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War and Religion: A Very Short Introduction [#665]
War and Religion: A Very Short Introduction [#665]
  • Provides a concise historical overview and analysis of the relation between religion and war
  • Offers a wide range of examples from all over the world, exploring how religion can motivate peoples toward war, mitigate the harmful effects of war, and even act to prevent war
  • Combines concrete examples from ancient times to the present day with theoretical analysis of the relation between religion and war

Is religion a force for war, or a force for peace? Some of the most terrible wars in history have been caused and motivated by religion. Much of the violence that fills our screens today springs from the same source. Yet some of the bravest pacifists have also been deeply religious people, and many of the laws and institutions that work to soften or prevent war have deep religious roots.
This Very Short Introduction provides an overview of the history of religion and war, and a framework for analysing it. Ranging from the warrior gods of Ancient Greece and Rome, and the ethical drama of the Mahabharata, through the Islamic wars of conquest and the Crusades, to present day conflicts in Sri Lanka and the Balkans, it considers the entanglement of war and religion. Yet from Just War theory and the restraints on war-making imposed by Islamic jurisprudence, through the Pax Christi of the middle ages, to the non-violence of Gandhi and Bacha Khan; there is also a story to be told of peace and religion as well. Jolyon Mitchell and Joshua Rey consider both sides of the age long drama of war and religion, challenging assumptions at the most fundamental level. Throughout, they encourage a more sophisticated and well-grounded view on these issues that have had such weight in the past, and continue to shape our present and future.


List of illustrations
1:Remembering wars
2:Waging holy wars
3:Sanctifying secular wars
4:Softening the horrors of war
5:Invoking peace
6:Questioning religion and war
Further Reading

About the author: 

Jolyon Mitchell, Professor and Director of CTPI, New College, the University of Edinburgh, and Joshua Rey, Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Southwark
Jolyon Mitchell specialises in Religion, Violence, and Peacebuilding, with particular reference to the arts and media, at the University of Edinburgh. He served as President of the national association for Theology and Religious Studies in the UK from 2012 to 2018, and is currently Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh. He is author of a wide range of books, chapters and articles, including Promoting Peace and Inciting Violence: The Role of Religion and Media (Routledge, 2012); Martyrdom: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2012), and Media Violence and Christian Ethics (CUP, 2007). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and recently worked with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian religious leaders, as well as Palestinian and Israeli journalists, on a peacebuilding project in Jerusalem.
Joshua Rey is Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Southwark. He has worked as an investment banker in London and New York with J.P. Morgan and Co,. then as an aid worker with Medair, serving in Afghanistan, Albania, and Sri Lanka. After this international experience he worked as Director of the London Employer Coalition and Director of Strategy for the UK Commission on Employment and Skills, working on unemployment and skills policy in Whitehall. Following training at Cuddesdon, Oxford, he was ordained in 2012, serving as a Curate in Streatham before taking up his current appointment. He is the author of several articles on religion and the media.

"War and Religion is written in a clear, accessible style that offers concise, informative details. It would be a useful introductory text for undergraduate students in political science and war and religious studies, as well as the core program." - Arab Studies Quarterly

"Mitchell and Rey offer a panoramic narrative of the historical and contemporary relationship between war and religion. Though brief (as expected of a title in the "Very Short Introductions" series), the book covers a lot of ground. Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; graduate students; general readers." - M. S. Hill, Liberty University, CHOICE

Product details

ISBN : 9780198803218

Jolyon Mitchell; Joshua Rey
160 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Mar 2021
Very Short Introductions
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War and Religion: A Very Short Introduction [#665]

War and Religion: A Very Short Introduction [#665]

War and Religion: A Very Short Introduction [#665]