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articles
1. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
John Kelsay

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This article provides a brief introduction to articles reflecting on the current state of conversation regarding religion and violence. I begin by noting the occasion for which the articles were developed, then note some of the points made by each of the authors.
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2. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Michael Jerryson

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Buddhist communities worldwide have been energized by the recent politicized violence in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. These acts of Buddhist-influenced violence have mobilized transnational Buddhist groups in condemnation and in support of the violence. As evinced through recent examples, the ambivalence of the sacred exists in religious traditions, including Buddhism. This article reviews these examples and looks at the larger challenge of including Buddhism within comparative works on religion and violence. Instead of focusing solely on textual sources and doctrine, this essay argues that it is important for scholars to include cultural forms of religious authority in order to better understand and to address Buddhist-inspired acts of violence.
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3. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Torkel Brekke Orcid-ID

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There has been little dialogue between academic communities studying ancient India and scholars working on violence in modern India. Part of the reason has been suspicion concerning the ideological foundations of Indology amongst social scientists and modern historians. To better understand religious violence in today’s India the historical perspectives need to be taken into account.
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4. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Nahed Artoul Zehr

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This piece provides a pithy analysis of past, current, and future works dealing with the moral regulation of armed force in Islam. It provides suggestions for two issues that those interested in the moral regulation of force ought to consider in moving forward.
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5. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Reuven Firestone

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The premise underlying this article is that religions, like all institutions, do what is necessary to endure. Like other religions, Judaism has adjusted survival strategies ranging from quietism to militarism. The Jews of antiquity engaged actively and successfully in bloody wars that were considered to be divinely and ethically sanctioned, but after crushing defeats against the Roman Empire, militant responses to communal threat came to be regarded as self-destructive. “Holy war” was then removed from the repertoire of Jewish endurance strategies through the development of safeguards intended to prevent zealots from declaring war and thus endangering a weak and dispersed community. This move was sustainable within a particular historical context, which lasted until the modern period. Following traumatic modern pogroms and the Holocaust, however, military passivity came to be regarded as endangering Jewish survival. Consequently, the traditional safeguards were effectively removed for a significant sector of Jews, thereby allowing for a return to biblical-influenced militancy.
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6. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Rosemary B. Kellison Orcid-ID

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In this response to the commentaries by Torkel Brekke, Reuven Firestone, Michael Jerryson, and Nahed Zehr on Religion, War, and Ethics, I reflect on the ways in which these commentaries help to illuminate the role that texts play in the construction and reconstruction of moral traditions. I describe the texts in the anthology as contributions to ongoing conversations in which participants draw on precedential texts to authorize, prohibit, endorse, or condemn particular uses of armed force. As a collection that places these texts side by side, Religion, War, and Ethics helpfully enables both intratraditional comparison demonstrating the diversity of positions within any one tradition and intertraditional comparison illustrating similarities and differences in both the arguments and historical development of different religious traditions’ discussions of ethics of war. I conclude with some cautions regarding how such comparison is best carried out.
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7. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
G. Scott Davis

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This article applauds the rich collection of texts assembled by Reichberg, Syse, and Hartwell, but agrees with the other commentators that those texts must be situated in their social time and place if they are to be understood. Furthermore, the term “violence” is analytically worthless and should be eliminated from our critical vocabulary as an impediment to understanding how different communities have attempted to regulate recourse to lethal force in the pursuit of their ends.
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review essay
8. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Stephen Jenkins

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book reviews
9. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
M. Christian Green

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10. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 3
Ryan J. Williams Orcid-ID

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articles
11. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Philip L. Tite

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12. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Marie A. Pagliarini

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This essay utilizes information gathered through in-depth interviews with people living in the San Francisco Bay Area to shed light on the phenomenon of spiritual tattooing—the practice of giving spiritual meaning to tattoos and to the process of tattooing. The essay analyzes the role of the body, voluntary pain, and marking the body in the context of religious experience and expression, and highlights the connections between spiritual tattooing and practices of self-violence. Spiritual tattoos work through an inside-out/outside-in mechanism. The process of tattooing draws abstract or overwhelming interior elements (thoughts, emotions, memories) out and materializes them through the infliction of pain. At the same time, things of desire outside the self (spiritual ideals, healing symbols, conceptions of a new self) are conveyed into the body through the process of painful inscription. Through the pain of tattooing and the marks left in the skin, abstractions are made concrete and real, shaping identity, memory, and spirituality.
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13. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Jack Lee Downey

