Next month, Wiley-Blackwell will publish The Justification of Religious Violence by Steve Clarke (Charles Sturt University & University of Oxford). The publisher’s description follows.
How are justifications for religious violence developed and do they differ from secular justifications for violence? Can liberal societies tolerate potentially violent religious groups? Can those who accept religious justifications for violence be dissuaded from acting violently? Including six in-depth contemporary case studies, The Justification of Religious Violence is the first book to examine the logical structure of justifications of religious violence.
- The first book specifically devoted to examining the logical structure of justifications of religious violence
- Seeks to understand how justifications for religious violence are developed and how or if they differ from ordinary secular justifications of violence
- Examines 3 widely employed premises used in religious justifications of violence – ‘cosmic war’, the importance of the afterlife, and ‘sacred values’
- Considers to what extent liberal democratic societies should tolerate who hold that their religion justifies violent acts
- Reflects on the possibility of effective policy measures to persuade those who believe that violent action is justified by religion, to refrain from acting violently
- Informed by recent work in psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience and evolutionary biology
- Part of the Blackwell Public Philosophy Series
Next month, Ohio State University will publish Fatwas and Court Judgments: A Genre Analysis of Arabic Legal Opinion, by Ahmed Fakhri (West Virginia University). The publisher’s description follows.
Fatwas and Court Judgments: A Genre Analysis of Arabic Legal Opinion uses a genre analysis approach to investigate how Arabic legal opinion is linguistically and rhetorically constructed in two culturally significant types of texts: secular court judgments and fatwas, the Islamic edicts based on sharii’a law. Ahmed Fakhri’s analysis shows that the court judgments exhibit several Western-inspired features, particularly the complexity of syntax and the rhetorical moves utilized to construct arguments. But the fatwas maintain conventional Arabic patterns of persuasion, such as citing religious texts, relying on affective appeal, and offering moral advice. Showing how these two radically different rhetorical traditions coexist, Fatwas and Court Judgments totally re-conceptualizes Arabic legal argumentation by highlighting its diverse sources and hybridity.
The differences between the two genres stem from elements of their socio-cultural context, such as the role relations of the participants and the characteristics of the institutions to which the genres belong. Moving beyond these contexts, Fatwas and Court Judgments reveals generic practices that have broad implications for understanding various aspects of wider Arab culture, including the tension between modern secular ideologies and traditional religious beliefs, the male-dominated access to discourse, and the prevalence of utilitarian attitudes exhibited in “fatwa shopping.”
Next month, Oxford University Press will publish Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights by Abdulaziz Sachedina (George Mason University). The publisher’s description follows.
In 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the International Declaration of Human Rights, a document designed to hold both individuals and nations accountable for their treatment of fellow human beings, regardless of religious or cultural affiliations. Since then, the compatibility of Islam and human rights has emerged as a particularly thorny issue of international concern, and has been addressed by Muslim rulers, conservatives, and extremists, as well as Western analysts and policymakers; all have commonly agreed that Islamic theology and human rights cannot coexist.
Abdulaziz Sachedina rejects this informal consensus, arguing instead for the essential compatibility of Islam and human rights. He offers a balanced and incisive critique of Western experts who have ignored or underplayed the importance of religion to the development of human rights, contending that any theory of universal rights necessarily emerges out of particular cultural contexts. At the same time, he re-examines the juridical and theological traditions that form the basis of conservative Muslim objections to human rights, arguing that Islam, like any culture, is open to development and change. Finally, and most importantly, Sachedina articulates a fresh position that argues for a correspondence between Islam and secular notions of human rights.
Next month, Stanford University Press will publish Old Texts, New Practices: Islamic Reform in Modern Morocco by Etty Terem (Rhodes College). The publisher’s description follows.
In 1910, al-Mahdi al-Wazzani, a prominent Moroccan Islamic scholar completed his massive compilation of Maliki fatwas. An eleven-volume set, it is the most extensive collection of fatwas written and published in the Arab Middle East during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Al-Wazzani’s legal opinions addressed practical concerns and questions: What are the ethical and legal duties of Muslims residing under European rule? Is emigration from non-Muslim territory an absolute duty? Is it ethical for Muslim merchants to travel to Europe? Is it legal to consume European-manufactured goods? It was his expectation that these fatwas would help the Muslim community navigate the modern world.
In considering al-Wazzani’s work, this book explores the creative process of transforming Islamic law to guarantee the survival of a Muslim community in a changing world. It is the first study to treat Islamic revival and reform from discourses informed by the sociolegal concerns that shaped the daily lives of ordinary people. Etty Terem challenges conventional scholarship that presents Islamic tradition as inimical to modernity and, in so doing, provides a new framework for conceptualizing modern Islamic reform. Her innovative and insightful reorientation constructs the origins of modern Islam as firmly rooted in the messy complexity of everyday life.
Next month, Princeton University Press will publish The Jewish Jesus by Peter Schäfer (Princeton University). The publisher’s description follows.
