Collective Guilt and Collective Punishment
Attitudes toward collective guilt in the Middle East require us to take a closer look at guilt in the Bible. It turns out the text of Genesis is conflicted. Some passages support a theory of guilt linked with the inevitability of cleansing and punishment; other passages appear to treat guilt as a psychological state that might be cured by a confession of sins. The tension is important today in trying to understand whether the collective guilt of nations should also entail collective punishment.