Murray & Feeney, “Church, state and social science in Ireland”

In December, the Manchester University Press released “Church, state and social science in Ireland:Knowledge institutions and the rebalancing of power, 1937–73,” by Peter Murray (Maynooth University) and Maria Feeney (Maynooth University).  The publisher’s description follows:

The immense power the Catholic Church once wielded in Ireland has considerably diminished over the last fifty years. During the same period the Irish state has 9781526100788pursued new economic and social development goals by wooing foreign investors and throwing the state’s lot in with an ever-widening European integration project. How a less powerful church and a more assertive state related to one another during the key third quarter of the twentieth century is the subject of this book. Drawing on newly available material, it looks at how social science, which had been a church monopoly, was taken over and bent to new purposes by politicians and civil servants. This case study casts new light on wider processes of change, and the story features a strong and somewhat surprising cast of characters ranging from Sean Lemass and T.K. Whitaker to Archbishop John Charles McQuaid and Father Denis Fahey.

 

Burgess, “Holy Rus'”

In February, Yale University Press will release Holy Rus’: The Rebirth of Orthodoxy in the New Russia by John P. Burgess (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary). The publisher’s description follows:

new-rusA fascinating, vivid, and on-the-ground account of Russian Orthodoxy’s resurgence

A bold experiment is taking place in Russia. After a century of being scarred by militant, atheistic communism, the Orthodox Church has become Russia’s largest and most significant nongovernmental organization. As it has returned to life, it has pursued a vision of reclaiming Holy Rus’: that historical yet mythical homeland of the eastern Slavic peoples; a foretaste of the perfect justice, peace, harmony, and beauty for which religious believers long; and the glimpse of heaven on earth that persuaded Prince Vladimir to accept Orthodox baptism in Crimea in A.D. 988.

Through groundbreaking initiatives in religious education, social ministry, historical commemoration, and parish life, the Orthodox Church is seeking to shape a new, post-communist national identity for Russia. In this eye-opening and evocative book, John Burgess examines Russian Orthodoxy’s resurgence from a grassroots level, providing Western readers with an enlightening, inside look at the new Russia.

“Pope Gregory IX (1227–41)” (Egger & Smith, eds.)

In January, Routledge will release Pope Gregory IX (1227–41)edited by Christopher Egger (University of Vienna) and Damian J. Smith (Saint Louis University). The publisher’s description follows:

routledge-logoAs Cardinal Hugolino and as pope, Gregory was one of the dominant figures in the history of the papacy of the High Middle Ages. His pontificate was a key stage in the development of papal relations with many of the realms of Christendom, as well as in legal and administrative history, the battle against heresy (especially with the foundation of inquisitions), the crusades, and the flowering of the Mendicants. Hugolino came to prominence during the pontificate of his relative, Pope Innocent III, and played an important political role, particularly as legate on various occasions, as well as being a major promoter of the new religious orders. As pope, his battle with Emperor Frederick II is one of medieval history’s most absorbing conflicts (though one which rarely receives a balanced treatment). But he also acted as peacemaker in England, as promoter of the crusades in the East and in Iberia, where he met with considerable success, as instigator of mission for the sake of conversion, as a reformer of the Curia, and as a passionate advocate of Church reform generally. His decretal collection, compiled by Ramon de Penyafort, served as the canon law of the Catholic Church from 1234 until 1917. Yet Gregory has not received much attention since an Italian biography by Salvatore Sibilia was published half a century ago and a full examination of his pontificate is now very long overdue. The current volume brings together a team of international scholars, each of them expert in dealing with a particular aspect of the pontificate, and provides what will be a volume of lasting scholarly value on a central figure of the medieval papacy.

Killeen, “The Political Bible in Early Modern England”

In December, Cambridge University Press will release The Political Bible in Early Modern England by Kevin Killeen (University of York). The publisher’s description follows:

political-bibleThis illuminating new study considers the Bible as a political document in seventeenth-century England, revealing how the religious text provided a key language of political debate and played a critical role in shaping early modern political thinking. Kevin Killeen demonstrates how biblical kings were as important in the era’s political thought as any classical model. The book mines the rich and neglected resources of early modern quasi-scriptural writings – treatise, sermon, commentary, annotation, poetry and political tract – to show how deeply embedded this political vocabulary remained, across the century, from top to bottom and across all religious positions. It shows how constitutional thought, in this most tumultuous era of civil war, regicide and republic, was forged on the Bible, and how writers ranging from King James, Joseph Hall or John Milton to Robert Filmer and Thomas Hobbes can be better understood in the context of such vigorous biblical discourse.

Binns, “The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia”

This month, IB Tauris Publishers releases The Orthodox Church of Ethiopia: A History by John Binns (University Church, Cambridge). The publisher’s description follows:

the-orthodox-church-of-ethopiaSurrounded by steep escarpments to the north, south and east, Ethiopia has always been geographically and culturally set apart. It has the longest archaeological record of any country in the world. Indeed, this precipitous mountain land was where the human race began. It is also home to an ancient church with a remarkable legacy. The Ethiopian Church forms the southern branch of historic Christianity. It is the only pre-colonial church in sub-Saharan Africa, originating in one of the earliest Christian kingdoms-with its king Ezana (supposedly descended from the biblical Solomon) converting around 340 CE. Since then it has maintained its long Christian witness in a region dominated by Islam; today it has a membership of around forty million and is rapidly growing. Yet despite its importance, there has been no comprehensive study available in English of its theology and history. This is a large gap which this authoritative and engagingly written book seeks to fill. The Church of Ethiopia (or formally, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church) has a recognized place in worldwide Christianity as one of five non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches.As Dr Binns shows, it has developed a distinctive approach which makes it different from all other churches.

