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1. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Margo Kitts Religion and Struggle: Introduction to the Journal of Religion and Violence Volume 5, Issue 3
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articles
2. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Benjamin J. Lappenga “Formerly a Blasphemer and a Man of Violence”: First Timothy and the Othering of Jews
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In 1 Timothy 1:13, the author frames Paul’s former life in Judaism as that of a “blasphemer, persecutor, and man of violence,” but then proceeds to urge Timothy to “fight the good fight” (1:18) by following Paul’s example of turning opponents over to Satan “so that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1:20). Although this discourse is regularly perceived as promoting nonviolence, this paper traces the legacies of violence in which the passage has participated. First, it considers the letter’s first audiences, for whom the charge of blasphemy appears as one of a larger set of cultural stereotypes the author uses to bolster prejudice against the rivals. Second, it situates this discourse about blasphemy within the (false) portrayal of Paul vis-à-vis Judaism that was perpetuated during the struggles between the church and the synagogue in the early centuries of the common era. Third, the paper briefly traces the ways that Christian rhetoric against Jews as blasphemers participated in acts of violence against Jews from the Middle Ages through the twentieth century. The paper concludes with a constructive critique of some readings of Pauline texts today, even those that overtly set out to understand these texts in a nonviolent manner.
3. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
James Petitfils Apparently Other: Appearance and Blasphemy in the Ancient Christian Martyr Texts
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In conversation with recent scholarship on Roman physiognomy, dress, and imperial prose fictions, this article traces the way in which ancient Christian martyr texts participate in broader Roman discourses of appearance and status in their construction of the Christian and the non-believing, apostate, or blaspheming other. After introducing the nexus between appearance, status, and identity in Roman society and culture more generally, this article considers the way in which these physiognomic and sartorial conventions function in two imperial prose fictions—Longus’s Daphnis and Chloe and Apuleius’s Metamorphoses—before turning to a similar consideration of two Christian martyr texts, namely, the Passion of Perpetua and Felicity and the Letter of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons. The article contends that the martyr texts, like the imperial fictions, construct the other, in part by appealing to long-standing Roman physiognomic and sartorial expectations. The non-believers, apostates, and blasphemers are visibly conspicuous for their non-elite deportment and slave-like physical features—features which, in a Roman context, mark their bodies as legitimate objects of violence. The Christians, in contrast, showcase a posture befitting the elite (those safeguarded from licit violence), not that of slaves or low-status damnati/noxii (those condemned to violent death in the Roman arena). In so doing, these martyr texts literarily reimagine Roman social strategies of violent humiliation as celebrations of honorable Christian identity, while they simultaneously deploy characteristically Roman discursive strategies to construct a humiliated, blaspheming other.
4. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Abby Kulisz Trauma Unending: Shīʿī Islam and the Experience of Trauma
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This paper explores the ways communities reexperience traumatic events. Previous studies have made important contributions by observing that communities, in contrast to individuals, often use a traumatic event to construct their identity; and trauma is not always painful but sometimes desired. To further investigate these dimensions of traumatization, I focus on the performance of mātam or self-flagellation, which is practiced by a small minority of the world’s Shīʿī Muslim population on the Day of ʿĀshūrāʾ. For many Shīʿa, particularly Twelvers, Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī’s death at the battle of Karbala in 680 C.E. is a collectively traumatic event. Not only does Karbala embody a collective tragedy for Shīʿī Muslims, it defines and shapes their interpretation of history. During the practice of mātam, the mourner enacts the trauma of Karbala on one’s body, thus reliving and preserving the collective trauma.
5. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Marte Nilsen, Shintaro Hara Religious Motivation In Political Struggles: The Case Of Thailand’s Patani Conflict
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The collective term “jihadist conflict” is used widely in academia, policy, and the media to describe a range of different political and religious conflicts. While all these conflicts are fought by Muslim groups who in one way or another regard their struggle as a jihad, the goals, motivation, and interpretation of jihad differ significantly from one conflict to another. The branding of movements as jihadist is driven by analysts, governments, and the media on the one hand, and by violent extremist groups with a transnational agenda on the other. While this branding is often embraced by those who pursue violent means, be they militant groups engaged in intrastate conflicts or disenfranchised individuals carrying out terrorist acts, the brand itself does not help us understand the fundamental conflict dynamics. Using the example of the Patani conflict in southern Thailand, this article illuminates how a political conflict may be misinterpreted if the religious motivation of militants is generalized rather than analyzed in its own terms.
