The experience of reviewing ‘The Crucifixion of the Warrior God’


Gregory A. Boyd, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Volumes 1 & 2. Fortress Press, 2017.

This is not a book review. I will be writing a review of The Crucifixion of the Warrior God, but this is not it. This post will reflect on the experience of reviewing this work, it is a sort of meta-review. Any that follow it may continue this reflection, or may address my responses to aspects of Boyd’s argument that interest me. I do not expect either of these things will appear in the review when I write it.

The book is enormous, two volumes nearly 1500 pages, seven sections six of which are themselves the size of small books. The work also addresses what is evidently one of the key “conundrums” for early 21st century Christians. Reconciling the texts of terror that appear to depict God as delighting in or commanding indiscriminate violence with the way of love revealed supremely in Christ. Extreme ‘solutions’ are sometimes proposed (at least on Facebook, but sometimes in more rarefied academic circles). Some suggest removing chunks of the Bible (most simply, but in the end not effectively, the Marcionite one Testament Bible). 1 Not effective since the NT also contains its own texts of terror. Others harmonise Scripture with their theology by the claim that, since God is God, whatever God commands is right and just. 2 Whether this is true or not, it is not helpful. Since it risks replacing a God who is wrong with one who is a monster.

The book has powerful claims made for it before we reach the contents list. A large number of prominent biblical scholars and theologians (mainly from the Evangelical end of the scholarly spectrum) endorse Boyd’s work as ground-breaking, insightful and revolutionary.

My review will probably need to offer less than one word per page, so I will not be able to give much of an overview. Better scholars than me have evaluated it as important even seminal, so my review will not be evaluative. I think what I can realistically, and I hope helpfully, aim for is to assists people to decide if this is a book they should invest the time to address. 3 It only costs US$60, so the per page or per inch of shelf-space cost is very low! But at 1445 pages 1250 if you leave off the appendices, and perhaps only some 700 if you overlook the footnotes ;) it demands a considerable investment of time. 

Notes   [ + ]

1. Not effective since the NT also contains its own texts of terror.
2. Whether this is true or not, it is not helpful. Since it risks replacing a God who is wrong with one who is a monster.
3. It only costs US$60, so the per page or per inch of shelf-space cost is very low! But at 1445 pages 1250 if you leave off the appendices, and perhaps only some 700 if you overlook the footnotes ;) it demands a considerable investment of time. 

2 comments on “The experience of reviewing ‘The Crucifixion of the Warrior God’

  1. Donald Johnson

    I think Scripture teaches 2 forms of Messiah, suffering servant and conquering king. My concern is whether he uses both lenses or just the former.

    1. tim

      Surely there is one messiah, Jesus. Who being crucified by the rulers of this age defeated them. This is one story, and one person, not two.