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Fields of Religious Interpretation: The Bhagavad Gita and War

Introductory lecture to a series examining ways in which religious leaders, movements, and discourses have (1) promoted violent conflict, aggression, and oppression; (2) contributed to nonviolence, peacebuilding, and liberation of the oppressed; and (3) reflected and argued over these matters. An overarching theme is a view of religions as fields of interpretation. No religion is essentially violent or peaceful. Intricately connected to the world around them, religions become what they become through interpretation, argument, and action.  Prof. Hess, a specialist in religions of India, will take as an exemplary text the Hindu Bhagavad Gita, showing how it has been interpreted by some as promoting just war on a large scale and by others as teaching complete nonviolence.
Part of a winter quarter lecture series and course, “Religion, Violence, Nonviolence. ”  For full series or other info, contact



Tuesday, January 5, 2016. 07:30 PM


260-113 (Pigott Hall)


Department of Religious Studies




Free and open to the public