“The Jiha–d of St. Alban”

Lerner, R. “The Jiha–d of St. Alban.” Review of Politics 64, no. 2 (2002): 5–26.

Publisher’s Review ” The imperative for a people to become bearers of light and proselytizers of truth is present in differing degrees and modes in the great monotheistic religions. This set of mind has struck some philosophers in the past as problematic, especially when it manifested itself as a call for a war of civilization. It is from this perspective that the present essay reexamines a relatively neglected small dialogue by Sir Francis Bacon, An Advertisement Touching a Holy War. The anarchy resulting from religious conflict in 16th- and 17th-century Europe casts its shadow over every page of this puzzling little work. Bacon’s enactment shows that while zeal is in some sense the problem, it might also contribute toward a solution. Religious passions ought to be tamed and redirected, not extirpated. In proposing that Christianity itself be reconstituted, Bacon sees a way of rendering it a willing handmaiden in his far-reaching humanitarian project to make man comfortably at home in this world.”