McDonald, Patricia M. 1946-

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McDonald, Patricia M. 1946-


Born June 12, 1946, in Scarborough, England. Education: University of Cambridge, England, B.A., 1968, M.A., 1971; Heythrop College, University of London, B.D., 1972; University of Cambridge, M.Phil., 1983; Pontifical Biblical Institute Rome, L.S.S., 1986; Catholic University of America, Ph.D., 1989.


E-mail—[email protected].


Roman Catholic nun, theologian, and writer. Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, assistant professor, 1989-90; Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, MD, assistant professor, beginning 1990, then associate professor, 1996-c. 2002; Ushaw College, Durham, England, lecturer in New Testament and director of teaching and learning, beginning c. 2002.


Catholic Bible Association, Society of Biblical Literature, Society of the Holy Child Jesus.


God and Violence: Biblical Resources for Living in a Small World, foreword by Ben C. Ollenburger, Herald Press (Scottdale, PA), 2004.

Contributor to books, including The Pastoral Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Liturgical Press, 1996; and American Catholic Traditions: Resources for Renewal, edited by William L. Portier and Sandra Yokum Mize, Orbis Press, 1997. Contributor to periodicals, including the Journal for the Study of the New Testament.


Patricia M. McDonald is a Roman Catholic nun and scholar. In her first book, God and Violence: Biblical Resources for Living in a Small World, McDonald discusses how, from medieval crusades to modern Middle Eastern violence, warriors have pointed to the Bible as support for their battles. The author explores the many biblical stories, from Genesis to Revelation, that she perceives as containing resources for turning violence to the service of God and humanity. In her analysis, McDonald writes that, contrary to popular belief, the Biblical stories do not endorse or encourage violence or violent behavior. The author notes that the typical human response to act with violence, whether this is a type of evolutionary inheritance or genetic inheritance, must be changed as people and governments need to seek more peaceful approaches to dealing with potential conflicts, from the personal to the international arenas. "A violent response is generally seen as straight-forward, quick and heroic, while a non-violent approach is considered complex, slow and unglamorous and most significantly, unworkable," wrote Alun Morinan in a review of God and Violence on the Anabaptist Network Web site.

The author begins her book with a chapter titled "Resetting the Default: An Introduction," in which she discusses the need to control the instinctual tendency for violence and to develop a more peaceful outlook toward solving conflicts. She then goes on to look at various stories within the Bible that contain violence and violent acts. For example, she discusses the story of Cain and Abel, which is about a jealous brother who kills his sibling. She looks at patriarchal peacemaking in Biblical stories and the story of Exodus and the Warrior God. Commenting on this latter issue, Theological Studies contributor Anthony J. Tambasco noted that the author "warns against imposing our common understanding of warrior on God and shows clearly how such terms are usually used analogously in the Bible." Other topics that McDonald discusses within the context of Biblical stories are leadership in times of violence and the idea that civilization is not enough to prevent violence. She goes on to analyze violence and human action within the New Testament, specifically in the Gospel of Mark, and to conclude with an overview of what the author sees as "The Peaceable Bible."

"McDonald's book is insightful, accessible to a wide readership, and useful for Scripture study," wrote Willard M. Swartley in Interpretation. The Anabaptist Network Web site contributor Alun Morinan referred to God and Violence as "well-written and fascinating."



First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, October, 2004, review of God and Violence: Biblical Resources for Living in a Small World, p. 74.

Interpretation, July, 2006, Willard M. Swartley, review of God and Violence, p. 352.

Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, June, 2005, G.J. Wenham, review of God and Violence, p. 118.

Theological Studies, March, 2006, Anthony J. Tambasco, review of God and Violence, p. 176.


Anabaptist Network, (March 3, 2008), Alun Morinan, review of God and Violence.

Herald Press Web site, (May 28, 2008), brief profile of author.

Ushaw College, (May 28, 2008), career information on author.

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McDonald, Patricia M. 1946-

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