On March 14, the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, in conjunction with Baylor University Press, is co-sponsoring a panel discussion of Amir Hussain’s new book Muslims and the Making of America at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. A description of the event follows:
Here is a look at some law and religion news stories from around the web this week:
- The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the President’s controversial immigration order.
- A recent poll found that a majority of Europeans from ten countries want an immigration ban from Muslim-majority countries.
- A study by the Pew Research Center analyzing data from the State Department found that most refugees coming into the United States as religious minorities are Christians.
- The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal of an Orthodox Jewish woman who was punished for taking off work on the last two days of Passover.
- In Georgia, the story of a Muslim student’s harassment by her professor is being used to introduce a new religious liberty bill.
- In Florida, the merging of a black church and a white church created unique challenges for the “racially reconciled” Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, the only intentional joint church of its kind in the United States.
- Opinion: Churches can be a great asset in the battle against modern slavery around the world.
In April, the University of Chicago Press will release Jerusalem 1900: The Holy City in the Age of Possibilities by Vincent Lemire (University of Marne-la-Vallée, Paris). The publisher’s description follows:
Perhaps the most contested patch of earth in the world, Jerusalem’s Old City experiences consistent violent unrest between Israeli and Palestinian residents, with seemingly no end in sight. Today, Jerusalem’s endless cycle of riots and arrests appears intractable—even unavoidable—and it looks unlikely that harmony will ever be achieved in the city. But with Jerusalem 1900, historian Vincent Lemire shows us that it wasn’t always that way, undoing the familiar notion of Jerusalem as a lost cause and revealing a unique moment in history when a more peaceful future seemed possible.
In this masterly history, Lemire uses newly opened archives to explore how Jerusalem’s elite residents of differing faiths cooperated through an intercommunity municipal council they created in the mid-1860s to administer the affairs of all inhabitants and improve their shared city. These residents embraced a spirit of modern urbanism and cultivated a civic identity that transcended religion and reflected the relatively secular and cosmopolitan way of life of Jerusalem at the time. These few years would turn out to be a tipping point in the city’s history—a pivotal moment when the horizon of possibility was still open, before the council broke up in 1934, under British rule, into separate Jewish and Arab factions. Uncovering this often overlooked diplomatic period, Lemire reveals that the struggle over Jerusalem was not historically inevitable—and therefore is not necessarily intractable. Jerusalem 1900 sheds light on how the Holy City once functioned peacefully and illustrates how it might one day do so again.
In April, New York University Press will release The Social Gospel in American Religion: A History by Christopher H. Evans (Boston University). The publisher’s description follows:
A remarkable history of the powerful and influential social gospel movement.
The global crises of child labor, alcoholism and poverty were all brought to our attention through the social gospel movement. Its impact on American society makes it one of the most influential developments in American religious history.
Christopher H. Evans traces the development of the social gospel in American Protestantism, and illustrates how the religious idealism of the movement also rose up within Judaism and Catholicism.
Contrary to the works of previous historians, Evans demonstrates how the presence of the social gospel continued in American culture long after its alleged demise following World War I. Evans reveals the many aspects of the social gospel and their influence on a range of social movements during the twentieth century, culminating with the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. It also explores the relationship between the liberal social gospel of the early twentieth century and later iterations of social reform in late twentieth century evangelicalism.
The Social Gospel in American Religion considers an impressive array of historical figures including Washington Gladden, Emil Hirsch, Frances Willard, Reverdy Ransom, Walter Rauschenbusch, Stephen Wise, John Ryan, Harry Emerson Fosdick, A.J. Muste, Georgia Harkness, and Benjamin Mays. It demonstrates how these figures contributed to the shape of the social gospel in America, while arguing that the movement’s legacy lies in its profound influence on broader traditions of liberal-progressive political reform in American history.
This month, Baylor University Press releases Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic: Tuskegee, Colonialism, and the Shaping of African Industrial Education by Andrew E. Barnes (Arizona State University). The publisher’s description follows:
Many Europeans saw Africa’s colonization as an exhibition of European racial ascendancy. African Christians saw Africa’s subjugation as a demonstration of European technological superiority. If the latter was the case, then the path to Africa’s liberation ran through the development of a competitive African technology.
In Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic, Andrew E. Barnes chronicles African Christians’ turn to American-style industrial education—particularly the model that had been developed by Booker T. Washington at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute—as a vehicle for Christian regeneration in Africa. Over the period 1880–1920, African Christians, motivated by Ethiopianism and its conviction that Africans should be saved by other Africans, proposed and founded schools based upon the Tuskegee model.
Barnes follows the tides of the Black Atlantic back to Africa when African Christians embraced the new education initiatives of African American Christians and Tuskegee as the most potent example of technological ingenuity. Building on previously unused African sources, the book traces the movements to establish industrial education institutes in cities along the West African coast and in South Africa, Cape Province, and Natal. As Tuskegee and African schools modeled in its image proved, peoples of African descent could—and did—develop competitive technology.
Though the attempts by African Christians to create industrial education schools ultimately failed, Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic demonstrates the ultimate success of transatlantic black identity and Christian resurgence in Africa at the turn of the twentieth century. Barnes’ study documents how African Christians sought to maintain indigenous identity and agency in the face of colonial domination by the state and even the European Christian missions of the church.
