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Book reviews >

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What are the effects of violence on those who perpetrate it and on its victims? Can there be such a thing as a just war? These and other questions are discussed by S. Wesley Ariarajah in his Axis of Peace: Christian faith in times of violence and war. The author encourages people of faith to work against terror at every level (World Council of Churches Publications, £8.40; 2-8254-1394-1).

Does the Bible Justify Violence? is a short reflection on the links between violence and the sacred. John Collins looks at the ways in which the Bible appears to endorse a violent approach, and addresses the questions of interpretation which are thrown up as a result (Fortress Press, £3.99; 0-8006-3689-9).

Also on this theme is René Girard's Violence and the Sacred . It was originally published in French in 1972, and an English translation followed five years later. Now it is reissued by Continuum, which is making available a series of important theological works (£11.99 ( £10.80); 0-8264-7718-6). Girard looks at violence in history, literature and myth, arguing that it is at the heart of sacred things.

In 2002, Kenizé Mourad went to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and talked to ordinary people who were living in those areas. In Our Sacred Land: Voice of the Palestine-Israel conflict, he tells us their stories (Oneworld Publications, £10.99 ( £9.90); 1-85168-357-7).

The Historic Peace Churches met in June 2001, which was six months into the Decade to Overcome Violence. Their conversations are documented in a collection of essays entitled Seeking Cultures of Peace, and this has been edited by Fernando Enns, Scott Holland, and Ann Riggs (World Council of Churches Publications, £12.90; 2-8254-1402-6).

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