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101. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
James R. Lewis Religion and Terrorism: Introduction to Journal of Religion and Violence 7.1
102. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
James R. Lewis Monolithic Inferences: Misinterpreting AUM Shinrikyo
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In the study of religion and terrorism, one of the most familiar incidents is the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995. With the execution of Shoko Asahara and his close associates in the summer of 2018, it would appear that the last chapter in this tragic tale has finally been written. I would argue, however, that there are still lessons to be learned from this event. In the present article, I describe the complexity of the epistemic situation in which I found myself when I finally met AUM Shinrikyo in the spring of 1995. In addition to misunderstandings arising from monolithic inferences regarding AUM’s membership, I came to feel that certain anomalous items of information were swept under the rug—information that hinted at a more complex array of factors influencing AUM Shinrikyo and the subway attack.
103. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Per-Erik Nilsson Burka Songs 2.0: The Discourse on Islamic Terrorism and the Politics of Extremization in Sweden
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This article analyzes a minor event in the city of Gothenburg in Sweden that rose from being a local scandal to become a national mediatized political affair. It is argued that local articulations of the discourse on Islamic terrorism function as a way of regulating access to the public sphere by the politics of extremization, i.e., the performative identification of certain Muslim subjects as threats to the established order by their very presence in the public sphere. It is also argued that the polarization of political debate brought about by the mediatization of politics, coupled with the dichotomous logic of the discourse on Islamic terrorism, poses serious challenges to any sound and deliberate political debate.
104. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 7 > Issue: 1
Heather S. Gregg Understanding the “Trinamic”: A Net Assessment of ISIS
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Violent non-state actors are of particular security concern today and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. This article uses a net assessment approach to analyze the threat posed by religiously motivated, violent non-state actors and how governments can better understand these threats, their popular support, and how to minimize their effects. It proposes that the goal of governments should be to “win” critical populations away from non-state actors that require their support to survive. Using ISIS as an example, the article demonstrates that a purely enemy-centric approach to countering violent non-state actors that use religion is likely to alienate critical populations whose support is necessary to defeating these threats.
105. 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
106. 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
107. 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
108. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Michael D. Bailey The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic. Edited by Owen Davies
109. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 5 > Issue: 3
Asbjørn Dyrendal Satanism: A Social History. Massimo Introvigne
110. 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.
111. 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.
112. 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.
113. 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.
114. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Jimmy Yu Reflections On Violence in Asian Religions
115. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Paul R. Powers Black Banners of ISIS: The Roots of the New Caliphate. David J. Wasserstein
116. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Frank J. Korom Political Violence in Ancient India. Upinder Singh
117. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Daniel Burton-Rose Demonic Warfare: Daoism, Territorial Networks, and the History of a Ming Novel. Mark R. E. Meulenbeld
118. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Verna Marina Ehret The Cambridge Companion to Religion and Terrorism. Edited by James R. Lewis
119. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
Richard Payne Lethal Fire: The Shingon Yamāntaka Abhicāra Homa
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An important element in the ritual corpus of Shingon Buddhism, a tantric tradition in Japan, is the homa (goma, 護摩). This is a votive ritual in which offerings are made into a fire, and has roots that trace to the Vedic ritual tradition. One of the five ritual functions that the homa can fulfill is destruction, abhicāra. A destructive ritual with Yamāntaka as the chief deity is one such ritual in the contemporary Shingon ritual corpus. Consideration of this ritual provides entrée into the history of destructive practices, including violent subjugation, that date from very early in the Buddhist tradition. Exploration of this theme is offered as a balancing corrective to the modern representation of Buddhism as an exception to the violent character of other religions. However, despite the history of destructive ritual practices, the contemporary homa examined in the latter part of the essay shows very few of the characteristics found historically. This indicates an ambiguity in the tradition between a historical understanding of such rituals as literally destructive of one’s enemies, and the contemporary understanding that the enemies to be destroyed are simply personifications of one’s own obscurations.
120. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 6 > Issue: 1
David B. Gray The Rhetoric of Violence in the Buddhist Tantras
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This article explores the rhetoric of violence in the Buddhist tantras, arguing that it generally falls into two types: (1) violence deployed in a purely rhetorical fashion for the purpose of impressing or persuading the reader; and (2) textual depictions of violent ritual practices, which can, with some caveats, be interpreted as depictions of, and possibly prescriptions for, ritual violence. The former type often includes grandiose or exaggerated instances of hyperbolic rhetoric, often deployed for the purpose of aggrandizing the text or tradition. The article segues to discussions of descriptions of and prescriptions for ritual violence, and explores one of the justifications given for ritual violence, namely that it contributes to, or is excused by, the attainment of a spiritually advanced state of awareness called the “non-dual gnosis” (advayajñāna). Here particular attention is paid to violent rituals that involve the creation of effigies or symbolic substitutes for a sacrificial victim. These rituals, rather than involving actual violence, instead symbolically depict it. Yet these rituals are still violent insofar as they are symbolic enactments of acts of violence, and often they are performed with the goal of actually harming the victim who is symbolically represented in the ritual practice. The article concludes with an examination of a strategy for legitimizing such violence by invoking the concept of non-dual gnosis, and suggests that this ethical double standard has actually been used to excuse ethically dubious conduct by contemporary Buddhist leaders.