This chapter analyzes a wide range of African customs and legends. It demonstrates that African traditional religion offers notions of a thriving spirit world which provides “sacred warriors” ritualized protections and martial enhancements when defense of community is urgent. African traditional religion remains primarily an African phenomenon and, as a result, is tightly associated with the cultures and realities of the continent. The role of religion in motivating violence and its role in carrying out the violence are addressed. The Lord's Resistance Army has revealed that a spiritual agenda and rhetoric is not enough to win the support of the people. A proliferation of news stories and images from across Africa of persecuted albino communities, victims of ritual sacrifice or magically empowered rebels might give the impression that traditional religion and violence are more intertwined than ever.
This chapter discusses the history of Buddhist traditions and violence, concentrating on the scriptural justifications, symbols, and actual manifestations of violence. It covers Theravada (Path of the Elders), Mahayana (Great Vehicle), and Vajrayana (Diamond Vehicle). Theravada scriptures present on occasion a categorical imperative to avoid violence. Mahayana scriptures condemn violence and hold murder as an unwholesome act (akushala). Vajrayana doctrine is perfused with texts and commentaries that reject the use of violence. The chapter then outlines the elements of violence with regard to war, punishment, and social control. Among the various examples in the scriptures lies one from its founder Siddhattha Gotama, who abandoned his own familial allegiance for the sake of reconciliation.
Stephen J. C. Andes
Revolution divided Roman Catholics during the twentieth century in Latin America. Although Catholic activists formed ranks on all sides of Latin America’s social conflict, revolutionary anticlericalism, land reform, and state education became important wedge issues that kept the Catholic Church hierarchy on the side of counterrevolution. This chapter surveys Latin America’s “Big Three” social revolutions, beginning with Mexico (1910–1940), Cuba at mid-century, and Nicaragua in the late 1970s and 1980s. Catholic political and social allegiances, as well as the similarities across the century provide the focus of much of the chapter. The chapter argues that Latin America’s Cold War added ideological pungency and superpower conflicts to the region’s already festering mix of social exclusion, poverty, and oligarchical hegemony. Some attention is given to the emergence of the liberationist perspective. The result of Latin America’s revolutionary century can be seen in a shift within the moderate group of Catholic leadership, both lay and clerical, toward a more empathetic view of the poor. The development of Liberation Theology, endeavouring to answer endemic issues of poverty and economic inequality, helped focus the Church’s mission in the region after the Second Vatican Council. The chapter ends with a final parting note regarding the election of Pope Francis and how Latin America’s first pope was formed within the region’s revolutionary twentieth century.
This chapter covers the question of organized religions in the complex global modernity. It explores a range of interactions between the rise of cities as key global spaces for economic, political, and cultural conditions, and the rise of religion as a major force in setting where it was not quite so in the twentieth century, which saw the rise of the secularizing state. The chapter develops the urbanizing of war, as it feeds a particularly acute and violent bridging of cities with religious conflicts, and then takes two specific instances of asymmetric war, one in Mumbai and one in Gaza, to investigate the variable and contradictory elements in this bridging. Religion has emerged as one key organizing and legitimating passion, even as it is often not the cause. The Mumbai attacks had succeeded in drawing a conventional inter-state conflict into the specifics and momentary event that was that attack. Gaza displays the limits of power and the limits of war. The chapter makes visible the territorial conflict driving some of the current religious conflict, even as both sides make use of this long history to justify their actions.
Harvey Whitehouse and Brian McQuinn
This chapter investigates one of the most powerful mechanisms by which groups may be formed, inspired, and coordinated—ritual—which may be defined as normative behavior with an irretrievably opaque causal structure. The divergent modes of religiosity (DMR) theory is applied to armed groups engaged in civil conflicts, some of which explicitly incorporate “religious” traditions while others vehemently repudiate supernatural beliefs of any kind. It is argued that the DMR theory can be extended to explain recurrent features of ritual traditions which lack many or all beliefs typically marked “religious.” Unlike many religions, rebel groups tend to display the predictions of only one mode, although this may be an effect of small sample size. It is believed that the DMR theory can possibly clarify broad patterns in intergroup violence and the dynamics of contemporary civil wars.
Almost all Islamic apocalyptic materials are to be found in the hadith, in the form of Muhammadan preaching. They consist of categories of lesser and greater signs, which will precede the apocalypse. The former includes the entire general quarters' socio-political events and economic strife. This article includes the unquestionable fantastic signs of the end time—the arrival of “Dajjal”—an Islamic antichrist, the resurrection of Christ, and the appearance of a messiah. It draws a graphic, fantastic picture of the apocalypse with the mountains moving, the sky rolling back, the moon splitting and the stars falling off. The increasing gulf between Christianity and Islam expanded further, eventually replacing Jesus, the earliest Judeo-Islamic messiah, with the Mahdi, an earthly messiah. Although the figure first emerged among proto-Shiia traditions, it soon assumed pan-Islamic presence. Messianism assumed a local face during the era of global Islamic kingdoms and the anti-colonial struggles.
