History of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist Perspectives on War and Peace

Author: Frost, J. William
Year:2004
Pages:438
ISBN:0-7734-6563-4
978-0-7734-6563-3
Price:259.95
This massive, two-volume work is an extensive survey of the interactions between organized religions and war from the Exodus to Gulf War II. The major emphases are on Judaism, Christianity and Islam, with additional chapters on Hinduism, Buddhism, and sections on Shinto, Quakerism, and others. It will attract scholars in a variety of disciplines: peace studies, religion, history, and political science.

Reviews

"The title of these volumes accurately describes their content. Frost (emer., Swarthmore) discusses the teachings and practices of world religions from the earliest evidence to the second Gulf War. Volume 1 provides a useful compilation of events and doctrines prior to World War I, [and] Volume 2, is a detailed account and analysis of developments since 1914. Though both volumes are encyclopedic in scope, there is relatively more about Christianity than other traditions. Frost's central concern is the power of religion to influence war, and he mentions a few individuals and groups (such as Gandhi and the Quakers) who have made effective witnesses for nonviolence; yet despite claims of peaceful intent, religion has been, all too often, little more than a halo for national or group self-interest. Nonetheless, the interrelationship of religion and war is significant for understanding both, and Frost presents this subject in an interesting and readable fashion. Extensive bibliography and footnotes. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers." - CHOICE

“With this publication, J. William Frost joins that elite company of scholars whose breadth of knowledge and accessible writing style enable scholars and students in several fields to gain a new level of understanding of an extraordinarily important and timely topic. The author’s chronological approach enables him to relate the evolution of religious thought and practice in relation to war to the major political and military developments in world history rather than treating each religion in isolation from the wider culture or cultures in which it exists. He also portrays insightfully the religious aspects of nationalism during times of war. A powerful tool of war throughout human history, religion at its best can also be a uniquely important resource for peace, Frost concludes. May the publication of this unusually comprehensive work contribute to knowledge of the former and support for the latter at a time when both are desperately needed.” – Melvin B. Endy, Jr., Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

“[This book] fills a significant scholarly gap on a very important subject: how organized religion has dealt with issues of war and peace. Addressing the ideas and practices of the world’s major faiths over the centuries, this book is a wide-ranging inquiry into the degree of responsibility they have had for causing wars and preventing them. Although this fine study acknowledges the peaceful aspects of these religious bodies and their belief systems, it nevertheless deftly conveys their over-riding reluctance to pose a thoroughgoing challenge to war.” – Lawrence S. Wittner, Professor of History, State University of New York, Albany

Table of Contents

Table of Contents: Volume One: The Bible to 1914 Preface; Introduction Part One: Origins 1. The Hebrew Scriptures and War 2. The New Testament and War 3. The Greeks and War 4. Rome: Pagan and Christian 5. The Religions of the East I: Hinduism 6. The Religions of the East II: Buddhism Nonviolence and Statecraft 7. Islam in Peace and War Part Two: The Euro-American Traditions 8. Medieval Europe 9. Splintering of Christian Tradition 10. War and Peace in the Age of Reason 11. Revolutions as Just War 12. Religion, Nationalism, and War in the 19th Century 13. A Civilized Way to Peace

Volume Two: A Century of Wars Part Three: A Century of Wars 14. World War I 15. Searching for Peace, Finding War: 1920-1939 16. World War II: The Apotheosis of Barbarity 17. The Cold War I: Conventional Weapons and Wars 18. The Cold War II: Nuclear Weapons Part Four: The Middle East 19. Religion and War in the Creation of Israel 20. Islam and Modern War: Iran and Iraq 21. The Gulf Wars Against Iraq Part Five: Contemporary Issues 22. The Post Cold War World Concluding Reflections: Religions, Wars, and Peaces Bibliography; Index