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Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme

 
Scripture and Violence Book Cover

The Scripture & Violence Project

Conflict, war, and violence are common in the world today, and many people think religion and scripture fan the flames. But are they right?

The Scripture & Violence Project is an academic research and impact project focused on illuminating the complex relationship between scriptural texts and real-world acts of violence.

Academic Research

The initial research publication from the project is Snyder and Weiss, eds., Scripture and Violence (London: Routledge, 2021), edited by Cambridge researchers Dr Julia Snyder and Dr Daniel Weiss. With contributions from a diverse group of scholars of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, the book addresses a variety of issues, including the prevalent modern tendency to express more concern about other people’s texts and violence than one’s own, to treat interpretation and application of scriptural passages as self-evident, and to assume that the actions of religious people are directly motivated by what they read in scriptures.

Public Engagement and Impact

Public engagement and impact are also key components of the project. The impact side of the Scripture & Violence Project aims to equip people to grapple with scriptures that seem to condone or encourage violence – from their own tradition or other traditions – and to respond to concerns in wider society about these scriptures and the religious traditions that consider them sacred. The project focuses on Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions, seeking to undo common prejudices and misunderstandings.

Resources for the general public are available at www.scriptureandviolence.org. These include short introductory videos on a variety of topics, and and discussion guides for use at group events.

History

The Scripture & Violence Project emerged out of a CIP-sponsored academic initiative called Scriptural Reasoning in the University.

Two grants from the Arts and Humanities Impact Fund at the University of Cambridge have been pivotal for the development of resources for the general public. The first grant allowed Dr Giles Waller, Dr Weiss, and the CIP team to host events together with partners from Faith in Leadership, the Rose Castle Foundation, and Coexist House in 2019 (read more here and here). The second grant funded the development of the initial resources now available at www.scriptureandviolence.org, and allowed for pilot testing together with partner organisations in the UK and the Netherlands in 2020-2021.

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