Book on Holy War in World History

David Kalivas's picture

New Publication Announcement on behalf of Alfred J. Andrea, Professor Emeritus, University of Vermont:

Sanctified Violence: Holy War in World History (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co., 2021)

Holy war, namely sanctified violence in service to a deity, a spirit, or a religious ideology, has been part of the human experience for at least 5000 years. Over those five millennia, it has been global extent and has never been confined to one religion or one set of religious practices and beliefs. Almost every religion or form of religious expression, from animism to Zoroastrianism, has engaged in holy warfare, and holy wars have taken multiple forms, from Asmat headhunting to Yellow Turban Rebellion in China. This dual reality, or theory as some would insist, lies at the heart of Alfred J. Andrea and Andrew Holt’s Sanctified Violence: Holy War in World History. Proceeding from that base, they propose a four-part model as a medium for cataloging and explaining holy war. From their perspective, there are four types of holy war: ritualistic holy wars; wars of conquest and conversion in service to a deity or sprit; wars in defense of sacred space, holy objects, the faith, or coreligionists; and millenarian wars.

There have been many in depth historical studies of ancient Near Eastern holy wars, crusades, jihads, and other types of sanctified conflict. Yet, before the appearance of this book, none has approached holy war from the perspective of world history or attempted to categorize the multiple forms of holy war that have played such important roles in human history. The authors took on these challenges and did so in a manner to underscore their vision that their efforts are a prolegomenon to debate and further research and a call to others to bring their expertise to bear on elements of this model.

An essay on the origin of the book is available at: