War and Religion: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)

War and Religion: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) By Jolyon Mitchell, Joshua Rey Cover Image
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Very Short Introductions: Brilliant, Sharp, Inspiring

Is religion a force for war, or a force for peace? Some of the most terrible wars in history have been caused and motivated by religion. Much of the violence that fills our screens today springs from the same source. Yet some of the bravest pacifists have also been deeply religious people, and many of the laws and institutions that work to soften or prevent war have deep religious roots.

This Very Short Introduction provides an overview of the history of religion and war, and a framework for analysing it. Ranging from the warrior gods of Ancient Greece and Rome, and the ethical drama of the Mahabharata, through the Islamic wars of conquest and the Crusades, to present day conflicts in Sri Lanka and the Balkans, it considers the entanglement of war and religion. Yet from Just War theory and the restraints on war-making imposed by Islamic jurisprudence, through the Pax Christi of the middle ages, to the non-violence of Gandhi and Bacha Khan; there is also a story to be told of peace and religion as well. Jolyon Mitchell and Joshua Rey consider both sides of the age long drama of war and religion, challenging assumptions at the most fundamental level. Throughout, they encourage a more sophisticated and well-grounded view on these issues that have had such weight in the past, and continue to shape our present and future.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

About the Author


Jolyon Mitchell, Principal of St John's College, Durham University, Joshua Rey, Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Southwark Jolyon Mitchell is Principal of St John's College, Durham University and a Professor specialising in Religion, Violence, and Peacebuilding. A former Director of CTPI and Professor at the University of Edinburgh, and BBC World Service Producer and Journalist, he is author or editor of many books, articles, and essays. Recent publications include Peacebuilding and the Arts (2020), artyrdom: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2012), and Religion and Peace (2022). Joshua Rey is Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Southwark. He has worked as an investment banker in London and New York with J.P. Morgan and Co, . then as an aid worker with Medair, serving in Afghanistan, Albania, and Sri Lanka. After this international experience he worked as Director of the London Employer Coalition and Director of Strategy for the UK Commission on Employment and Skills, working on unemployment and skills policy in Whitehall. Following training at Cuddesdon, Oxford, he was ordained in 2012, serving as a Curate in Streatham before taking up his current appointment. He is the author of several articles on religion and the media.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780198803218
ISBN-10: 0198803214
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: June 1st, 2021
Pages: 160
Language: English
Series: Very Short Introductions