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Announcing New and Forthcoming Books in Political Theology

Around the Network

The Political Theology Network is pleased to announce new and forthcoming books in political theology. If you know of forthcoming books that are not listed here, please contact us.

Book selections prepared by Christopher Paul Morris, Villanova University (with direct assistance and guidance from Vincent Lloyd and Kyle Lambelet).

September 2018

Saul Newman, Political Theology: A Critical Introduction (Polity)

From the publisher: “God is dead, but his presence lives on in politics. This is the problem of political theology: the way that theological ideas find their way into secular political institutions, particularly the sovereign state. 

“In this intellectual tour-de-force, leading political theorist Saul Newman shows how political theology arose alongside secularism, and relates to the problem of legitimising power and authority in modernity. It is not about the power of religion so much as about the religion of power. Examining the current crisis of the liberal order, he argues that recent phenomena such as the rise of populism, the renewed demand for strong national sovereignty and the return of religious fundamentalism may be understood through this paradigm. He illustrates his argument through an exploration of themes such as sovereignty, democracy, economics, technology, ecological catastrophe, messianism and the future of radical politics, engaging with thinkers ranging from Schmitt and Hobbes to Stirner, Foucault, and Agamben.”

November 2018

Sam Brewitt-Taylor, Christian Radicalism in the Church of England and the Invention of the British Sixties, 1957-1970: The Hope of a World Transformed (Oxford University Press)

From the publisher: “This study provides the first postsecular account of the moral revolution that Britain experienced in the 1960s. Beginning from the groundbreaking premise that secularity is not a mere absence, but an invented culture, it argues that a new form of British secularity achieved cultural dominance during an abrupt cultural revolution which occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This moral revolution had little to do with affluence or technology, but was most centrally a cultural response to the terrors of the Cold War, which pitted Christian Britain against the secular Soviet Union. By exploring contemporary prophecies of the inevitable arrival of “the secular society”, Sam Brewitt-Taylor shows that, ironically, British secularity was given decisive initial momentum by theologically radical Christians, who destigmatized the idea of “modern secularity” and made it available for appropriation by a wide range of Sixties actors. Further than this, radical Christians played a significant contributory role in deciding what kind of secularity Britain’s Sixties would adopt, by narrating Britain’s moral revolution as globalist, individualist, anti-authoritarian, sexually libertarian, and politically egalitarian. In all these ways, radical Christians played a highly significant role in the early stages of Britain’s Sixties.”

Ansley L. Quiros, God with Us: Lived Theology and the Freedom Struggle in Americus, Georgia, 1942-1976 (The University of North Carolina Press)

From the publisher: “For many, the struggle over civil rights was not just about lunch counters, waiting rooms, or even access to the vote; it was also about Christian theology. Since both activists and segregationists ardently claimed that God was on their side, racial issues were imbued with religious meanings from all sides. Whether in the traditional sanctuaries of the major white Protestant denominations, in the mass meetings in black churches, or in Christian expressions of interracialism, southerners resisted, pursued, and questioned racial change within various theological traditions. God with Us examines the theological struggle over racial justice through the story of one southern town–Americus, Georgia–where ordinary Americans sought and confronted racial change in the twentieth century. Documenting the passion and virulence of these contestations, this book offers insight into how midcentury battles over theology and race affected the rise of the Religious Right and indeed continue to resonate deeply in American life.”

Angie Heo, The Political Lives of Saints: Christian-Muslim Mediation in Egypt (University of California Press)

From the publisher: “Since the Arab Spring in 2011 and ISIS’s rise in 2014, Egypt’s Copts have attracted attention worldwide as the collateral damage of revolution and as victims of sectarian strife. Countering the din of persecution rhetoric and Islamophobia, The Political Lives of Saints journeys into the quieter corners of divine intercession to consider what martyrs, miracles, and mysteries have to do with the routine challenges faced by Christians and Muslims living together under the modern nation-state. Drawing on years of extensive fieldwork, Angie Heo argues for understanding popular saints as material media that organize social relations between Christians and Muslims in Egypt toward varying political ends. With an ethnographer’s eye for traces of antiquity, she deciphers how long-cherished imaginaries of holiness broker bonds of revolutionary sacrifice, reconfigure national sites of sacred territory, and pose sectarian threats to security and order. A study of tradition and nationhood at their limits, The Political Lives of Saints shows that Coptic Orthodoxy is a core domain of minoritarian regulation and authoritarian rule, powerfully reversing the recurrent thesis of its impending extinction in the Arab Muslim world.”

