Moral Purity and Persecution in History

By Barrington Moore Jr. | Go to book overview

Preface

THIS BOOK examines when and why human beings kill and torture other human beings who, on account of their different religious, political, and economic ideas, appear as a threatening source of “pollution.” What the polluting ideas were and are is of course a major aspect of the problem. They change over time. Yet this book is in no sense a work of intellectual or religious history. Instead it seeks to find out in what kind of a context this complex of ideas and action occurs. The complex itself one can easily recognize as a militant or very violent movement on behalf of moral purity. There is a good case for calling these movements against pollution attacks on moral impurity. Indeed, in this book moral impurity receives far more attention than its opposite. It is also rather more interesting. Still, impurity is impossible without purity.

That such movements have scarred the twentieth century and are well on the way to wounding the twenty-first is so obvious as scarcely to require comment. They were central to Fascism, Communism, and the imperial patriotism of Japan prior to its defeat in the Second World War. Since then they have cropped up, so far, in a relatively nonviolent form in the Christian right and in the Le Pen movement in France, and in a more violent form in Islamic movements and various others. These movements were the stimulus for writing this book. But they are not its topic.

Instead, this book seeks at least limited answers to two sets of general questions, those of time and place. How far back in time do we find a search for moral purity with a powerful component of violence? The Old Testament, the subject of the first chapter, is an obvious answer. The Old Testament records the invention of monotheism and the bloody struggles that accompanied its spread and establishment. Monotheism, in the straightforward sense of belief in one God and only one God, was apparently invented only once in human history. It necessarily implies a monopoly of grace and virtue to distinguish its adherents from sur

-ix-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Moral Purity and Persecution in History
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 158

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.