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The Genealogy of Violence: Reflections on Creation, Freedom, and Evil Hardcover – April 5, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0195134988 ISBN-10: 0195134982 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195134982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195134988
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,159,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Bellinger's sensitive and insightful book points toward an overarching theory of the fundamental causes and dynamics of violence"--Journal of the American Academy of Religion


"...this book is readable, powerful, and prophetic. It will challenge Christians to speak not only to the spiritual situation of indviduals, but also to the sinful systems of violence in which we find ourselves now more than ever."--Word & World


"[D]emonstrates convincingly that Kierkegaard is a rich-and largely overlooked-resource for understanding the roots of violence."--Journal of American Scientific Affiliation


About the Author

Charles Bellinger is Theological Librarian and Assistant Professor of Theology and Ethics, Brite Divinity School, Texas.

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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Written by Matthew Taylor
Charles Bellinger's book joins a very impressive body of work applying the "theological anthropology" of Rene Girard to the problem of human evil and, particularly, violence. Bellinger brings Soren Kierkegaard into the Girardian conversation, arguing that Kierkegaard is an indispensable thinker concerning the roots of human violence, though seldom recognized as such, and that his thought is fully compatible with Girard's. Bellinger's book is rewarding and probably essential reading for Girardians. It serves as a good introduction to Kierkegaard to those who (like myself) have badly neglected him.
Bellinger brings Girard's and Kierkegaard's to bear particularly on the most horrible atrocities of the twentieth century, Hitler's and Stalin's. Bellinger overviews some well-known theories of violence to explain these mass murders. While rejecting none of the theories completely, Bellinger nonetheless tries them and find them greatly wanting. Since violence is the outward manifestation of a moral and spiritual disease that infects all of us, Bellinger maintains that it cannot be adequately approached through the morally neutral language and categories of the social sciences. Theology is not just helpful here; it is indispensable.
Bellinger argues, with Kierkegaard, that a violence-prone orientation toward our fellow human beings is rooted in our disordered orientation to God. God wants to cooperate with us in a continual act of loving creation out of the inner void of our being (hence the subtitle of Bellinger's book). Rejecting God's creative work, literally fleeing from it in terror (angst), we opt to perform our own.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Marr on July 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Bellinger is primarily a follower of Soren Kierkegaard and he offers compelling arguments for why SK is particularly helpful in understanding the psychology of human violence. He puts SK in dialogue with several 20th century thinkers, but most especially dialogues with Rene Girard,with references to Schwager, Alison, Bailie, etc.
SK has been associated so strongly with the existentialists that it is hard to get people to adjust to a new way of pegging SK, but this book is a great help. He gives a strong argument for the so-called individualism of SK being, in reality, a trenchant social critique. The "individual" for SK is NOT individualistic. Rather, such a one is grounded in GOD rather than grounded in the crowd. That is a fundamental human choice.
SK experienced first-hand the bitter rewards of the being himself a victim as a leading periodical in Copenhagen, the "Corsair," launched a scapegoating campaign against SK that ecame so virulent that it became impossible for him to walk the streets without being surrounded by mockers.
This book is challenging,but clearly argued. Hihly recommended to anyone interested in understanding violence from a theological viewpoint.
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The Genealogy of Violence: Reflections on Creation, Freedom, and Evil
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