Michael P. Federici, The Catholic Writings of Orestes Brownson (University of Notre Dame Press)

From the publisher: “This collection of thirteen original essays by Orestes Augustus Brownson (1803–1876), a major political and philosophical figure in the American Catholic intellectual tradition, presents his developed political theory in which he devotes central attention to connecting Catholicism to American politics. These writings, which date from 1856 to 1874, cover not only his conversion to Catholicism after experimenting with a variety of religious and political beliefs but also slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the era of Jacksonian democracy, and a host of social, political, and economic issues. During this time, Brownson became one of the nation’s leading thinkers and critics. Although faced with a dominant Protestant culture, Brownson argued for a political and social culture influenced by his deeply held Catholic faith. He defended Catholicism from the common charge that it was incompatible with American constitutionalism and, in fact, argued that it was the only spiritually viable foundation for American politics. He defended the political theory and institutions of the American framers, applauding their realistic view of human nature and the importance of both virtue in political leaders and checks and restraints in their constitutional structures. He opposed the rising influence of populist democracy by explaining its flawed assumptions about human nature and the possibilities of politics. Michael P. Federici’s well-written introduction situates these essays within a coherent theme and explains how these essays are especially relevant to contemporary debates about populism, race, American exceptionalism, and the relationship between religion and politics. The book will interest students and scholars of American political thought, as well as those with an interest in religion and politics.”

Maarit Forde & Yanique Hume, Editors, Passages and Afterworlds: Anthropological Perspectives on Death in the Caribbean (Duke University Press)

From the publisher: “The contributors to Passages and Afterworlds explore death and its rituals across the Caribbean, drawing on ethnographic theories shaped by a deep understanding of the region’s long history of violent encounters, exploitation, and cultural diversity. Examining the relationship between living bodies and the spirits of the dead, the contributors investigate the changes in cosmologies and rituals in the cultural sphere of death in relation to political developments, state violence, legislation, policing, and identity politics. Contributors address topics that range from the ever-evolving role of divinized spirits in Haiti and the contemporary mortuary practice of Indo-Trinidadians to funerary ceremonies in rural Jamaica and ancestor cults in Maroon culture in Suriname. Questions of alterity, difference, and hierarchy underlie these discussions of how racial, cultural, and class differences have been deployed in ritual practice and how such rituals have been governed in the colonial and postcolonial Caribbean.” (Contributors. Donald Cosentino, Maarit Forde, Yanique Hume, Paul Christopher Johnson, Aisha Khan, Keith McNeal, George Mentore, Richard Price, Karen Richman, Ineke (Wilhelmina) van Wetering, Bonno (H.U.E.) Thoden van Velzen)

Paul Hanebrink, A Specter Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism (Harvard University Press)

From the publisher: “The first comprehensive account of the evolution and exploitation of the Judeo-Bolshevik myth, from its origins to the present day. For much of the twentieth century, Europe was haunted by a threat of its own imagining: Judeo-Bolshevism. This myth—that Communism was a Jewish plot to destroy the nations of Europe—was a paranoid fantasy, and yet fears of a Jewish Bolshevik conspiracy took hold during the Russian Revolution and spread across Europe. During World War II, these fears sparked genocide. Paul Hanebrink’s history begins with the counterrevolutionary movements that roiled Europe at the end of World War I. Fascists, Nazis, conservative Christians, and other Europeans, terrified by Communism, imagined Jewish Bolsheviks as enemies who crossed borders to subvert order from within and bring destructive ideas from abroad. In the years that followed, Judeo-Bolshevism was an accessible and potent political weapon. After the Holocaust, the specter of Judeo-Bolshevism did not die. Instead, it adapted to, and became a part of, the Cold War world. Transformed yet again, it persists today on both sides of the Atlantic in the toxic politics of revitalized right-wing nationalism. Drawing a worrisome parallel across one hundred years, Hanebrink argues that Europeans and Americans continue to imagine a transnational ethno-religious threat to national ways of life, this time from Muslims rather than Jews.”

