ICLARS Conference: Religion and the Constitution (Santiago, Sept. 8-11)

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

Law & Religion in the 21st Century (Ferrari & Cristofori eds.)

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

Preface; A perspective from the sociology of religion, Grace Davie; Part I Patterns of Law and Religion: State and religion in South Africa: open issues and recent developments, Lourens M. du Plessis; States and religions in West Africa: problems and perspectives, Fatou Kiné Camara; Religious communities and the state in modern India, Tahir Mahmood; State and religion in Japan. Yasukuni Shrine as a case study, Hiroaki Kobayashi; Religion and the state in the United States at the turn of the 21st century, W. Cole Durham Jr and Robert T. Smith; Religions and law: current challenges in Latin America, Juan Navarro Floria. Part II Law and Religion in Europe, Introduction and Case Studies: State and religion Read more

Howard’s “God and the Atlantic”

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.

Pope Benedict XVI on Education

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)