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Is Religion Killing Us? Is Religion Killing Us?
Violence in the Bible and the Quran

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer
ISBN 0826417795 (9780826417794)
Continuum, 2005
Paperback, £9.99

Category: Islamic Studies

Hardback (2003), ISBN 1563384086, £14.99: amazon.co.uk | eden.co.uk

This book will - or certainly should! - disturb you. Taking a no-holds-barred approach to the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Nelson-Pallmeyer reviews the violence-of-God traditions that, by his reading, predominate in both the Bible and the Quran. Monotheism, he argues, has evolved a deity who succeeds by superior violence, thus legitimating male tendencies towards violence. Terrorists aren't twisting the texts: they're taking them at face value — and it's no good Christians pretending the New Testament presents a better way: the violent God of ancient Israel remains as much in evidence throughout Christian scripture in threats of hellfire, damnation and other portraits of divine wrath.

The issues Nelson-Pallmeyer raises need to be dealt with: we ignore them at our peril; but rather than tackle the difficult passages as a part of the sacred text, his approach is to deny their authenticity. To genuinely get to grips with the problems presented by scriptural portraits of divine violence — whether in Judaeo-Christian or Islamic context — needs a more integrated and balanced hermeneutic than this.

Phil Groom, April 2004

Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.

From a review previously published in Christian Marketplace Magazine, reused here by kind permission.
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