Christianity, Violence, and the West
"It should be said from the outset that no review could do justice to this highly conceptual, thought-provoking and ambitious book that seeks to explain violence in the West in the past two millennia . . . This enlightening book is original, sweeping in scope yet nuanced and careful in its evidence and explanations."" * <i>Journal of Ecclesiastical History</i> * "This is an enormously ambitious book, one that seeks to say something fundamental about the deep-rooted set of ideas and priorities that have fueled violent action over two millennia. . . . It is deeply imagined, enormously learned, and brings into conversation, with elegance and coherence, a series of analytical threads about the ideology of violence in the Western trajectory." * <i>Reviews in History</i> * "This is a remarkable book. Buc takes us through two millennia of western Christian and what he calls "post-Christian" (i.e., post-Enlightenment) attitudes towards violence, in order to explore how Christianity has left its imprint on western violence in the modern period. . . . He argues that violence is woven into early and medieval Christianity's conceptual frameworks and language. He then points out direct continuities between Christian violence in the past and both Christian and 'godless' violence (in the literal sense of the word, not the judgmental) in various modern presents." * <i>Medieval Review</i> * "In this challenging study, Philippe Buc deploys his vast knowledge of the history and complex influence of scripture and its exegesis to explore the themes of holy war, martyrdom, and terror in the culture of the Christian and post-Christian West. He has little patience with conventional, polarized constraints of religion/secularization, historical periodization, and the anachronistic dismissal of the power of religious thought and language. Buc's is a quick, learned, and contentious mind, and his identification of a distinctly western kind of identity determination and the related contours of public violence in the West is a major contribution to a fundamental historical debate." * Edward Peters, University of Pennsylvania * "The medievalist Philippe Buc discerns Christian tropes of holy war and martyrdom in seemingly secular movements with terroristic potential. A brilliant and disturbing interpretation of the religious origins of redemptive violence in the West, this is a book for our times." * Dirk Moses, European University Institute *
Philippe Buc taught at Stanford University for two decades and is now Professor of Medieval History at the University of Vienna. He is author of several books, including The Dangers of Ritual: Between Early Medieval Texts and Social Scientific Theory.
Preface Introduction. The Object of This History Chapter 1. The American Way of War Through the Premodern Looking Glass Chapter 2. Christian Exegesis and Violence Chapter 3. Madness, Martyrdom, and Terror Chapter 4. Martyrdom in the West: Vengeance, Purge, Salvation, and History Chapter 5. Twins: National Holy War and Sectarian Terror Chapter 6. Liberty and Coercion Chapter 7. The Subject of History and the Making of History Postface. No Future to That Past List of Abbreviations Notes Select Bibliography Index Acknowledgments