Baldwin, “Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo”

In December, Edinburgh University Press will release Islamic Law and Empire in Ottoman Cairo by James E. Baldwin (University of London). The publisher’s description follows:

islamic-law-and-empire-in-ottoman-cairoWhat did Islamic law mean in the early modern period, a world of great Muslim empires? Often portrayed as the quintessential jurists’ law, to a large extent it was developed by scholars outside the purview of the state. However, for the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, justice was the ultimate duty of the monarch, and Islamic law was a tool of legitimation and governance. James E. Baldwin examines how the interplay of these two conceptions of Islamic law – religious scholarship and royal justice – undergirded legal practice in Cairo, the largest and richest city in the Ottoman provinces. Through detailed studies of the various formal and informal dispute resolution institutions and practices that formed the fabric of law in Ottoman Cairo, his book contributes to key questions concerning the relationship between the shari‘a and political power, the plurality of Islamic legal practice, and the nature of centre-periphery relations in the Ottoman Empire.

Dodson, “Amarna Sunrise”

In December, Oxford University Press will release Amarna Sunrise: Egypt from Golden Age to Age of Heresy by Aidan Dodson (University of Bristol). The publisher’s description follows:

amarna-sunriseThe latter part of the fifteenth century BC saw Egypt’s political power reach its zenith, with an empire that stretched from beyond the Euphrates in the north to much of what is now Sudan in the south. The wealth that flowed into Egypt allowed its kings to commission some of the most stupendous temples of all time, some of the greatest dedicated to Amun-Re, King of the Gods. Yet a century later these temples lay derelict, the god’s images, names, and titles all erased in an orgy of iconoclasm by Akhenaten, the devotee of a single sun-god. This book traces the history of Egypt from the death of the great warrior-king Thutmose III to the high point of Akhenaten’s reign, when the known world brought gifts to his newly-built capital city of Amarna, in particular looking at the way in which the cult of the sun became increasingly important to even ‘orthodox’ kings, culminating in the transformation of Akhenaten’s father, Amenhotep III, into a solar deity in his own right.

Salaymeh, “The Beginnings of Islamic Law”

In December, Cambridge University Press will release The Beginnings of Islamic Law: Late Antique Islamicate Legal Traditions by Lena Salaymeh (Tel Aviv University). The publisher’s description follows:

beginnings-of-islamic-lawThe Beginnings of Islamic Law is a major and innovative contribution to our understanding of the historical unfolding of Islamic law. Scrutinizing its historical contexts, the book proposes that Islamic law is a continuous intermingling of innovation and tradition. Salaymeh challenges the embedded assumptions in conventional Islamic legal historiography by developing a critical approach to the study of both Islamic and Jewish legal history. Through case studies of the treatment of war prisoners, circumcision, and wife-initiated divorce, she examines how Muslim jurists incorporated and transformed ‘Near Eastern’ legal traditions. She also demonstrates how socio-political and historical situations shaped the everyday practice of law, legal education, and the organization of the legal profession in the late antique and medieval eras. Aimed at scholars and students interested in Islamic history, Islamic law, and the relationship between Jewish and Islamic legal traditions, this book’s interdisciplinary approach provides accessible explanations and translations of complex materials and ideas.

Wu, “Mandarins and Heretics”

In December, Brill Publishers will release Mandarins and Heretics: The Construction of “Heresy” in Chinese State Discourse by Wu Junqing (University of London). The publisher’s description follows:

mandarins-and-hereticsIn Mandarins and Heretics, Wu Junqing explores the denunciation and persecution of lay religious groups in late imperial (14th to 20th century) China. These groups varied greatly in their organisation and teaching, yet in official state records they are routinely portrayed as belonging to the same esoteric tradition, stigmatised under generic labels such as “White Lotus” and “evil teaching”, and accused of black magic, sedition and messianic agitation.

Wu Junqing convincingly demonstrates that this “heresy construct” was not a reflection of historical reality but a product of the Chinese historiographical tradition, with its uncritical reliance on official sources. The imperial heresy construct remains influential in modern China, where it contributes to shaping policy towards unlicensed religious groups.

“Early Modern English Catholicism” (Kelly & Royal, eds.)

In December, Brill Publishers will release Early Modern English Catholicism: Identity, Memory, and Counter-Reformation edited by James E. Kelly (King’s College) and Susan Royal (Durham University). The publisher’s description follows:

early-modern-english-catholicismEarly Modern English Catholicism: Identity, Memory and Counter-Reformation brings together leading scholars in the field to explore the interlocking relationship between the key themes of identity, memory and Counter-Reformation and to assess the way the three themes shaped English Catholicism in the early modern period. The collection takes a long-term view of the historical development of English Catholicism and encompasses the English Catholic diaspora to demonstrate the important advances that have been made in the study of English Catholicism c.1570–1800.

The interdisciplinary collection brings together scholars from history, literary, and art history backgrounds. Consisting of eleven essays and an afterword by the late John Bossy, the book underlines the significance of early modern English Catholicism as a contributor to national and European Counter-Reformation culture.

“Entangled Histories” (Baumgarten et. al., eds.)

