Bishops, baby-killers and broken teeth: Psalm 58 and the air war

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-223
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Bible and its Reception
Issue number2
Early online date26 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2018


  • Bible
  • Imprecatory
  • Psalms
  • Church of England
  • World War I


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