Princeton Readings in Religion and Violence

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $15.98
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 38%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $15.98   
  • New (9) from $15.98   
  • Used (2) from $17.00   


This groundbreaking anthology provides the most comprehensive overview for understanding the fascinating relationship between religion and violence—historically, culturally, and in the contemporary world. Bringing together writings from scholarly and religious traditions, it is the first volume to unite primary sources—justifications for violence from religious texts, theologians, and activists—with invaluable essays by authoritative scholars.

The first half of the collection includes original source materials justifying violence from various religious perspectives: Hindu, Chinese, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist. Showing that religious violence is found in every tradition, these sources include ancient texts and scriptures along with thoughtful essays from theologians wrestling with such issues as military protection and pacifism. The collection also includes the writings of modern-day activists involved in suicide bombings, attacks on abortion clinics, and nerve gas assaults. The book's second half features well-known thinkers reflecting on why religion and violence are so intimately related and includes excerpts from early social theorists such as Durkheim, Marx, and Freud, as well as contemporary thinkers who view the issue of religious violence from literary, anthropological, postcolonial, and feminist perspectives. The editors' brief introductions to each essay provide important historical and conceptual contexts and relate the readings to one another. The diversity of selections and their accessible length make this volume ideal for both students and general readers.

Read More Show Less

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.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691129143
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/23/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 753,482
  • 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".
Read More Show Less

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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)