Tag Archives: Religion and Society

Klein, “Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron”

Next month, Hurst Publishers will release “Lives in Common:  Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron” by  Menachem Klein (Bar-Ilan University, Israel). The publisher’s description follows:

Most books dealing with the Israeli–Palestinian conflict see events through the eyes of policy-makers, generals or diplomats. Menachem Klein offers an illuminating alternative by telling the intertwined histories, from street level upwards, of three cities — Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron — and their intermingled Jewish, Muslim and Christian inhabitants, from the nineteenth century to the present. Each of them was and still is a mixed city. Jerusalem and Hebron are holy places, while Jaffa till 1948 was Palestine’s principal city and main port of entry.

Klein portrays a society in the late Ottoman period in which Jewish-Arab interactions were intense, frequent, and meaningful, before the onset of segregation and separation gradually occurred in the Mandate era. The unequal power relations and increasing violence between Jews and Arabs from 1948 onwards are also scrutinised. Throughout, Klein bases his writing not on the official record but rather on a hitherto hidden private world of Jewish-Arab encounters, including marriages and squabbles, kindnesses and cruelties, as set out in dozens of memoirs, diaries, biographies and testimonies.

“Religion and Public Policy: Human Rights, Conflict, and Ethics” (Twiss et al., eds.)

In December, Cambridge University Press will release “Religion and Public Policy: Human Rights, Conflict, and Ethics” edited by Sumner B. Twiss (Florida State University), Marian Gh. Simion (Boston Theological Institute), Rodney L. Petersen (Boston University School of Theology). The publisher’s description follows:

This book pivots around two principal concerns in the modern world: the nature and practice of human rights in relation to religion, and the role of religion in perennial issues of war and peace. Taken collectively, the chapters articulate a vision for achieving a liberal peace and a just society firmly grounded in respect for human rights, while working in tandem with the constructive roles that religious ideas, leaders, and institutions can play even amid cultural difference. Topics covered include: the status and justification of human rights; the meaning and significance of religious liberty; whether human rights protections ought to be extended to other species; how the comparative study of religious ethics ought to proceed; the nature, limits, and future development of just war thinking; the role of religion and human rights in conflict resolution, diplomacy, and peace-building; and the tensions raised by religious involvement in public policy and state institutional practices. Featuring a group of distinguished contributors, this is a multifaceted and original exploration of the aforementioned themes.

“Freedom of Speech and Islam” (Kolig, ed.)

Last month, Ashgate Publishing released “Freedom of Speech and Islam” edited by Erich Kolig (University of Otago). The publisher’s description follows:

Freedom of speech and expression is considered in the West a high public good and an important social value, underpinned by legislative and ethical norms. Its importance is not shared to the same extent by conservative and devout Muslims, who read Islamic doctrines in ways seemingly incompatible with Western notions of freedom of speech. Since the Salman Rushdie affair in the 1980s there has been growing recognition in the West that its cherished value of free speech and associated freedoms relating to arts, the press and media, literature, academia, critical satire etc. episodically clash with conservative Islamic values that limit this freedom for the sake of holding religious issues sacrosanct. Recent controversies – such as the Danish cartoons, the Charlie Hebdo affair, Quran burnings, and the internet film ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ which have stirred violent reactions in the Muslim world – have made the West aware of the fact that Muslims’ religious sensitivities have to be taken into account in exercising traditional Western freedoms of speech.

Berkovitz, “Protocols of Justice”

This month, Brill Publishers releases “Protocols of Justice: The Pinkas of the Metz Rabbinic Court 1771-1789” by Jay R. Berkovitz (University of Massachusetts, Amherst). The publisher’s description follows:

Presented here to the public for the first time, the Pinkas of the Metz Beit Din is the official register of civil cases that came before the Metz rabbinic court in the two decades prior to the French Revolution. Brimming with details of commercial transactions, inheritance disputes, women’s roles in economic life, and the interplay between French law and Jewish law, the Metz Pinkas offers remarkable evidence of the engagement of Jews with the surrounding society and culture. The two volumes of Protocols of Justice comprise the complete text of the Metz Pinkas Beit Din, which is fully annotated by the author, and a thorough analysis of its significance for history and law at the threshold of modernity.

Through his painstaking and path-breaking treatment of this incredibly nuanced and rich text, Jay Berkovitz has placed before academics and all other interested readers a heretofore untapped resource of vast importance. His insightful and extensive introductory monograph beautifully sets the stage for scholars in a wide array of fields to mine this material, which will undoubtedly yield significant new results in the history of Jewish and non-Jewish society in eighteenth-century Europe and beyond. Ephraim Kanarfogel, E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Law, Yeshiva University

“Mediating Religion and Government: Political Institutions and the Policy Process” (den Dulk & Oldmixon, eds.)

