Undoing Conquest: Ancient Israel, the Bible, and the Future of Christianity
By: Kate Common
“The story of the conquest of Canaan under Joshua was weaponized by western Christian empires to colonize North America, South Africa, and Australia. The same story is being used today by Christian and Jewish Zionists as a blueprint to occupy Palestinian land and ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people. . . . Undoing Conquest provides a new liberating counter-interpretation from the perspective of an oppressed, yet innovative community. This book is an important read for anyone who is looking for a fresh theological reflection on the Book of Joshua and a justice-oriented praxis for the Christian church today.” –Mitri Raheb, founder and president, Dar al-Kalima University, Bethlehem, Palestine
“Kate Common’s book arrives at a propitious moment when an intractable conflict with scriptural roots cries out for new thinking. The Highland Settlement material is a ‘liberative origins narrative,’ a ‘countermemory . . . that can help prompt radical imagination and social change.’ This is Feminist Practical Theology at its best and, God willing, just in the nick of time.” –Mary E. Hunt, co-director, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)
“Undoing Conquest presents an accessible account of otherwise highly technical archaeological, scientific, and academic treatments of the world that would become ancient Israel. It will surely challenge readers' presuppositions and compel the kind of change that addresses countless societal problems in our world today.” –Brandon J. Simonson, Boston University School of Theology
“Not since Walter Wink has the church had an invitation and method for engaging the text like what Common offers.” –Patrick B. Reyes, Dean, Auburn Theological Seminary
How a new understanding of the origins of the Hebrew people can help churches recognize and take responsibility for a history of violence and conquest, make reparations, and seek reconciliation.
In the last century, archaeologists of the Highlands Settlements north of Jerusalem uncovered evidence that reshapes traditional understandings of Israelite history and the Bible. This new history remains largely untold outside of specialized archeological and biblical studies contexts. In Undoing Conquest, Kate Common recovers the material evidence that challenges the theological imagination of conquest that has permeated Christianity.
Examining how biblical conquest narratives shaped Christian ideology, Undoing Conquest offers ways to incorporate the story the Highlands Settlements reveal into the life of the church to repair the harms of settler-colonialism and genocide, creating a more just future.
Kate Common is the Assistant Professor in Public and Practical Theology at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. She specializes in interdisciplinary research in biblical studies, ecclesiology, feminist theology, and theopoetics.