This article examines Holocaust education, which now takes place across continents and grade-levels and through diverse programs and pedagogies. It argues that research about these efforts and their effects has been underdeveloped, partly because the approaches, objectives, and challenges of Holocaust education necessarily reflect cultural and national differences. While taking these into account, the recurrent themes and practices in Holocaust pedagogy are explored, identifying what is underscored and underplayed. The discussion stresses that the currently predominant context for Holocaust education is the repeated threat of genocidal violence. How Holocaust education and research about it can foster a sense of global citizenship is examined.
Robin Globus and Bron Taylor
This article offers a description of the phenomenon of environmental millennialism. Environmentalism synthesises hard science and religion to formulate millennial themes. Although relevant ecological awareness dawned only in the middle of the twentieth century, man's mastery and manipulation over and of nature, have been inspiring Romantics with apocalyptic millennial visions ever since the nineteenth century. George Perkins Marsh's Man and Nature traces the decline of the Roman Empire to indiscreet use of natural resources and predicted a similar fate at the hands of the Americans. The Romantics asserted hubris and arrogance as the roots of environmental degradation. In a postmodern era, new age environmentalism reflects both pessimism and hope in the environmental degradation induced by imminent catastrophe, and a makes a call to reverse the process. Its ultimate conclusions are indeterminate yet versatile. Environmentalism is activist in nature and secular in approach and critique.
Stephen H. Webb
No theologian has done more to show the political significance of eschatology than Jürgen Moltmann. For Moltmann, the subject matter of all theology should be focused on hope, and eschatology is the doctrine where Christian hope is most explicitly formulated. Moreover, Moltmann thinks that hope, more than love, is the Christian virtue most relevant for politics. If God intervenes at the end of history in order to silence all of our struggles and passions, then history is rendered meaningless. Moltmann identifies this catastrophic version of eschatology with apocalypticism. Moltmann did not repudiate liberation theology's advocacy of socialism as the primary means for advancing the kingdom agenda. In The Coming of God, Moltmann clarified his distinction between eschatology and apocalypticism by addressing the issue of millennialism. This article examines eschatology and politics, focusing on the views of Moltmann and the alternative views of George Weigel, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Oliver O'Donovan. It also discusses providence versus eschatology and Whittaker Chambers's views on the eschatological challenge of Communism, as well as the politics of progressive premillennialism.
This article argues that the Holocaust took place within a distinct normative vision of Europe as a privileged embodiment of certain values, namely the Nazis' authoritarian and antisemitic ‘New European Order’. While postwar European integration was justified with regard to national conflict in the past, the memory of the Holocaust played virtually no role in the initial construction of the European Community. Even when there was increasing awareness of the Judeocide after the 1960s and 1970s, especially in the United States and Germany, neither individual European countries — with the obvious exception of the Federal Republic — nor the European Community as a whole felt compelled to define themselves in relation to it, let alone address their complicity in it. However, this state of affairs changed markedly in the 1990s: partly because of the end of the Cold War, transnational political pressures, and a new emphasis on self-critical memorialization as a mode of legitimacy, European countries confronted their roles in the Holocaust directly and to such an extent that some scholars in fact have begun to speak of a ‘Europeanization of the Holocaust’.
Christopher C. Taylor
This chapter, which concentrates on the violent imaginaries that informed the reports and deeds of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, reviews the perseverance of pre-colonial notions of a sacred king whose “wild sovereignty” and inability to promote the flow of imaana earns him fateful sacrifice. The term imaana denotes a supreme being and, in a more generalized way, a “diffuse, fecundating fluid” of celestial origin whose activity upon livestock, land, and people brought fertility and abundance. As imaana's earthly representative, the king channeled fertility to the rest of humanity. The chapter also discusses symbolism of the sovereign's body and its implicit link with the process of liquid flow. Habyarimana is an inadequate conduit of imaana and thus not a worthy king. He is the antithesis of Ruganzu Ndori.
This article examines the Holocaust's impact on postwar German politics, identity, and international conduct. It shows that a distinctive form of memory of the Holocaust arose in Germany following World War II as a byproduct of total military defeat, Allied occupation, and the restoration of previously suppressed German political traditions. In East Germany, the memory of the suffering and triumph of the Soviet Union loomed far larger in ‘anti-fascist’ political culture than the fate of Europe's Jews. The limits of justice and memory in the two Germanys after 1945 are striking in view of the enormity of the crime of the Holocaust. However, compared with the amnesia and paucity of justice that often have followed other criminal dictatorships, the West German and then unified German confrontation with the crimes of the Nazi era have yielded a distinctive mixture of some truth telling, some judicial reckoning, some excellent historical scholarship, and some compassion for the survivors of the Holocaust.
