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Religion, Empire, and Torture – The Case of Achaemenian Persia, with a Postscript on Abu Ghraib - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Religion, Empire, and Torture: The Case of Achaemenian Persia, with a Postscript on Abu Ghraib

Bruce Lincoln


How does religion stimulate and feed imperial ambitions and violence? Recently this question has acquired new urgency, and this book approaches the problem via a classic but little-studied case: Achaemenian Persia. The book identifies three core components of an imperial theology that have transhistorical and contemporary relevance: dualistic ethics, a theory of divine election, and a sense of salvific mission. Beyond this, he asks, how did the Achaemenians understand their place in the cosmos and their moral status in relation to others? Why did they feel called to intervene in the struggle b ... More

Keywords: religion, imperial ambitions, violence, Achaemenian Persia, imperial theology, dualistic ethics, divine election, salvific mission, moral status, Persians

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2007 Print ISBN-13: 9780226481968
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226481913.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Bruce Lincoln, author