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Teaching Religion and Violence$
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Brian K. Pennington

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372427.001.0001

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Cities of Gold

Cities of Gold

Teaching Religion and Violence through “Sacred” Space

(p.167) Chapter 7 Cities of Gold
Teaching Religion and Violence

Aaron W. Hughes

Oxford University Press

In order to examine the larger theme of religion and violence, this essay describes a course its author regularly teaches on the theme of contested space that is constructed as “sacred” by practitioners of different religious traditions. It focuses on Jerusalem, claimed by rival groups who identify with either Islam or Judaism, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The course objective is threefold: (1) to get students to think about critical theory and method in religion by using concrete examples; (2) to prod them to think about religion as a humanly constructed phenomenon as opposed to a divinely given one; and (3) to get them to reflect critically on how the “religious” intersects with phenomena from which it is customarily differentiated: the political, the ideological, the economic, etc. The present chapter explores these theoretical issues and their practical consequences as they revolve around this specific course, followed by a discussion of the author’s reasons for teaching it.

Keywords:   Islam, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Jerusalem, Judaism, theory and method, September 11, 2001

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