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Belief and Bloodshed: Religion and Violence across Time and Tradition Hardcover – Feb 23 2007


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Amazon.com: 32 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
informative Nov. 23 2011
By Seattle student - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
An interesting collection. Belief and Bloodshed is a collection of essays focused on the topic of religious violence. By using a broad base of historical as well as modern examples, Dr. Wellman has pieced together a work that has, within itself, multiple understandings and different criteria underscoring the term "religious violence". Belief and Bloodshed makes it clear that although religion and violence are in-arguably linked, the connection between the two is tenuous at best, and more likely, uniformly unattainable. This collection examines the relationship between religion and violence from uniquely different angles, using examples that span more than two millennia. I thought each section was well written and came to interesting conclusions. I particularly enjoyed Wellman's introduction and chapter discussing Evangelical Christians, as well as the final chapter by Bruce Lincoln. My only criticism of Belief and Bloodshed is that it was not a cohesive work. I would have liked to see some sort of conclusion or discussion about the topics addressed in this collection or some form or transition between topics. All in all, an informative read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good Book, Lots of Information Nov. 23 2011
By PlumMMM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was an awesome book, structured very well and very clean. Each Chapter has a short summary at the end which gives the author a chance to summarize their thoughts. This book is also broken into two different sections, old world and new world which helps give a sense of chronological order which is very helpful looking at similarities and between the different religions over time. The book looks at the connection between religion and violence from religion as ancient as the Egyptians and Mesopotamians to as early as today and the attack on the World Trade Center. This book has a lot of information so it is not recommended to those just starting to read about religion but perfect for those who have a little bit of information under their belt only going to Google one or twice to read about something unknown to you. I highly recommend to any religion student as a light read because of the many authors in the book you can a many perspectives from knowledgeable authors and easy to pick up and read starting from any chapter.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Violent Villages Nov. 22 2011
By clever pen name - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wellman has covered a diverse set of cultures and incidents across thousands of years that, in one way or another, involve both violence and religion. He provides examples of when religious people intend specifically to use egregious violence, when violence was quelled by the devout, or even when violence came from secular society to persecute a set of religious beliefs. Indeed, the majority of the examples suggest a correlation between violent acts and religious beliefs, but it is still unclear from the book whether strength of religion is a cause, as opposed to both religion and violent tendencies being the result of the kind of people that deal in absolute convictions. One must keep in mind that there are plenty of religious folks who never hurt a fly that aren't documented here, but I digress. It is difficult to further summarize Wellman's book without going on and on because each chapter is a new stand-alone story, but the best unifying thread I can find is the idea that religion exists in the world of intense passion, and with that passion people are willing to sacrifice lives in their pursuit of the divine.
Violence is not just in the past Nov. 22 2011
By Eric - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Belief and Bloodshed: Religion and Violence across time and Tradition," is precisely what this book delivers. This book is a collection of essays that illustrate the role of violence in religion, regardless of the particular faith, region, or time in which the religion is found.

The book is organized in chronological order, which is beneficial in developing the idea of the book, which is to show that no faith is truly free of violence. This is obtained by beginning in the ancient world, and taking the reader through examples of great acts of violence, legitimized by the faith of the people carrying them out. This will not lead the reader very shocked, as most people have an understanding of violence being commonplace in the ancient world. Yet as the book progresses through time, and even begins to touch on faiths that are more recognizable to our current time, we are shown that violence, often extreme violence, has maintained itself as a major theme in religion.

"Belief in Bloodshed" does not just simply tell stories of how different faiths are responsible for these acts of physical violence. The authors explain the thought process behind these acts from several different facets of human thought and reasoning. The violence is explained by the views surrounding the particular faith of the scenario, as well as what the individuals in the faith were likely to have thought to justify it personally. We, as the reader, are also introduced to the important and influential people of these times, and are shown how their personal interpretations of their roles in their faith contributed to the actions taken.

The format and approaches to the subject matter taken by these authors is what truly clarifies the position taken within these pages. It becomes clear that religious violence and holy war are not just for some of the faiths that modern American society has come to associate with violent acts. All religions, and divisions of those religions, have in some way been involved in physical violent suffering, and not necessarily just in their distant past.
A Contextual Overview Nov. 22 2011
By Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
On a crisp, cool Tuesday morning just over 10 years ago, 19 men seized control of four commercial aircraft and changed the course of the one of the world's strongest military force and economic power. The image of fire erupting from the side of one of the United States most iconic structures, footage of men choosing to plunge to their end in place of burning alive, and a city covered in the literal remains of our countries latest victim will forever be burned into this generations mind. It was and continues to be a day that will live in infamy. September 11th 2001 left millions devastat-ed and furious, dumbfounded as to how such a heinous act could be executed against innocent men, woman, and children. Belief and Bloodshed: Religion and Violence across Time and Tradition as edited by Dr. James Wellman, Jr. provides its readers with cultural insight describing similar senseless atrocities that have ravaged the innocent masses in the name of religious cleansing for decades. Dr. Wellman and his colleagues establish that violence catalyzed by religious fervor is not unique to the post-9/11 world, but has been a recurring theme throughout recorded history.
Belief and Bloodshed begins with Mr. Scott Noegel providing his readers a vivid description of ritu-alized brutality citing the discovery of religious temples adorned with piles of human hands, heads, and phalluses. Mr. Noegel explains how the ancient cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia would execute these brutal acts in accordance with the divine will of their gods.
Mr. Charles McDaniel introduces us to the city of Munster, Germany in the year 1534. Waging a zealous rebellion against the Roman Catholic Church, a group of Anabaptists discarded their com-mitment to non-violence and picked up their swords for battle. What followed was a significantly violent encounter as the Anabaptists initially repelled Catholic dominance over the city. The vio-lence recruited in the Anabaptists' rebellion paled, however, in comparison to Rome's retaliation of merciless torture and execution of the revolts leaders and participants.
Ms. Marianne Kamp details the mass murders of unveiled Muslim woman in 20th century Uzbeki-stan. As the Communist Party of the Soviet Union gained ground, their official atheist position de-nounced the practice of Muslim traditions, including the veiling of Muslim woman. Over a three-year period over 2500 Muslim women were slaughtered by Communist activist who opposed any Muslim woman donning a hijab.
Mr. Wellman and his colleagues walk their readers through numerous examples such as these throughout history, presenting the intricate interactions between historical cultures, religions, and political agendas. In some cases religions were the victims of violent action, in others religious fig-ures spearheaded violent crusades against opposing beliefs. In every case, the ensuing violent ac-tivities were rationalized in order to achieve a higher religious or political purpose. After conclud-ing Belief and Bloodshed, one emerges with a clear representation of various religious and cultural backdrops that have inspired violent actions throughout the history of man.


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