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Scripture and Violence

Scripture and Violence

Scripture and Violence Book Cover

In the public sphere, it is often assumed that acts of violence carried out by Muslims are inspired by their religious commitment and encouraged by the Qur’an. Some people express similar concerns about the scriptures and actions of Christians and Jews. Might they be right? What role do scriptural texts play in motivating and justifying violence in these three traditions?

The Scripture and 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

An initial research publication from the project is Snyder and Weiss, eds., Scripture and Violence (London: Routledge, 2020), 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 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.

In 2019, Dr Giles Waller, Dr Weiss, and the CIP team organized several Scripture and Violence training events in collaboration with partners including the Senior Faith in Leadership Programme, the Rose Castle Foundation, and Coexist House (read more here and here).

Building on the success of those events, the team is now developing a variety of online and print resources so that a greater number of people can access Scripture and Violence training. Some of the resources will be for individual use, while others will be for use at group events. 

Resources will be available at beginning later this year.

Get Involved

The project coordinators are currently seeking religious and interfaith organizations to help pilot test Scripture and Violence training materials, at online or in-person workshops. If your church, mosque, synagogue, interfaith group, or student religious society is interested in holding such a workshop, please contact .