Caravale, “Preaching and Inquisition in Renaissance Italy”

In November, Brill Publishers will release Preaching and Inquisition in Renaissance Italy: Words on Trial by Giorgio Caravale (University of Rome). The publisher’s description follows:

Preaching and Inquisition in Renaissance Italy.jpgAs has been well documented, the printed word was an essential vehicle for the transmission of reformed theology, and one that has left a tangible record for historians to explore. Yet as contemporaries well recognized, books were only a part of the process. It was the spoken word – and especially preaching – that created the demand for printed works. Sermons were the plough that prepared the ground for Lutheran literature to flourish. In order to better understand the relationship between oral sermons and the spread of protestant ideas, Preaching and Inquisition in Renaissance Italy draws upon the records of the Roman Inquisition to see how that institution confronted the challenges of reform on the Italian peninsula in the sixteenth century. At the heart of its subject matter is the increasingly sophisticated rhetorical skill of heterodox preachers at the time, who achieved their ends by silence and omission rather than positive affirmations of Lutheran tenets.

Robinson, “Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives”

In November, the University of California Press will release Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives: The First 1,000 Years by Chase F. Robinson (City University of New York). The publisher’s description follows:

islamic-civilization-in-thirty-livesReligious thinkers, political leaders, lawmakers, writers, and philosophers have shaped the 1,400-year-long development of the world’s second-largest religion. But who were these people? What do we know of their lives and the ways in which they influenced their societies?

In Islamic Civilization in Thirty Lives, the distinguished historian of Islam Chase F. Robinson draws on the long tradition in Muslim scholarship of commemorating in writing the biographies of notable figures, but he weaves these ambitious lives together to create a rich narrative of Islamic civilization, from the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century to the era of the world conquerer Timur and the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in the fifteenth.

Beginning in Islam’s heartland, Mecca, and ranging from North Africa and Iberia in the west to Central and East Asia, Robinson not only traces the rise and fall of Islamic states through the biographies of political and military leaders who worked to secure peace or expand their power, but also discusses those who developed Islamic law, scientific thought, and literature. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of rich and diverse Islamic societies. Alongside the famous characters who colored this landscape—including Muhammad’s cousin ’Ali; the Crusader-era hero Saladin; and the poet Rumi—are less well-known figures, such as Ibn Fadlan, whose travels in Eurasia brought fascinating first-hand accounts of the Volga Vikings to the Abbasid Caliph; the eleventh-century Karima al-Marwaziyya, a woman scholar of Prophetic traditions; and Abu al-Qasim Ramisht, a twelfth-century merchant millionaire.

An illuminating read for anyone interested in learning more about this often-misunderstood civilization, this book creates a vivid picture of life in all arenas of the pre-modern Muslim world.

“Melania” (Chin and Schroeder, eds.)

In October, the University of California Press will release Melania: Early Christianity through the Life of One Family edited by Catherine M. Chin (University of California, Davis) and Caroline T. Schroeder (University of the Pacific). The publisher’s description follows:

melaniaMelania the Elder and her granddaughter Melania the Younger were major figures in early Christian history, using their wealth, status, and forceful personalities to shape the development of nearly every aspect of the religion we now know as Christianity. This volume examines their influence on late antique  Christianity and provides an insightful portrait of their legacies in the modern world. Departing from the traditionally patriarchal view, Melania gives a poignant and sometimes surprising account of how the rise of Christian institutions in the Roman Empire shaped our understanding of women’s roles in the larger world.

Chapman, “Theology at War and Peace”

In November, Routledge will release Theology at War and Peace: English Theology and Germany in the First World War by Mark D. Chapman (University of Oxford). The publisher’s description follows:

Multireligious SocietyThis book is the first detailed discussion of the impact of the First World War on English theology. Assessing the close relationships between English and German theologians before the First World War, Mark Chapman then explores developments throughout the war. A series of case studies make use of a large amount of unpublished material, showing how some theologians sought to maintain relationships with their German colleagues, while others, especially from a more Anglo-Catholic perspective, used the war as an opportunity to distance themselves from the liberal theology which was beginning to dominate the universities before the war. The increasing animosity between Britain and Germany meant that relations were never healed. English theology became increasingly insular, dividing between a more home-grown variety of liberalism and an ascendant Anglo-Catholicism.

Magocsi & Petrovsky-Shtern, “Jews and Ukrainians”

In November, the University of Toronto Press will release Jews and Ukrainians: A Millennium of Co-Existence by Paul Robert Magocsi (University of Toronto) and Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern (Northwestern University). The publisher’s description follows:

jews-and-ukraniansThere is much that ordinary Ukrainians do not know about Jews and that ordinary Jews do not know about Ukrainians. As a result, those Jews and Ukrainians who may care about their respective ancestral heritages usually view each other through distorted stereotypes, misperceptions, and biases. This book sheds new light on highly controversial moments of Ukrainian-Jewish relations and argues that the historical experience in Ukraine not only divided ethnic Ukrainians and Jews but also brought them together.

The story of Jews and Ukrainians is presented in an impartial manner through twelve thematic chapters. Among the themes discussed are geography, history, economic life, traditional culture, religion, language and publications, literature and theater, architecture and art, music, the diaspora, and contemporary Ukraine. The book’s easy-to-read narrative is enhanced by 335 full-color illustrations, 29 maps, and several text inserts that explain specific phenomena or address controversial issues. Jews and Ukrainians provides a wealth of information for anyone interested in learning more about the fascinating land of Ukraine and two of its most historically significant peoples.