In November, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Mediating Religion and Government: Political Institutions and the Policy Process” edited by Kevin R. den Dulk (Calvin College) and Elizabeth A. Oldmixon (University of North Texas). The publisher’s description follows:

The empirical study of religion and politics emerged as a strongly behavioral sub-discipline within political science within the late 20th Century. Particularly in the American context, scholars have placed tremendous emphasis on religion’s influence on political attitudes and behaviors. As a result, we have a much better understanding of the potency of religion in shaping voting patterns, party affiliation, and views of public policy, among other behavioral aspects of American politics.

In the context of a democracy, however, political institutions mediate the effect of religion on political attitudes and the policy process. In a Madisonian sense, institutions are at the fulcrum of mass politics and policy outputs. This volume investigates the influence of religion on and within political institutions. Each chapter provides a synthesis of the literature with respect to a particular institution and makes an original research contribution to the literature. By addressing the historical, contemporary, constitutional, and policy-based elements of religious interactions within politics, the volume creates a wide-ranging assessment of the sometimes contentious relationship between these two pillars of American culture.

Haeri, “Law of Desire: Temporary Marriage in Shi‘i Iran”

This month, Syracuse University Press releases a revised edition of “Law of Desire: Temporary Marriage in Shi‘i Iran”  by Shahla Haeri (Boston University). A description and review follow:

Law of Desire explores an institution in which sexuality, morality, religious rules, secular laws, and cultural practices converge. Drawing on rich interviews that would have been denied a Western anthropologist, Haeri describes the concept of a temporary marriage contract as it is practiced in Iran. This revised edition includes a postscript contextualizing this classic work within contemporary Iranian society.

“The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective” (Mermelstein & Holtz eds.)

This month, Brill releases “The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective” edited by Ari Mermelstein (Yeshiva University) and Shalom E. Holtz (Yeshiva University). The publisher’s description follows:

Contributors to The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective treat one of the most pervasive religious metaphors, that of the divine courtroom, in both its historical and thematic senses. In order to shed light on the various manifestations of the divine courtroom, this volume consists of essays by scholars of the ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible, Second Temple Judaism, early Christianity, Talmud, Islam, medieval Judaism, and classical Greek literature. Contributions to the volume primarily center upon three related facets of the divine courtroom: the role of the divine courtroom in the earthly legal system; the divine courtroom as the site of historical justice; and the divine courtroom as the venue in which God is called to answer for his own unjust acts.

“Multiculturalism and Religious Identity: Canada and India” (Sikka & Beaman eds.)

Last month, McGill-Queens University Press released “Multiculturalism and Religious Identity:  Canada and India”  edited by Sonia Sikka (University of Ottawa) and Lori G. Beaman (University of Ottawa). The publisher’s description follows:

How, and to what extent, can religion be included within commitments to multiculturalism? Multiculturalism and Religious Identity addresses this question by examining the political recognition and management of religious identity in Canada and India.

In multicultural policy, practice, and literature, religion has until recently not been included within broader discussions of multiculturalism, perhaps due to worries of potential for conflict with secularism. This collection undertakes a contemporary analysis of how the Canadian and Indian states each approach religious diversity through social and political policies, as well as how religion and secularism meet both philosophically and politically in contested public space. Although Canada and India have differing political and religious histories – leading to different articulations of multiculturalism, religious diversity, and secularism – both countries share a commitment to ensuring fair treatment for the different religious communities they include.

Combining broader theoretical and normative reflections with close case studies, Multiculturalism and Religious Identity leads the way to addressing these timely issues in the Canadian and Indian contexts.

“The Public Face of African New Religious Movements in Diaspora: Imagining the Religious ‘Other’” (Adogame ed.)

Next month, Ashgate Publishing will release “The Public Face of African New Religious Movements in Diaspora: Imagining the Religious ‘Other’” edited by Afe Adogame (University of Edinburgh). The publisher’s description follows:

The growing pace of international migration, technological revolution in media and travel generate circumstances that provide opportunities for the mobility of African new religious movements (ANRMs) within Africa and beyond. ANRMs are furthering their self-assertion and self-insertion into the religious landscapes of Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Their growing presence and public visibility seem to be more robustly captured by the popular media than by scholars of NRMs, historians of religion and social scientists, a tendency that has probably shaped the public mental picture and understanding of the phenomena. This book provides new theoretical and methodological insights for understanding and interpreting ANRMs and African-derived religions in diaspora.

Contributors focus on individual groups and movements drawn from Christian, Islamic, Jewish and African-derived religious movements and explore their provenance and patterns of emergence; their belief systems and ritual practices; their public/civic roles; group self-definition; public perceptions and responses; tendencies towards integration/segregation; organisational networks; gender orientations and the implications of interactions within and between the groups and with the host societies. The book includes contributions from scholars and religious practitioners, thus offering new insights into how ANRMs can be better defined, approached, and interpreted by scholars, policy makers, and media practitioners alike.