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Theology and Violence: Why the Arian Controversy Became Murderous

An issue still not well understood is why disagreements about religious doctrine sometimes become lethal.  Examining the historic fourth-century controversy about the divinity of Christ (the Arian Controversy) helps us to understand the social and psychological causes of more recent campaigns of religious violence in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Richard E. Rubenstein was educated at Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar) and Harvard Law School, where he received the J.D. degree in 1963.  He is presently University Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at George Mason University.  Dr. Rubenstein was previously the Director of GMU's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution; he is also the senior member of that School's faculty.  Dr. Rubenstein is the author of 8 books on violent conflict and methods of resolving it, including three books on religious conflict: When Jesus became God (1999); Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages (2003); and Thus Saith the Lord: the Revolutionary Moral Vision of Isaiah and Jeremiah (2006).  His most recent book is Reasons to Kill: why Americans choose War (Bloomsbury, 2010).

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