Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Barry L. Gan
Nonviolence has its roots in almost every religion in the world: Jainism, whose chief precept is ahimsa (non-harm); Judaism, which commands one to pursue peace; Christianity, whose three peace churches—the Society of Friends, the Mennonites, and the Church of the Brethren—have been witnesses to nonviolence for hundreds of years; Islam, whose nonviolent exemplar Badshah Khan (1890–1988) was an inspiration to Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948); and Buddhism, one of whose most recent nonviolent exemplars is Thich Nhat Hanh (1926–). Nonviolence, however, is understood in various ways by various theorists: It is a way of living, a political strategy, and a moral or spiritual principle. Some theorists, such as Gene Sharp (1928–), regard it solely or primarily as a political strategy. Others, such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910), may prefer to regard it solely or primarily as a way of life or a moral principle. Still others, such as Mohandas ...