In September, Routledge will release “The Church at War: The Military Activities of Bishops, Abbots and Other Clergy in England, c. 900–1200,” by Daniel M.G. Gerrard (Oxford Brookes University). The publisher’s description follows:
The fighting bishop or abbot is a familiar figure to medievalists and much of what is known of the military organization of England in this period is based on ecclesiastical evidence. Unfortunately the fighting cleric has generally been regarded as merely a baron in clerical dress and has consequently fallen into the gap between military and ecclesiastical history. This study addresses three main areas: which clergy engaged in military activity in England, why and when? By what means did they do so? And how did others understand and react to these activities? The book shows that, however vivid such characters as Odo of Bayeux might be in the historical imagination, there was no archetypal militant prelate. There was enormous variation in the character of the clergy that became involved in warfare, their circumstances, the means by which they pursued their military objectives and the way in which they were treated by contemporaries and described by chroniclers. An appreciation of the individual fighting cleric must be both thematically broad and keenly aware of his context. Such individuals cannot therefore be simply slotted into easy categories, even (or perhaps especially) when those categories are informed by contemporary polemic. The implications of this study for our understanding of clerical identity are considerable, as the easy distinction between clerics acting in a secular or ecclesiastical capacity almost entirely breaks down and the legal structures of the period are shown to be almost as equivocal and idiosyncratic as the literary depictions. The implications for military history are equally striking as organisational structures are shown to be more temporary, fluid and ’political’ than had previously been understood.
In June, Routledge released “Pope Innocent II (1130-43): The World vs. The City,” edited by John Doran (University of Chester) and Damian J. Smith (St. Louis University). The publisher’s description follows:
The pontificate of Innocent II (1130-1143) has long been recognized as a watershed in the history of the papacy, marking the transition from the age of reform to the so-called papal monarchy, when an earlier generation of idealistic reformers gave way to hard-headed pragmatists intent on securing worldly power for the Church. Whilst such a conception may be a cliché its effect has been to concentrate scholarship more on the schism of 1130 and its effects than on Innocent II himself. This volume puts Innocent at the centre, bringing together the authorities in the field to give an overarching view of his pontificate, which was very important in terms of the internationalization of the papacy, the internal development of the Roman Curia, the integrity of the papal state and the governance of the local church, as well as vital to the development of the Kingdom of Sicily and the Empire.
In July, the University of Chicago Press will release Spiritual Despots: Modern Hinduism and the Genealogies of Self-Rule by J. Barton Scott (University of Toronto). The publisher’s description follows:
Historians of religion have examined at length the Protestant Reformation and the liberal idea of the self-governing individual that arose from it. In Spiritual Despots, J. Barton Scott reveals an unexamined piece of this story: how Protestant technologies of asceticism became entangled with Hindu spiritual practices to create an ideal of the “self-ruling subject” crucial to both nineteenth-century reform culture and early twentieth-century anticolonialism in India. Scott uses the quaint term “priestcraft” to track anticlerical polemics that vilified religious hierarchy, celebrated the individual, and endeavored to reform human subjects by freeing them from external religious influence. By drawing on English, Hindi, and Gujarati reformist writings, Scott provides a panoramic view of precisely how the specter of the crafty priest transformed religion and politics in India.
Through this alternative genealogy of the self-ruling subject, Spiritual Despots demonstrates that Hindu reform movements cannot be understood solely Continue reading
In August, the University of Alabama Press will release Southern Religion and Christian Diversity in the Twentieth Century, by Wayne Flynt (Auburn University). The publisher’s description follows:
Southern Religion and Christian Diversity in the Twentieth Century is a collection of fifteen essays by award-winning scholar Wayne Flynt that explores and reveals the often-forgotten religious heterogeneity of the American South.
Throughout its dramatic history, the American South has wrestled with issues such as poverty, social change, labor reform, civil rights, and party politics, and Flynt’s writing reaffirms religion as the lens through which southerners understand and attempt to answer these contentious questions. In Southern Religion and Christian Diversity in the Twentieth Century, however, Flynt gently but persuasively dispels the myth—comforting to some and dismaying to others—of religion in the South as an inert cairn of reactionary conservatism.
Flynt introduces a wealth of stories about individuals and communities of faith whose beliefs and actions map the South’s web of theological fault lines. In the early twentieth century, North Carolinian pastor Alexander McKelway became a relentless Continue reading
In August, New York University Press will release The Production of American Religious Freedom, by Finbarr Curtis (Georgia Southern University). The publisher’s description follows:
Americans love religious freedom. Few agree, however, about what they mean by either “religion” or “freedom.” Rather than resolve these debates, Finbarr Curtis argues that there is no such thing as religious freedom. Lacking any consistent content, religious freedom is a shifting and malleable rhetoric employed for a variety of purposes. While Americans often think of freedom as the right to be left alone, the free exercise of religion works to produce, challenge, distribute, and regulate different forms of social power.