His book explains why this happened and how these special features have shaped the life of the Christian people of Ethiopia. He discusses the famous rock-hewn churches; the Ark of the Covenant (claimed by the Church and housed in Aksum); the medieval monastic tradition; relations with the Coptic Church; co-existence with Islam; missionary activity; and the Church’s venerable oral traditions, especially the discipline of qene-a kind of theological reflection couched in a unique style of improvised allegorical poetry. There is also a sustained exploration of how the Church has been forced to re-think its identity and mission as a result of political changes and upheaval following the overthrow of Haile Selassie (who ruled as Regent, 1916-1930, and then as Emperor, 1930-74) and beyond.

 

Around the Web This Week

Here is a look at some law and religion news stories from around the web this week:

“Religious Liberty” (Robinson & Williams, eds.)

This month, Cambridge University Press releases “Religious Liberty: Essays on First Amendment Law,” edited by Daniel Robinson (University of Oxford) and Richard Williams (Brigham Young University).  The publisher’s description follows:

The principal aim of the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment was to preclude congressional imposition of a national church. A balance was sought between states’ rights and the rights of individuals to exercise their 9781107147607.jpgreligious conscience. While the founding fathers were debating such issues, the potential for serious conflict was confined chiefly to variations among the dominant Christian sects. Today, issues of marriage, child bearing, cultural diversity, and corporate personhood, among others, suffuse constitutional jurisprudence, raising difficult questions regarding the nature of beliefs that qualify as ‘religious’, and the reach of law into the realm in which those beliefs are held. The essays collected in this volume explore in a selective and instructive way the intellectual and philosophical roots of religious liberty and contemporary confrontations between this liberty and the authority of secular law.

Heale, “The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England”

In November, Oxford University Press will release The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England by Martin Heale (University of Liverpool). The publisher’s description follows:

The importance of the medieval abbot needs no particular emphasis. The monastic superiors of late medieval England ruled over thousands of monks and canons, who swore to them vows of obedience; they were prominent figures in royal and church governThe Abbots and Priorsment; and collectively they controlled properties worth around double the Crown’s annual ordinary income. Moreover, as guardians of regular observance and the primary interface between their monastery and the wider world, abbots and priors were pivotal to the effective functioning and well-being of the monastic order. The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England provides the first detailed study of English male monastic superiors, exploring their evolving role and reputation between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Individual chapters examine the election and selection of late medieval monastic heads; the internal functions of the superior as the father of the community; the head of house as administrator; abbatial living standards and modes of display; monastic superiors’ public role in service of the Church and Crown; their external relations and reputation; the interaction between monastic heads and the government in Henry VIII’s England; the Dissolution of the monasteries; and the afterlives of abbots and priors following the suppression of their houses.

This study of monastic leadership sheds much valuable light on the religious houses of late medieval and early Tudor England, including their spiritual life, administration, spending priorities, and their multi-faceted relations with the outside world. The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England also elucidates the crucial part played by monastic superiors in the dramatic events of the 1530s, when many heads surrendered their monasteries into the hands of Henry VIII.

Fried, “Charlemagne”

In October, the Harvard University Press will release “Charlemagne,” by Johannes Fried (University of Frankfurt). The publisher’s description follows:

When Charlemagne died in 814 CE, he left behind a dominion and a legacy unlike anything seen in Western Europe since the fall of Rome. Distinguished historian and 9780674737396-lgauthor of The Middle Ages Johannes Fried presents a new biographical study of the legendary Frankish king and emperor, illuminating the life and reign of a ruler who shaped Europe’s destiny in ways few figures, before or since, have equaled.

Living in an age of faith, Charlemagne was above all a Christian king, Fried says. He made his court in Aix-la-Chapelle the center of a religious and intellectual renaissance, enlisting the Anglo-Saxon scholar Alcuin of York to be his personal tutor, and insisting that monks be literate and versed in rhetoric and logic. He erected a magnificent cathedral in his capital, decorating it lavishly while also dutifully attending Mass every morning and evening. And to an extent greater than any ruler before him, Charlemagne enhanced the papacy’s influence, becoming the first king to enact the legal principle that the pope was beyond the reach of temporal justice—a decision with fateful consequences for European politics for centuries afterward.

Though devout, Charlemagne was not saintly. He was a warrior-king, intimately familiar with violence and bloodshed. And he enjoyed worldly pleasures, including physical love. Though there are aspects of his personality we can never know with certainty, Fried paints a compelling portrait of a ruler, a time, and a kingdom that deepens our understanding of the man often called “the father of Europe.”

Regent to Host the 2016 Conference of Religiously Affiliated Law Schools

On September 29-30, Regent University School of Law will host the annual Religiously Affiliated Law Schools conference. Speakers include Professors Robert Cochran (Pepperdine), Robin Fretwell Wilson (University of Illinois), and Linda McClain (Boston University) and State Senator Stuart Adams (Utah). For the conference schedule and further information, click here.

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