The second conference of the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies will take place next month in Santiago, Chile. The theme is “Religion and the Constitution.” Panels include “The status of religious, ethnic and cultural minorities,” “Religion and the Constitution in China,” “Freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and freedom of expression,” among others. A first-class roster of scholars from around the world. The conference program and contact info are here. Should be great! — MLM
From Ashgate, what looks to be a very useful overview of hot-button issues in law and religion around the world, Law and Religion in the 21st Century: Relations between States and Religious Communities (Silvio Ferrari & Rinaldo Cristofori eds. 2010). Great lineup of authors! The table of contents is below. — MLM
This is a superb looking and very recent book by Thomas Albert Howard, God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide (OUP 2011). It should be of great interest to comparativists. Below is a description. — MOD
Since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, the United States and Western Europe’s paths to modernity have diverged sharply with respect to religion. In short, Americans have maintained much friendlier ties with traditional forms of religion than their European counterparts. What explains this transatlantic religious divide?
Accessing the topic though nineteenth and early twentieth-century European commentary on the United States, Thomas Albert Howard argues that an ‘Atlantic gap’ in religious matters has deep and complex historical roots, and enduringly informs some strands of European disapprobation of the United States. While exploring in the first chapters ‘Old World’ disquiet toward the young republic’s religious dynamics, the book turns in the final chapters and focuses on more constructive European assessments of the United States. Acknowledging the importance of Alexis de Tocqueville for the topic, Howard argues that a widespread overreliance on Tocqueville as interpreter of America has had a tendency to overshadow other noteworthy European voices. Two underappreciated figures here receive due attention: the Protestant Swiss-German church historian, Philip Schaff, and the French Catholic philosopher, Jacques Maritain.
This article from Il Corriere Della Sera reports on a speech that the Pope gave to a number of young (under 40…that’s young, right?) university professors at El Escorial Monastery near Madrid. In the speech, the Pope spoke against an educational ethic of “utility and pragmatism,” saying also (and…perhaps echoing Cardinal Newman) that “the true idea of a university preserves us from a reductive and distorted vision of humanity.” Education is not, he continued, “an arid communication of subtance, but instead the formation of young people which you [the professors] must undertake and research [“comprendere e ricercare”].” — MOD (x-posted MOJ)