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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Dr Andrew Mein

Mein, Andrew (2017). Bishops, Baby-Killers and Broken Teeth: Psalm 58 and the Air War. Journal of the Bible and its Reception 4(2): 207-223.

Author(s) from Durham


Do the imprecatory psalms authorize reprisal attacks against civilian targets? This question was at the heart of a controversy that arose in Britain during July 1917, which brought together the unlikely combination of the German bombing campaign and the Church of England’s process of liturgical reform. When a meeting of the Canterbury Convocation approved the removal of Psalm 58 and several other imprecatory psalms, there was an immediate stir in the Press. This public debate about Convocation’s decision offers a valuable window through which we can discern the ongoing vitality of British biblical culture during the First World War.