstract: As continuation of the research initiated with the project “The Bible Caught in Violence,” we would like to present some observations connected with a countercultural aspect of Jesus’ activity on the field of social stereotypes related to specific mechanisms of the violence characteristic to the social context of his time. The mechanisms of violence are linked to religious, political, and cultural prejudices that lead to oppression, exclusion, and marginalization. They were objected to– usually not in a direct way – by Jesus’ teaching and activity.

Piotr Goniszewski, University of Szczecin

Jesus and the Law of Talion (Retaliation). A Socio-Rhetorical Analysis of Matthew 5:38–42
Abstract: The evangelist Matthew, based on the teaching and example of the historical Jesus, proposes a radically new approach to the law of retaliation. By reinterpreting the Torah, in the light of the preaching of Christ, Matthew shows that the will of God revealed at Sinai was to avoid violence, revenge and retaliation. What is essential about the lex talionis is, paradoxically, resignation from resistance to evil. In this way, Jesus’ postulate is presented as an alternative ethos to such essential values of ancient Mediterranean culture as honor and shame.

Joanna Nowińska, Pontifical University of John Paul II

Violence and Temporality in the Book of Revelation
Abstract: Contextual exegesis of the violence in the Book of Revelation exposes the important function of the time, especially the time of last. Time is described in relation to the activity of the culprit. The important psychological aspect is that the victims – described in biblical text or default - are informed about it. The kind of reception determine the call, directed to victims, and the peculiarity of anticipated intervention. Duration of the violence depends on God, in the contrary to the illusion of widespread of that, created by evil power, described in the Book of Revelation. Very interesting is the symbolic meaning of this time, rooted in Semitic mentality and rhetoric. Time of violence is described in St. John’s Apocalypse as finite, specific, known by God. In this way it is incorporated into the full of hope message of this biblical book.

The Annual Conference 2021
takes place 2-5 August
in Wuppertal. Read more.