In December, the University of Pennsylvania Press will release Entangled Histories:
Knowledge, Authority, and Jewish Culture in the Thirteenth Century edited by Elisheva Baumgarten (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Ruth Mazo Karras (University of Minnesota), and Katelyn Mesler (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität). The publisher’s description follows:

penn-press-logo.jpgFrom Halakhic innovation to blood libels, from the establishment of new mendicant orders to the institutionalization of Islamicate bureaucracy, and from the development of the inquisitorial process to the rise of yeshivas, universities, and madrasas, the long thirteenth century saw a profusion of political, cultural, and intellectual changes in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. These were informed by, and in turn informed, the religious communities from which they arose. In city streets and government buildings, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived, worked, and disputed with one another, sharing and shaping their respective cultures in the process. The interaction born of these relationships between minority and majority cultures, from love and friendship to hostility and violence, can be described as a complex and irreducible “entanglement.” The contributors to Entangled Histories: Knowledge, Authority, and Jewish Culture in the Thirteenth Century argue that this admixture of persecution and cooperation was at the foundation of Jewish experience in the Middle Ages.

The thirteen essays are organized into three major sections, focusing in turn on the exchanges among intellectual communities, on the interactions between secular and religious authorities, and on the transmission of texts and ideas across geographical, linguistic, and cultural boundaries. Rather than trying to resolve the complexities of entanglement, contributors seek to outline their contours and explain how they endured. In the process, they examine relationships not only among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities but also between communities within Judaism—those living under Christian rule and those living under Muslim rule, and between the Jews of southern and northern Europe. The resulting volume develops a multifaceted account of Jewish life in Europe and the Mediterranean basin at a time when economic, cultural, and intellectual exchange coincided with heightened interfaith animosity.

“After Conversion” (García-Arenal, ed.)

Last month, Brill Publishers released After Conversion: Iberia and the Emergence of Modernity edited by Mercedes García-Arenal (Spanish Council for Scientific Research). The publisher’s description follows:

After Conversion.jpgThis book examines the religious and ideological consequences of mass conversion in Iberia, where Jews and Muslims were forcibly converted or expelled at the end of the XVth century and beginning of the XVIth, and in this way it explores the fraught relationship between origins and faith. It treats also of the consequences of coercion on intellectual debates and the production of knowledge, taking into account how integrating new converts from Judaism and Islam stimulated Christian scholars to confront the converts’ sacred texts and created a distinctive peninsular hermeneutics. The book thus assesses the importance of the “Converso problem” in issues such as religious dissidence, dissimulation, and doubt and skepticism while establishing the process by which religious dissidence came to be categorized as heresy and was identified with converts from Judaism and Islam even when Lutheranism was often in the background.

“Religion and Politics in Urban Ireland, c.1500–c.1750” (Ryan & Tait, eds.)

In September, Four Courts Press released “Religion and Politics in Urban Ireland, c. 1500-c.1750,” edited by Salvator Ryan (Patrick’s College, Maynooth) and Cladagh Tait (University of Limerick).  The publisher’s description follows:

This collection celebrates the career of Colm Lennon, one of Ireland’s most respected setwidth440-ryan-tait-religion-and-politicsearly modern historians. It examines the interplay between politics and religion in early modern Ireland, with a particular focus on its urban communities. Topics include the Reformation in sixteenth-century Cork; the often turbulent lives of nuns in early modern Galway; relations between various Protestant groupings in early modern Belfast; the career of an Old English Catholic physician in seventeenth-century Dublin and Limerick; the tale of how migrant Dublin textile workers found themselves before the Spanish Inquisition; and the hagiography of an eighteenth-century Dublin priest. It also features an edition of a dispute in 1600 between Henry Fitzsimon and James Ussher on whether the pope should be considered the antichrist.

al-Ḥillī, “Foundations of Jurisprudence”

This month, Brill Publishing releases “Foundations of Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Imāmī Shīʿī Legal Theory,” by al-ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī. The publisher’s description follows:

Foundations of Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Imāmī Shīʿī Legal Theory is a critical 91843edition of the Arabic text with a parallel English translation of Mabādiʾ al-wuṣūl ilā ʿilm al-uṣūl by al-ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī, introduced, edited and translated by Sayyid Amjad H. Shah Naqavi.

Al-ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī participated in leading debates of his day and applied his vast erudition in philosophy, logic, and theology to the paramount subject of jurisprudence. This text presents an exemplar of the rich revival of Shīʿī scholarship in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries CE. Concise, yet comprehensive, this work sets the standard for the subsequent development and discussion of Imāmī Shīʿī legal theory, such that its influence can be traced through to modern times. This dual-text edition is indispensible for students and scholars of Imāmi Shīʿī jurisprudence.

Gampel, “Anti-Jewish Riots in the Crown of Aragon and the Royal Response, 1391–1392”

In October, Cambridge University Press will release Anti-Jewish Riots in the Crown of Aragon and the Royal Response, 1391-1392 by Benjamin R. Gampel (Jewish Theological Seminary). The publisher’s description follows:

anti-jewish-riotsThe most devastating attacks against the Jews of medieval Christian Europe took place during the riots that erupted, in 1391 and 1392, in the lands of Castile and Aragon. For ten horrific months, hundreds if not thousands of Jews were killed, numerous Jewish institutions destroyed, and many Jews forcibly converted to Christianity. Benjamin Gampel explores why the famed convivencia of medieval Iberian society – in which Christians, Muslims and Jews seemingly lived together in relative harmony – was conspicuously absent. Using extensive archival evidence, this critical volume explores the social, religious, political, and economic tensions at play in each affected town. The relationships, biographies and personal dispositions of the royal family are explored to understand why monarchic authority failed to protect the Jews during these violent months. Gampel’s extensive study is essential for scholars and graduate students of medieval Iberian and Jewish history.

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