With the recent terror attacks in London, violence escalating in North Korea, and the extraordinary amount of persecution of the Church happening right now, Roots of Violence offers food for thought and has caused many once again to consider religious violence. It asks the question "Why are Christians violent"--and looks at this issue from an unlikely perspective.
This work is important because it takes an age-old question, religious violence, and gives us answers for 2017. In times like these - this intellectual material is vital.
Krister wrote a series of talks in the 1980's on the edges of religious violence and how they often come from concepts of salvation. He believed that the Biblical understanding of salvation as victory was problematic, and proposed instead salvation as nirvana and salvation as shalom. He also proposed that we undergo searches through Scripture for images of peace, of reconciliation, of light. This thought is relevant to conflicts today.
Stendahl, as the dean of Harvard and the Lutheran Bishop of Stockholm, has his own authority as one of the wisest theologians of history. This book has its own advantage too, because it is funny, pithy, and a quick read.
When Krister offered the talks in California, Imam Muzammil Siddiqi and Rabbi Henri Front worked with him. Today, Imam Dr. Siddiqi and Brandeis Professor Marc Brettler have resumed this work, adding perspectives on concepts of salvation from Islam and Judaism.