Murray, “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam”

Sure to be provocative and insightful, this book by Douglas Murray is a study of the Death of Europevarious demographic and identitarian problems that Western Europe is now facing. Note in particular his travels to Lampedusa in Sicily, the site of the famous novel, Il Gattopardo. The publisher is Bloomsbury and the description is below.

The Strange Death of Europe is a highly personal account of a continent and culture caught in the act of suicide. Declining birth-rates, mass immigration and cultivated self-distrust and self-hatred have come together to make Europeans unable to argue for themselves and incapable of resisting their own comprehensive change as a society. This book is not only an analysis of demographic and political realities, but also an eyewitness account of a continent in self-destruct mode. It includes reporting from across the entire continent, from the places where migrants land to the places they end up, from the people who appear to welcome them in to the places which cannot accept them.

Told from this first-hand perspective, and backed with impressive research and evidence, the book addresses the disappointing failure of multiculturalism, Angela Merkel’s U-turn on migration, the lack of repatriation and the Western fixation on guilt. Murray travels to Berlin, Paris, Scandinavia, Lampedusa and Greece to uncover the malaise at the very heart of the European culture, and to hear the stories of those who have arrived in Europe from far away. In each chapter he also takes a step back to look at the bigger issues which lie behind a continent’s death-wish, answering the question of why anyone, let alone an entire civilisation, would do this to themselves? He ends with two visions of Europe – one hopeful, one pessimistic – which paint a picture of Europe in crisis and offer a choice as to what, if anything, we can do next.

Bray & Hobbins, “Genesis 1-11”

One of the first conferences that Mark and I put together several years ago concerned Genesis“religious legal theory”–the nature of religious law and comparative approaches within and among religious traditions. The study of religious law remains a focus of our Center. Here’s a wonderful new translation of Genesis 1-11 authored in part by UCLA law professor Samuel Bray (a participant in the first leg of our Tradition Project last year) and Hebrew scholar John F. Hobbins, whose subtitle is “A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators.”

How does this new translation relate to law? Principally because law is all about words and their uses to convey meaning. But for more, you should check out Sam’s wonderfully interesting posts at the Volokh Conspiracy, which cover issues ranging from the Tower of Babel to those of “double translation” and its pitfalls. And the translation itself has something that should appeal to textualists–great faithfulness to the original. The publisher’s description is below.

This translation of Genesis 1-11 follows the Hebrew text closely and leaves in what many translations leave out: physicality, ambiguity, repetition, even puns. Bray and Hobbins also draw deeply from the long history of Jewish and Christian interpretation. Their translation and notes offer the reader wisdom and delight.

Bennett, “Defending Faith: The Politics of the Christian Conservative Legal Movement”

Conservative Christianity has been and continues to be an important movement in Defending FaithAmerican law. But it is difficult to read an even-handed account of it, since academic treatments tend to view it as a force of evil that must be identified, guarded against, and hopefully obliterated, and non-academic treatments are too often hagiographic in nature. Here’s an effort that appears to do better–political scientist Daniel Bennett’s new “Defending Faith: The Politics of the Christian Conservative Legal Movement,” which will be released by U. Kansas Press next month. Here’s the description.

When, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the US Supreme Court held that bans on same-sex marriage violate the Constitution, Christian conservative legal organizations (CCLOs) decried the ruling. Foreseeing an “assault against Christians,” Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver declared, “We are entering a cultural civil war.” Many would argue that a cultural war was already well underway; and yet, as this timely book makes clear, the stakes, the forces engaged, and the strategies employed have undergone profound changes in recent years.

