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Genocide in the Old Testament


Have you or those you know ever struggled with your view of the God of the Old Testament? Is He a God of tender mercy and peace? Or is He a vengeful God of wrath and destruction? In this course, Dr. Richard Hess from Denver Seminary provides an in-depth exploration of the seemingly most violent parts of the Old Testament through analysis of biblical texts and historical artifacts. Discover what these pieces of Old Testament history reveal to us about God’s true nature.

The class was developed in collaboration with Denver Seminary faculty.

  • Discuss why the God of the Old Testament is not a God of destruction but one of mercy and salvation.
  • Explain what the story of the flood in Genesis reveals about God’s true nature.
  • Explain how the story of Joseph provides a context for the conquest of Canaan.
  • Discuss, in detail, the conquests of Jericho and Ai and what we know about these cities and the people who lived there.
  • Explain the nature of the major battles fought in Canaan.
  • Address the issue of noncombatants in the Canaanite cities destroyed by Joshua’s army.
  • I've been a student of the Bible for over 40 years and this class has given me so much new information that I can't wait to share. Thank you ODBU for this class.

    — Kevin, United States (US)
  • Very well taught course that corrected several misconceptions of what I have always been taught and thought of the cities and towns of that era of Israel's history.

    — Edward, United States (US)
  • Great course - interesting and informative. I learned a great deal. Thank you

    — Sidney, United States (US)
  • I really enjoyed Dr Hess’s lectures and hope to have another course with him

    — Joanna, United States (US)
  • This course was fascinating and fun! This is an interesting topic.

    — Jason, United States (US)
  • It certainly gave me plenty of food for thought. I admit that it was hard to adjust my thinking to the smaller scale nature of some of Israel's battles in Canaan, but I can see why Dr. Hess presented what he did. Interesting subject matter. No regrets in taking the course. Nice bite-sized segments.

    — Donald, United States (US)
  • Hearing the explanation of terms and what "men and women" meant, helped me to better understand God's intention and character when destroying the Canaanite cities.

    — Elisabeth, United States (US)
  • I still have doubts about noncombatants being killed as it happened in Kings, especially king Saul and David who killed young and old. I do believe Dr. Hess put up some very good arguments especially about Ai and Joshua being forts where soldiers only resided.

    — Jean, Ireland
  • Dr. Hess clearly and persuasively presents his perspective on the events described in Joshua. He does not ignore other perspectives but does refute them on the basis of archaeological, linguistic, and contextual evidence.

    — Patricia, United States (US)
  • I enjoyed the lessons and thought they were very well done.

    — Normand, United States (US)
  • The course was easy to follow and presented new insights to me about genocide and God; it will provide useful information and a great source in answering the difficult questions concerning this subject.

    — Michael, United States (US)
Basic Level
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Class Details

  • 5 Lessons
  • 16 Activities
  • 6 Assessments
  • 14 Min Average
  • 3 Hrs Minimum
  • .3 CEUs
  • Class Award

Richard Hess, PhD