Because the cultural conception of ‘religion’ makes a rough equation between ‘being religious’ and ‘being good, moral, and decent’, the violent aspects of religion tend to be seen as either aberrant and isolated incidents in our own tradition, or the sine qua non of someone else's belief. We avoid the dark side of faith because it challenges our very notions of what religion is ‘supposed’ to be. However, the connection between religion and violence is not unique to other people’s religions, nor is it confined to the present time period. In many ways, violence lies at the very heart of religion.
This four-volume set represents the most extensive guide available to past and current research on religion and violence from ancient times to the present (though with an emphasis on the contemporary period). Contents have been selected bearing in mind certain criteria: solid scholarship, range of empirical subject matter and theoretical perspectives, and range of influential and relatively unknown articles. Primary sources, including excerpts from sacred texts, and classical theological statements supplement the scholarly articles, providing readers with a range of sources to draw upon in their own research.
The volumes form an essential reference source, to be used by students and academics from a variety of different disciplines (sociology, religious studies, anthropology). Religion and Violence is fully indexed and includes a comprehensive introduction, newly written by the editor.