This month, Palgrave Macmillan releases Religious Conversions in the Mediterranean World, edited by Nadia Marzouki (European University Institute, Italy) and Oliver Roy (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales). The publisher’s description follows.
While globalization and the European construction increasingly undermine the model of the nation-state in the Mediterranean world, conversions reveal the capacity of religion to disrupt, and unsettle previous understandings of political and social relations. Converts’ claims and practice are often met with the hostility of the state and the public while converts can often be perceived either as traitors or as unconscious and weak tools of foreign manipulation.
Based on first-hand ethnographical research from several countries throughout the Mediterranean region, this book is the first of its kind in studying and analyzing contemporary conversions and their impact on recasting ideas of nationalism and citizenship. In doing so, this interdisciplinary study confronts historical, anthropological, political science and sociological approaches which offers an insight into the national, legal and political challenges of legislating for religious minorities that arise from conversions. Moreover, the specific examination of contemporary religious conversion contributes more widely to debates about the delinking of religion and culture, globalization, and secularism.
Next month, Transaction will publish The Dark Side of Church/State Separation: The French Revolution, Nazi Germany, and International Communism, by theologian Stephen Strehle (Christopher Newport University). The publisher’s description follows.
The Dark Side of Church/State Separation analyzes the Enlightenment’s attack upon the Judeo-Christian tradition and its impact upon the development of secular regimes in France, Germany, and Russia. Such regimes followed the anti-Semitic/anti-Christian agenda of the French Enlightenment in blaming the Judeo-Christian tradition for all the ills of European society and believing that human beings can develop their own set of values and purposes through rational means, apart from any revelation from God or Scripture.
Stephen Strehle’s analysis extends our understanding of church/state relations and its history. He confirms the spiritual roots of modern anti-Semitism within the ideology of the Enlightenment and recognizes the intimate relationship between anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity. Strehle questions the absolute doctrine of church/state separation, given its background in the bigotries of the philosophes. He notes the nefarious motives of subsequent regimes, which used the French doctrine to replace the religious community with the state and its secular ideology.
This detailed historical analysis of original sources and secondary literature is woven together with special appreciation for the philosophical and theological ideas that contributed to the emergence of political institutions. Readers will gain an understanding of the most influential ideas shaping the modern world and present-day culture.
Next month, Ashgate will publish a new volume of Freedom of Religion and Belief by Silvio Ferrari (University of Milan) and Rinaldo Cristofori (University of Milan). The publisher’s description follows.
The essays and articles selected for this volume analyze what is generally understood by freedom of religion and belief in today’s world. The different aspects of this fundamental right are considered from the contents of freedom of religion, to the possible limitations of this freedom; and from the freedom of, or freedom from, conundrum to the question of the collective or individual right. This volume reflects legal, philosophical and international perspectives, addresses numerous unanswered questions and offers an effective overview of the current literature and debate in this aspect of the discipline of law and religion.
This month, Cambridge University Press releases a new, paperback edition of The Spirit of Hindu Law by Donald R. Davis Jr. (University of Wisconsin-Madison). The publishers description follows.
Law is too often perceived solely as state-based rules and institutions that provide a rational alternative to religious rites and ancestral customs. The Spirit of Hindu Law, first published in 2010, uses the Hindu legal tradition as a heuristic tool to question this view and reveal the close linkage between law and religion. Emphasizing the household, the family, and everyday relationships as additional social locations of law, it contends that law itself can be understood as a theology of ordinary life. An introduction to traditional Hindu law and jurisprudence, this book is structured around key legal concepts such as the sources of law and authority, the laws of persons and things, procedure, punishment and legal practice. It combines investigation of key themes from Sanskrit legal texts with discussion of Hindu theology and ethics, as well as thorough examination of broader comparative issues in law and religion.