Book Review: Fields of Blood (Armstrong)

Fields of BloodFor many people living in the West, an assumption exists that religion is inherently violent. After all, they say, just look at the evidence: religion has caused wars, the Crusades, terrorism, religion has made people hate and kill others for nothing more than the ideas that were in their heads. According to this view, religions are not only necessarily violent, but they are responsible for much (if not all) of the violence in recorded human history. However, an explanation of the history of violence is not so simple, argues Karen Armstrong in her latest book Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014. 512 pages). According to Armstrong, though violence is an unfortunate reality of human history, evil and warfare are not necessarily religious in nature nor does violence always arise from religion. In the impressive and exhaustive tome that is Fields of Blood, Armstrong traces the relationship between religion and the history of violence, arguing that “We cannot afford oversimplified assumptions about the nature of religion or its role in world.” Continue reading

Books Received: Christmas Break Reading

It’s that time of the semester again: presentations are being given, classes are wrapping up, and papers are due. The cumulative weight of the academic term is bearing down on students and teachers alike. And the holidays are coming, plans to see family are being made, and packages are beginning to arrive in the mail. I’ve recently received a number of packages in the mail, with gifts of a different sort–books to read and review.Books Received 11.21.14

 

Thanks to Fortress Press, Random House, and Thomas Nelson for these books–I’m really looking forward to reading and reviewing them.