Answering Islam is not in agreement with some of the theological views presented in this article. We publish it in the Islam & Terrorism section of our site because the author's psychological and sociological analysis is helpful for understanding the dynamic of terror present in Islam.

Islam and Terror

Some Thoughts after 9/11

by Danusha V. Goska, PhD

In 1994, Steven Emerson made Jihad in America, a documentary warning Americans about Muslim terrorist groups that had infiltrated their country. Muslim groups protested, insisting that there was no proof of any such network, and that merely broadcasting the program would incite hate crimes against Muslims. In response to pressure from CAIR, a Muslim group, Emerson was unofficially banned from appearing on National Public Radio. Emerson now lives under death threats.

A powerful, international Muslim terrorist network, Al Qaeda, has declared war against every man, woman, and child in America. Under such threat, our and our loved ones' defenses must include accurate information. Political correctness has distorted discourse on this crisis. Voicing the Politically Correct dogma of absolute cultural relativism, Mark Juergensmeyer, director of the Global and International Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara, was one of many who insisted that "Osama bin Laden is to Islam like Timothy McVeigh is to Christianity."[1] For several reasons, this analogy is childishly absurd. McVeigh was not acting as a Christian for any Christian cause; he acted all but alone and was immediately apprehended, convicted, and executed by his own milieu. Osama bin Laden is still at large, he has a huge following, and he acts as an avowed Muslim pursuing specifically Islamic ends. Voicing the dogma of "Blame American First," star-status intellectuals Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag, and Edward Said rushed to implicate America as the ultimate cause of the September 11 attacks. Some, hoping to exculpate Islam, argued that terrorism is appealing to Muslims because Muslims are poor and oppressed, and that America was the cause of their poverty and oppression. All three dogmas of Politically Correct speech: absolute cultural relativism, "Blame America first," or "Blame Poverty," when applied to 9-11, are intellectually indefensible.

Poor and oppressed people, for example, America's mostly Protestant Blacks, Catholic and Jewish Poles under Communism, largely Hindu Indians, and Tibetan Buddhists, have produced epoch-making, religiously-informed, peaceful movements for change.

Finally, many Muslims, Osama bin Laden among them, are among the world's wealthiest and most privileged persons. Though one of fifty-two siblings, bin Laden inherited roughly three hundred million dollars. His hijackers were educated men who lived comfortably in the West, enjoying such pricey luxuries as lap dances and prostitution before committing mass murder.

Islam is different, and it is not different because its followers are poor or oppressed. Islam's founder, Mohammed, unlike Abraham, Jesus, or Buddha, was a warrior who obeyed his own scriptural command to convert others by violence. Hinduism has no patriarchal founder. Its most popular deity today, from an ample pantheon of role models, is Shiva, a god of meditation, cannabis use, and mutually satisfying love making.

Politically Correct icons like Noam Chomsky, for example, in an October 18, 2001 MIT speech, have argued that Europe was never attacked by non-Europeans, and that Europe has never done anything but attack non-Europeans. This revisionist picture of peaceful Muslims unilaterally oppressed by violent Europeans serves to support the image of the West as a danger to the rest of the world, which is uniformly peaceful and innocent, and to support Chomsky's claim that the U.S. must, ultimately, be behind the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Chomsky's revisionism is false. Islam was spread into Southern and Eastern Europe by warfare. Devastating Muslim holy wars ravaged the populations of Eastern and Southern Europe, and retarded their progress, until the defeat of the Turks in Vienna in 1683. The Ottoman Empire did not relinquish its hold on Southeastern Europe till the early twentieth century. "Holy God, Great Terror," read the opening lines of one Slavic poem, "Turcin Ponican," commemorating the many Europeans who died at the hands of Muslim invaders. The word "Slav" was incorporated into Arabic as "sakaliba" for "eunuch." That's because European, Slavic people provided slaves, including sexual slaves, to the Muslim world for so long. Christian and Animist African people have been, and are to this very day, similarly enslaved and exploited by Muslims. Christian Armenians were the targets of the first notorious genocide of the twentieth century at the hands of Muslim Turks. In short, the image of peaceful, innocent Muslims suffering under the oppressive heel of Christians and/or Europeans does not withstand scrutiny. Yes, Muslims have also suffered under oppression. The oppression that Arabs experienced was, however, for most of the past five hundred years, visited upon them by fellow Muslims, from the Ottomans to mass murderers like Iraq's Sadaam Hussein and Syria's Hafiz al Assad.

