In October, Oxford University Press will publish Religion, Science, and Empire: Classifying Hinduism and Islam in British India by Peter Gottschalk (Wesleyan University). The publisher’s description follows.
Peter Gottschalk offers a compelling study of how, through the British implementation of scientific taxonomy in the subcontinent, Britons and Indians identified an inherent divide between mutually antagonistic religious communities.
England’s ascent to power coincided with the rise of empirical science as an authoritative way of knowing not only the natural world, but the human one as well. The British scientific passion for classification, combined with the Christian impulse to differentiate people according to religion, led to a designation of Indians as either Hindu or Muslim according to rigidly defined criteria that paralleled classification in botanical and zoological taxonomies. Read more
Next month, Oxford University Press will publish Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy: Toward a Democratic Theory for Muslim Societies by Nader
Hashemi (University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies). The publisher’s description follows.
Islam’s relationship to liberal-democratic politics has emerged as one of the most pressing and contentious issues in international affairs. In Islam, Secularism, and Liberal Democracy, Nader Hashemi challenges the widely held belief among social scientists that religious politics and liberal-democratic development are structurally incompatible. This book argues for a rethinking of democratic theory so that it incorporates the variable of religion in the development of liberal democracy. In the process, it proves that an indigenous theory of Muslim secularism is not only possible, but is a necessary requirement for the advancement of liberal democracy in Muslim societies.
One last pictorial law and religion post from my recent trip to Rome. If you enter the Stanza della Segnatura, one of the Raphael Rooms, in the Vatican Museums, your attention is likely to be absorbed by “The School of Athens.” But on the wall just to the right of it, you would see two frescoed panels placed on opposite sides.
The first is of the Emperor Justinian receiving the Corpus Juris Civilis (the “body of civil law”) from his great jurist, Tribonian. Compiled in the early 6th century AD, the Corpus Juris Civilis represented the first great collection of civil law (and it influenced the development and content of many civil law systems), much of which was drawn from ancient Roman law.
The second panel is of Pope Gregory IX receiving the Decretals from the Dominican St. Raymond de Penafort in the early 13th century. The Decretals were an early organization of the canon law of the Catholic Church which were intended by the Pope to be definitive.
The work of Harold Berman, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition (recommended and discussed on this site before), is an important place to learn about the relationship and mutual influence of the civil and canon law. Berman’s emphasis is primarily on the latter’s influence on the development of the former, rather than on the revival of Roman law.
Our friend Paul Horwitz offers some thoughts about the questions that Steve, Ron, Mark, and I are batting around here involving the state of religious liberty and the effect or importance of justifying it in new ways.