M. Lindsay Kaplan, Figuring Racism in Medieval Christianity (Oxford University Press)

From the publisher: “In Figuring Racism in Medieval Christianity, M. Lindsay Kaplan expands the study of the history of racism through an analysis of the Christian concept of Jewish hereditary inferiority. Imagined as a figural slavery, this idea anticipates modern racial ideologies in creating a status of permanent, inherent subordination. Unlike other studies of early forms of racism, this book places theological discourses at the center of its analysis. It traces an intellectual history of the Christian doctrine of servitus Judaeorum, or Jewish enslavement, imposed as punishment for the crucifixion. This concept of hereditary inferiority, formulated in patristic and medieval exegesis through the figures of Cain, Ham, and Hagar, enters into canon law to enforce the spiritual, social, and economic subordination of Jews to Christians. Characterized as perpetual servitude, this status shapes the construction of Jews not only in canon law, but in medicine, natural philosophy, and visual art. By focusing on inferiority as a category of analysis, Kaplan sharpens our understanding of contemporary racism as well as its historical development. The damaging power of racism lies in the ascription of inferiority to a set of traits and not in bodily or cultural difference alone; in the medieval context, theological authority affirms discriminatory hierarchies as a reflection of divine will. Medieval theological discourses created a racial rationale of Jewish hereditary inferiority that also served to justify the servile status of Muslims and Africans. Kaplan’s discussion of this history uncovers the ways in which racism circulated in pre-modernity and continues to do so in contemporary white supremacist discourses that similarly seek to subordinate these groups.”

Shadaab Rahemtulla, Qur’an of the Oppressed: Liberation Theology and Gender Justice in Islam (Oxford University Press)

From the publisher: “This study analyzes the commentaries of four Muslim intellectuals who have turned to scripture as a liberating text to confront an array of problems, from patriarchy, racism, and empire to poverty and interreligious communal violence. Shadaab Rahemtulla considers the exegeses of the South African Farid Esack (b. 1956), the Indian Asghar Ali Engineer (1939-2013), the African American Amina Wadud (b. 1952), and the Pakistani American Asma Barlas (b. 1950). Rahemtulla examines how these intellectuals have been able to expound this seventh-century Arabian text in a socially liberating way, addressing their own lived realities of oppression, and thus contexts that are worlds removed from that of the text’s immediate audience. Through a close reading of their works, he underlines the importance of both the ethico-social content of the Qur’an and their usage of new and innovative reading practices. This work provides a rich analysis of the thought-ways of specific Muslim intellectuals, thereby substantiating a broadly framed school of thought. Rahemtulla draws out their specific and general importance without displaying an uncritical sympathy. He sheds light on the impact of modern exegetical commentary which is more self-consciously concerned with historical context and present realities. In a mutually reinforcing way, this work thus illuminates both the role of agency and hermeneutical approaches in modern Islamic thought.”

December 2018

Mary Raschko, The politics of Middle English parables: Fiction, theology, and social practice (Oxford University Press)

From the publisher: “The politics of Middle English parables examines the dynamic intersection of fiction, theology and social practice in late-medieval England. Parables occupy a prominent place in Middle English literature, appearing in dream visions and story collections as well as in lives of Christ and devotional treatises. While most scholarship approaches the translated stories as stable vehicles of Christian teaching, this book highlights the many variations and points of conflict across Middle English renditions of the same story. In parables related to labour, social inequality, charity and penance, the book locates a creative theological discourse through which writers attempted to re-construct Christian belief and practice. Analysis of these diverse retellings reveals not what a given parable meant in a definitive sense but rather how Middle English parables inscribe the ideologies, power structures and cultural debates of late-medieval Christianity.”

João José Reis, Flavio dos Santos Gomes, and Marcus J. M. Carvalho, The Story of Rufino: Slavery, Freedom, and Islam in the Black Atlantic (Oxford University Press)

