Biblical Games represents a radical departure from traditional biblical scholarship; however, it is in no way flippant or sacrilegious. It brings a completely new approach to the study of the Scriptures—the mathematical theory of games—which Brams uses to explore the central question of theology, man's relationship to God. The thesis of Biblical Games is that both God and human biblical characters acted rationally in a series of games played in the Old Testament. This thesis is supported by an analysis of over twenty stories of conflict and intrigue, starting with the creation, in which it is demonstrated that biblical players (God included) consistently acted to further their own ends. Elementary tools from the theory of games, including payoff matrices and games trees that are fully explained in the text, are used to elucidate the rational calculations of biblical players and show precisely the manner in which they sought to achieve their most preferred outcomes. On the basis of the story-by-story strategic analysis, a detailed assessment of God's character and motivations is offered at the end, with reasons given for His frequently wrathful behavior. Biblical Games will appeal to a wide audience—readers with a serious interest in the philosophy of religion, biblical studies, political theory, game theory and methodology, as well as those who are simply intrigued by a fascinating application of logical reasoning to a work long considered inaccessible to scientific analysis. Contents: The Creation and Its Aftermath (Adam, Eve, and the serpent); The Meaning of Faith (Abraham and Isaac, Jephthah and his daughter); Family Conflict (Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers); Protracted Conflict (Moses, the Israelites, and God); Just Agreements and Wise Arbitration (Rahab and the spies, Joshua's deception by the Gibeonites, Solomon and the disputed baby); Royal Conflict (Saul and David; Esther, Mordecai, and Haman); Conflict Between the Sexes (Nabal, Abigail, and David; Samson and Delilah; Vashti and Ahaseurus); Theory, Evidence, and Findings (including "Concluding Remarks on God"). Index.
Religion & Spirituality, Bible & Other Sacred Texts,