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An Interdisciplinary Conversation

by Muriel Schmid

Discussions of the relationship between religion and violence have been on the rise since 9/11. Conversations have also focused on how religion can mediate conflict and help build peace. This volume offers a diversity of approaches to the subject, gathering essays from a cross-section of prominent scholars studying the role of religion in peacemaking.

Contributors from varied backgrounds share perspectives and insights gleaned from history, theory, practice, and case studies. While the authors acknowledge the role of religion in generating conflict, they emphasize the part religion can play in conflict resolution. Addressing the centrality of conflict to the human condition, they recognize the consequent difficulty in teasing out the exact role of religion. Overall, the authors assert the necessity of frank, knowledgeable dialogue to understanding sources of, finding grounds for resolving, and managing conflict. Many of the essayists offer creative solutions for building peace. Employing examples and viewpoints drawn from diverse faith traditions, academic traditions, and cultural backgrounds, contributors seek to foster respectful dialogue and debate by exploring the complex dynamic that interconnects religion, violence, and peace.

Trained as a theologian and Protestant minister in Switzerland, Muriel Schmid founded and directed the program in religious studies at the University of Utah and taught there from 2004 to 2014. Since then, she has been directing programs for faith-based nonprofit organizations.


Table of Contents:

by Thomas N. Maloney

1. Religion’s Long Shadow: A Brief Overview of the Conversation
Muriel Schmid

Part 1: Religions in Dialogue
2. Interfaith Dialogue and Religious Leaders in the Israeli-Palestinian Context: Needs and Limitations
Mohammed Abu-Nimer
3. The Use of Dialogue in Transforming Religious Conflict
David Derezotes

Part 2: Religious Identity and American Perspectives
4. The American Way of Religion and Violence?
John D. Carlson
5. Confronting Historic Injustice
Elaine Enns and Ched Myers

Part 3: Religion and the Defense of Human Rights
6. From Amnesty International to Right to Nonviolence: Theory and Practice in the Arab Spring Context
Chibli Mallat
7. Partnering in Nonviolent Resistance: The Evolution of Christian Peacemaker Teams
Kathleen Kern and Tim Nafziger

Part 4: Christian and Muslim Discussions
8. John Paul II and the “Just War” Doctrine: “Make Peace through Justice and Forgiveness, Not War”
James L. Heft
9. Peace, Conflict, and Conflict Transformation in the Islamic Tradition
Abbas Aroua
10. In the Beginning Was Conflict: Creation
John Paul Lederach

Part 5: Religion and Personal Conflict
11. Contact, Connection, and Community: Religion and Peacemaking
Laura M. Bennett-Murphy

List of Contributors

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