Video of Event for CLR & “The Tragedy of Religious Freedom”

The good IT people at St. John’s were  kind enough to create video of this event on September 25. Take a look.

Ephrat & Hatina (eds.), “Religious Knowledge, Authority, and Charisma: Islamic and Jewish Perspectives”

This November, University of Utah Press will publish Religious Knowledge, Authority, and Charisma: Islamic and Jewish Perspectives, edited by Daphna Ephrat (Open University of Israel) and Meir Hatin (Hebrew University of Jerusalem). The publisher’s description follows.

The issue of religious authority has long fascinated and ignited scholars across a range of disciplines: history, anthropology, the sociology of religion, and political science. Religious Knowledge, Authority, and Charisma juxtaposes religious leadership in premodern and modern Islam with examples from the Judaic tradition. By illustrating various iterations of authority in numerous historical and cultural contexts, this volume offers fresh insights into the nature of institutions of learning and other systems of establishing and disseminating authority, the mechanisms for cultivating committed adherents, and the processes by which religious leadership is polarized and fragmented.

Contributors tease out the sources and types of authority that emerged out of the Sunni and Shiʾi milieu and the evolution of Muslim elites who served as formulators and disseminators of knowledge and practice. Comparative insights are provided by the examination of ideological and historical developments among Jewish sages who inculcated similar modes of authority from within their traditions. The rigorous exploration of the dynamic interface of knowledge and power in Islam and Judaism serves to highlight a number of present tensions common to both religions. By intertwining a historical span that traces trajectories of continuity and change, integrative discussion of cross-sectional themes, and comparative perspectives, this volume makes a distinct contribution.

Sijpesteijn, “Shaping a Muslim State: The World of a Mid-Eighth-Century Egyptian Official”

This November, Oxford University Press will publish Shaping a Muslim State: The World of a Mid-Eighth-Century Egyptian Official by Petra M. Sijpesteijn (Leiden University). The publisher’s description follows.

Shaping a Muslim State provides a synthetic study of the political, social, and economic processes which formed early Islamic Egypt. Looking at a corpus of previously unknown Arabic papyrus letters, dating from between AD 730 and 750, which were written to a Muslim administrator and merchant in the Fayyum oasis in Egypt, Sijpesteijn examines the reasons for the success of the early Arab conquests and the transition from the pre-Islamic Byzantine system and its Egyptian executors to an Arab/Muslim state.

By examining the impact of Islam on the daily lives of those living under its rule, the volume highlights the striking newness of Islamic society while also acknowledging the influence of the ancient societies which preceded it. The book applies theoretical discussions about governance, historiography, (social) linguistics, and source criticism to understand the dynamics of early Islamic Egypt, as well as the larger process of state formation in the Islamic world.