“Justice and Mercy Have Met” (Martens, ed.)

In January, the Catholic University of America Press released “Justice and Mercy Have Met: Pope Francis and the Reform of the Marriage Nullity Process,” edited by Kurt Martens (The Catholic University of America).  The publisher’s description follows:

With the promulgation of the motu proprio Mitis iudex Dominus Iesus for the Latin Church and the motu proprio Mitis et misericors Iesus for the Eastern Catholic Churches,hfs.bibliometa.jpg both dated August 15, 2015, Pope Francis addressed the calls during the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 5-9, 2014) for a simplified procedure for the declaration of the nullity of marriages. Pope Francis introduced a briefer process to be conducted by the diocesan bishop and he simplified the current ordinary nullity process. The new procedural norms went into effect on December 8, 2015.

New legislation always challenges first and foremost the practitioner: how is the new legislation to be understood and applied? Immediately after the new law was made public, a number of articles on this new legislation were published in The Jurist. The School of Canon Law of The Catholic University of America organized a March 2016 Workshop on the very topic of this important procedural reform.

These articles are now brought together in one volume to assist those who work with these norms in the various tribunals dealing with marriage cases. It is hoped that this volume will be of great service to all those who serve the people of God in the ministry of justice, and that these contributions will truly be a help in understanding and applying the new norms.

McCauley, “The Logic of Ethnic and Religious Conflict in Africa”

In March, the Cambridge University Press will release “The Logic of Ethnic and Religious Conflict in Africa,” by John McCauley (University of Maryland, College Park).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book explains why conflicts in Africa are sometimes ethnic and sometimes religious, and why a conflict might change from ethnic to religious even as the 9781107175013opponents remain fixed. Conflicts in the region are often viewed as either ‘tribal’ or ‘Muslim-Christian’, seemingly rooted in deep-seated ethnic or religious hatreds. Yet, as this book explains, those labels emerge as a function of political mobilization. It argues that ethnicity and religion inspire distinct passions among individuals, and that political leaders exploit those passions to achieve their own strategic goals when the institutions of the state break down. To support this argument, the book relies on a novel experiment conducted in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to demonstrate that individual preferences change in ethnic and religious contexts. It then uses case illustrations from Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Sudan to highlight the strategic choices of leaders that ultimately shape the frames of conflict.

Marzouki, “Islam: An American Religion”

In April, Columbia University Press will release “Islam: An American Religion,” by Nadia Marzouki (Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)). The publisher’s description follows:

Islam: An American Religion demonstrates how Islam as formed in the United States has become an American religion in a double sense—first through the strategies of 9780231176804recognition adopted by Muslims and second through the performance of Islam as a faith.

Nadia Marzouki investigates how Islam has become so contentious in American politics. Focusing on the period from 2008 to 2013, she revisits the uproar over the construction of mosques, legal disputes around the prohibition of Islamic law, and the overseas promotion of religious freedom. She argues that public controversies over Islam in the United States primarily reflect the American public’s profound divisions and ambivalence toward freedom of speech and the legitimacy of liberal secular democracy.

Murray & Feeney, “Church, state and social science in Ireland”

In December, the Manchester University Press released “Church, state and social science in Ireland:Knowledge institutions and the rebalancing of power, 1937–73,” by Peter Murray (Maynooth University) and Maria Feeney (Maynooth University).  The publisher’s description follows:

The immense power the Catholic Church once wielded in Ireland has considerably diminished over the last fifty years. During the same period the Irish state has 9781526100788pursued new economic and social development goals by wooing foreign investors and throwing the state’s lot in with an ever-widening European integration project. How a less powerful church and a more assertive state related to one another during the key third quarter of the twentieth century is the subject of this book. Drawing on newly available material, it looks at how social science, which had been a church monopoly, was taken over and bent to new purposes by politicians and civil servants. This case study casts new light on wider processes of change, and the story features a strong and somewhat surprising cast of characters ranging from Sean Lemass and T.K. Whitaker to Archbishop John Charles McQuaid and Father Denis Fahey.

 

Eltantawi, “Shari’ah on Trial”

In April, the University of California Press will release “Shari’ah on Trial: Northern Nigeria’s Islamic Revolution,” by Sarah Eltantawi (Evergreen State College).  The publisher’s description follows: 

In November of 1999, Nigerians took to the streets demanding the re-implementation of shari’ah law in their country. Two years later, 9780520293786many Nigerians supported the death sentence by stoning of a peasant woman for alleged sexual misconduct. Public outcry in the West was met with assurances to the Western public: stoning is not a part of Islam; stoning happens “only in Africa”; reports of stoning are exaggerated by Western sensationalism. However, none of these statements are true.  Shari’ah on Trial goes beyond journalistic headlines and liberal pieties to give a powerful account of how Northern Nigerians reached a point of such desperation that they demanded the return of the strictest possible shari’ah law. Sarah Eltantawi analyzes changing conceptions of Islamic theology and practice as well as Muslim and British interactions dating back to the colonial period to explain the resurgence of shari’ah, with implications for Muslim-majority countries around the world.

