Belief and Bloodshed: Religion and Violence across Time and Tradition discusses how the relationship between religion and violence is not unique to a post-9/11 world-it has existed throughout all of recorded history and culture. Belief and Bloodshed makes clear the complex interactions between religion, violence, and politics to show that religion as always innocent or always evil is misguided, and that rationalizations by religion for political power and violence are not new. Chronologically organized, the book shows religiously motivated violence across a variety of historical periods and cultures, moving from the ancient to the medieval to the modern worlds, and ending with an essay comparing the speeches of an ancient king to the speeches of the current U.S. president.
Belief and Bloodshed has a definite advantage over similar ones in that it offers a fairly global and historical perspective on its subject. ...All those interested in the nexus of religion and violence - either from a purely academic standpoint or with practical intentions toward the reclamation of faith from its historical and lamentable darker tendencies - would be well served by this important book.
Of the many volumes published on religious violence in the last few years, few rise to the level of Belief and Bloodshed.... A definite advantage over similar ones in that it offers a fairly global and historical perspective on its subject, rather than focusing on the monotheistic traditions and the modern age, as is popular....All those interested in the nexus of religion and violence—either from a purely academic standpoint or with practical intentions toward the reclamation of faith from its historical and lamentable darker tendencies—would be well served by this important book.
Rhys H. Williams
This cross-disciplinary group of scholars provides fascinating studies across historical periods and religious traditions - all centered around the crucial theoretical point that religious group identities both promote solidarity and can facilitate violence. An important contribution to a timely and urgent conversation.
The case studies in this interesting volume show that religion and violence have been associated throughout history and around the world. From the ancient Near East to 20th century China and contemporary Thailand, violent acts have been committed in the name of religion. Drawing on diverse traditions and theoretical perspectives, this lively volume enlarges our understanding of this dark attraction between bloodshed and belief.
Global in scope and acutely sensitive to local manifestations of religious violence in ancient and modern times, this is the best anthology on religion and violence available today. No one interested in the relationship between religion and violence can afford to ignore this intelligent and well-rounded discussion.
Introduction: Religion and Violence: Past, Present, and Future James K. Wellman, Jr. 1
The Ancient and Medieval World
Dismemberment, Creation, and Ritual: Images of Divine Violence in the Ancient Near East Scott B. Noegel 13
Making Memory: Ritual, Rhetoric, and Violence in the Roman Triumph Sarah Culpepper Stroup 29
Taming the Beast: Rabbinic Pacification of Second-Century Jewish Nationalism Michael S. Berger 47
Violent Yearnings for the Kingdom of God: Munster's Militant Anabaptism Charles A. McDaniel, Jr. 63
Imperial Christianity and Sacred War in Byzantium Paul Stephenson 81
The Modern World
Founding an Empire of Sacrifice: Innocent Domination and the Quaker Martyrs of Boston, 1659-1661 Jon Pahl 97
Holy Culture Wars: Patterns of Ethno-Religious Violence in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century China David G. Atwill 115
Femicide as Terrorism: The Case of Uzbekistan's Unveiling Murders Marianne Kamp 131
Monks, Guns, and Peace: Theravada Buddhism and Political Violence Charles F. Keyes 145
Avoiding Mass Violence at Rajneeshpuram Marion S. Goldman 165
"Obliterating an Idol of the Modern Age": The New Iconoclasm from the Twin Buddhas to the Twin Towers Joel Black 179
Is War Normal for American Evangelical Religion? James K. Wellman, Jr. 195
On Political Theology, Imperial Ambitions, and Messianic Pretensions: Some Ancient and Modern Continuities Bruce Lincoln 211
About the Contributors 269