Ventura, “From Your Gods to Our Gods”

I’m slightly late in noting this, but our friend Professor Marco Ventura (Siena; Ventura, FYGTOGKU Leuven) has recently published this very interesting book, From Your Gods to Our Gods: A History of Religion in Indian, South African, and British Courts (Cascade Books 2014). Marco’s work is always penetrating and insightful, and this looks to be no exception. Here is the description:

The global world debates secularism, freedom of belief, faith-based norms, the state’s arbitration of religious conflicts, and the place of the sacred in the public sphere. In facing these issues, Britain, India, and South Africa stand out as unique laboratories. They have greatly influenced the rest of the world. As single countries and together as a whole, the three have moved from the colonial clash of antagonistic religions (of your gods) to an era when it has become impossible to dissociate your god from my god. Today both belong to the same blurred reality of our gods. Through a narrative account of British, South African, and Indian court cases from 1857 to 2009, the author draws an unconventional history of the process leading from the encounter with the gods of the other to the forging of a postmodern, common, and global religion. Across ages, borders, faiths, and laws, the three countries have experienced the ambivalent interaction of society, politics, and beliefs. Hence the lesson the world might learn from them: our gods promise an idealized purity, but they can only become real in the everyday creation of mixed identities, hybrid deities, and shared fears and hopes.

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