Book Review: From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, & America

By Lum, Kathryn Gin | Church History, June 2014 | Go to article overview

Book Review: From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, & America


Lum, Kathryn Gin, Church History


(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, & America . Edited by John D. Carlson and Jonathan H. Ebel . Foreword by Martin Marty. Berkeley : University of California Press , 2012. xviii + 300 pp. $73.95 cloth, $31.95 paper.

Book Reviews and Notes

"Jeremiad" and "Jihad" are not the only organizing principles that begin with the letter "J" in this thought-provoking volume of collected essays. John Brown also features prominently in the introduction by John Carlson and Jonathan Ebel. The authors use Brown's deadly raid on Harper's Ferry to raise questions about how to assess religious justifications for violence, whether "moral ends justify violent means" (2), and how a better understanding of religion can offer a better understanding of violent episodes in America's past, present, and future. Brown is a particularly illuminating figure because of the moral complexity surrounding his mission to end slavery. "Should we remember him as a jeremiadic figure?" the authors ask. "A jihadist? Perhaps as both?" (13) Though the idea of Brown as jihadist might seem foreign, the authors make the argument that "jeremiad and jihad have more in common than first meets the eye" (11). While the jeremiad is undeniably "familiar," the jihad--defined as a struggle to live righteously and follow God's will--might also be said to describe figures like Brown.

The fifteen thoughtful essays in this volume take a similarly nuanced approach to a topic that can lead in the direction of anything but. They are united in their refusal to essentialize religion as inherently violent and refusal to find violence in "every corner of American history and culture." They also refuse to take the opposite extreme of "put[ting] a halo on American history and policies" (8). Despite the heavy subject, an undercurrent of hope pervades the volume as a whole, that "peering deeply into the darkness should not blind us to the light but rather stoke our yearning for it" (xvi).

The volume's moral undertones reflect the editors' and contributors' backgrounds in the disciplines of religious studies, history, and ethics (as well as political science, communications, theology, film studies, and international relations). Those expecting a straightforward chronology from the "jeremiads" of the Puritans to the "jihads" of the present will be disappointed. One of the book's central contentions is that the jeremiad and jihad have been constant themes throughout American history instead of the one giving way to the other. Still, with the exception of the introduction, only one of the essays deals primarily with jihad (Sohail H. Hashmi's incisive "Enemies Near and Far: The United States and Its Muslim Allies in Radical Islamist Discourse"), whereas the jeremiad forms a constant refrain throughout. "Just war" is another principle beginning with "J" that surfaces much more frequently than "jihad," although From Jeremiad to Just War is hardly as catchy or current a title.

Ebel and Carlson group the essays, by well known and emerging scholars, and representing both new work and selections from existing publications, into three thematic sections. The first, "Religious Origins and Tropes of American Violence," introduces key terms like jeremiad, covenant, crusade, and providence. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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 article

Cited article

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 article

Book Review: From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, & America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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 article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

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.