Islam's spread by violence contrasts with the spread of other faiths. Christianity spread rapidly during its first three hundred years. It was outlawed for much of that period; its followers were subject to the most gruesome of state terrors, including, for example, public torture. Christianity's greatest spread was and continues to be not thanks to the sword, but to the word. Ashoka, an Indian king, after his own conversion to Buddhism, renounced his very successful career as a warrior and spread Buddhism through peaceful preaching and teaching. According to archaeologists like Israel Finkelstein, Old Testament tales of violent conquest are myths, not history.[2] Judaism, for most of its history, has not actively sought converts; nor has it made converts through violence. During Judaism's one brief, notable period of convert making, during the Second Temple, converts were won through preaching, not violence. No matter how poor or oppressed its adherents, no faith, beside Islam, has ever produced a viable international terror network with world domination as its stated goal.

There is no denying that members of other faiths, from Torquemada to Tim McVeigh, have committed atrocities. Too, most Muslims are decidedly not jihadis. There is an important difference between McVeigh and Bin Laden, a difference that politically correct speech must not obscure. The command to use violence to spread the faith is foundational in Muslim scripture, and no Islamic Reformation has yet decommissioned this command. Jesus advised his followers to render unto Caesar what was Caesar's; he announced that his kingdom was not of this world; he was a proponent of the separation of church and state. His words were not cheap; he surrendered his very life to the state, and rejected his followers' offer of violent struggle. Peter, Paul, and martyrs to this day have followed Jesus' model; this model has served to inspire persons and movements from the Quakers to Martin Luther King; a devout Hindu, Mahatma Gandhi, drew inspiration from it. There have been, and are, pacifist Muslims, like the twentieth century Pashtun political activist, Abdul Ghaffar Khan. As yet, though, the Muslim world, with its over one billion adherents and its fourteen hundred years of history, has not produced a significant, self-sustaining peace movement.

After the September 11 attack, Americans asked, "Why do they hate us so?" Leftists like Noam Chomsky insisted that they hate us because America has done bad things. Of course, America has done bad things. But only a naif uninformed about the mechanism of hate would ever believe that hate is logical, that hate befalls only those who deserve it. Attributing America's 9-11 suffering to America's sins is as logical, as intellectually courageous, and as helpful as attributing the Black Plague of Medieval Europe to sin, rather than to the plague bacillus.

Scholarly studies of hate reveal that it thrives under certain conditions. Hate requires a cultivated sense of exclusive and blameless victimization on the part of the hater, and an Other, understood to be wholly different, on whom to blame that victimization. Hate renounces self-scrutiny. Hate insists that the self is correct, beyond all questioning. Islam as widely understood today provides a perfect Petri dish for hate's growth and spread. This understanding of Islam is not the only available understanding of Islam. Again, many Muslims are true models of virtue. But it behooves us to examine this popular, powerful, and dangerous, understanding of Islam.

Part of Islam's initial appeal was as an antidote to the ambiguity all too present in Christianity. Christianity presented paradoxes to its believers, for example, its God was three in one. The monophysites, or single body believers, could not accept this paradox. The Christian God spoke in ambiguous parables rather than in black and white certainties. Judaism, in the absolutist view, was no better; debate had long been a prized virtue among Jews. Jewish figures went so far as to debate with God, famously when Abraham debated with God over the fate of Sodom. Abraham here dramatized what would come to be called tikkun olam, the Jewish responsibility of creating a better world with God. In the New Testament, the tradition was carried on. Even low status women – foreign women, prostitutes, and a woman with a constantly bleeding, and thus ritually impure, hemorrhage – are allowed to debate as equals with Jesus, and to win such debates, in the work of co-creation of a better world with God (see, e.g., John 2:3-11; Matthew 15:21-28; Matthew 9:20-22).

