In May, Oxford University Press will release The Pope and the Professor: Pius IX, Ignaz von Dollinger, and the Quandary of the Modern Age by Thomas Albert Howard (Valparaiso University). The publisher’s description follows:
The Pope and the Professor tells the captivating story of the German Catholic theologian and historian Ignaz von Dollinger (1799-1890), who fiercely opposed the teaching of Papal Infallibility at the time of the First Vatican Council (1869-70), convened by Pope Pius IX (r. 1846-1878), among the most controversial popes in the history of the papacy. Dollinger’s thought, his opposition to the Council, his high-profile excommunication in 1871, and the international sensation that this action caused offer a fascinating window into the intellectual and religious history of the nineteenth century. Thomas Albert Howard examines Dollinger’s post-conciliar activities, including pioneering work in ecumenism and inspiring the”Old Catholic” movement in Central Europe. Set against the backdrop of Italian and German national unification, and the rise of anticlericalism and ultramontanism after the French Revolution, The Pope and the Professor is at once an endeavor of historical and theological inquiry. It provides nuanced historical contextualization of the events, topics, and personalities, while also raising abiding questions about the often fraught relationship between individual conscience and scholarly credentials, on the one hand, and church authority and tradition, on the other.
In June, the Cornell University Press will release “Where Three World Met: Sicily in the Early Medieval Mediterranean,” by Sarah Davis-Secord (University of New Mexico). The publisher’s description follows:
Sicily is a lush and culturally rich island at the center of the Mediterranean Sea. Throughout its history, the island has been conquered and colonized by successive waves of peoples from across the Mediterranean region. In the early and central Middle Ages, the island was ruled and occupied in turn by Greek Christians, Muslims, and Latin Christians.
In Where Three Worlds Met, Sarah Davis-Secord investigates Sicily’s place within the religious, diplomatic, military, commercial, and intellectual networks of the Mediterranean by tracing the patterns of travel, trade, and communication among Christians (Latin and Greek), Muslims, and Jews. By looking at the island across this long expanse of time and during the periods of transition from one dominant culture to another, Davis-Secord uncovers the patterns that defined and redefined the broader Muslim-Christian encounter in the Middle Ages.
Sicily was a nexus for cross-cultural communication not because of its geographical placement at the center of the Mediterranean but because of the specific roles the island played in a variety of travel and trade networks in the Mediterranean region. Complex combinations of political, cultural, and economic need transformed Sicily’s patterns of connection to other nearby regions—transformations that were representative of the fundamental shifts that took place in the larger Mediterranean system during the Middle Ages. The meanings and functions of Sicily’s positioning within these larger Mediterranean communications networks depended on the purposes to which the island was being put and how it functioned at the boundaries of the Greek, Latin, and Muslim worlds.
In December, Palgrave Macmillan released “Faith and Fascism: Catholic Intellectuals in Italy, 1925–43,” by Jorge Dagnino (Universidad de los Andes). The publisher’s description follows:
This is a study of the Federazione Universitaria Cattolica Italiana (FUCI) between 1925 and 1943, the organisation of Catholic Action for the university sector. The FUCI is highly significant to the study of Catholic politics and intellectual ideas, as a large proportion of the future Christian Democrats who ruled the country after World War II were formed within the ranks of the federation.
In broader terms, this is a contribution to the historiography of Fascist Italy and of Catholic politics and mentalities in Europe in the mid- twentieth century. It sets out to prove the fundamental ideological, political, social and cultural influences of Catholicism on the making of modern Italy and how it was inextricably linked to more secular forces in the shaping of the nation and the challenges faced by an emerging mass society. Furthermore, the book explores the influence exercised by Catholicism on European attitudes towards modernisation and modernity, and how Catholicism has often led the way in the search for a religious alternative modernity that could countervail the perceived deleterious effects of the Western liberal version of modernity.
In January, Brill Publishers will release “Pouring Jewish Water into Fascist Wine”. Volume II: Untold Stories of (Catholic) Jews from the Archive of Mussolini’s Jesuit Pietro Tacchi Venturi edited and translated by Robert Aleksander Maryks (Boston College). The publisher’s description follows:
The aim of the second part of the project on the impact of the racial laws under the Mussolini regime is to offer the reader a critical edition and an English translation of 139 letters that were exchanged between the victims of those laws (and their relatives and friends) and the Jesuit Pietro Tacchi Venturi (1861–1956) who interceded with the Fascist government in order to circumvent or alleviate various provisions of the 1938 anti-Jewish legislation.
In October, Brill Publishers will release The Vatican and Mussolini’s Italy by Lucia Ceci (University of Rome). The publisher’s description follows:
Lucia Ceci reconstructs the relationship between the Catholic Church and Fascism. New sources from the Vatican Archives throw fresh light on individual aspects of this complex relationship: the accession of Mussolini to power, the war in Ethiopia, the racial laws, the comparison between Pius XI and Pius XII. This book offers a comprehensive reconstruction of this encounter, explaining the criteria that led Catholics to support a dictatorial, warmongering and racist regime. In contrast to the traditional periodization, the history begins with the childhood of Mussolini in the final years of the nineteenth century, and ends with the sudden collapse of his puppet regime, in 1945. This means to some extent placing in a different light the exceptional nature of the ventennio. The Italian original L’interesse superiore, Il Vaticano e l’Italia di Mussolini has won the “Friuli Storia” Prize for Studies of Contemporary History.
In April, the Harvard University Press will release “African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe: The Politics of Presence in the Twenty-First Century,” by Annalisa Butticci (Harvard Divinity School and Utrecht University). The publisher’s description follows:
Over the past thirty years, Italy—the historic home of Catholicism—has become a significant destination for migrants from Nigeria and Ghana. Along with suitcases and dreams of a brighter future, these Africans bring their own form of Christianity, Pentecostalism, shaped by their various cultures and religious worlds. At the heart of Annalisa Butticci’s beautifully sculpted ethnography of African Pentecostalism in Italy is a paradox. Pentecostalism, traditionally one of the most Protestant of Christian faiths, is driven by the same concern as Catholicism: real presence.
In Italy, Pentecostals face harsh anti-immigrant sentiment and limited access to economic and social resources. At times, they find safe spaces to worship in Catholic churches, where a fascinating encounter unfolds that is equal parts conflict and communion. When Pentecostals watch Catholics engage with sacramental objects—relics, statues, works of art—they recognize the signs of what they consider the idolatrous religions of their ancestors. Catholics, in turn, view Pentecostal practices as a mix of African religions and Christian traditions. Yet despite their apparently irreconcilable differences and conflicts, they both share a deeply sensuous and material way to make the divine visible and tangible. In this sense, Pentecostalism appears much closer to Catholicism than to mainstream Protestantism.
African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe offers an intimate glimpse at what happens when the world’s two fastest growing Christian faiths come into contact, share worship space, and use analogous sacramental objects and images. And it explains how their seemingly antithetical practices and beliefs undergird a profound commonality.
In September, Routledge released “European Culture Wars and the Italian Case: Which side are you on?” by Luca Ozzano (University of Turin) and Alberta Giorgi (University of Coimbra). The publisher’s description follows:
This book aims to understand the European political debate about contentious issues, framed in terms of religious values by religious and/or secular actors in 21st century. It specifically focuses on the Italian case, which, due to its peculiar history and contemporary political landscape, is a paradigmatic case for the study of the relationships between religion and politics.
In recent years, a number of controversies related to religious issues have characterised the European public debate at both the EU and the national level. The ‘affaire du foulard’ in France, the referendum on abortion in Portugal, the recognition of same-sex marriages in many Western European States, the debate over bioethics and the regulation of euthanasia are only a few examples of contentious issues involving religion. This book aims to shed light on the interrelation between these different debates, as well as their broader meaning, through the analysis of the paradigmatic case of Italy. Italy summarizes and sometimes exasperates wider European trends, both because of the peculiar role traditionally played by the Vatican in Italian politics and for the rise, since the 1990s, of new political entrepreneurs eager to exploit ethical and civilizational issues.
This work will be of great interest to scholars and students of a number of fields within the disciplines of political science, sociology and law, and will be useful for courses on religion and politics, political parties, social movements and civil society.
In January, Ashgate will release “The Legal Treatment of Muslim Minorities in Italy: Islam and the Neutral State” by Andrea Pin (University of Padua). The publisher’s description follows:
Islam is a growing presence practically everywhere in Europe. In Italy,
however, Islam has met a unique model of state neutrality, religious freedom and church and state collaboration. This book gives a detailed description of the legal treatment of Muslims in Italy, contrasting it with other European states and jurisprudence, and with wider global tendencies that characterize the treatment of Islam. Through focusing on a series of case studies, the author argues that the relationship between church and state in Italy, and more broadly in Europe, should be reconsidered both to secure religious freedom and general welfare.
Working on the concepts of religious freedom, state neutrality, and relationship between church and state, Andrea Pin develops a theoretical framework that combines the state level with the supranational level in the form of the European Convention of Human Rights, which ultimately shapes a unitary but flexible understanding of pluralism. This approach should better accommodate not just Muslims’ needs, but religious needs in general in Italy and elsewhere.