Guest / Limited Access /
Reviews

/

The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade
Our Rating
5 Stars - Masterpiece
Book Title
The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade
Author
Publisher
HarperOne
Release Date
April 29, 2014
Pages
448
Price
$18.96

This summer marks 100 years since the guns of August 1914 signaled the eruption of an unprecedented global battle. Over the next four years, some two dozen countries would send more than 60 million soldiers to fight. When the guns at last fell silent in November 1918, 10 million men had fallen, and millions more were permanently maimed. Some 7 million civilians had also died, and the physically broken and psychologically scarred were beyond counting.

Shocked by its magnitude, its duration, and above all by its staggering human cost, contemporaries labeled the conflict simply the "Great War." In a historical tour de force, Baylor University's Philip Jenkins demonstrates that participants viewed it as a holy war as well. The story Jenkins faithfully retells in The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade (HarperOne) is both engaging and disturbing.

Jenkins's central point is that we cannot comprehend World War I until we come to grips with its essential religious dimension. Religion is central to "understanding the war, to understanding why people went to war, what they hoped to achieve through war, and why they stayed at war." Just as important were the long-term religious consequences. The war triggered "a global religious revolution," Jenkins argues, and in the process "drew the world's religious map as we know it today."

'Hell against Heaven'

"Holy war" is a loaded phrase, and Jenkins is careful to define what he means by it. It goes far beyond what theologians such as Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas meant by "just war." Just-war doctrine says that, in a fallen world, as a last resort one fallen nation may ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Browse All Book Reviews By:
Previous
  • How the Tough Mudder Shaped My SoulSubscriber Access Only
  • The Reality of Ruth and Billy GrahamSubscriber Access Only
  • Next
    Read These NextSee Our Latest
    RecommendedNew Movies to Highlight Friendship Between Creators of Narnia and Middle Earth
    New Movies to Highlight Friendship Between Creators of Narnia and Middle Earth
    As Hollywood works its way through dramatizing the fantasy novels, several hope to tell a more historical tale of real-world friendship.
    TrendingIntroducing the Bible! Now with Less!
    Introducing the Bible! Now with Less!
    Delete the chapter and verse numbers. Kill all the notes. Make it one column. Make a million bucks.
    Editor's PickNo Such Thing as 'Other People's Problems'
    No Such Thing as 'Other People's Problems'
    How the church can help develop a 'we' culture for the next generation.
    Comments
    Christianity Today
    The Forgotten Side of the First World War
    hide thisJune June

    In the Magazine

    June 2014

    To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.