Synopses & Reviews
One of the critical issues in interreligious relations today is the connection, both actual and perceived, between sacred sources and the justification of violent acts as divinely mandated. Fighting Words
makes solid text-based scholarship accessible to the general public, beginning with the premise that a balanced approach to religious pluralism in our world must build on a measured, well-informed response to the increasingly publicized and sensationalized association of terrorism and large-scale violence with religion.
In his introduction, Renard provides background on the major scriptures of seven religious traditionsJewish, Christian (including both the Old and New Testaments), Islamic, Bahai, Zoroastrian, Hindu, and Sikh. Eight chapters then explore the interpretation of select facets of these scriptures, focusing on those texts so often claimed, both historically and more recently, as inspiration and justification for every kind of violence, from individual assassination to mass murder. With its nuanced consideration of a complex topic, this book is not merely about the religious sanctioning of violence but also about diverse ways of reading sacred textual sources.
"Many qualified contributors have come together in this work to offer strong interpretations of how religious texts can justify violence. Each essay manages to be both interesting and thought-provoking--quite an accomplishment for such a broad examination of religious traditions."Daniel Smith-Christopher, author of Jonah, Jesus, and Other Good Coyotes: Speaking Peace to Power in the Bible
About the Author
John Renard is Professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University. He is the author of many books, most recently Tales of Gods Friends: Islamic Hagiography in Translation (UC Press).
Table of Contents
1. Exegesis and Violence: Texts, Contexts, and Hermeneutical Concerns
2. A Brief History of War in the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish Interpretive Tradition
3. Annihilate Amalek: Christian Perspectives on 1 Samuel 15
Bernhard A. Asen
4. Violence in the New Testament and the History of Interpretation
Leo D. Lefebure
5. Finhas of Medina: Islam, The Jews,” and the Construction of Religious Militancy
Michael A. Sells
6. The Bahai Tradition: The Return of Joseph and the Peaceable Imagination
7. Justifiable Force and Holy War in Zoroastrianism
Jamsheed K. Choksy
8. The Failure of Allegory: Notes on Textual Violence and the Bhagavad Gita
Laurie L. Patton
9. Words as Weapons: Theory and Practice of a Righteous War (Dharam Yudh) in Sikh Texts
Glossary of Names and Technical Terms