In the Name of Heaven: 3,000 Years of Religious Persecution

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Prometheus Books, 2007 - Religion - 269 pages
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Religion—the source of inspiration, hope, and basic values for most of humanity throughout history—has also been the motive for atrocious persecutions from antiquity to the present. In the Name of Heaven is a wide-ranging historical survey of religious persecution encompassing three millennia and a great diversity of cultures worldwide.
Defining religious persecution as "repressive actions initiated or condoned by authorities against their own people on religious grounds," author Mary Jane Engh begins with ancient Egypt, followed by the biblical history of Israel with its accounts of divinely ordered genocides and capital punishment for worshipers of other deities.
Chapters are devoted to ancient Greece (Socrates, Alcibiades, and Aristotle, among others, clashed with the religious establishment); the Roman Empire (persecutions of Jews, Christians, and Manichaeans, and the later persecution of pagans and heretics by a Christianized Rome); the Islamic Empire (persecutions of polytheists and dissident Muslims); and medieval and Reformation Europe (where Protestants and Catholics persecuted each other and both persecuted heretics).
The twenty-two chapters also cover Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific area. In an epilogue Engh reviews the new forms of religious persecution from the 20th century to the present—from major genocides and militant forms of polytheism to persecution of all religion by atheistic governments.
Complete with references to further reading, this sobering but factually indisputable survey of religion’s dark side enlightens while serving as a warning for the future.

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In the Name of Heaven: 3000 Years of Religious Persecution

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This timely work considers the reality of religious persecution over the span of 3000 years of human history. Although this is a monumental task, poet and novelist Engh is adept at naming, describing ... Read full review


Greece Fifth and Fourth Centuries BCE
Judea Second Century BCE

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About the author (2007)

Mary Jane Engh (Garfield, WA) is the author of three novels, a children's novel, shorter fiction, articles, and poems. For more than a decade, she has concentrated on historical research and is currently coauthoring a reference work on ancient Roman women.

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