Princeton Readings in Religion and Violence

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"An outstanding contribution to the literature on religion and violence. This anthology of twenty-five writings about religious violence, from classical religious texts, contemporary religious activists, and scholarly interpretations of religious violence in its symbolic forms, is sure to become the foundational source book for this emerging field of study."—Donald K. Swearer, Swarthmore College and Harvard Divinity School

"This brilliantly compiled compendium explores the complex relationship between religion and violence. The readings, which span two millennia, force us to confront a painful truth—those who aim to kill in the name of God will find legitimacy in carefully selected sacred texts. Highly recommended for anyone hoping to understand humanity's persistent attraction to holy war and sacrifice."—Jessica Stern, Harvard University

"Violence and terror in the name of God are as old as religion itself. Princeton Readings in Religion and Violence is a timely and important collection that will be welcomed by experts and students alike. Its combination of religious texts with writings of theologians, philosophers, social scientists, and religious extremists, offers a unique approach to understanding the origins, nature, history, and justification of violence in religions' holy and unholy wars."—John L. Esposito, Georgetown University

"This book introduces readers to primary sources regarding various justifications of violence by diverse religions and to interpreters who address the integral relationship between the two. The authors provide helpful introductions to each selection, together with thoughtful syntheses in the introductory and concluding essays of the book."—June O'Connor, University of California, Riverside

"The topic of religion and violence has become a prominent concern in religious studies, and, by linking sacrifice, religion, and violence, this book makes a valuable contribution to the field. The book's handy format will make it a useful resource for general readers, scholars, and students."—Bruce Chilton, author of Abraham's Curse: The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

"This is a fascinating and instructive collection of carefully chosen excerpts from sacred texts and chronicles, first-person essays, chapters, and other primary source documents, as well as classic sociological, psychological, and theoretical treatises—each addressing the link between religion and violence. The collection examines a topic that is rich in significance for theorists as well as readers of the daily headlines, and is a terrific sourcebook for students and teachers."—Scott Appleby, University of Notre Dame

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is recommended for any person studying the nature of violence in religion and the impact the notion of sacrifice has on expressions of faith."—Wessel, Bentley, Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae
Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae
This book is recommended for any person studying the nature of violence in religion and the impact the notion of sacrifice has on expressions of faith.
— Wessel, Bentley
Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae - Bentley Wessel
This book is recommended for any person studying the nature of violence in religion and the impact the notion of sacrifice has on expressions of faith.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691129143
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/23/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 715,949
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Juergensmeyer is professor of sociology and global studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His many books include "Terror in the Mind of God". Margo Kitts is associate professor of humanities at Hawai'i Pacific University. She is the author of "Sanctified Violence in Homeric Society".

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Why Is Religion Violent and Violence Religious? 1

Part I: Religious Justifications for Violence
Introduction to Part I 7
Chapter 1. Kautilya 13
"Forms of Treacherous Fights," the Arthashastra 13
Chapter 2. Sun Tzu 17
"Laying Plans," The Art of War 17
Chapter 3. The Bhagavad Gita 20
The Bhagavad Gita in the Mahabharata 20
Chapter 4. Soho Takuan 25
"Annals of the Sword Taia," The Unfettered Mind 25
Chapter 5. The Hebrew Bible 29
Deuteronomy 20 31
Exodus 23 32
Chapter 6. The Qur’an 35
Surah 2 ("The Cow") 36
Chapter 7. Thomas Aquinas 41
"Whether It Is Always Sinful to Wage War?" Summa Theologica 41
Chapter 8. Reinhold Niebuhr 45
"Why the Christian Church Is Not Pacifist" 45
Chapter 9. Michael Bray 55
"A Time for Revolution?" A Time to Kill 56
Chapter 10. Abd al-Salam Faraj 62
The Neglected Duty 63
Chapter 11. Meir Kahane 69
"War and Peace," The Jewish Idea 69
Chapter 12. Shoko Asahara 75
Declaring Myself the Christ 76
Disaster Comes to the Land of the Rising Sun 77
Chapter 13. 9/11 Conspirator 82
"Last Instructions of 9/11" 83

Part II: Understanding the Religious Role in Violence
Introduction to Part II 93
Chapter 14. Émile Durkheim 100
Elementary Forms of the Religious Life 101
Chapter 15. Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss 108
"Conclusion," Sacrifice: Its Nature and Function 109
Chapter 16. Sigmund Freud 115
Totem and Taboo 116
Chapter 17. René Girard 127
"Sacrifice," Violence and the Sacred 128
Chapter 18. Walter Burkert 141
Homo Necans 141
Chapter 19. Maurice Bloch 152
Prey into Hunter 152
Chapter 20. Georges Bataille 167
Theory of Religion 167
Chapter 21. Karl Marx 174
Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right 174
Chapter 22. Nancy Jay 178
"Sacrifice and Descent," Throughout Your Generations Forever 178
Chapter 23. Elaine Scarry 190
The Body in Pain 191
Chapter 24. Jean Baudrillard 201
The Spirit of Terrorism 201
Chapter 25. Ashis Nandy 210
"The Discreet Charm of Indian Terrorism," The Savage Freud and Other Essays 210

Closing Comments: The Connection between War and Sacrifice 217
Selected Bibliography 223
Permissions 229
About the Editors 231
Index 233

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