Richard E. Rubenstein (born February 24, 1938)
Is an author and University Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at George Mason University, holding degrees from Harvard College, Oxford University (as a Rhodes Scholar), and Harvard Law School. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Rubenstein was an attorney at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, DC, and served as assistant director of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs in Chicago before becoming associate professor of political science at Roosevelt University (1970–79), professor of law and academic dean at Antioch Law School (1979–87), and university professor at George Mason University (since 1987). He is a faculty member and former director of George Mason's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, the nation's oldest and largest conflict studies program.
Since the 1970s Rubenstein has been active in movements for peace, racial equality, and social justice. In Chicago he helped organize protests against the Vietnam War and activities in support of the Black Power movement. His writings have mostly been about various types of violent conflicts and the possibilities of resolving them by restructuring failing socioeconomic, cultural, and political systems.
His first book, "Rebels in Eden: Mass Violence in the United States," (Little Brown, 1970) was an attempt to understand the racial uprisings of the sixties in the context of the history of struggles for group autonomy in America. This was followed by "Left Turn: Origins of the Next American Revolution," (Little Brown, 1973), an interpretation of U.S. politics in light of America's "three class" social system. After coming to Washington, Rubenstein wrote two books on terrorism: "Alchemists of Revolution," (Basic Books, 1986), a Marxist take on the origins and dynamics of terrorism movements, and "Comrade Valentine" (Harcourt Books, 1993), a meditation on the life of Yevno Azef, the notorious double agent who terrorized Russian society in the decade before the Russian Revolution.
Beginning in the late 90s, Rubenstein turned his attention to religious conflict and wrote three books showing why religious disputes become (or don't become) violent. "When Jesus Became God" (Harcourt, 1999), is a best-selling account of the controversy over Christ's divinity in early Christianity. "Aristotle's Children" (Harcourt, 2003), is the story of how the medieval Catholic Church allowed its thinking to be transformed by the great debate over Aristotelian philosophy. And "Thus Saith the Lord: The Revolutionary Moral Vision of Isaiah and Jeremiah" tells how the later Jewish prophets were inspired to develop a new vision of international ethics by reacting to the empires of their day. Rubenstein's latest book, published in 2010 by Bloomsbury Press, is Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War." His blog, www.rich-rubenstein.com, contains material about this book and about conflict analysis and resolution generally.