Roots of Violence: Creating Peace through Spiritual Reconciliation
Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2016
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Reviewed by Sara Olson Dean
I first encountered Krister Stendahl’s work as a seminary student about fifteen years ago. He was a theologian, a biblical scholar, and a church member; for a time, he served as the Bishop of the Church of Sweden. Stendahl is probably best known for rethinking the traditional Lutheran (and Augustinian) reading of Paul, which assumed that Paul was primarily concerned with alleviating individual guilt with the good news of justification by faith. Stendahl was confident that while this was Martin Luther’s concern, it wasn’t Paul’s. He saw something very different in Paul’s writings: a concern for how both Jews and Gentiles might be brought together into the Body of Christ. All along, his scholarship has yielded rich insight for how people of different faiths might relate to one another. I was delighted, then, to learn that a new Stendahl work was being published: Roots of Violence: Creating Peace through Spiritual Reconciliation. I anticipated that it would contain Stendahl’s trademark wit, creativity, and theological acumen. I was not disappointed.