In March, Edinburgh University Press will release Islamisation: Comparative Perspectives from History edited by A. C. S. Peacock (University of St. Andrews). The publisher’s description follows:
The spread of Islam and the process of Islamisation (meaning both conversion to Islam and the adoption of Muslim culture) is explored in the 25 chapters of this volume. Taking a comparative perspective, both the historical trajectory of Islamisation and the methodological problems in its study are addressed, with coverage moving from Africa to China and from the 7th century to the start of the colonial period in 1800.
Key questions are addressed including what is meant by Islamisation? How far was the spread of Islam as a religion bound up with the spread of Muslim culture? To what extent are Islamisation and conversion parallel processes? How is Islamisation connected to Arabisation? What role do vernacular Muslim languages play in the promotion of Muslim culture?
The broad, comparative perspective allows readers to develop a thorough understanding of the process of Islamisation over 11 centuries of its history.
In March, Oxford University Press will release Bishops in the Political Community of England, 1213-1272 by S. T. Ambler (University of East Anglia). The publisher’s description follows:
Thirteenth-century England was a special place and time to be a bishop. Like their predecessors, these bishops were key members of the regnal community: anointers of kings, tenants-in-chief, pastors, counsellors, scholars, diplomats, the brothers and friends of kings and barons, and the protectors of the weak. But now circumstance and personality converged to produce an uncommonly dedicated episcopate-dedicated not only to its pastoral mission but also to the defence of the kingdom and the oversight of royal government. This cohort was bound by corporate solidarity and a vigorous culture, and possessed an authority to reform the king, and so influence political events, unknown by the episcopates of other kingdoms.
These bishops were, then, to place themselves at the heart of the dramatic events of this era. Under King John and Henry III-throughout rebellion, civil war, and invasion from France, and the turbulent years of Minority government and Henry’s early personal rule-the bishops acted as peacemakers: they supported royal power when it was threatened, for the sake of regnal peace, but also used their unique authority to reform the king when his illegal actions threatened to provoke his barons to rebellion. This changed, however, between 1258 and 1265, when around half of England’s bishops set aside their loyalty to the king and joined a group of magnates, led by Simon de Montfort, in England’s first revolution, appropriating royal powers in order to establish conciliar rule.
Bishops in the Political Community of England, 1213-1272 examines the interaction between the bishops’ actions on the ground and their culture, identity, and political thought. In so doing it reveals how the Montfortian bishops were forced to construct a new philosophy of power in the crucible of political crisis, and thus presents a new ideal-type in the study of politics and political thought: spontaneous ideology.
On Thursday, March 17, in Washington, First Things Magazine will host a lecture, “The Social Vision of Leo XIII,” by Russell Hittinger. Those interested can RSVP here. Here’s a description:
For more than a century, Catholic social teaching was organized and propounded in light of three institutions thought to be necessary for human happiness: family, polity, and church. The Church insisted that human flourishing requires a dynamic concord between domestic, political, and ecclesial orders, and that membership in these three societies is not strictly voluntary. All of the chief principles of Catholic social thought were formulated and clarified using this three-fold institutional paradigm, focused on the harmonization of the three societies, beginning with Pope Leo XIII (1878–1903) and continuing for most of the following century.
Despite some great successes, especially during the post-war era, the picture eventually turned cloudy for the threefold model of human social life. First, what Pope John Paul II called the “anthropological crisis” deeply eroded confidence in a normative account of institutions. Beginning with marriage and family, the three necessary societies began to be seen as merely optional elements of individual lifestyle—choices and contracts reducible to personal preference or global economics.
Whereas the problem for the better part of two centuries was how to reduce the rivalry and conflict between the three necessary societies, today the main issue is a human sociability set free from normative institutions. We have entered a time perplexities—a time of doubt and suspicion about social order that transcends private exchanges and distributions. We are in the fluidly “prophetic” era of Pope Francis. What does this mean for human society in its three basic institutions? Can peace still be made between them?
Russell Hittinger, Warren Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Tulsa, will take up these questions in a public lecture held at The Catholic University of America on Thursday, March 9th, 2017. The event is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception with refreshments.