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Volume :14 Issue : 53 1995      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Holy War in the Old Testament (in Arabic)

Auther : Zaid Mouna

The subject of the holy war in the Old Testament was discussed by several Biblical scholars who made their contributions within the framework of the scientific discipline critique of the Old Testament, especially in the past century and the be-ginning of the present one. Though they made great contribution in facilitating a scientific understanding of the Holy Bible, yet - as the great majority of them were de-voted Christians, whose scientific abilities are unquestioned - their writings could neither transcend pre-conceived judgments nor reach the degree of entire symmetry required for this domain.

Though the Old Testament does not employ the term Holy War, it contains, as Biblical scholars agree, many implicit references to it, specially when citing the presence of the god of the Bible in the battlefield, and through giving it its blessing. Though the above mentioned contributions were based on the critique of the Old Testament, one of their deficiencies is the inability to lead the distinction between the different traditions, i.e., the Priestly and the teachings of the prophets, to their logical conclusion. But when reading the relevant texts, it becomes clear that the P and R traditions, used war practices of the Israelites which was in accordance with the primitive social-historical stage of development of the tribes, to surround it with holiness, and which suited their view of their god as fire, and which we identify as the Fire of Yemen often mentioned by early Arab historians. One must also consider that the prophets of the Israelites did not support any wars, whether offensive or defensive, against any other peoples, and that they condemned the priests and their instructions using the most explicit terms. The distinction between these two teachings, that forms one of the bases of this contribution, proves that the Old Testament relays, if read with necessary open-mindedness, the development of the religion of the Israelites which is left unidentified, in two different directions. The first represented by the prophets and its essence is pure and abstract monotheism, and the second one rep-resented by the Aramaic priests of Judea that is based on exclusivity, and connected to rather ethnic terms like gods chosen people, etc.

When reading the Old Testament in its original text, it also becomes clear that the tribes were Arabs, not as a generic noun, but in the meaning of nomads which is the same meaning of the term in Arabic, who spoke a Canaanite dialect. This means that the Old Testament, if read carefully, does not employ the term Hebrew as generic noun, and the prevailing interpretation of the term is the result of deliberate or otherwise misunderstanding the related texts. This explains why the Old Testament does not mention any Hebrew king or Hebrew kingdom or language, etc., and that none of the prophets ever mentioned the forfathers like Abraham, Jacob, Joseph and others.

A careful reading of the Old Testament within the frame of critique of the Old Testament shows that it relays, among many things, the development of the religion of the Israelites in two different directions. The first is that of the above-mentioned Priests which was secluded, and the second one was propagated by the prophets, and it was open and universal, and continued to exist in the Arabian Peninsula until the coming of Islam which identified it under the name Hanifite. 

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