The book traces shifts in the notion of religious freedom in America from The Second Great Awakening, to the fiction of Louisa May Alcott and the films of D.W. Griffith, through William Jennings Bryan and the Scopes Trial, and up to debates over the Tea Party to illuminate how Protestants have imagined individual and national forms of identity. A chapter on Al Smith considers how the first Catholic presidential nominee of a major party challenged Protestant views about the separation of church and state. Moving later in the twentieth century, the book analyzes Malcolm X’s more sweeping rejection of Christian freedom in favor of radical forms of revolutionary change. The final chapters examine how contemporary controversies over intelligent design and the claims of corporations to exercise religion are at the forefront of efforts to shift regulatory power away from the state and toward private institutions like families, churches, and corporations. The volume argues that religious freedom is produced within competing visions of governance in a self-governing nation.
In July, Harvard University Press will release “Churches and States: Studies on the History of Christianity in Ukraine,” edited by Halyna Hryn. The publisher’s description follows:
This book collects nine articles that originally appeared in the journal Harvard Ukrainian Studies and that arose from the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute’s Millennium Project, an initiative launched in the 1980s to celebrate one
thousand years of the Christianization of Kyivan Rus´. The articles cover a wide array of subjects: the ecclesiastical structure of the Christian Church in Rus´ in its earliest period (Andrzej Poppe); the conflict between Orthodoxy and the Uniate Church from 1569 to 1700 (Teresa Chynczewska-Hennel); an account of the Uniate Church and the partitions of Poland (Larry Wolff); the transformation of the Greek Catholic Church under the Austrian Empire (1848–1914) (John-Paul Himka); the Greek Catholic Church in the period between the two World Wars (Andrew Sorokowski); a rethinking of the relationship of Church and society in Galician Ukraine from 1914 to 1944 (Bohdan Budurowycz); and the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine during the interwar period (Bohdan Bociurkiw). The book concludes with a bio-bibliography of Bohdan Bociurkiw, a scholar who devoted his career to the study of Ukrainian Church history (Andrii Krawchuk). These essays provide new insights and a fresh perspective to the discipline.
In June, Brill Publishing will release “The Encyclopedia of Law and Religion” edited by Gerhard Robbers (Minister of Justice for Consumer Protection of Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany)), and W. Cole Durham, Jr. (Brigham Young University). The publisher’s description follows:
In recent years, issues of freedom of religion or belief and state-religion relations have become increasingly important worldwide. While some works have treated such issues regionally, the Encyclopedia of Law and Religion is unique in its breadth, covering all independent nations and jurisdictions as well as the major international organizations, treating the relation between law and religion in its various aspects, including those related to the role of religion in society, the relations between religion and state institutions, freedom of religion, legal aspects of religious traditions, the interaction between law and religion, and other issues at the junction of law, religion, and state.
Offered online and in five print volumes – Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania, Special Territories, International Organizations and Index – this work is a valuable resource for religious and legal scholars alike.
This article reports that Puerto Rico’s Secretary of the Treasury, Juan Zaragoza, announced that his agency will soon begin an audit of religious entities in an effort to identify non-profit organizations that are wrongfully avoiding payment of taxes. The investigation’s inclusion of religious organizations is part of the third phase of a pilot program that began last year with an audit of more than 40 non-profit organizations.
In June, Routledge will release “Christian Churches in European Integration” by Sergei A. Mudrov (Baranovichi State University). The publisher’s description follows:
All too often religion is largely ignored as a driver of identity formation in the European context, whereas in reality Christian Churches are central players in European identity formation at the national and continental level. Christian Churches in European Integration challenges this tendency, highlighting the position of churches as important identity formers and actors in civil society. Analysing the role of Churches in engaging with two specific EU issues—that of EU treaty reform and ongoing debates about immigration and asylum policy—the author argues that Churches are unique participants in European integration. Establishing a comprehensive view of Christian Churches as having a vital role to play in European integration, this book offers a substantial and provocative contribution both to our understanding of the European Union and the broader question of how religious and state institutions interact with each another.
In May, Cambridge University Press will release “China and Islam: The Prophet, the Party, and Law” by Matthew S. Erie (University of Oxford). The publisher’s description follows:
China and Islam examines the intersection of two critical issues of the contemporary world: Islamic revival and an assertive China, questioning the assumption that Islamic law is incompatible with state law. It finds that both Hui and the Party-State invoke, interpret, and make arguments based on Islamic law, a minjian (unofficial) law in China, to pursue their respective visions of ‘the good’. Based on fieldwork in Linxia, ‘China’s Little Mecca’, this study follows Hui clerics, youthful translators on the ‘New Silk Road’, female educators who reform traditional madrasas, and Party cadres as they reconcile Islamic and socialist laws in the course of the everyday. The first study of Islamic law in China and one of the first ethnographic accounts of law in postsocialist China, China and Islam unsettles unidimensional perceptions of extremist Islam and authoritarian China through Hui minjian practices of law.