In late antiquity, as Christianity emerged from Judaism, it was not only the new religion that was being influenced by the old. The rise and revolutionary challenge of Christianity also had a profound influence on rabbinic Judaism, which was itself just emerging and, like Christianity, trying to shape its own identity. In The Jewish Jesus, Peter Schäfer reveals the crucial ways in which various Jewish heresies, including Christianity, affected the development of rabbinic Judaism. The result is a demonstration of the deep mutual influence between the sister religions, one that calls into question hard and fast distinctions between orthodoxy and heresy, and even Judaism and Christianity, during the first centuries CE.
This month, The Catholic University of America Press will publish Master of Penance: Gratian and the Development of Penitential Thought and Law in the Twelfth Century by Atria A. Larson (The Catholic University of America ). The publisher’s description follows.
This book presents the first full-scale study of the Tractatus de penitentia (C.33 q.3) in Gratian’s Decretum, which became the textbook for canon law and served as the basis of the church’s developing jurisprudence, in theory and in practice. The treatise on penance stands out as a distinct, overtly theological section of Gratian’s work and was long suspected of being a later addition to the Decretum. As a result, the treatise has not received thorough treatment and has often not been included in scholars’ general discussions of Gratian’s work, its nature, and its purpose. Manuscript discoveries in the 1990s proved the treatise to be authentic and to be part of Gratian’s early drafting of his text. This study examines the treatise in its entirety, providing a commentary on the content of the treatise (which extends beyond questions of penance) and an examination of its relationship to the early twelfth-century schools, positing above all a connection to the school of Anselm of Laon. The study also re-examines the question of the nature and purpose of Gratian’s Decretum in light of the original inclusion of De penitentia and of Gratian’s role as a teacher, or master.
The second half of the book traces the influence of De penitentia in the second half of the twelfth century and through the pontificate of Innocent, culminating in the Fourth Lateran Council (1215). That period was crucial for the development of systematic theology and ecclesiastical jurisprudence. Nevertheless, the period was also one in which boundaries between academic fields were far from solidified, which the treatment of De penitentia by various intellectuals demonstrates. The period witnessed as well the development of new kinds of penitential literature and an increase of business at the papal curia. Gratian’s De penitentia exercised influence in both realms. In brief, Gratian’s De penitentia constituted the fundamental text on penance in the period.
This February, I.B. Taurus will publish The Study of Shi’i Islam: History, Theology and Law edited by Farhad Daftary (The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London) and Gurdofarid Miskinzoda (The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London). The publisher’s description follows.
Shi’i Islam, with its rich and extensive history, has played a crucial role in the evolution of Islam as both a major world religion and civilization. The prolific achievements of Shi’i theologians, philosophers and others are testament to the spiritual and intellectual wealth of this community. Yet Shi’i studies has unjustly remained a long-neglected field, despite the important contribution that Shi’ism has made to Islamic traditions. Only in recent decades, partially spurred by global interest in political events of the Middle East, have scholars made some significant contributions in this area. The Study of Shi’i Islam presents papers originally delivered at the first international colloquium dedicated exclusively to Shi’i studies, held in 2010 at The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London. Within the book are eight sections, namely, history, the Qur’an and its Shi’i interpretations, hadith, law, authority, theology, rites and rituals, and intellectual traditions and philosophy.
Each section begins with an introduction contextualizing the aspects of studying Shi’i Islam particular to its theme, before going on to address topics such as the state of the field, methodology and tools, and the primary issues with which contemporary scholars of Shi’i studies are dealing. The scope and depth here covered makes this book of especial interest to researchers and students alike within the field of Islamic studies.
Next month, the American University in Cairo Press will publish Sharia and the Making of the Modern Egyptian: Islamic Law and Custom in the Courts of Ottoman Cairo by Reem Meshal (Louisiana State University). The publisher’s description follows.
In this new study, the author examines sijills, the official documents of the Ottoman Islamic courts, to understand how sharia law, society, and the early-modern economy of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Ottoman Cairo related to the practice of custom in determining rulings. In the sixteenth century, a new legal and cultural orthodoxy fostered the development of an early-modern Islam that broke new ground, giving rise to a new concept of the citizen and his role. Contrary to the prevailing scholarly view, this work adopts the position that local custom began to diminish and decline as a source of authority. These issues resonate today, several centuries later, in the continuing discussions of individual rights in relation to Islamic law.
Next month, Stanford will publish The Business of Identity: Jews, Muslims, and Economic Life in Medieval Egypt, by Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman (Vanderbilt University). The publisher’s description follows.
The Cairo Geniza is the largest and richest store of documentary evidence for the medieval Islamic world. This book seeks to revolutionize the way scholars use that treasure trove. Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman draws on legal documents from the Geniza to reconceive of life in the medieval Islamic marketplace. In place of the shared practices broadly understood by scholars to have transcended confessional boundaries, he reveals how Jewish merchants in Egypt employed distinctive trading practices. Highly influenced by Jewish law, these commercial practices served to manifest their Jewish identity in the medieval Islamic context. In light of this distinctiveness, Ackerman-Lieberman proposes an alternative model for using the Geniza documents as a tool for understanding daily life in the medieval Islamic world as a whole.