29 Jan


Category: What We're Reading
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 01/29/03

Bibliographic sources from the liner notes of various editions of the Journal.

A guest on Volume 55 of the Journal, John Kelsay's Islam and War: A Study in Comparative Ethics (Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993) is a comparison of the Western tradition of just war and the Islamic tradition of war. In this book, Kelsay argues that generally, in the just-war tradition, religion is never a just cause for war, whereas in Islam, religion is the only just cause. Kelsay also co-edited (with James Turner Johnson) Cross, Crescent, and Sword: The Justification and Limitation of War in Western and Islamic Tradition (Greenwood, 1990). See also Human Rights and the Conflicts of Culture: Western and Islamic Perspectives on Religious Liberty (University of South Carolina Press, 1988), co-edited by Kelsay, David Little, Abdulaziz A. Sachedina, and Frederick Denny. Bernard Lewis's The Political Language of Islam (Chicago, 1991), traces the development of Islamic political philosophy from the very beginnings to the present. Lewis is also the author of The Shaping of the Modern Middle East (Oxford, 1994), The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam (Oxford, 1987), Islam and the West (Oxford, 1994), and The Multiple Identities of the Middle East (Schocken, 2001). Of this last book, the review in the Library Journal noted; "His new work should be required reading for all Westerners who have any serious interest in understanding how the history and religion of this dynamic area have led to very different interpretations of such traditional Western notions as nation, citizenship, and patriotism. Lewis ably communicates the primary importance of Islam in forming the core personal identity for area Muslims." [Posted June 2002, ALG]

Bernard Lewis discusses the similarities and differences between Islam and Western Civilization on Volume 59 of the Journal; his book What Went Wrong: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response is published by Oxford University Press (2001). Bat Ye'or has researched extensively the history of the treatment of Christians and Jews in Islamic societies and documented the effects of the formal discrimination which conferred dhimmi status on Jews and Christians. Her books include The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude (Fairleigh Dickinson, 1996) and Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide (Fairleigh Dickinson, 2001). Rudolph Peters has assembled an anthology of texts documenting the understanding of the idea of jihad in his book Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam: A Reader (Marcus Wiener Publishers, 1996). Daniel Pipes has recently observed (in "Jihad and the Professors," Commentary, November 2002, available on-line) that many academic scholars of Islam have been publicly denying the military connotations of jihad. Pipes, a veteran Middle East scholar, is also the author of the recent study Militant Islam Reaches America (Norton, 2002). Stephen Schwartz's Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror (Doubleday, 2002) looks at the rise of Wahhabism, the movement which originated in the eighteenth century in an effort to purify Islam from various contaminants (Schwartz discusses this history on Volume 61 of the Journal). Two books that examine Islam more in the light of Christian apologetics than politics are Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross (Baker, updated 2002), by Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb, and Islam at the Crossroads: Understanding the Beliefs, History, and Conflicts (Baker, 2002), by Paul A. Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Roberta Green. [Posted January 2003, ALG]