Religion and Warfare

Oliver Cromwell’s injunction “pray to God but keep your powder dry” is famed but scarcely heeded. From antiquity to to the present, we see commanders and soldiers turn to divination spells that promise invisibility and invulnerability, and converge on battlefields to bear witness to and enjoy such divine favors. This research program examines the causes and consequences of religious war rituals, and the cultural transmission of battlefield miracle reports.

 

1. The Diffusion of Miracle Reports in Jihad

The battlefields of jihad abound with reports of miracles and marvels. Drawing on thousands of propaganda products, captured documents, diaries and original interviews, this project underscores the informal channels through which reports of miracle on the battlefield spread.