Religion and Violence in Christian Traditions

Lloyd Steffen

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199759996
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Religion and Violence in Christian Traditions


This chapter investigates the theological justifications for violence within the sources of the Christian traditions, and also reports the symbolic representations of violence in the history of the tradition. It then presents a consideration of some specific issues that have provoked Christian people, to condone or even resort to violence while believing themselves faithful to Christian teachings and values. The chapter introduces the theological justifications of St. Paul, Jesus of Nazareth, just war, Crusades, inquisition and heresy trials, and missionary movements. Christian people have acted in ways opposed to violence, and have also warranted violence over the centuries by referring to scripture and by developing theological interpretations. Additionally, they preserve connection to its history of involvement of violence in a variety of symbols, rites, and rituals. In general, Christian people are moral agents who have to make decisions about how to act and how to act religiously.

Keywords: theological justifications; Christian traditions; violence; Christian people; Christian teachings; symbols; rites; rituals; St. Paul; Jesus of Nazareth

Article.  12531 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Christianity

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