In Defending Faith, Daniel Bennett shows how the Christian legal movement (CLM) and its affiliated organizations arrived at this moment in time. He explains how CCLOs advocate for issues central to Christian conservatives, highlights the influence of religious liberty on the CLM’s broader agenda, and reveals how the Christian Right has become accustomed to the courts as a field of battle in today’s culture wars. On one level a book about how the Christian Right mobilized and organized an effective presence on an unavoidable front in battles over social policy, the courtroom, Defending Faith is also a case study of interest groups pursuing common goals while maintaining unique identities. As different as these proliferating groups might be, they are alike in increasingly construing their efforts as a defense of religious freedom against hostile forces throughout American society—and thus as benefitting society as a whole rather than limiting the rights of certain groups. The first holistic, wide-angle picture of the Christian legal movement in the United States, Bennett’s work tells the story of the growth of a powerful legal community and of the development of legal advocacy as a tool of social and political engagement.

Mullins, “Father of Liberty: Jonathan Mayhew and the Principles of the American Revolution”

Here’s an interesting new book by Marquette scholar J. Patrick Mullins on a figure of the MayhewAmerican founding that was not known to me: Jonathan Mayhew. Typical of the founding period, note the association of the natural rights thinking so foundational to the early Republic and the Congregationalism of that period. The publisher, University of Kansas Press, has the following description.

Dr. Jonathan Mayhew (1720–1766) was, according to John Adams, a “transcendental genius . . . who threw all the weight of his great fame into the scale of the country in 1761, and maintained it there with zeal and ardor till his death.” He was also, J. Patrick Mullins contends, the most politically influential clergyman in eighteenth-century America and the intellectual progenitor of the American Revolution in New England. Father of Liberty is the first book to fully explore Mayhew’s political thought and activism, understood within the context of his personal experiences and intellectual influences, and of the cultural developments and political events of his time. Analyzing and assessing his contributions to eighteenth-century New England political culture, the book demonstrates Mayhew’s critical contribution to the intellectual origins of the American Revolution.

As pastor of the Congregationalist West Church in Boston, Mayhew championed the principles of natural rights, constitutionalism, and resistance to tyranny in press and pulpit from 1750 to 1766. He did more than any other clergyman to prepare New England for disobedience to British authority in the 1760s—and should, Mullins argues, be counted alongside such framers and fomenters of revolutionary thought as James Otis, Patrick Henry, and Samuel Adams. Though many commentators from John Adams on down have acknowledged his importance as a popularizer of Whig political principles, Father of Liberty is the first extended, in-depth examination of Mayhew’s political writings, as well as the cultural process by which he engaged with the public and disseminated those principles. As such, even as the book restores a key figure to his place in American intellectual and political history, it illuminates the meaning of the Revolution as a political and constitutional conflict informed by the religious and political ideas of the British Enlightenment.

Call for Papers: Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies

The Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies has issued a call for papers for two symposia later this year:

The Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies is a forum for discourse and presentation of papers by scholars who have a particular interest in the study of religion. Canon Brian Mountford MBE, former Vicar of St Mary’s Church and Fellow of St Hilda’s College in the University of Oxford, will host the meeting.

You are invited to make a presentation and lead a discussion of a relevant aspect of religious studies, or you may wish to participate as a panel member or as an observer. Your disquisition must adhere to an abstract of about 300 words approved by the Programme Committee of the Symposium. You are, also, encouraged to submit a paper, in keeping with your abstract, which may be published in an appropriate journal, book of conference proceedings. All papers presented for publication or inclusion in books or sponsored journals will be subject to peer review by external readers.

Suggested topics include “Religion, Politics, and Public Discourse,” Separation of Church and State,” and “State Funding of Church Schools.” Further details can be found here.

Happy Easter

 

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The Resurrection (Coptic)

 

To all who celebrate, a very Happy Easter. ΠιχρίςΤος αϥτωΝϥ!

 

Movsesian at William & Mary Law Last Week

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Thanks to Alan Meese and Nate Oman for hosting me last week at a symposium on Nate’s important new book, “The Dignity of Commerce.” (That’s me, above, interacting with the author). I learned a great deal. Nate has been a guest blogger here at the Law and Religion Forum, and it was good to catch up with him and with Alan, and to make some new friends. The symposium will appear later this year.

Around the Web This Week

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

Around the Web This Week

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

Around the Web This Week

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

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