“Christianity and the Roots of Morality” (Luomanen et al, eds.)

In May, Brill Publishers will release Christianity and the Roots of Morality: Philosophical, Early Christian and Empirical Perspectives edited by Petri Luomanen (University of Helsinki), Anne Birgitta Pessi (University of Helsinki), and Ilkka Pyysiäinen (University of Helsinki). The publisher’s description follows:

Christianity and the Roots of MoralityWhat is the role of religion, especially Christianity, in morality, pro-social behavior and altruism? Are there innate human moral capacities in the human mind? When and how did they appear in the history of evolution? What is the real significance of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount — does it set up unique moral standards or only crystallize humans’ innate moral intuitions? What is the role of religious teachings and religious communities in pro-social behavior? Christianity and the Roots of Morality: Philosophical, Early Christian and Empirical Perspectives casts light on these questions through interdisciplinary articles by scholars from social sciences, cognitive science, social psychology, sociology of religion, philosophy, systematic theology, comparative religion and biblical studies.

Contributors include: Nancy T. Ammerman, Grace Davie, Jutta Jokiranta, Simo Knuuttila, Kristen Renwick Monroe, Mika Ojakangas, Sami Pihlström, Antti Raunio, Heikki Räisänen (✝), Risto Saarinen, Kari Syreeni, Lauri Thurén, Petri Ylikoski.

Royce, “The Political Theology of European Integration”

In May, Palgrave Macmillan will release “The Political Theology of European Integration: Comparing the Influence of Religious Histories on European Policies,” by Mark Royce (Northern Virginia Community College).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book traces the connections between diverging postwar European integration policies and intra-Christian divisions to argue that supranational integration 9783319534466originates from Roman Catholic internationalism, and that resistance to integration, conversely, is based in Protestantism. Royce supports this thesis through a rigorously supported historical narrative, arguing that sixteenth-century theological conflicts generated seventeenth-century constitutional solutions, which ultimately effected the political choices both for and against integration during the twentieth century. Beginning with a survey of all ecclesiastical laws of seventeen West European countries and concluding with a full discussion of the Brexit vote and emerging alternatives to the EU, this examination of the political theology surrounding the European Union will appeal to all scholars of EU politics, modern theology, religious sociology, and contemporary European history.

Pratt, “Christian Engagement with Islam”

In May, Brill Publishers will release Christian Engagement with Islam: Ecumenical Journeys since 1910 by Douglas Pratt (University of Waikato). The publisher’s description follows:

brill_logoWhy did the Christian Church, in the twentieth century, engage in dialogue with Islam? What has been the ecumenical experience? What is happening now? Such questions underlie Douglas Pratt’s Christian Engagement with Islam: Ecumenical Journeys since 1910. Pratt charts recent Christian (WCC and Vatican) engagement with Islam up to the early 21st century and examines the ecumenical initiatives of Africa’s PROCMURA, ‘Building Bridges’, and the German ‘Christian-Muslim Theological Forum’, together with responses to the 2007 ‘Common Word’ letter.

Between them, Islam and Christianity represent over half the earth’s population. Their history of interaction, positive and negative, impacts widely still today. Contentious issues remain real enough, yet the story and ongoing reality of contemporary Christian-Muslim engagement is both exciting and encouraging.

“Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa” (Ross et al., eds.)

In April, Edinburgh University Press will release Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa edited by Kenneth Ross (University of Malawi), J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu (Trinity Theological Seminary), and Todd M. Johnson (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary). The publisher’s description follows:

christianity-in-sub-saharan-africaCombines empirical data and original analysis in a uniquely detailed account of Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa

This comprehensive reference volume covers every country in Sub-Saharan Africa, offering reliable demographic information and original interpretative essays by indigenous scholars and practitioners. It maps patterns of growth and decline, assesses major traditions and movements, analyses key themes and examines current trends.

Key Features

  • Profiles of Christianity in every country in Sub-Saharan Africa including clearly presented statistical and demographic information
  • Analyses of leading features and current trends written by indigenous scholars
  • Essays examining each of the major Christian traditions (Anglicans, Independents, Orthodox, Protestants, Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals/ Charismatics)
  • Essays exploring key themes such as faith and culture, worship and spirituality, theology, social and political engagement, mission and evangelism, religious freedom, inter-faith relations, slavery, anthropology of evil, and migration

Brennan and Brewbaker: Christian Legal Thought

1759303Christianity has a complex relationship to law. It does not prescribe rules of conduct in the way its sister faiths, Judaism and Islam, do. There is no Christian law of inheritance, for example. Yet Christians have reflected on the idea of law, and on Christianity’s role in informing civil law, for centuries. And those reflections have influenced the development of Western law in ways that are undeniable, even in our secular age.