Too, the Judeo-Christian scriptural inheritance demands exegesis. The Bible was written over the course of two thousand years, by forty different authors, in three different languages. It contains roughly eight hundred thousand words. U.C. Berkeley Folklorist Alan Dundes has demonstrated that its every major passage, from the creation story to the execution of Jesus, and including central prayers like the Lord's Prayer and the Shema, occurs in at least two versions. The Bible's seemingly self-contradictory contents demand that its adherents gather and debate its contents; thus the Bible creates community and engagement. The Koran was written by one man in one language; it contains roughly eighty thousand words. Only in Arabic, and not in translation to any other language, Muslims insist, is the Koran the Koran. Muslims pride themselves on possessing a scripture that, unlike the Bible, is so unambiguously, unquestionably true, above even the simple act of translation into another language.

As Moroccan poet Tahar ben Jalloun pointed out[3] Allah, in the Koran, condemned poetry and all it implied: ambivalence, questioning (26:224). Islam divided the world into absolutes, into black and white. Islam itself is the Dar al Islam, or House of Submission. Outside it is the territory of the infidel, the Dar al Harb, the House of War, where atrocity can be justified in the name of the spread of Islam. On August 31, 2001, twelve days before the September 11 attack, Al Watan, a Kuwaiti newspaper, used the Koran and Mohammed's own actions to support the murder of non-Muslim women and children noncombatants during jihad.

The division of the world into black and white absolutes extends to the internal life of the devout Muslim. Mullahs cite Koranic verses (example: 49:15) to argue that even a moment's doubt can condemn a Muslim to hell for eternity. Those who convert from Islam to other faiths, according to sharia, or Islamic law, earn the death penalty. There is no separation of church and state. Muslims are duty bound to fight until the state has been conquered and won for Islam.

Scholars argue that hate requires an "other," a "them" defined as thoroughly different from "us." At least since Simone de Beauvoir, some scholars have identified females as humanity's ur, or prototypical, "other." No belief system, from Atheistic Communism to Zoroastrianism, has ever escaped, or ever will be able to escape, from misogyny and its spawn, homophobia. This is because the genesis of misogyny is in biology, not culture; therefore, the cultural relativist’s favorite game of selecting isolated misogynist credos or practices out of the history or scripture of any belief system proves nothing. Points are proven, rather, when one amasses the liberating verses, role models, systems, organizations, or achievements any culture can produce. The Judeo-Christian, Hindu and Buddhist faiths provide vast and complex scriptures and traditions that women, homosexuals, and allies have cited to build lives of dignity and accomplishment. The Old Testament is exceptional among ancient scriptures for its trove of named, individualistic, flesh and blood heroines. Sarah, Judith, Esther, Leah, Rahab, Tamar, Ruth, Rebecca, Deborah, were old, over the hill women, prostitutes, ethnic outsiders, outcasts without rights, ugly women, beautiful queens, powerful judges, who not only defied, and got the better of, men, they occasionally defied God. Christianity, too, was fashioned by "God's self-confident daughters," as shown by scholar Anne Jensen in her book of that title.[4] Anna the prophetess was there at Jesus' birth; Mary Magdalene funded Jesus' ministry and was the first to announce the Good News to his disciples. Even in the Middle Ages, a woman, Teresa of Avila, rose to that rarified position of "Doctor of the Church."

Islam, though, again, is absolute, black and white, on the lesser status of women. (See According to scholar Fatna Sabbah, the othering of females is foundational to Islam. According to scholar Leila Ahmed, approximately eighty percent of Koranic rulings were devoted to regulating marital relations and the conduct of women.[5] Why? "... the absolute empowerment of men in relation to women ... and the disempowerment of women, and thus the complete transformation of [contemporaneous Arab] society's mores ... was one of Mohammad's prime objectives ... [to conclude this] is to agree with Islamic clerics and ideologues that the subjugation of women is intrinsically and inseparably part of Islam."[6]

In the Hadith, Mohammed is quoted as saying that women are less intelligent than men, and more sinful; thus, hell had more women in it than men. Women are the enemy, as they harm men (2:54, 1:28, 7:33). The inferior status of women is encoded into Islamic law and into the total Islamic state; for example, in court, the testimony of two women is meant to equal that of one man. The lesser status of woman in Islam is not contradicted by any scripture or history of fully functional Muslim women.

The way Muslims are socialized to view women affords practice in hate, hate that could be targeted against any "other." Islam teaches that women first and foremost, not men, are responsible for any uncomfortable lust that men may feel. Muslim men are thus not encouraged first to look within themselves and change their own thoughts and behavior to control their own discomfort; rather, they are encouraged to blame an other, woman, for their discomfort. This other, woman, must all but obliterate herself, not only with concealing veils, but with the numerous restrictions on freedom Islam imposes on women, in order to keep men free from any of their own uncomfortable feelings. Such insistence that one's own discomfort is not, primarily, one's own responsibility, but the fault of an evil other, could be directed as easily against The West as against women.

The West has long accepted that a fundamental human urge is the urge toward freedom and dignity. For Islam to function as its scripture demands, the urges toward freedom and dignity of half of the human race must be violently repressed. As Sabbah argues, terror is used to this end. For example, the violent, painful, and terrorizing scraping out of the clitoris is a central event in the life of many Muslim girls, as described by Nawaal el Sadawi in her 1980 book, The Hidden Face of Eve. Women so much as suspected of having had relations with a man, even if raped, are subject to murder by their male relatives, in accord with a tradition called "honor killings." Not only in Arab Muslim countries is woman's lot a hard one. In Muslim Bangladesh, for example, acid attacks are common (One source,, says that Bangladeshi police reported almost an attack per day in 2001). If a woman displeases a man, she is subject to having acid thrown into her face.

It is hard not to conclude that the Islamic repression of questioning and difference, the Islamic insistence on the bonding of church and state, a bond created and maintained by violence, Islamic emphasis on male honor, won through martial conquest, and the profound othering of women in Islam have conspired to produce the prototypical Islamic political system today: one of oppression. There are few to no stable democracies in the Muslim world. Political power is wielded oppressively. The press in many Muslim countries indulges in paranoid fantasies about Jews and Americans; the Holocaust is regularly denied; the September 11 terror attacks are attributed to Israeli agents or the CIA. At the same time, according to Iraqi dissident and author Kanan Makiya, any self-criticism is taboo. A relentless focus is placed on anything Americans or Jews do wrong; if they do nothing wrong, fantastic conspiracy theories are invented and disseminated as if true. For example, Al Ahram, Egypt's semi-official daily newspaper, recently ran, as true, false claims that the US had poisoned food drops to Afghanis.[7] Again, according to Makiya, Muslim mass murderers like Sadaam Hussein, who killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims, are not criticized. (See, for example, Makiya's 1993 book, Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising, and the Arab World.)

Islam emphasizes equality and unanimity among its followers. Of course, any such equality or unanimity is illusory. For example, Egyptians often look down on Bedouins. Iran and Iraq recently fought a lengthy war. The Taliban murdered ten Iranian diplomats. Arabs fighting in Afghanistan literally spat on the Afghans they encountered. The sense of equality and unanimity mandated by Islam must be manufactured. In the absence of the, to the Muslim, forbidden self-criticism and self-examination, Muslim leaders turn outward to find outlets for the rage and dissatisfaction of their youth. In the absence of freedom, normal expressions of affection between the sexes, and any possibility of political change, Muslim leaders have offered their youth hatred of the West, of modernity, and of America. An irrational hatred of an other, from women to infidels to Jews to America, is a necessary component for the creation and maintenance of Muslim unity.

The other great faiths have been and still are exploited to squelch public dissent, to divide the world into "us" and "them," and to justify war. The Spanish Inquisition, for example, was a nightmarishly oppressive expression of Christian believers. Politically Correct thinkers often attempt to squelch any critique of Islam by shouting out, "The Spanish Inquisition!" Their argument being, presumably, that all religions are equally bad.

There are important differences between the Spanish Inquisition, though, and Al Qaeda. One is that this century is the twenty first, and the Spanish Inquisition is no longer operative, while Al Qaeda is very much a threat. Were we living in 1490 and were Torquemada still burning innocent Jews at the stake in Spain, then, yes, decent people probably would best be paying all their attention to reform of the Spanish church. Many centuries have passed since Torquemada's day, and, in the interim, the Inquisition has been thoroughly analyzed and roundly denounced by Catholics as well as non Catholics; changes in behavior have followed. The Pope himself has apologized for it, and Catholic-Jewish relations have improved to the point where the Pope has been praised by Jewish leaders such as Abraham H. Foxman. The Catholic Church is not now and has never been perfect; it currently faces a sex scandal. Catholics have aired this scandal in the press, and Catholics are working hard and making the changes necessary to make clergy abuse a thing of the past.

These efforts at self-reform are indicative of the second important difference between Al Qaeda and similar terrorist movements and their relation to Islam, and the Spanish Inquisition and its relation to Christianity. A remarkable feature of the Judeo-Christian tradition has been confession. While ritualized confession has played a role in many cultures, it rose to its greatest prominence in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Sociologists point out that ritualized, religiously mandated confession generated, in the West, a culture-wide valorization of self-examination, subjectivity, individuality, and change.[8] According to confession theorists, confession caused believers to examine themselves, admit their errors, work for self-improvement and to develop a linear / teleological mindset -- to believe that the future could be better than the past. Muslims practice confession, but to God. This absence of ritualized, valorized, narration of sin and redemption to one's fellows does not provide the Muslim with the same cognitive / social / cultural exercise that the West's understanding of confession has provided.

This religious emphasis on self-examination and a drive to work, in the microcosm, for an improved self, and, in the macrocosm, for an improved world, has played a key role in Western progress. When the West failed, its harshest critics and greatest reformers arose within itself.

Look again at the very real, and unforgivable, horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. Terrorism in Muslim countries is neither limited to anti-Western groups, nor to responses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Algeria, the Philippines, Sudan, etc, all have domestic terror movements that exist without reference to Palestinians or the West. The horrors of the Inquisition, on the other hand, were never Christianity-wide; rather, many Christians attacked and condemned its intolerance, and put their lives on the line in support of their criticism of their own faith. While the Inquisition raged in Spain, in Poland, itself a mostly Catholic country, Catholics, the Orthodox, Protestants, Arians, Jews and Muslims were guaranteed religious freedom. Jews persecuted in Spain were invited to settle in Poland. The 1573 Warsaw Confederation declared,

We swear to each other, on behalf of ourselves and our descendents, in perpetuity, under oath and pledging our faith, honor and consciences, that we who differ in matters of religion will keep the peace among ourselves, and neither shed blood on account of differences of faith, or kinds of church, nor punish one another by confiscation of goods, deprivation of honor, imprisonment or exile.

In Holland, the Catholic priest Desiderius Erasmus (1469-1536) produced humanist works that modern readers praise for their articulation and championing of human freedom and dignity. Erasmus was no unsung, ahead-of-his-time anomaly who needed to be discovered by later generations of more enlightened men; his progressive work was terrifically popular in his own lifetime. Estimates are that in some years between one fifth and one tenth of all books sold in Oxford, London and Paris were by Erasmus.[9] And, it was within thirty years of the start of the Spanish Inquisition that the great reformer Martin Luther hit the world stage.

Again and again, thanks to the worldview generated by the ritual of confession, the West's and the Judeo-Christian tradition's most effective reformers have been generated within those traditions. Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, was a Catholic priest whose first great public act was to nail a harsh critique of the Catholic Church to the door of a Catholic church. The great thinkers who continually changed the church - from Copernicus to Galileo to Francis of Assisi - were often either priests or monks themselves, or devout Catholics. Charles Darwin was trained at a Christian divinity school; Harvard and Yale were founded under Christian auspices. Karl Marx descended from a long line of rabbis. Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, two other world shakers, arose from Europe's Jewish community, a community that had developed pilpul, a Talmudic method of inquiry that encouraged students to see subversively, and that encouraged them to offer shocking new interpretations, even when looking at religious texts. Medieval, imperial Islam produced great astronomers and libraries, but that was many centuries ago. Islam has yet to show that it can nurture thinkers who can contribute to the modern world. Certainly madrassas, traditional Islamic schools, where students merely unquestioningly repeat, by rote, material fed to them, cannot do so.

A self-reform movement adequate to generating an Islam that can co-exist comfortably with modernity has not yet emerged. It is not hard to see why: Islam's very scripture condemns doubt as punishable by an eternity in hell, and sentences apostates to death. Self-examination, progress, and change are anathema to many Muslims, according to Kanan Makiya. In lieu of looking inward and correcting one's self or one's own world, the Muslim to whom terrorism appeals directs all of his discomfort outward at what Islamicists have targeted as the source of all of the Muslim world's woes - modernity and the West.

Other religions and movements have had to come to terms with their own ugliest manifestations. The Catholic Church had to, publicly, formally, and repeatedly, confront and condemn the use of scriptural passages to justify slavery or anti-Jewish hatred. The Christian ritual of confession was recently harnessed by Pope John Paul II as a way to condemn anti-Semitism within the church. Millions of Christians had to, and did, die in defense of the right of slaves to be free, and the right of Jews to life itself. Again, the very voices that most articulately expressed opposition to exploitations of scripture to advance unscriptural hate and violence were, themselves, Christian voices.

Hinduism, unlike the Judeo-Christian tradition, does not emphasize a developed ritual of confession. Hinduism, though, unlike Islam, is a tremendously flexible and expansive faith with a breathtakingly vast and ancient heritage. Paula Richman's book Many Ramayanas offers a wonderful example of how oral, as opposed to literate, Hindu Indian women can produce their own, oral, version of the Ramayana that valorizes women's roles. This book provides ample examples of the flexibility of Hinduism.[10] Gandhi exploited the flexibility and vastness of Hinduism in his efforts to reform Hinduism. It was Gandhi, a Hindu, who forced India to confront its own greatest sin, the caste system. Millions of Hindus heeded Gandhi's appeal and devoted their lives to reforming Hinduism.

Traditional Jews' passage into the European Enlightenment was facilitated by Jews who re-interpreted ancient scriptures and traditions in light of modern discoveries and practices. Jewish Theological Seminary Professor David Roskies, in his 1995 book Bridge of Longing, articulated how Jews have managed to retain the essence of their identity while becoming completely modern. He calls this process "creative betrayal." Today an Orthodox Jew like Joseph Lieberman can serve as a vice presidential candidate to a secular state.

Many Buddhists have modernized with minimal aches and pains. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the Dalai Lama emphasized the important role of modern science in improving the world; he insisted that there was no conflict between his faith and modernity. "Both science and the teachings of the Buddha tell us of the fundamental unity of all things," he said.

No such significant reform movement has arisen within Islam, or is on its horizon. Rather, hatred of the West has been used as an anodyne to retain Islamic absolutism and to defuse Muslims' dissatisfaction with their lot. Most Muslim leaders have not spoken out unambiguously against terror; rather, they blame the American media for allegedly inventing a false image of Muslim terror. The American media is not to blame. A terrorized world awaits a significant Muslim movement that will renounce jihad and present Muslims with a real alternative to the violent model that Muslims have embraced, continuously, since the founding of their faith. Until such a genuinely peaceful and tolerant movement arises, the unfortunate truth is that non-Muslims have every reason to fear the violence and absolutism that have yet to be fully decommissioned in Islamic scriptures and in Islamic practice.


1 Mark Juergensmeyer quoted in Hancock, Lee and Michelle Mittelstadt. "Rituals of terror revealed in letter." Toronto Star. September 29, 2001: A4.
2 Finkelstein, Israel. The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts. New York: Free Press, 2001.
3 Makiya, Kanan, and Tahar ben Jalloun. "Islam: The politics of monotheism." New Perspectives Quarterly, Spring94, Vol. 11 Issue 2, p20+.
4 Jensen, Anne. God's Self Confident Daughters: Early Christianity and the Liberation of Women. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.
5 Ahmed, Leila. "Women and the Advent of Islam." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 1986 11:4, 665-691. 667.
6 Ahmed 678-79.
7 Friedman, Thomas L. "Foreign Affairs; Fighting bin Ladenism." The New York Times. November 6, 2001: A21.
8 Some references on confession:

