Source: (2004) New York: Fordham University Press.

Throughout history, religion and violence have often been linked. Numerous examples may come to mind: the entrance of the people of Israel into Canaan; Islamic conquests in the Mediterranean region; the Crusades; the religious wars of the Reformation; recent conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, between Jews and Muslims, and between various groups within Islam; and more. For many people, especially in the Enlightenment in Western culture and its heirs, the link has led to the argument that religion should be excluded from the public sphere as a force. So writes James Heft near the beginning of the introduction to this volume of essays he has edited. However, it is clear, he continues, that religion cannot be relegated to the sphere of the private; religion still affects public life and global events. Against this background, a dialogue was convened at the University of Southern California in May 2003. Representatives from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam met to discuss this theme: “Beyond Violence: Religious Sources of Social Transformation. The aim was to explore ways in which religion can and does foster peaceful social transformation through reconciliation, peace, and justice. This book consists of chapters based on major presentations by various authors at the conference. Topics include sources of violence; hope and fear in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; peace and mercy with respect to God; Judaism on violence and reconciliation; religion as a force for reconciliation and peace; and Christian resources for nonviolent peace-building.