By Regina M. Schwartz
The Curse of Cain confronts the inherent ambiguities of biblical tales on many degrees and, in spite of everything, deals an alternate, inspiring analyzing of the Bible that's aware of visions of plenitude instead of shortage, and to an ethics according to generosity instead of violence."[A] provocative and well timed exam of the interrelationship of monotheism and violence. . . . it is a fresh replacement to criticism-biblical and otherwise-that so frequently confuses interpretation with closure; it's a call for participation to an ethic of threat, plenitude, and generosity, a welcome antidote to violence, as vital for its insights into reminiscence, id, and position as for its feedback of monotheism's violent legacy."—Booklist"Brilliant and provocative, this can be a paintings hard shut awareness from critics, theologians, and all these attracted to the resourceful roots of universal life."—Rowan Williams, Bishop of Monmouth"A stunningly vital book."—Walter Brueggemann, Theology Today"Artfully rendered, perpetually provocative."—Lawrence Weschler, New Yorker
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Extra info for The Curse of Cain. The Violent Legacy of Monotheism
In addition to these challenges to the very idea of constructing identity in violence, any single identity formation in the Bible is also challenged by another. Grounding identity in the myth of an originary covenant gives way to forming identity by kinship, which gives way to Israel's collective identity as a nation, which gives way to Israel defined with reference to the land, which gives way to Israel understood as not having territory at all but whose identity is forged by collective memory, with each system throwing into relief the provisional status of the other.
Then Moses took the blood and cast it toward the people. " (Ex 24:3-8) Moses does not refer to the inscribed commands as the "Book of the Covenant" or the "Words of the Covenant;' but as dam habberft, the Blood of the Covenant. The demand of exclusivity proves an impossible demand, one violated even as it is enjoined. When Moses comes down from the mountain, with the tablets in his hand that create the people as a people with the stipulation that they must obey one deity, he discovers them worshipping another.
It founds itself on the notion of a covenanted community and then takes pains to demonstrate how fragile, how easily broken, that is. 7 As the constructed character of identity comes to the fore, assertions of who the people are become unmasked as provisional. The commitment to negation begins to dissolve. Israel in opposition against not-Israel ends up being elaborated into a different understanding, of multiplicity rather than negation. The life and death struggles between Israel and Egypt give way to a another vision of Israel, not against, but among many nations: Moab, Ammon, Assyria, Philistia, Babylonia.