What does it mean to practice non-violence in the world, and what do the world’s spiritual traditions have to say about it? What are the obstacles to living a non-violent life, and where do we draw the line between violence and non-violence?
This course will introduce students to the complex relationship between spirituality and nonviolence. We’ll explore contemporary and historical approaches to non-violence in the world’s major spiritual traditions and discuss some of the ethical challenges that arise when engaging the practice of non-violence. Our aim will be to answer the question of why traditions which affirm nonviolence as a central value so often become used as justifications for violence.
Jeffery D. Long is the Carl W. Zeigler Professor of Religion, Philosophy, and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College, in Pennsylvania, where he has taught since receiving his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School in the year 2000. He is the author of several books, including Hinduism in America: A Convergence of Worlds (2020) and Jainism: An Introduction (2009), the editor of Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific (2019) and the co-editor of Nonviolence in the World’s Religions: A Concise Introduction (2021) and Beacons of Dharma: Spiritual Exemplars for the Modern World (2019). Dr. Long also edits the series Explorations in Indic Traditions: Ethical, Philosophical, and Theological for Lexington Books. He has spoken on nonviolence at many prestigious venues, including three talks presented at the United Nations.