The Ambivalence of the Sacred

Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation

By (author) Scott R. Appleby Foreword by Theodore M. Hesburgh

Publication date:

23 November 1999

Length of book:

448 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780847685547

Terrorists and peacemakers may grow up in the same community and adhere to the same religious tradition. The killing carried out by one and the reconciliation fostered by the other indicate the range of dramatic and contradictory responses to human suffering by religious actors. Yet religion's ability to inspire violence is intimately related to its equally impressive power as a force for peace, especially in the growing number of conflicts around the world that involve religious claims and religiously inspired combatants. This book explains what religious terrorists and religious peacemakers share in common, what causes them to take different paths in fighting injustice, and how a deeper understanding of religious extremism can and must be integrated more effectively into our thinking about tribal, regional, and international conflict.
Scott Appleby's book provides a timely, clear, and highly perceptive treatment of why and how religion has, especially since the end of the Cold War, gravitated to the center of the discussion of international affairs. . . . There is no doubt that this volume will be the centerpiece henceforward of an important new discussion on ‘religion, violence, and reconciliation.'