Martin C. Dean
The Germans created more than 140 ghettos in the Polish territories incorporated into the Reich, approximately 380 in the General Government, and more than 600 in other occupied territories. This article explores the similarities and differences that characterized this ghastly and still incompletely researched aspect of the Holocaust. It discusses patterns of ghettoization, policies and procedures in occupied Poland, and foreboding and resistance among ghettoized Jews.
This article surveys the concept and reality of ‘Greater Germany’. After World War I, the idea of bringing all European Germans together in a single political entity was shared by many people, including Hitler. This ‘folkish’ project entailed the expulsion of the Jews, but detailed directives from above for anti-Jewish policy were lacking when the Nazis first came to power in 1933, so central, regional, and local administrations enjoyed enormous freedom of action. Many mayors and city officials, both National Socialists and non-Party members among them, introduced measures excluding Jews from public facilities. Often extending beyond the few new national anti-Jewish laws, such actions, coordinated by the German Council of Municipalities, were tolerated by the Nazi government. This controlled decentralization of anti-Jewish policy dominated until 1938, when the annexation of Austria prompted a centralization of persecution and the increasing likelihood of war fostered radical new ideas, such as ghettoization and forced labour. Municipalities carried out the former, and the ministerial bureaucracy the latter, as well as the deportations of 1941–1943 that allowed Hitler and his government to realize, if only briefly, their Pan-German dream.
Other groups — for example, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals, and Slavs — were swept up in the maelstrom of the Holocaust, but not for the same reasons as Jews and not with the same consequences. This article shows that despite the absence of guidelines in the ideological writings of the top Nazi leadership, the Nazi regime raised popular German resentments and prejudices toward these groups to the level of policy, thus denying millions of human beings their elemental rights, often even their lives. In none of these cases, however, was the target group considered dangerous or coherent enough to warrant complete or immediate extirpation. This circumstance constitutes a significant difference from policies pursued toward the Jews, a difference that helps to clarify and define the Holocaust itself.
Bassel F. Salloukh and Shoghig Mikaelian
This article examines the development and ideology of Lebanon’s foremost political party, the Hizbullah. It compares and contrasts Hizbullah’s past and present manifestations, and traces its doctrinal, political, and military evolution. It examines how the party reconciled its adherence to the doctrine of wilayat al-faqih with claims that it is a Lebanese movement with a Lebanese identity; its role in post-Ta’if and post-Syria Lebanon; and how it dealt with overlapping domestic and regional struggles that represented both opportunities and threats.
Established in 1948, three years after the defeat of Nazi Germany, the State of Israel remains intrinsically connected to the Holocaust. It influences cultural norms, education, and political decision making. Neither the outlooks of Israelis nor the policies of the state can be understood without regard to the central role that the Holocaust plays in Israel's life. This article explores this pervasive impact on the State of Israel, whose existence has depended significantly on survivors and memories of the Nazi genocide against the Jewish people.
This article introduces the Japanese millennial movements, which came into contact with its western counterparts in the nineteenth century. While periodization has been intrinsic to millennialism, the Japanese had no period-based idea of millennialism, marked by the return of a messiah. Pre-Buddhist Japan did not have much to do with temporal demarcations. The loosest attempt at periodization came from the observation of the harvest seasons. Omoto (1892–1935) and Aum Shirinkyo (1986–1995) are Japan's most notorious tryst with millennialism. While the former, launched by a peasant woman Deguchi Nao, preached the return of the mythical figure “Ushitora Konjin”, to salvage man, and the latter, the most notorious, founded by Asahara Shoko, was involved in various nefarious activities, including the infamous Sarin gas incident on the Tokyo subway (1995). Shoko and several members were arrested and sentenced to death. Post Aum, millennialism lost influence in Japan.
This article argues that the Holocaust not only has become a mainstay of Jewish culture but also has engendered an array of cultural practices across the spectrum of Jewish ideological and geographical diversity. At the same time, the subject has prompted debates over the nature — or even the possibility — of ‘proper’ Holocaust remembrance. Jewish culture is engaged in forging new, definitional narratives of Jewish experience that respond to the Holocaust, and in establishing new cultural practices of Holocaust remembrance. Some of these rest on precedents for Jewish responses to calamity and others on the influence of new authorities, notably Holocaust survivors. Implicated in this discovery process are new forms of engagement between Jews and other religious and national groups, especially as Jews consider the implications of the wide embrace of Holocaust remembrance beyond their own communities, where it often figures as a master moral paradigm.
Identifying Jews solely as victims of the Holocaust, a classification long employed in Holocaust studies, begs more questions than it answers, because this approach tends to underplay the active and even proactive stance of Jews who at every turn did what they could to defend and preserve their lives. This article surveys the multiple ways in which Jews confronted the Holocaust. Following background discussion about Judaism and modern Jewish history, it examines how Jews in the 1930s and 1940s comprehended and reacted to the Nazi onslaught, looking at Jewish leadership within and outside of Europe, ways of perseverance and resistance, and modes of documenting the Jewish experience. The article concludes with an account of Jewish losses and the Holocaust's impact on Jewish culture and peoplehood.