In April, Harvard University Press will release Before Orthodoxy: The Satanic Verses in Early Islam by Shahab Ahmed (Harvard University). The publisher’s description follows:
One of the most controversial episodes in the life of the Prophet Muhammad concerns an incident in which he allegedly mistook words suggested by Satan as divine revelation. Known as the Satanic verses, these praises to the pagan deities contradict the Islamic belief that Allah is one and absolute. Muslims today—of all sects—deny that the incident of the Satanic verses took place. But as Shahab Ahmed explains, Muslims did not always hold this view.
Before Orthodoxy wrestles with the question of how religions establish truth—especially religions such as Islam that lack a centralized authority to codify beliefs. Taking the now universally rejected incident of the Satanic verses as a case study in the formation of Islamic orthodoxy, Ahmed shows that early Muslims, circa 632 to 800 CE, held the exact opposite belief. For them, the Satanic verses were an established fact in the history of the Prophet. Ahmed offers a detailed account of the attitudes of Muslims to the Satanic verses in the first two centuries of Islam and traces the chains of transmission in the historical reports known as riwāyah.
Touching directly on the nature of Muhammad’s prophetic visions, the interpretation of the Satanic verses incident is a question of profound importance in Islam, one that plays a role in defining the limits of what Muslims may legitimately say and do—issues crucial to understanding the contemporary Islamic world.
Next month, Cambridge University Press will release Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism: Evangelii Gaudium and the Papal Agenda edited by Gerard Mannion (Georgetown University). The publisher’s description follows:
Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism is the first and most in-depth study of the most important teaching document from Pope Francis to date: Evangelii Gaudium. It explores the key components of his vision and agenda for the church – ecclesiological, social and dialogical – drawing together a range of globally and disciplinary diverse voices from leading experts in the field. Contributions explore Francis’ distinctive style of papacy as well as the substance of his ecclesial revolution and reforms. Chapters engage with the most pressing challenges for the church in today’s world and Francis’ debt to key influences from John XXIII and Vatican II to Liberation Theology. The global context and contributions to the dialogue of this papacy are assessed and discussed in-depth. The scope of the book will appeal to those interested in the Catholic Church in both contemporary and historical contexts and to those seeking to understand where the church is going today.
In April, Brill Publishers will release The Scientification of the “Jewish Question” in Nazi Germany by Horst Junginger (University of Leipzig). The publisher’s description follows:
The Scientification of the “Jewish Question” in Nazi Germany describes the attempt of a considerable number of German scholars to counter the vanishing influence of religious prejudices against the Jews with a new antisemitic rationale. As anti-Jewish stereotypes of an old-fashioned soteriological kind had become dysfunctional under the pressure of secularization, a new, more objective explanation was needed to justify the age-old danger of Judaism in the present. In the 1930s a new research field called “Judenforschung” (Jew research) emerged. Its leading figures amalgamated racial and religious features to verify the existence of an everlasting “Jewish problem”. Along with that they offered scholarly concepts for its solution.
In April, Columbia University Press will release Holy Wars and Holy Alliance: The Return of Religion to the Global Political Stage by Manlio Graziano (Sorbonne University). The publisher’s description follows:
Religions are reemerging in the social, political, and economic spheres previously occupied and dominated by secular institutions and ideologies. In the wake of crises exposing the limits of secular modernity, religions have again become significant players in domestic and international politics. At the same time, the Catholic Church has sought a “holy alliance” among the world’s faiths to recentralize devout influence, an important, albeit little-noticed, evolution in international relations.
Holy Wars and Holy Alliance explores the nation-state’s current crisis in order to better understand the religious resurgence’s implications for geopolitics. Manlio Graziano looks at how the Catholic Church promotes dialogue and action linking world religions, and examines how it has used its material, financial, and institutional strength to gain power and increase its profile in present-day international politics. Challenging the idea that modernity is tied to progress and secularization, Graziano documents the “return” or the “revenge” of God in all facets of life. He shows that tolerance, pluralism, democracy, and science have not triumphed as once predicted. To fully grasp the destabilizing dynamics at work today, he argues, we must appreciate the nature of religious struggles and political holy wars now unfolding across the international stage.
This month, Academic Studies Press releases The Russian-Jewish Tradition: Intellectuals, Historians, Revolutionaries by Brian Horowitz (Tulane University). The publisher’s description follows:
This book argues that Jews were not a people apart but were culturally integrated in Russian society. In their diasporic cultural creations Russia’s Jews employed the general themes of artists under tsars and Soviets, but they modified these themes to fit their own needs. The result was a hybrid, Russian-Jewish culture, unique and dynamic. Few today consider that Jewish Eastern Europe, the “old world”, was in fact a power incubator of modern Jewish consciousness. Brian Horowitz, a well-known scholar of Russian Jewry, presents essays on Jewish education (the heder), historiography, literature and Jewish philosophy that intersect with contemporary interests on the big questions of Jewish life. The book lets us grasp the meaning of secular Judaism and gives models from the past in order to stimulate ideas for the present.