book reviews
6. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Gail Streete Christian Martyrdom and Political Violence: A Comparative Theology with Judaism and Islam. Rubén Rosario Rodríguez
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7. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Susan B. Ridgely Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism. Julie J. Ingersoll
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8. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Michael D. Bailey The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic. Edited by Owen Davies
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9. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Asbjørn Dyrendal Satanism: A Social History. Massimo Introvigne
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10. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Margo Kitts Introduction: Violence, Religion, and the State
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articles
11. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Juli L. Gittinger The Rhetoric of Violence, Religion, and Purity in India’s Cow Protection Movement
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In India there has been a recent increase in violence and intolerance towards people who eat beef. While India has a fairly wide Cow Protection Act that bars the slaughter of female cows and calves, many areas have permitted slaughter of bulls and bullocks for centuries. Hindu religion has no doctrinal proscriptions against the consumption of beef in particular, although it has borrowed heavily from Jainism in the last century, arguing that the concept of ahimsa (nonviolence) forbids such slaughter and consumption of beef. Violence is exacted upon those who would dare eat beef—notably Muslims and lower castes—further politicizing the issue. This paper explores the various claims and legitimations of violence regarding the tradition of abstaining from beef. These include arguments of religious purity, racial biases, caste, and cultural arguments which have been put forth in defense of or in condemnation of beef-eaters. I argue that, in the case of such regulations of “authentic” Hindu traditions (like the sanctity of the cow), purity concerns are directly tied to Hindu nationalist ideologies.
12. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Paul R. Powers Territory Is Not Map: Deterritorialisation, Mere Religion, and Islamic State
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While the Islamic State (IS) has much in common with many other contemporary jihadist groups, this article argues that it expresses a distinctive attitude toward the taking, holding, and expanding of territory. Olivier Roy’s notion of the “deterritorialisation” of late-modern Muslim religiosity suggests that many Muslims, whether in minority or majority situations, perceive themselves as detached from “home” lands and cultures and, partly as a result, find Islam reduced from a holistic phenomenon to a truncated and compartmentalized “mere religion.” IS efforts to take territory can be seen in part as a rejection of such deterritorialisation. The IS version of a reinvigorated Islam is made possible solely by the possession of territory, and hinges on apocalyptic expectations about certain concrete locations and on the possibility of enacting a robust, hyper-aggressive form of Islamic law.
13. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Yonatan Y. Brafman Towards a Neo-Ḥaredi Political Theory: Schlesinger, Breuer, and Leibowitz between Religion and Zionism
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This article explores the resources available in modern Jewish thought for overcoming the conflict between secular liberalism and religious nationalism. In addition to a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, the modern state’s claim to sovereignty demands the reconstruction of existing social formations, normative orderings, and personal identities. The primary Jewish responses to this demand have been either the privatizing of Judaism as religion or the nationalizing of Jewishness as Zionism. However, this demand was resisted by diverse thinkers, including Akiva Yosef Schlesinger, Isaac Breuer, and Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who can be described as advancing a Neo-Ḥaredi political theory. This theory has five related characteristics: (1) an affirmation of the publicity of halakhah, or Jewish law; (2) a rejection of the construction of Judaism as a “religion”; (3) a lack of aspiration to establish halakhah as state law; (4) a refusal of the identification of the state as the unitary locus of sovereignty; and (5) an ambivalent relation to Zionism, ranging from indifference, to disappointment, and opposition. Common to these reactions is a decentering of the state and its claim to sovereignty in favor of a plurality of social formations, normative orderings, and identities. It is suggested that such an approach may provide a way of avoiding the zero-sum game for control of the state that seems to plague the current politics of both the United States and Israel/Palestine.
book reviews
14. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
David Morgan Human Remains in Society: Curation and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Genocide and Mass-Violence. Ed. Jean-Marc Dreyfus and Élisabeth Anstett
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15. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Bobby A. Wintermute The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade. Philip Jenkins
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16. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Kelly Denton-Borhaug The Origins of American Religious Nationalism. Sam Hasselby
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17. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Jarbel Rodriguez The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon. Hussein Fancy
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18. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Jennifer Barry City of Demons: Violence, Ritual, and Christian Power in Late Antiquity. Dayna S. Kalleres
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19. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 2
Rhiannon Graybill Sex and Slaughter in the Tent of Jael: A Cultural History of a Biblical Story. Colleen M. Conway
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20. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 1
Michael Jerryson Introduction
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