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Author: Mark Juergensmeyer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195657152
This wide ranging and erudite book asks one of the important and perplexing questions of our age: why do religious people commit violent acts in the name of their god, taking the lives of innocent victims and terrorizing entire populations?
Beneath the histories of religious traditions - from biblical wars to crusading ventures and great acts of martyrdom - violence has lurked as a shadowy presence. Images of death have never been far from the heart of religion's power to stir the imagination. In this wide ranging and erudite book, Mark Juergensmeyer asks one of the important and perplexing questions of our age: why do religious people commit violent acts in the name of their god, taking the lives of innocent victims and terrorizing entire populations?
This first comparative study of religious terrorism explores recent incidents such as the World Trade Center explosion, Hamas suicide bombings, the Tokyo subway nerve gas attack, and the killing of abortion clinic doctors in the United States. Incorporating personal interviews with World Trade Center bomber Maimed Abouhalima, Christian Right activist Mike Bray, Hamas leaders Sheik Yassin and Abdul Azis Rantisi, and Sikh political leader Simranjit Singh Mann among others, Juergensmeyer takes us into the mind-set of those who perpetrate and support violent acts. In the process, he helps us understand why these acts are often associated with religious causes and why are occurring with such frequency at this moment in history.
This work places these acts of violence in the context of global political and social changes, and sees them as attempts to empower the cultures of violence that support them. It analyses the economic, ideological, and gender-related dimensions of cultures that embrace a central sacred concept - cosmic war - and employ religion to demonize their enemies.
Juergemsmeyer's narrative is engaging, incisive, and sweeping in scope. He convincingly shows that while in many cases religion supplies the ideology, motivation, and organizational structure for the perpetrators of violent acts, it also carries the possibilities for peace.
This book will be compelling reading for general readers, journalists, and students and scholars of religion, politics, sociology, international studies, and history.
Although much has been written about religious terrorism and violence, few authors have approached these sensitive, topical and indeed globally relevant phenomena in as compelling a manner as Juergensmeyer does. Terror in the Mind of God combines an insightful presentation of qualitative data with a highly convincing analysis. A work of superb scholarship which is likely to make a lasting contribution. - Christian Karner, Religion
Juergensmeyer has written a remarkable book. He has built on his expertise as a scholar of religion in India into an analysis of the intersections of radical and totalizing religious commitment and its use of violence in a broad comparative context. - Paul Courtright, Religious Studies Review
In this important book Juergensmeyer argues that the violence associated with religion is not an aberration but comes from the fundamental structures of the belief system of all major religions. Juergensmeyer has achieved what very few scholars can do with much success, providing an insightful analysis of the function of religion in national and international life while moving in broad sweeps from culture to culture and continent to continent. - Ainslie T Embree, Professor of History, Columbia University
The author f Terror in the Mind of God explores the mindset of a startlingly diverse array of those men - and they are men - who conduct political killings because they believe they can read the mind of God. His book is a brilliant comparative hermeneutics of religious terrorism ..laying out the sources of these violent performances that haunt the public imagination. - Roger Friedland, Pacific Affairs
This dark, enthralling book not only documents the global rise of religious terrorism but seeks to understand the 'odd attraction of religion and violence'. Juergensmeyer is a powerful, skillful writer whose deeply empathetic interviewing techniques allow readers to enter the minds of some of the late 20th century's most feared religious terrorists. - Publishers Weekly
Preface to the South Asian Edition
Preface and Acknowledgments
Terror and God
The Meaning of Religious Terrorism
Seeing inside Cultures of Violence
CULTURES OF VIOLENCE
SOLDIERS FOR CHRIST
Mike Bray and Abortion Clinic Bombings
Eric Robert Rudolph and Timothy McVeigh
Catholics and Protestants in Belfast
Yoel Lerner and the Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
Baruch Goldstein's Attack at the Tomb of the Patriarchs
Meir Kahane and Jewish Justifications for Violence
ISLAM'S "NEGLECTED DUTY"
Mahmud Abouhalima and the World Trade Center Bombing
Abdul Aziz Rantisi and Hamas Suicide Missions
Modern Islamic Justifications for Violence
THE SWORD OF SIKHISM
Simranjit Singh Mann and India's assassinations
Sikh and Hindu justifications for Violence
ARMAGEDDON IN A TOKYO SUBWAY
Takeshi Nakamura and the Aum Shinrikyo Assault
Can Buddhist Violence Be Justified?
THE LOGIC OF RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE
THEATER OF TERROR
Setting the Stage
A Time to Kill
Reaching the Audience
When Symbols Become Deadly
MARTYRS AND DEMONS
The Invention of Enemies
America as Enemy
Satanization and the Stages of Empowerment
Empowering Marginal Men
Why Guys Throw Bombs
Fighting for the Rule of God
THE MIND OF GOD
Interviews and Correspondence