Spencer, “The Evolution of the West”

In September, SPCK released “The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values,” by Nick Spencer (Theos Think Tank).  The publisher’s description follows:

What has Christianity ever done for us?

9780281075201A lot more than you might think, as Nick Spencer reveals in this fresh exploration of our cultural origins.

Looking at the big ideas that characterize the West, such as human dignity, the rule of law, human rights, science – and even, paradoxically, atheism and secularism – he traces the varied ways in which many of our present values grew up and flourished in distinctively Christian soil.

Always alert to the tensions and the mess of history, and careful not to overstate the Christian role in shaping our present values, Spencer shows how a better awareness of what we owe to Christianity can help us as we face new cultural challenges.

(H/T: Chris Borgen)

Mecham, “Institutional Origins of Islamist Political Mobilization”

In January, Cambridge University Press will release “Institutional Origins of Islamist Political Mobilization,” by R. Quinn Mecham (Brigham Young University). The publisher’s description follows:

Muslim countries experience wide variation in levels of Islamist political mobilization, cup-colour-logo2including such political activities as protest, voting, and violence. Institutional Origins of Islamist Political Mobilization provides a theory of the institutional origins of Islamist politics, focusing on the development of religious common knowledge, religious entrepreneurship, and coordinating focal points as critical to the success of Islamist activism. Examining Islamist politics in more than 50 countries over four decades, the book illustrates that Islamist political activism varies a great deal, appearing in specific types of institutional contexts. Detailed case studies of Turkey, Algeria, and Senegal demonstrate how diverse contexts yield different types of Islamist politics across the Muslim world.

Fudgé, “Medieval Religion and its Anxieties”

Last month, Palgrave Macmillan released “Medieval Religion and its Anxieties: History and Mystery in the Middles Ages,” by Thomas Fudgé (University of New England).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book examines the broad varieties of religious belief, religious practices, and the 61wv02rfdul-_sx352_bo1204203200_influence of religion within medieval society. Religion in the Middle Ages was not monolithic. Medieval religion and the Latin Church are not synonymous. While theology and liturgy are important, an examination of animal trials, gargoyles, last judgments, various aspects of the medieval underworld, and the quest for salvation illuminate lesser known dimensions of religion in the Middle Ages. Several themes run throughout the book including visual culture, heresy and heretics, law and legal procedure, along with sexuality and an awareness of mentalities and anxieties. Although an expanse of 800 years has passed, the remains of those other Middle Ages can be seen today, forcing us to reassess our evaluations of this alluring and often overlooked past.