Schader, “Religion as a Political Resource”

In January, Springer Publishing released “Religion as a Political Resource: Migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa in Berlin and Paris,” by Miriam Schader (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity).  The publisher’s description follows:

Miriam Schader shows that migrants can use religion as a resource for political involvement in their (new) country of residence – but under certain circumstances 41FuxSH8bqL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgonly. The author analyses the role religious networks and symbols play for the politicization and participation of Muslim and Christian migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in Berlin and Paris. Against the widely held belief that Islam is a ’political religion’ in itself, this study demonstrates that Christian migrants draw on their religion for political action more easily than their Muslim counterparts. It also highlights that it is not religion in general which helps migrants get politically active, but particular forms of religious organisations and particular theological elements.

Around the Web This Week

Here are some interesting stories involving law and religion from this past week:

Coope, “The Most Noble of People”

In April, the University of Michigan Press will release The Most Noble of People: Religious, Ethnic, and Gender Identity in Muslim Spain by Jessica A. Coope (University of Nebraska). The publisher’s description follows:

noble-peopleThe Most Noble of People presents a nuanced look at questions of identity in Muslim Spain under the Umayyads, an Arab dynasty that ruled from 756 to 1031. With a social historical emphasis on relations among different religious and ethnic groups, and between men and women, Jessica A. Coope considers the ways in which personal and cultural identity in al-Andalus could be alternately fluid and contentious.

The opening chapters define Arab and Muslim identity as those categories were understood in Muslim Spain, highlighting the unique aspects of this society as well as its similarities with other parts of the medieval Islamic world.The book goes on to discuss what it meant to be a Jew or Christian in Spain under Islamic rule, and the degree to which non-Muslims were full participants in society. Following this is a consideration of gender identity as defined by Islamic law and by less normative sources like literature and mystical texts. It concludes by focusing on internal rebellions against the government of Muslim Spain, particularly the conflicts between Muslims who were ethnically Arab and those who were Berber or native Iberian, pointing to the limits of Muslim solidarity.

Drawn from an unusually broad array of sources—including legal texts, religious polemic, chronicles, mystical texts, prose literature, and poetry, in both Arabic and Latin—many of Coope’s illustrations of life in al-Andalus also reflect something of the larger medieval world. Further, some key questions about gender, ethnicity, and religious identity that concerned people in Muslim Spain—for example, women’s status under Islamic law, or what it means to be a Muslim in different contexts and societies around the world—remain relevant today.

Belloc, “Characters of the Reformation”

In April, Ignatius Press will release a new paperback edition of Characters of the Reformation by Hilaire Belloc. The publisher’s description follows:

characters-of-the-reformationOne of the most fascinating books ever written by the great Catholic historian Belloc, he presents  in bold colors the 23 principal characters of the Protestant Reformation, focusing primarily on those figures concerned with the events in England, analyzing their strengths, mistakes, motives and deeds which changed the course of history.

Among the characters he examines are Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, St. Thomas More, Mary Tudor, Thomas Cromwell, William Cecil, Mary Stuart, Cardinal Richelieu and many more. Belloc illustrates how the motives of the Protestant leaders were rarely religious in nature, but usually political or economic. He underscores the fact that European Christendom was once a single united entity, under the authority of the Catholic Church, each country viewing itself as a single “province” of the whole.

Many of Europe’s Princes resented the power that the Bishop of Rome held in their own lands. The Reformation, aided by the rise of Nationalism, was a means for the nobles of Europe to shake off Papal authority and rule their territory independently. It also gave European monarchs control over the Church and all of its property in their realm, including the taxes that would normally be sent to Rome.

The nobles grew rich by confiscating the wealth of the Church, and resisted reconciliation if that meant returning the wealth to its rightful owner. In subsequent generations, the fear of this possibility gave the noble classes an incentive to remain in the Protestant camp. Belloc warns that this breakup of Christendom may still destroy our Christian civilization.

Even those who think they do not like history will be unable to put this book down as it brings history vividly to life. As usual, Belloc’s historical perspective offers timeless wisdom and insight rarely seen in modern times.

Neale, “Jihad in Premodern Sufi Writings”

In December, Palgrave MacMillan released Jihad in Premodern Sufi Writings by Harry S. Neale (UC Berkley). The publisher’s description follows:

jihad-in-premodernThis book is the only comprehensive study in a European language that analyzes how Sufi treatises, Qur’anic commentary, letters, hagiography, and poetry define and depict jihad. Harry S. Neale analyzes Sufi jihad discourse in Arabic and Persian texts composed between the eleventh and seventeenth centuries, providing access to many writings that have hitherto been unavailable in English. Despite the diversity of practice within Sufism that existed throughout the premodern period, Sufi writings consistently promulgated a complementary understanding of jihad as both a spiritual and military endeavor. Neale discusses the disparity between contemporary academic Sufi jihad discourse in European languages, which generally presents Sufis as peaceful mystics, and contemporary academic writing in Arabic that depicts Sufis as exemplary warriors who combine spiritual discipline with martial zeal. The book concludes that historically, Sufi writings never espoused a purely spiritual interpretation of the doctrine of jihad.

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