Metaphysical Hatred and Sacred Genocide: The Questionable Role of Amalek in Biblical Literature.

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Amalek is traditionally perceived as Israel's arch-enemy and rival. In the Hebrew Bible, divine laws command the annihilation of the Amalekites, and war narratives recount their execution. What is the basis for this uncompromising judgement against Amalek? What does it reveal about the national ethos, as well as about the realpolitik of the ancient peoples, the Israelites and Amalekites? To this day, commentators on the Hebrew Bible have endeavoured to explain and justify the tradition about the destiny of Amalek, or to deny and oppose it, thus reflecting their perplexity with the tradition. This article will employ historical-literary (diachronic) tools to shed further light upon the background, circumstances and drives that formed the merciless tradition about the genocide of the Amalekites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Genocide Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • BIBLE. Old Testament
  • BIBLE -- Criticism, Redaction
  • HATE
  • JEWS
  • Amalekites
  • collective hatred
  • Genocide
  • Hebrew Bible
  • political redaction


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