God of Battles: Holy Wars of Christianity and Islam

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Princeton University Press, 1997 - History - 364 pages
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What makes a war "holy," and who decides that it is? God of Battles examines the origins of holy war, and how it affects the modern world. Peter Partner shows how the ideal of the crusade, "God's War," came to permeate medieval Christendom, and how it influenced later Western societies, especially in their attitudes to colonialism. Above all, this book examines the reasons behind the fear that Islamic fundamentalism excites in the West. From the pre-Christian era to the Gulf War, this book places the jihad of the East and the Crusade of the West in their historical context, and warns against allowing crusading war propaganda to affect our judgments today.

 

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Contents

Holy Wars of the Ancient Near East
1
Jewish Sects in the Hellenistic World
14
Islam and War
31
Christianity and War
59
Muslim and Christian Holy War
85
Two Societies Organized for Holy War
110
Outside the Holy Wars
133
Holy War Colonies and Conversion
160
Modernity and Political Islam
232
Faith Government and Dissent
254
Western Dreams Memories and Fears
276
Assumed Identities
297
GLOSSARY
313
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE
317
NOTES
331
READING LIST
347

Decay and Transformation of Holy War
185
Holy War and the European Empires
209

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About the author (1997)

Peter Partner was born in Little Heath, England on July 15, 1924. He went to Magdalen College, Oxford, to read law, but quickly switched to history. He worked as a journalist for the Observer in Rome and the Middle East. He started teaching history at the private school Winchester College in 1955 and stayed there for 30 years. He was a historian of medieval and Renaissance Rome as well as the Middle East. He wrote numerous books during his lifetime including A Short Political Guide to the Arab World, The Lands of St. Peter, Renaissance Rome 1500-1559, The Pope's Men, and God of Battles. He died on January 17, 2015 at the age of 90.

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