Wood, “Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson”

The complicated and modulated relationship of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson is one Woodof the pearls of American history. The two disagreed fiercely about just about everything as political men–very much including the church-state question. Yet there was a rapprochement between them in their golden years, as testified by the wealth of correspondence they shared. Gordon Wood is one of the preeminent historians of the American founding. Here he has a new book on the two great men. The publisher is Penguin Random House and the description is below.

From the great historian of the American Revolution, New York Times-bestselling and Pulitzer-winning Gordon Wood, comes a majestic dual biography of two of America’s most enduringly fascinating figures, whose partnership helped birth a nation, and whose subsequent falling out did much to fix its course.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds, or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist with enough faith in the innate goodness of his fellow man to be democracy’s champion, was an aristocratic Southern slaveowner, while Adams, the overachiever from New England’s rising middling classes, painfully aware he was no aristocrat, was a skeptic about popular rule and a defender of a more elitist view of government. They worked closely in the crucible of revolution, crafting the Declaration of Independence and leading, with Franklin, the diplomatic effort that brought France into the fight. But ultimately, their profound differences would lead to a fundamental crisis, in their friendship and in the nation writ large, as they became the figureheads of two entirely new forces, the first American political parties. It was a bitter breach, lasting through the presidential administrations of both men, and beyond.

But late in life, something remarkable happened: these two men were nudged into reconciliation. What started as a grudging trickle of correspondence became a great flood, and a friendship was rekindled, over the course of hundreds of letters. In their final years they were the last surviving founding fathers and cherished their role in this mighty young republic as it approached the half century mark in 1826. At last, on the afternoon of July 4th, 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration, Adams let out a sigh and said, “At least Jefferson still lives.” He died soon thereafter. In fact, a few hours earlier on that same day, far to the south in his home in Monticello, Jefferson died as well.

Arguably no relationship in this country’s history carries as much freight as that of John Adams of Massachusetts and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Gordon Wood has more than done justice to these entwined lives and their meaning; he has written a magnificent new addition to America’s collective story.

CFP: Religious Violence and Extremism at Bar-Ilan

Here’s a CFP notice from Professor Michael Helfand:

Faculty of Law Faculty of Law


Call For Papers

The Journal of Law, Religion and State – International Conference

Religious Violence and Extremism

28-30 May 2018

In recent years, religious violence and extremism have become an increasingly present phenomenon on the public stage, not only growing in impact, but also spreading to many new parts of the world. In this conference, we seek to discuss these phenomena from a variety of legal perspectives, considering the role of law, religion and state both in facilitating violence and extremism and countering it as well.

Our intention is to explore the legal origins and consequences of these phenomena in a broad sense, assessing not only state law and religious law, but also the social conditions and goals that the law reflects or emerges in response to. Moreover, we also hope to consider the concept of religious extremism not simply as attendant to violence, but also as its own independent phenomenon with which the state must contend. Here some of the topics we invite participants to address:

 Analysis of religious violence and extremism (the phenomena in general and specific incidents as well)

 Definition and classification of both religious violence and religious extremism

 What is the relationship between religious freedom and religious extremism?

 Does religious extremism justify restrictions on religious freedom (education, expression or association) and how does/should the state conceptualize principled limitations on religious freedom in light of religious extremism?

 How should we distinguish between a deeply religious lifestyle and extremist religious activity?

 What are the (legal) measures states should take against radicalization of religion, and in what cases? (e.g., avoiding support, cancellation of tax exemptions, banning/criminalizing certain activities)

 How can the state manage conflicts—and provide political resolutions—at holy sites that serve, at times, as loci for both religious fervour and religious extremism?

 Can law, the state and/or religious leaders and institutions leverage the resources within various faith traditions to respond to religious extremism and violence? If yes, then: how should this be done?

 Should the law and the state treat religiously-motivated crimes in a different way than other crimes?

 What are the interpretive strategies religions take (or should take) in order to void radicalization and how can they impact the legal and political strategies of the state?

The conference will be held at Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Law, Ramat-Gan, Israel, from the late afternoon of Monday, 28 May 2018 until the late afternoon of Wednesday, 30 May 2018.

We encourage academic scholars from all parts of the world and from diverse religious backgrounds to submit proposals on the topics outlined above, and similar topics as well.

An abstract of 500 (max.) words should be sent to jlrs@biu.ac.il no later than November 10, 2017. Please indicate academic affiliation and attach a CV. The conference committee will review all submissions and notify applicants of papers of its decisions by Friday, 15 December 2017. The participants will be required to submit a first (full) draft of their papers at least four weeks before the conference so as to enable all participants to prepare for the conference discussions.

All participants will be provided three days of hotel accommodation and board during the conference.

After the conference, participants will have the opportunity to revise and finalize their papers in order to submit them for publication in JLRS. The articles will be published in the Journal of Law Religion and State subject to blind peer review.

The organizing committee:

Prof. Zvi Zohar, Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Prof. Rex Tauati Ahdar, Faculty of Law, Otago University, New Zealand

Dr. Haim Shapira, Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Prof. Michael Helfand, Faculty of Law, Pepperdine University, USA