In the Name of Heaven

In the Name of Heaven

3,000 Years of Religious Persecution

Book - 2007
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.
Religion—the source of inspiration, hope, and basic values for most of humanity throughout history—has also been the motive for atrocious persecutions from antiquity to the present.In the Name of Heaven is a wide-ranging historical survey of religious persecution encompassing three millennia and a great diversity of cultures worldwide.

Defining religious persecution as "repressive actions initiated or condoned by authorities against their own people on religious grounds," author Mary Jane Engh begins with ancient Egypt, followed by the biblical history of Israel with its accounts of divinely ordered genocides and capital punishment for worshipers of other deities.

Chapters are devoted to ancient Greece (Socrates, Alcibiades, and Aristotle, among others, clashed with the religious establishment); the Roman Empire (persecutions of Jews, Christians, and Manichaeans, and the later persecution of pagans and heretics by a Christianized Rome); the Islamic Empire (persecutions of polytheists and dissident Muslims); and medieval and Reformation Europe (where Protestants and Catholics persecuted each other and both persecuted heretics).

The twenty-two chapters also cover Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific area. In an epilogue Engh reviews the new forms of religious persecution from the 20th century to the present—from major genocides and militant forms of polytheism to persecution of all religion by atheistic governments.

Complete with references to further reading, this sobering but factually indisputable survey of religion’s dark side enlightens while serving as a warning for the future.

Baker & Taylor
Provides an overview of religious violence around the world from the fourteenth century BCE through the nineteenth century CE and explains who did what to whom on the basis of religious differences and disagreements.

Book News
Defining religious persecution as "repressive actions initiated or condoned by authorities against their own people on religious grounds," Engh traces the harm done in the name of religion from antiquity to the present day. The survey covers religious intolerance around the world and does not single out any country or people as particularly good or evil. Engh, a novelist, writes for the general reader but includes references for further study. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2007
ISBN: 9781591024545
Branch Call Number: 200.9 En331i 2007
Characteristics: 269 p. ; 24 cm

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at PCPL

To Top