It’s entirely appropriate, therefore, for American law schools to offer courses in Christian Legal Thought. The problem is the lack of good materials–until now. Patrick Brennan (Villanova) and William Brewbaker (Alabama) have just written a new casebook, Christian Legal Thought: Materials and Cases, for use in law school classes. It looks great. Here’s the publisher’s description:

This text examines law and legal institutions through the broad lens of Christian thought, both Catholic and Protestant. The book addresses methodological issues in Christian legal scholarship (What makes legal thought “Christian”?); the relevance of Christian theological doctrines—such as creation, the Christian conception of the human person, the kingdom of God, and the natural and divine laws—for reflection on law; the significance of historical context for Christian legal thought; Christian reflection on important jurisprudential issues and concepts, such as equality, justice, rights, and the rule of law; and Christian perspectives on various legal subjects, such as contracts, torts, and property. The point of the book is less to prescribe what a Christian legal theory should entail in the way of outcomes than to use the Christian faith as a lens through which to understand, and reflect critically upon, law and legal institutions.

Congratulations to Patrick and Bill! Can’t wait to get my copy.

Barnes, “Global Christianity and the Black Atlantic”

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:

global-chrisitianityMany 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.

Blankenship, “Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II”

In November, the University of North Carolina Press released “Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II,” by Anne Blankenship (North Dakota State University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Anne M. Blankenship’s study of Christianity in the infamous camps where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II yields insights both far-reaching 81txz2b1mtgland timely. While most Japanese Americans maintained their traditional identities as Buddhists, a sizeable minority identified as Christian, and a number of church leaders sought to minister to them in the camps. Blankenship shows how church leaders were forced to assess the ethics and pragmatism of fighting against or acquiescing to what they clearly perceived, even in the midst of a national crisis, as an unjust social system. These religious activists became acutely aware of the impact of government, as well as church, policies that targeted ordinary Americans of diverse ethnicities.

Going through the doors of the camp churches and delving deeply into the religious experiences of the incarcerated and the faithful who aided them, Blankenship argues that the incarceration period introduced new social and legal approaches for Christians of all stripes to challenge the constitutionality of government policies on race and civil rights. She also shows how the camp experience nourished the roots of an Asian American liberation theology that sprouted in the sixties and seventies.

 

Christerson & Flory, “The Rise of Network Christianity”

In March, Oxford University Press will release The Rise of Network Christianity: How Independent Leaders Are Changing the Religious Landscape by Brad Christerson (Biola University) and Richard Flory (University of Southern California). The publisher’s description follows:

the-rise-of-network-christianityWhy, when traditionally organized religious groups are seeing declining membership and participation, are networks of independent churches growing so explosively? Drawing on in-depth interviews with leaders and participants, The Rise of Network Christianity explains the social forces behind the fastest-growing form of Christianity in the U.S., which Brad Christerson and Richard Flory have labeled “Independent Network Charismatic.” This form of Christianity emphasizes aggressive engagement with the supernatural-including healing, direct prophecies from God, engaging in “spiritual warfare” against demonic spirits–and social transformation. Christerson and Flory argue that macro-level social changes since the 1970s, including globalization and the digital revolution, have given competitive advantages to religious groups organized as networks rather than traditionally organized congregations and denominations.

Network forms of governance allow for experimentation with controversial supernatural practices, innovative finances and marketing, and a highly participatory, unorthodox, and experiential faith, which is attractive in today’s unstable religious marketplace. Christerson and Flory hypothesize that as more religious groups imitate this type of governance, religious belief and practice will become more experimental, more orientated around practice than theology, more shaped by the individual religious “consumer,” and authority will become more highly concentrated in the hands of individuals rather than institutions. Network Christianity, they argue, is the future of Christianity in America.

How the US Hurt Mideast Christians

This month, I’m guest blogging at the Library of Law and Liberty. I’ve begun with a series of posts on the persecution of Christians in the Mideast. This persecution has many causes, including social attitudes formed by centuries of existence as dhimmis. In today’s post, though, I argue that the West bears some responsibility as well, including the US. Here’s a sample:

Finally, there are the recent actions of the United States. The Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, coupled with the precipitous withdrawal of American troops under the Obama Administration, has been a disaster for local Christians. The invasion exposed Christians to reprisals from Islamists; the withdrawal of troops allowed the reprisals to take place on a wide scale. In Syria, the Obama Administration’s signal that it would support the overthrow of Assad—recall the red line in the summer of 2013—encouraged a rebellion; its failure to back up its words with action has led to slaughter. This is not to say the US should have intervened militarily in Syria. But it shouldn’t have encouraged a rebellion it was not prepared to back, either.

You can read the whole post here.

Rubin, “Judicial Review and American Conservatism”

In March, the Cambridge University Press will release “Judicial Review and American Conservatism: Christianity, Public Education, and the Federal Courts in the Reagan Era,” by Robert Daniel Rubin.  The publisher’s description follows: 

The Christian Right of the 1980s forged its political identity largely in response to what it perceived as liberal ‘judicial activism’. Robert Daniel Rubin tells this story 9781107060555as it played out in Mobile, Alabama. There, a community conflict pitted a group of conservative evangelicals, a sympathetic federal judge, and a handful of conservative intellectuals against a religious agnostic opposed to prayer in schools, and a school system accused of promoting a religion called ‘secular humanism’. The twists in the Mobile conflict speak to the changes and continuities that marked the relationship of 1980s’ religious conservatism to democracy, the courts, and the Constitution. By alternately focusing its gaze on the local conflict and related events in Washington, DC, this book weaves a captivating narrative. Historians, political scientists, and constitutional lawyers will find, in Rubin’s study, a challenging new perspective on the history of the Christian Right in the United States.

%d bloggers like this: