War Sermons

Eds, Gilles Teulié & Laurence Lux-Sterritt, War Sermons Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009 ISBN (10)1-4438-0546-7, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-0546-9

This collection of essays ponders upon the intricate relations between the military and the spiritual from the Middle Ages to the present day. In order to analyse human attitudes towards conflicts, it is necessary to dwell upon the nebulous area where the religious and political spheres interweave so tightly that they become virtually impossible to distinguish. Indeed, despite remaining the responsibility of the state, the political decision to go to war depends heavily on some spiritual underpinning since, without a moral, ethical, or religious justification, it stands for gratuitous violence and is often equated with aggression. Situated as they are at the intersection of religious and political awareness, war sermons are an invaluable source of information regarding societies in times of conflict. Indeed, whether favourable or hostile to the waging of war, preachers participated in the edification of parishioners’ opinion. The writing, delivering or reading of sermons shaped the mental process of peoples who sought their ministers’ moral and spiritual guidance in times of crisis. This collection of essays offers contributions to the renewed debate on the function of war, its representations and its rhetoric as generators of identity.