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Publisher's Summary

In a world where violence in the name of religion can impact so many other people's lives, it's critical to understand the intersection between religion and violence. What's required is not to see religion as inherently violent but to recognize that the violence associated with religious groups and communities is worth exploring and interrogating.

In these 24 lectures, embark on a global, multidisciplinary investigation of religious violence. Delivered with honesty and sensitivity to the diversity of spiritual beliefs, these lectures examine the roots of this phenomenon and guide you toward more informed ways of thinking about it.

You'll consider how faiths like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism view concepts like human sacrifice, martyrdom, and penitence; the ways religious violence can be directed toward specific races and genders; concepts like heresy, witch hunting, and demonology; and more. You'll probe complex ideas and concepts that will help you fashion your own interpretations, such as "religion", "Other-ing", and "cult." And you'll burrow deep into both current issues relating to religious violence - as well as their historical and conceptual sources.

Professor Bivins doesn't take a clinical or pessimistic approach to the material. Rather, he's an engaging on-screen presence with a fierce open-mindedness to the varieties of religious experience. He's also optimistic about what we can learn from a comprehensive study of religious violence. And at the individual level, it starts with approaching the topic in a way that's immersive, insightful, thorough, and important for our times.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2018 The Great Courses (P)2018 The Teaching Company, LLC

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A brave and unflinching set of lectures

Professor Bivins offers a calm, well-informed and thoroughly rational analysis of the nexus between religion and violence. Unlike some other Great Courses lecturers, he engages his audience in a mature and open discussion of this most sensitive, politically freighted topic. This is not your typical 101-level survey. Most important of all, Professor Bivins provides a compelling moral rationale for the course: we cannot address the problem of religiously inspired violence unless we first understand its antecedents and the mindset of the actors involved. Highly recommended.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful