Library Journal Reviews

Library Journal Reviews
March 15, 2006
REVIEWS; Arts and Humanities; Pg. 76
The Just War and Jihad: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Steve Young
The Just War and Jihad: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Prometheus .
2006. c.300p. ed. by R. Joseph Hoffmann . bibliog. ISBN 1-59102-371-8 . $29. REL
Edited by Hoffman (religion, Wells Coll., NY; Julian's Against the Galileans ), this
collection gathers papers from a recent meeting of the Committee for the Scientific
Examination of Religion, an organization of religion scholars who tend to approach the
study of religions through naturalistic, cultural, sociological, and psychological lenses.
The conference statement at the end of the book registers the participants' concern
about religiously motivated violence, and many of the papers share the perspective of
Iowa State University's Hector Avalos that "the best way to deal with religious violence
is to undermine religion itself." More useful is Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez's (ed.,
Encyclopedia of Religion and War ) observation that "religion has a constructive, though
not necessarily causal, role in the generation of violence." While most of the articles are
not sympathetic to religious claims, they raise significant issues about the role of religion
in political violence. The title is a misnomer as, apart from the introduction, jihad takes a
back seat to war theory. Also, the book lacks notes on the contributors. Nonetheless,
this is an intriguing read aimed at general readers.- Steve Young, McHenry Cty. Coll.,
Crystal Lake, IL
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