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24.1 Empire and resistance

This latest issue of Leidschrift is entitled ‘Empire and Resistance. Religious beliefs versus the ruling power’. It is a theme that is as broad and historically significant as it is relevant today. We are confronted daily by the continuous tension between China and Tibet and the often violent resistance of Shia and Sunni Muslims to the Iraqi government. Not all empires today fit the archetype as the Roman Empire did, or the Dutch colonial empire. However, in a time when people are in search of a common identity and often take to a form of religion to find it, it is all the more intriguing to see the effects that religious beliefs and their misunderstanding or active repression by a strong ruling power can have.


In this issue we have strived to cover a great variety of subjects. Chronologically the articles range from the Roman Empire of the first century AD to the nineteenth-century United States. We have attempted to present case studies that are diverse both in their geographical setting, and in the religions involved. The articles we present do not deal just with well-known conflicts in the history of Christianity and Islam, although we do hope to add some less conventional knowledge to the history of these major religions; we have also included a number of historically significant episodes that are less well-known.

Without unduly stressing religious motivation when other factors were equally pressing, then, this issue can hopefully add a little understanding to the continuing tension between religion and politics.



  • Michael Adas, Introduction
  • James S. McLaren, Rendering to God not Caesar: the Jewish Revolt of 66-70 AD
  • Judith Pollmann, ‘De gemeente stond malkander bij.’ Katholieken en de Nederlandse Opstand
  • Marina Carter, Crispin Bates, Religion and retribution in the Indian rebellion of 1857
  • Barend J. ter Haar, Het Hemelse Koninkrijk van de Grote Vrede
  • Johannes I. (Hans) Bakker, The Netherlands Indies in Aceh, Bali and Buton: degrees of resistance and acceptance of indirect and direct rule
  • Lee Irwin, ‘You shall grow to become a nation’: the Lakota Ghost Dance and religious repression at Pine Ridge



  • Bruce Lincoln, Religion, empire & torture. The case of Achaemenian Persia, with a postscript on Abu Ghraib. (Chicago en Londen, 2007)
  • Hugh Kennedy, De grote Arabische veroveringen. Het ontstaan van het islamitisch rijk, van Afghanistan tot Spanje (632-750) (Amsterdam en Antwerpen 2008)

24.1 Empire and resistance

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