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This paper will investigate the contemporary phenomenon of Tibetan autocremations, considering them as responses to Chinese colonization, in the larger contexts of self-mortification and political protest. The Tibetan self-immolations have been chronically underreported in the international media, but have elicited charged internal conversations within the Tibetan and allied communities. As a modern protest tactic, autocremation originated with the Saigon immolation of the Vietnamese monk Thích Quảng Ðức in 1963. As then, the current cycle of Tibetan self-immolations inaugurated some debate about the nature of these acts, and how they are to be interpreted as agentive manifestations of “communicative suffering”—whether these are suicides, patriotic sacrifices, religious offerings, or something altogether different. This renders the Tibetan pawos (Tib. heroes, martyrs) themselves as sites of conflict—conflict over their “message,” who is ultimately responsible, and what can or should be done. This essay uses the theoretical insights of Giorgio Agamben, Banu Bargu, and Michael Biggs to think through self-immolation protests within a mystical-political framework that constructs these acts as martyrdoms.
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14. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Nathan S. French

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Throughout the ongoing U.S.-declared war against terrorism, and the various jihadi-salafi responses to the same, relatively few researchers have considered both parties’ usage of the law as a technique of exclusion for authorizing violence against those who may not otherwise be killed. By comparing the underlying logic of takfīr applied by jihadi-salafi authors such as Abū Muḥammad al-Maqdisī (b. 1959) to the legal calculus used by the Obama administration to legitimate its targeted killings of U.S. citizens Anwar al-ʿAwlaqī and Samīr Khān seemingly without trial, this article identifies and analyzes how the juridical logic of the administration and jihadi-salafis possesses similar reliance upon declarations of an imminent threat and violations of norms of humanity and belief, respectively. Such a realization, it concludes, allows for the possibility of exploring a co-implicative logic of violence to both and, second, the possibility for a critique of declared states of emergency upon which such exclusionary techniques depend.
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15. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Brian R. Doak

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In this paper, I explore the book of Job in terms of the symbolic and ideological warfare waged between God and the human protagonist, Job. Specifically, I argue that the invocation of various kinds of creatures under the “monster” rubric (such as Leviathan, Rahab, Yamm, the Twisting Serpent, and Behemoth) can be illuminated through a consideration of contemporary work—in the history of religions, literary theory, and film studies—that categorizes the monstrous in terms of ecological disorientation, metaphors of the torn human body, and the boundaries of the “home.” Moreover, I draw on the work of Marie Hélène Huet in her book Monstrous Imagination to argue that some of God’s showcase animals in Job 38–41 (most prominently Behemoth and Leviathan, but also others) should be discussed as monsters with reference to their ambiguous species representation and their “false resemblance” to other known creatures. When considered within the context of Job’s pervasive themes of geological and animal violence, Joban monsters take their place among the menagerie of creatures adduced by Job’s speaking characters as rhetorical gestures of disorientation, community redemption, and the meaning of small community experience within empire.
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16. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Margo Kitts Orcid-ID

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Responding to the papers herein, this essay ponders religious perspectives on pain and the memorialization of trauma; the opaque dynamics of self-immolation and the aesthetics of trauma art; grand narratives in wars on terror; and the existential disfiguring of the character of Job, a disfiguring which might be analyzed through lenses associated with ritual or poetics. The last theme broaches the point of the entire volume, which is the plethora of theoretical lenses that can help us to make sense of the behavior and imaginative expressions of religion and violence.
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book reviews
17. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
John R. Hall

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18. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Aryeh Cohen

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19. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Kenneth Burres

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20. Journal of Religion and Violence: Volume > 3 > Issue: 2
Georgette Mulunda Ledgister

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