Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Peacemaking and the Challenge of Violence in World Religions

Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Peacemaking and the Challenge of Violence in World Religions

Article excerpt

Peacemaking and the Challenge of Violence in World Religions. Edited by Irfan A. Omar and Michael K. Duffey. West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley Blackwell, 2 or 5. Pp. 242. $99.50, cloth; $32.95, paper.

On the brink of World War II, Robinson Jeffers penned a poem titled "The Bloody Sire," which includes the tag-line, "Violence is the sire of all the world's values." This profound collection of essays and responses seeks to challenge that sentiment. The editors, both professors at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have created a rich tableau of the breadth and depth of world religions on violence and peacemaking. The seven essays represent Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Native American religion. Each essay is followed by two responses from other authors.

This collection works beautifully on at least three levels. It succeeds in its primary intent: "This book is motivated by the need to place the meaning of peace, violence, nonviolence, and peacemaking in particular religious contexts" (p. 2). It serves as a primer of these seven world religions with reference to sacred texts/stories, rituals, and practices. It could serve as a textbook for a high school or college course, with questions for discussion at the end of each chapter, references and additional readings, and a glossary at the end of most chapters.

Each author maintains her or his faithfulness to their own particular tradition while opening wide the door for dialogue and cooperation. Each seeks to

"de-mystify" their tradition by explaining and defining terms that are often used in public discourse without the context of practice and ritual or their place in sacred texts. …

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