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Neary, “Crossing Parish Boundaries”

In October, the University of Chicago Press will release Crossing Parish Boundaries: Race, Sports, and Catholic Youth in Chicago, 1914-1954 by Timothy B. Neary (Salve Regina University). The publisher’s description follows:

crossing-parish-boundariesControversy erupted in spring 2001 when Chicago’s mostly white Southside Catholic Conference youth sports league rejected the application of the predominantly black St. Sabina grade school. Fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, interracialism seemed stubbornly unattainable, and the national spotlight once again turned to the history of racial conflict in Catholic parishes. It’s widely understood that midcentury, working class, white ethnic Catholics were among the most virulent racists, but, as Crossing Parish Boundaries shows, that’s not the whole story.
In this book, Timothy B. Neary reveals the history of Bishop Bernard Sheil’s Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), which brought together thousands of young people of all races and religions from Chicago’s racially segregated neighborhoods to take part in sports and educational programming. Tens of thousands of boys and girls participated in basketball, track and field, and the most popular sport of all, boxing, which regularly filled Chicago Stadium with roaring crowds. The history of Bishop Sheil and the CYO shows a cosmopolitan version of American Catholicism, one that is usually overshadowed by accounts of white ethnic Catholics aggressively resisting the racial integration of their working-class neighborhoods. By telling the story of Catholic-sponsored interracial cooperation within Chicago, Crossing Parish Boundaries complicates our understanding of northern urban race relations in the mid-twentieth century.

Stow, “Anna and Tranquillo”

In October, Yale University Press will release Anna and Tranquillo: Catholic Anxiety and Jewish Protest in the Age of Revolutions by Kenneth Stow (Smith College). The publisher’s description follows:

anna-and-tranquilloA historical interpretation of the diary of an eighteenth-century Jewish woman who resisted the efforts of the papal authorities to force her religious conversion

After being seized by the papal police in Rome in May 1749, Anna del Monte, a Jew, kept a diary detailing her captors’ efforts over the next thirteen days to force her conversion to Catholicism. Anna’s powerful chronicle of her ordeal at the hands of authorities of the Roman Catholic Church, originally circulated by her brother Tranquillo in 1793, receives its first English-language translation along with an insightful interpretation by Kenneth Stow of the incident’s legal and historical significance. Stow’s analysis of Anna’s dramatic story of prejudice, injustice, resistance, and survival during her two-week imprisonment in the Roman House of Converts—and her brother’s later efforts to protest state-sanctioned, religion-based abuses—provides a detailed view of the separate forces on either side of the struggle between religious and civil law in the years just prior to the massive political and social upheavals in America and Europe.

Vaughn, “Anthology of World Religions”

In November, Oxford University Press will release Anthology of World Religions: Sacred Texts and Contemporary Perspectives by Lewis Vaughn (former editor of Free Inquiry magazine and co-founder of Philo). The publisher’s description follows:

anthology-of-world-religionsAnthology of World Religions explores the world’s religious traditions by combining substantial overviews of their history, beliefs, and practices with selections from their texts and scriptures and commentary by contemporary practitioners and scholars. It covers each major religion’s history, teachings, founder, leaders, practices, and the factors that are now challenging and changing it–secularism, modernism, pluralism, science, the status of women, and sectarian or factional conflicts. The introductory chapter reviews various approaches to the study of religion, defines religious terms and concepts, discusses theories of religion, and distinguishes between the insider and outsider perspectives on religious traditions.

Samuels, “The Right to Difference”

In November, the University of Chicago Press will release “The Right to Difference: French Universalism and the Jews,” by Maurice Samuels (Yale University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Universal equality is a treasured political concept in France, but recent anxiety over the country’s Muslim minority has led to an emphasis on a new form of universalism,9780226397054.jpgone promoting loyalty to the nation at the expense of all ethnic and religious affiliations. This timely book offers a fresh perspective on the debate by showing that French equality has not always demanded an erasure of differences. Through close and contextualized readings of the way that major novelists, philosophers, filmmakers, and political figures have struggled with the question of integrating Jews into French society, Maurice Samuels draws lessons about how the French have often understood the universal in relation to the particular.

Samuels demonstrates that Jewish difference has always been essential to the elaboration of French universalism, whether as its foil or as proof of its reach. He traces the development of this discourse through key moments in French history, from debates over granting Jews civil rights during the Revolution, through the Dreyfus Affair and Vichy, and up to the rise of a “new antisemitism” in recent years. By recovering the forgotten history of a more open, pluralistic form of French universalism, Samuels points toward new ways of moving beyond current ethnic and religious dilemmas and argues for a more inclusive view of what constitutes political discourse in France.

Roberts, “Islam Under the Palestine Mandate”

In November, I.B. Tauris will release “Islam Under the Palestine Mandate: Colonialism and the Supreme Muslim Council,” by Nicholas Roberts (Sewanee-The University of the South).  The publisher’s description follows:

Concerns about the place of Islam in Palestinian politics are familiar to those studying the history of the modern Middle East. A vital part of this history is the rise of Islamicfr_logo.gif opposition to the British in Mandate Palestine during the 1920s and 30s. Colonial officials had wrestled with the question of how to rule over a Muslim-majority country and considered traditional Islamic institutions essential for maintaining order. Islam under the Palestine Mandate tells the story of the search for a viable Islamic institution in Palestine and the subsequent invention of the Supreme Muslim Council. As a body with political recognition, institutional autonomy and financial power, the council was intended to act as a counterweight to the growing popularity of nationalism among Palestinians. However, rather than diminishing the revolutionary capacity of the colonized, the council became one of the most significant of the opposition groups to British rule, especially under its highly controversial president, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni. Making extensive use of primary sources from British and Israeli archives, this book offers an account of the establishment of the Supreme Muslim Council and the policing of Arab nationalist sympathizers.

Roberts argues against the view that the council’s creation was an act of appeasement towards Muslim opinion, showing how British actions were guided by techniques of imperial administration used elsewhere in the empire.

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