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Commands to kill, to commit ethnic cleansing, to institutionalize segregation, to hate and fear other races and religions—all are in the Bible, and all occur with a far greater frequency than in the Qur’an. But fanaticism is no more hard-wired in Christianity than it is in Islam. In Laying Down the Sword, “one of America’s best scholars of religion” (The Economist) explores how religions grow past their bloody origins, and delivers a fearless examination of the most violent verses of the Bible and an urgent call to read them anew in pursuit of a richer, more genuine faith.
Christians cannot engage with neighbors and critics of other traditions—nor enjoy the deepest, most mature embodiment of their own faith—until they confront the texts of terror in their heritage. Philip Jenkins identifies the “holy amnesia” that, while allowing scriptural religions to grow and adapt, has demanded a nearly wholesale suppression of the Bible’s most aggressive passages, leaving them dangerously dormant for extremists to revive in times of conflict. Jenkins lays bare the whole Bible, without compromise or apology, and equips us with tools for reading even the most unsettling texts, from the slaughter of the Canaanites to the alarming rhetoric of the book of Revelation.
Laying Down the Sword presents a vital framework for understanding both the Bible and the Qur’an, gives Westerners a credible basis for interaction and dialogue with Islam, and delivers a powerful model for how a faith can grow from terror to mercy.
I have read some of Jenkins other books and find this one less helpful.Published 4 months ago by Donald E. Melchert
This book does not exactly deal with the Bible as written. More precisely it is an interesting and useful examination of "dark passages"--especially as found in Deuteronomy and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by jfd
As a Catholic, I have a basic disagreement with both Fundamentalists on the one hand and Mr. Jenkins on the other as the principles for understanding the Bible: I accept neither... Read morePublished 16 months ago by GKC1951
Arrived in time and was the topic of a class. Especially useful if one has not ever studied the Bible in an academic way.Published 17 months ago by DorothyR
In my opinion this is one of Dr. Jenkins best books. I've read a lot of his books; he is my favorite non-fiction writer. Dr. Read morePublished 20 months ago by James Watrous
This book is fascinating. It exposes the dark underside of Judeo-Christian communities in terms of their readiness and even eagerness to invoke biblical passages of holy genocide... Read morePublished on November 7, 2013 by Michael
I was initially frustrated because I expected an immediate discussion about the Bible's violent verses, and instead the book seemed to digress a lot. Read morePublished on August 16, 2013 by Sandra L. Etemad
Jenkins has an agenda, and it's not to expose the truth. It's to sell books. This is another sad example of an author more interested in selling his book than in presenting the... Read morePublished on April 23, 2012 by Thomas