Tag Archives: Interpretation of Religious Texts

Renard et al., “Fighting Words”

The University of California Press has announced a collection of essays, edited 11288.110 by theologian John Renard (St. Louis), on religious justifications for violence, Fighting Words: Religion, Violence, and the Interpretation of Sacred Texts (2012). The publisher’s description follows:

One of the critical issues in interreligious relations today is the connection, both actual and perceived, between sacred sources and the justification of violent acts as divinely mandated. Fighting Words makes solid text-based scholarship accessible to the general public, beginning with the premise that a balanced approach to religious pluralism in our world must build on a measured, well-informed response to the increasingly publicized and sensationalized association of terrorism and large-scale violence with religion.

In his introduction, Renard provides background on the major scriptures of seven religious traditions—Jewish, Christian (including both the Old and New Testaments), Islamic, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, Hindu, and Sikh. Eight chapters then explore the interpretation of select facets of these scriptures, focusing on those texts so often claimed, both historically and more recently, as inspiration and justification for every kind of violence, from individual assassination to mass murder. With its nuanced consideration of a complex topic, this book is not merely about the religious sanctioning of violence but also about diverse ways of reading sacred textual sources.

Conference: Revelation and Interpretation: Legal Interpretation of Religious Texts, at NYU

For those who are able to make it, the Journal of Law, Religion and the State (a project of the Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization) is putting on its third annual conference at NYU, entitled, Revelation and Interpretation: Legal Interpretation of Religious Texts.  The conference will take place September 11-12.  The speakers come from all over the world and the subjects under discussion look really terrific.  More details here.  (Thanks to my good friend Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov for the pointer)

Renard, “Fighting Words”

This December, the University of California Press will publish Fighting Words: Religion, Violence, and the Interpretation of Sacred Texts edited by John Renard (Saint Louis University). The publisher’s description follows.

One of the critical issues in inter-religious relations today is the connection, both actual and perceived, between sacred sources and the justification of violent acts as divinely mandated. Fighting Words makes solid text-based scholarship accessible to the general public, beginning with the premise that a balanced approach to religious pluralism in our world must build on a measured, well-informed response to the increasingly publicized and sensationalized association of terrorism and large-scale violence with religion. An Introduction provides background on the major scriptures of seven religious traditions. Eight main chapters then explore aspects of the interpretation of selected facets of scripture in seven traditions: Jewish, Christian (including chapters on Old as well as New Testaments), Islamic, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, Hindu and Sikh. Focus is on sacred texts so often claimed, both historically and more recently, as inspiration for and justification of every kind of violence from individual assassination to mass murder. A balanced approach to this complex topic also means that this is not merely a book about the religious sanctioning of violence, but about diverse ways of reading sacred textual sources.