In May, Edinburgh University Press will release Synagogues in the Islamic World:
Architecture, Design and Identity edited by Mohammad Gharipour (Morgan State University). The publisher’s description follows:
This beautifully illustrated volume looks at the spaces created by and for Jews in areas under the political or religious control of Muslims. Covering regions as diverse as Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Spain, it asks how the architecture of synagogues responded to contextual issues and traditions, and how these contexts influenced the design and evolution of synagogues. As well as revealing how synagogues reflect the culture of the Jewish minority at macro and micro scales, from the city to the interior, the book also considers patterns of the development of synagogues in urban contexts and in connection with urban elements and monuments.
- Uniquely explores the elements and concepts applied in the design of synagogues in the Islamic world
- Shows connections between Jewish and Islamic architecture and the collaboration among Muslims and Jews in the design and construction of synagogues
- Takes an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural approach, providing a new setting for the analysis of Islamic architecture
- Addresses historical, social, urban, and architectural aspects of synagogues throughout the Muslim world including Iraq, Afghanistan, Morocco, Egypt, Spain, Turkey, Tunisia, Iran, and India
In May, Harvard University Press will release When Free Exercise and Nonestablishment Conflict by Kent Greenawalt (Columbia University). The publisher’s description follows:
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution begins: “Congress shall make no law reflecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Taken as a whole, this statement has the aim of separating church and state, but tensions can emerge between its two elements—the so-called Nonestablishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause—and the values that lie beneath them.
If the government controls (or is controlled by) a single church and suppresses other religions, the dominant church’s “establishment” interferes with free exercise. In this respect, the First Amendment’s clauses coalesce to protect freedom of religion. But Kent Greenawalt sets out a variety of situations in which the clauses seem to point in opposite directions. Are ceremonial prayers in government offices a matter of free exercise or a form of establishment? Should the state provide assistance to religious private schools? Should parole boards take prisoners’ religious convictions into account? Should officials act on public reason alone, leaving religious beliefs out of political decisions? In circumstances like these, what counts as appropriate treatment of religion, and what is misguided?
When Free Exercise and Nonestablishment Conflict offers an accessible but sophisticated exploration of these conflicts. It explains how disputes have been adjudicated to date and suggests how they might be better resolved in the future. Not only does Greenawalt consider what courts should decide but also how officials and citizens should take the First Amendment’s conflicting values into account.