Religion and Violence (links)
(3 semester hours, RECU 65033/85033/95033)
Spring 2019, Brite Divinity School, Moore 309, Wednesday, 1:00-3:30

Instructor: Charles Bellinger 817-257-7668



Schedule: (reading assignments should be completed by the date next to which they are listed)

This syllabus represents current plans that are subject to change. Such changes, communicated by the instructor, are not unusual and should be expected.



reading assignments

writing assignments

Week 1

Jan. 16

Sam Harris,


Ernest Becker, excerpts from Escape from Evil




Week 2

Jan. 23

Alice Miller, excerpts from For Your Own Good

Mark Juergensmeyer, excerpts from Terror in the Mind of God

C. Bellinger, review of Juerg.,

Wm. Cavanaugh, "Does Religion Cause Violence?"


Kenneth Burke, "The Rhetoric of Hitler's Battle"


Bellinger, “Kenneth Burke and the Theory of Scapegoating”



Week 3

Jan. 30

Sherman Jackson, “Jihad and the Modern World,”

Matthew Wilkinson, excerpts from The Genealogy of Terror, 50-77, 201-209

Ruth Stein, excerpts from For Love of the Father, 21-37, 54-60, 143-147

response so far

Week 4

Feb. 6

Minister’s Week, no class

Week 5

Feb. 13

Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death, 33-105; (1-32 optional)

excerpts from Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

A Very Short Life of SK


Week 6

Feb. 20

Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death, 109-165

Bellinger, excerpt from The Genealogy of Violence

excerpts from Works of Love

response to Kierkegaard

Week 7

Feb. 27

René Girard, The Girard Reader, 1-93

Petra Steinmair-Posel, “Original Sin, Grace, and Positive Mimesis”

Charles Taylor, “Notes on the Sources of Violence: Perennial and Modern”


Week 8

March 6

René Girard, The Girard Reader, 97-193

James Alison, “Creation in Christ”

Week 9

March 13

Spring Break, no class


Week 10

March 20

René Girard, The Girard Reader, 194-288

Glenn Hughes, “Balanced and Imbalanced Consciousness,” [summary of Eric Voegelin]

response to Girard

Week 11

March 29

Jonathan Sacks, Not In God’s Name, 3-105

Simone Weil, “Human Personality”

Week 12

April 3

Jonathan Sacks, Not In God’s Name, 107-175

Chantal Delsol, excerpts from The Unlearned Lessons of the Twentieth Century


Week 13

April 10

Jonathan Sacks, Not In God’s Name, 177-268

Martin Buber, The Way of Man, According to the Teaching of Hasidism

response to Sacks

Week 14

April 17

Reinhold  Niebuhr, “The Bombing of Germany” 

John Ford, “The Morality of Obliteration Bombing” read from p. 158 “As to obliteration …” to p. 162 “… gravely immoral.”


Clough and Stiltner, Faith and Force, 1-107


Week 15

April 24

Clough and Stiltner, Faith and Force, 140-245

response to Faith and Force

Week 16

May 1

no class, reading week

Week 17

May 8

final paper, 10-12 pages