Divine violence and divine presence: Reading the story of Uzzah and the Ark in 2 Samuel 6 with Slavoj Žižek

Rachelle Gilmour

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This article interprets the story of the outbreak of God against Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6 as an act of "divine violence," a concept described by Slavoj Žižek in his book Violence: Six Sideways Reflections. In previous interpretations of 2 Samuel 6, the violence against Uzzah has been understood either as a punishment for a transgression, or as a capricious act of God's power. Slavoj Žižek describes "divine violence" as violence, which is not a means to an end, and which irrupts from a position of vulnerability and impotence. By looking at the details of the Masoretic Text of 2 Samuel 6, it will be argued that the violence of God in this story should also be interpreted as divine violence: It lacks meaning as a punishment for transgression, and it stems from the vulnerability of God's presence in the ark rather than from God's transcendent power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalBiblical Interpretation
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2019

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Divine violence and divine presence: Reading the story of Uzzah and the Ark in 2 Samuel 6 with Slavoj Žižek'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this