Baikie, James. "Confession, Egyptian," 827-829 in Hastings, ed.
Bernstein, Susan David. "Confessing Feminist Theory: What's "I" Got to Do with It?" Hypatia 7:2, 120-47.
Bianchi, Ugo. "Confession of Sins," 1-7, in Eliade, ed.
Bixler, Francis. Original Essays on the Poetry of Anne Sexton. Conway: University of Arkansas Press, 1988.
Braswell, Mary Flowers. The Medieval Sinner: Characterization and Confession in the Literature of the English Middle Ages. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1983.
Braswell, Mary Flowers. "Poet and Sinner: Literary Characterization and the Mentality of the Late Middle Ages," Fifteenth Century Studies, 1984, 10, 39-56.
Burns, Michael. "Confession as Sacrament," in Bixler, ed.
Caspari, W. "Confession of Sins," 221-223 in Jackson.
Clark-Beattie, Rosemary. "Fables of Rebellion: Anti-Catholicism and the Structure of Villette," ELH, 53:4, 821-847.
Easthope, Antony. "Is That It? Autobiography and Masculine Denial," Paragraph 14:2, 123-31.
Eliade, Mircea, ed. The Encyclopedia of Religion. New York: Macmillan, 1987.
Foster, Dennis A. Confession and Complicity in Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1987.
Hastings, James, ed. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. New York: Scribners, 1917.
Hepworth, Mike and Bryan S. Turner. Confession: Studies in Deviance and Religion. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982.
Honey, Maureen. "The Confession Formula and Fantasies of Empowerment," Women's Studies, 1984, 10:3, 303-320.
Jackson, Samuel Macauley, ed. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. New York: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1908-1914.
Knapp, Peggy A. "Alisoun Weaves a Text," Philological Quarterly 65:3, 387, 401.
Nichols, Ann Eljenholm. "The Etiquette of Pre-Reformation Confession in East Anglia." The Sixteenth Century Journal 17:2, 145-163.
O'Dea, Michael. "The Double Narrative of the Stolen Ribbon in Rousseau's Confessions," Nottingham French Studies, 1984, 23:2, 1-8.
Pace, Timothy. "The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton: George Eliot and Displaced Religious Confession," Style, 20:1, 75-89.
Payer, Pierre J. "Sex and Confession in the 13th Century" pp. 126-144 in Salisbury.
Rosenshield, Gary. "The Fate of Dostoyevsky's Underground Man: The Case for an Open Ending," Slavic and East European Journal, 1984, 28:3, 324-339.
Root, Jerry. "‘Space to Speke’: The Wife of Bath and the Discourse of Confession," Chaucer Review: A Journal of Medieval Studies and Literary Criticism 1994, 28:3, 252-74.
Salisbury, Joyce E. Sex in the Middle Ages. New York: Garland, 1991.
Senior, Matthew. In the Grip of Minos: Confessional Discourse in Dante, Corneille, and Racine. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1994
Stokker, Kathleen. "‘The Would-Be Ghost’: Why Be He a Ghost?: Lutheran Views of Confession and Salvation in Legends of the Black Book Minister," Arv, 1991, 47, 143-52.
Suffrin, A.E. "Confession, Hebrew" 829-831 in Hastings, ed.
Tambling, Jeremy. Confession: Sexuality, Sin, The Subject. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1990.
Tobias, Michael. "On Thinking about Oneself," The Kenyon Review, 1982, 4:1, 9-25.
Tracy, Bruce H. "The Habit of Confession: Recovery of the Self in Updike's ‘The Music School.’ " Studies in Short Fiction, 1984, 21:4, 339-355.
Verheijen, Pere Luc. "The Confessions of Saint Augustine: Two Grids of Composition and of Reading," Proceedings of the PMR Conference: Annual Publication of the International Conference on Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies, October 11, 1986, 1-18.

9 Johnson, Paul. A History of Christianity. New York: Atheneum, 1976: 271.
10 See: Richman, Paula. Many Ramayanas: the Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991

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