Around the Web This Week

Here are some news stories involving law and religion from this past week:

Rabinovich, “Yitzhak Rabin”

In March, Yale University Press will release Yitzhak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman by Itamar Rabinovich (New York University). The publisher’s description follows:
Yitzhak Rabin.jpgMore than two decades have passed since prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995, yet he remains an unusually intriguing and admired modern leader. A native-born Israeli, Rabin became an inextricable part of his nation’s pre-state history and subsequent evolution. This revealing account of his life, character, and contributions draws not only on original research but also on the author’s recollections as one of Rabin’s closest aides.

An awkward politician who became a statesman, a soldier who became a peacemaker, Rabin is best remembered for his valiant efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for the Oslo Accords. Itamar Rabinovich provides extraordinary new insights into Rabin’s relationships with powerful leaders including Bill Clinton, Jordan’s King Hussein, and Henry Kissinger, his desire for an Israeli-Syrian peace plan, and the political developments that shaped his tenure. The author also assesses the repercussions of Rabin’s murder: Netanyahu’s ensuing election and the rise of Israel’s radical right wing.

“The Crisis of Citizenship in the Arab World” (Meijer & Butenschon, eds.)

In March, Brill Publishers will release The Crisis of Citizenship in the Arab World edited by Roel Meijer (Radboud University) and Nils Butenschon (University of Oslo). The publisher’s description follows:

brill_logoThe Crisis of Citizenship in the Arab World argues that the present crisis of the Arab world has its origins in the historical, legal and political development of state-citizen relations since the beginning of modern history in the Middle East and North Africa. The anthology covers three main topics. Part I focuses on the crisis of the social pact in different Arab countries as it became manifest during the Arab Uprisings. Part II concentrates on concepts of citizenship in Islamic doctrine, Islamic movements (Muslim Brotherhood and Salafism), secular political movements and Arab thinkers. Part III looks into the practices that support the claims to equal rights as well as the factors that have obstructed full citizen rights, such as patronage and clientelism.

Contributors are: Ida Almestad, Claire Beaugrand, Assia Boutaleb, Michaelle Browers, Nils Butenschøn, Anthony Gorman, Raymond Hinnebusch, Engin F. Isin, Rania Maktabi, Roel Meijer, Emin Poljarevic, Ola Rifai, James Sater, Rachel Scott, Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, Robert Springborg, Stig Stenslie, Morten Valbjørn, Knut S. Vikør and Sami Zemni.

Tuininga, “Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church”

In March, Cambridge University Press will release Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church: Christ’s Two Kingdoms by Matthew J. Tuininga (Calvin Theological Seminary). The publisher’s description follows:

Calvin's Political Theology.jpgIn Calvin’s Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church, Matthew J. Tuininga explores a little appreciated dimension of John Calvin’s political thought, his two kingdoms theology, as a model for constructive Christian participation in liberal society. Widely misunderstood as a proto-political culture warrior, due in part to his often misinterpreted role in controversies over predestination and the heretic Servetus, Calvin articulated a thoughtful approach to public life rooted in his understanding of the gospel and its teaching concerning the kingdom of God. He staked his ministry in Geneva on his commitment to keeping the church distinct from the state, abandoning simplistic approaches that placed one above the other, while rejecting the temptations of sectarianism or separatism. This revealing analysis of Calvin’s vision offers timely guidance for Christians seeking a mode of faithful, respectful public engagement in democratic, pluralistic communities today.

Hassan, “Civil Disobedience in Islam”

In February, Palgrave MacMillan will release Civil Disobedience in Islam by Muhammad Haniff Hassan (Nanyang Technological University). The publisher’s description follows:

palgrave-macmillanThis book addresses contemporary debates on civil disobedience in Islam within the rich Sunni tradition, especially during the height of the non‐violent people revolution in various Arab countries, popularly known as the Arab Spring. It illustrates the Islamic theological and jurisprudential arguments presented by those who either permit or prohibit acts of civil disobedience for the purpose of changing government, political systems or policy. The book analyses the nature of the debate and considers how a theological position on civil disobedience should be formulated in contemporary time, and makes the case for alternatives to violent political action such as jihadism, terrorism and armed rebellion.

“Islamisation” (Peacock, ed.)

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:

islamisationThe 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.

Ambler, “Bishops in the Political Community of England, 1213-1272”

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:

bishops-in-englandThirteenth-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.

Mack, “The Rise and Fall of the Christian Myth”

In February, Yale University Press will release The Rise and Fall of the Christian Myth:
Restoring Our Democratic Ideals by Burton L. Mack (Claremont School of Theology). The publisher’s description follows:

rise-and-fall-of-the-christian-mythA preeminent scholar explores the evolution of the Christian worldview and argues that it no longer offers a satisfactory vision for our democratic, multicultural society

This book is the culmination of a lifelong scholarly inquiry into Christian history, religion as a social institution, and the role of myth in the history of religions. Mack shows that religions are essentially mythological and that Christianity in particular has been an ever-changing mythological engine of social formation, from Roman times to its distinct American expression in our time.

The author traces the cultural influence of the Christian myth that has persisted for sixteen hundred years but now should be much less consequential in our social and cultural life, since it runs counter to our democratic ideals. We stand at a critical impasse: badly splintered by conflicting groups pursuing their own social interests, a binding common myth needs to be established by renewing a truly cohesive national and international story rooted in our democratic and egalitarian origins, committed to freedom, equality, and vital human values.

Emre, “Ibrahim-i Gulshani and the Khalwati-Gulshani Order”

In March, Brill Publishers will release Ibrahim-i Gulshani and the Khalwati-Gulshani Order: Power Brokers in Ottoman Egypt by Side Emre (University of Chicago). The publisher’s description follows:

Ibrahim.jpgIn Power Brokers in Ottoman Egypt, Side Emre documents the biography of Ibrahim-i Gulshani and the history of the Khalwati-Gulshani order of dervishes (c. 1440-1600). Set mainly in Mamluk-Egypt, and in the century following the region’s conquest by the Ottomans, this book analyzes sociopolitical dialogues at the geographic peripheries of an empire through the actions of and official responses to the Gulshaniyya network.

Emre argues that the members of this Sufi order exerted social and political leverage and contributed significantly to the political culture of the empire and Egypt. The Gulshanis are uncovered as unexpected figures among the roster of influential players, in contrast with empire-centered historiographies that depict Ottoman ruling and learned elites as the primary shapers and narrators of the fates of conquered provinces and peoples. The Gulshanis’ political and cultural legacy is situated within an analysis of perceptions of Sufism in the early modern Ottoman world.

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