Around the Web This Week

Some interesting law & religion stories from around the web this week:

Perovic (ed.), “Sacred and Secular Agency in Early Modern France”

Sacred_SecularThis May, Bloomsbury Publishing will publish Sacred and Secular Agency in Early Modern France edited by Sanja Perovic (King’s College). The publisher’s description follows.

The opposition between ‘religion’ and ‘modernity’ has long held the status of a self-evident truth. Recently, however, there has been a growing realization that religion has not died out and may be more compatible with modern society than previously assumed.This development is particularly striking in France where laïcité has long been the official doctrine.

How did religion become opposed to the secular and modern? If distinctions between sacred and secular are less adequate than commonly believed, how do these two categories interact? Addressing these questions, this book explores the persistence of religious categories on the cultural landscape of early modern France. France was the birthplace of Europe’s first secular state and the centre of two movements considered indispensable to secularization – the Enlightenment and Revolution of 1789. As such France is vital for understanding how religious antecedents informed modern political institutions and ideals. By uncovering the role of religion in shaping categories most often associated with modernity this book offers a new perspective on the master narrative of secularization.

Cohen & Numbers (eds.), “Gods in America: Religious Pluralism in the United States”

This July, Oxford University Press will publish Gods in America: Religious Pluralism in the United States edited by Charles L. Cohen (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Ronald L. Numbers (University of Wisconsin-Madison). The publisher’s description follows.

Religious pluralism has characterized America almost from its seventeenth-century inception, but the past half century or so has witnessed wholesale changes in the religious landscape, including a proliferation of new spiritualities, the emergence of widespread adherence to ”Asian” traditions, and an evangelical Christian resurgence. These recent phenomena–important in themselves as indices of cultural change–are also both causes and contributions to one of the most remarked-upon and seemingly anomalous characteristics of the modern United States: its widespread religiosity. Compared to its role in the world’s other leading powers, religion in the United States is deeply woven into the fabric of civil and cultural life. At the same time, religion has, from the 1600s on, never meant a single denominational or confessional tradition, and the variety of American religious experience has only become more diverse over the past fifty years. Gods in America brings together leading scholars from a variety of disciplines to explain the historical roots of these phenomena and assess their impact on modern American society.