Sacred Fury

Understanding Religious Violence

By (author) Charles Selengut

Publication date:

12 January 2017

Length of book:

250 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442276833

From ISIS attacks to the conflict between Israel and Palestine, Sacred Fury explores the connections between faith and violence in world religions. Author Charles Selengut looks at religion as both a force for peace and for violence, and he asks key questions such as how “religious” is this violence and what drives the faithful to attack in the names of their beliefs?

Revised throughout, the third edition features new material on violence in Buddhism and Hinduism, the rise of ISIS, “lone wolf terrorists,” and more. This up-to-date edition draws on a variety of disciplines to comprehend forms of religious violence both historically and in the present day. The third edition of
Sacred Fury is an essential resource for understanding the connections between faith and violence.
In this newly revised and expanded edition of a book first published 14 years ago, Selengut continues and expands the increasingly needed conversation on religion and violence. Praise for this new edition by Mark Juergensmeyer, arguably the expert on the subject, is testimony to its worth. In the introduction, Selengut sets the scene by noting the duality of good and evil in religious traditions, and in the book's five chapters he looks at the subject through the lenses of scripture, psychology, apocalypse, civilization, and suffering. The first chapter highlights the importance of acknowledging religious realities and builds up to the second and strongest chapter, which emphasizes the central role psychology plays in religious violence. The chapter on apocalypticism looks at exaggerated but repressed religious sentiments and leads to a chapter on the grey area between religion and politics. The last chapter…delves into sexual violence and gives a nod to the gendered component of violence in religion. Selengut provides a holistic, up-to-date examination of religion and violence, a deadly combination.

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; general readers.