cover image Holy Resilience: The Bible's Traumatic Origins

Holy Resilience: The Bible's Traumatic Origins

David M. Carr. Yale Univ., $32.50 (336p) ISBN 978-0-300-20456-8

In this convincing synthesis of biblical scholarship and research on trauma and collective memory, Carr (The Erotic Word: Sexuality, Spirituality and the Bible) concludes that monotheistic religion resulted from the collective traumas recorded in our biblical texts, trauma which reverberates even now in our secular, "disenchanted" culture. He contends that it is specifically these traumas, beginning with the destruction of ancient Israel by the Assyrians in 722 BCE, which have given biblical ideas their impact. Carr posits that this legacy began when the prophet Hosea announced to Israel that Assyria was merely the reflection and instrument of the one true King, Yahweh, who was punishing Israel for worshiping other gods. Carr also explores how the idea of an exclusive covenant between Israel and God ultimately evolved into full monotheism, because of the kingdom of Judah's traumatized reaction to its destruction by the Babylonians. Furthermore, the expansion of monotheism beyond the Jews derives from the traumatic legacy of Jesus' crucifixion, and the persecution of the early Christians under Rome. Lay readers of all faiths are likely to find this accessible book thought-provoking. (Nov.)