From the publisher: “A finalist for the Brazilian Book Award and winner of the Casa de las América Prize for Brazilian Literature, The Story of Rufino: Slavery, Freedom, and Islam in the Black Atlantic reconstructs the lively biography of Rufino José Maria, set against the historical context of Brazil and Africa in the nineteenth century. This book narrates the life of a Yoruba Muslim named Rufino José Maria, born in the kingdom of Oyo, in present-day Nigeria. Enslaved as an adolescent by a rival ethnic group, he was acquired by Brazilian slave traffickers and taken across the Atlantic. He spent eight years as a slave in the city of Salvador, in the northeast of Brazil, where he arrived in 1823. Rufino was later sold to the southernmost province of Rio Grande do Sul, where he became the slave of the local chief of police. Five years later, in 1835, he bought his freedom with money he saved as a hired-out slave in the streets of Salvador, in Bahia, and Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul. A few years later Rufino moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he embarked as a cook on a slave ship bound for Luanda. The trans-Atlantic slave trade had been abolished in Brazil since 1831, but it continued unabated due to official tolerance, but it came under fierce repression by British cruisers especially after 1839. Rufino made a few voyages between Luanda and the northeastern province of Pernambuco before his ship was captured by the British and taken to Sierra Leone in 1841. Here the ship would face trial by the Anglo-Brazilian Mixed Commission Against the Slave Trade. While waiting for the court’s decision, Rufino lived among Yoruba Muslims, his people, and attended Quranic and Arabic classes in the outskirts of Freetown. In a rare outcome for cases such as this one, his ship was considered a “bad prize” and returned to Pernambuco with Rufino on board, again as a cook. After a few months in Recife, Pernambuco’s capital, Rufino returned to Sierra Leone as a witness in a court case started by his employers against the English government. He attended classes with Muslim masters for close to two years. When he went back to Recife via Rio de Janeiro and Bahia in 1844, he established himself as a diviner-serving whites and blacks, free and slaves, Brazilians and Africans, Muslim and non-Muslims-as well as a spiritual leader, an Alufa, in the local Afro-Muslim community. In 1853 Rufino was arrested in Recife due to rumors of an imminent African slave revolt. The police used as evidence for his arrest the large number of manuscript books and other writings in his possession, all in Arabic, the same kind of material the Bahian police had found with Muslim rebels in Bahia thirty years earlier. During his interrogation, Rufino told his life story, which is used to reconstruct the world in which he lived under slavery in Brazil, on African shores, on board slave ships, and in Recife, where he settled. A truly Atlantic history dug out of the archives, Rufino’s life is used to shed light on slavery and the slave trade, manumission, the complexities of slavery and freedom in Brazil, African freed persons, and the resilience of ethnic and religious identities. Methodologically, it combines social and cultural history with microhistory, with key academic themes of identity, creolization, African diaspora, and Atlantic history.”

Matthew C. Bingham, Orthodox Radicals: Baptist Identity in the English Revolution (Oxford University Press)

From the publisher: “In the seventeenth century, English Baptists existed on the fringe of the nation’s collective religious life. Today, Baptists have developed into one of the world’s largest Protestant denominations. Despite this impressive transformation, those first English Baptists remain chronically misunderstood. In Orthodox Radicals, Matthew C. Bingham clarifies and analyzes the origins and identity of Baptists during the English Revolution, arguing that mid-seventeenth century Baptists did not, in fact, understand themselves to be a part of a larger, all-encompassing Baptist movement. Contrary to both the explicit statements of many historians and the tacit suggestion embedded in the very use of “Baptist” as an overarching historical category, the early modern men and women who rejected infant baptism would not have initially understood that single theological stance as being in itself constitutive of a new collective identity. Rather, the rejection of infant baptism was but one of a number of doctrinal revisions then taking place among English puritans eager to further their on-going project of godly reformation. Orthodox Radicals complicates of our understanding of Baptist identity, setting the early English Baptists in the cultural, political, and theological context of the wider puritan milieu out of which they arose. The book also speaks to broader themes, including early modern debates on religious toleration, the mechanisms by which early modern actors established and defended their tenuous religious identities, and the perennial problem of anachronism in historical writing. Bingham also challenges the often too-hasty manner in which scholars have drawn lines of theological demarcation between early modern religious bodies, and reconsiders one of this period’s most dynamic and influential religious minorities from a fresh and perhaps controversial perspective. By combining a provocative reinterpretation of Baptist identity with close readings of key theological and political texts, Orthodox Radicals offers the most original and stimulating analysis of mid-seventeenth-century Baptists in decades.”

Thomas Brodie, German Catholicism at War, 1939-1945 (Oxford University Press)

From the publisher: “German Catholicism at War explores the mentalities and experiences of German Catholics during the Second World War. Taking the German Home Front, and most specifically, the Rhineland and Westphalia, as its core focus German Catholicism at War examines Catholics’ responses to developments in the war, their complex relationships with the Nazi regime, and their religious practices. Drawing on a wide range of source materials stretching from personal letters and diaries to pastoral letters and Gestapo reports, Thomas Brodie breaks new ground in our understanding of the Catholic community in Germany during the Second World War.”

Edited by Anver M. Emon and Rumee Ahmed, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law (Oxford University Press)

From the publisher: “A landmark study of the most significant topics in field, The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law is the first of its kind to offer a systemically sustained critical interrogation of the study of Islamic law to date. With entries from leading scholars, this volume delivers a historiographical examination of Islamic law, familiarizing readers with some of the most important names and ideas in the field. While capturing the state of contemporary legal studies by chronicling how far the field has come, the Handbook’s unique strength lies in how each entry explains why certain debates recur in certain areas of study, while also indicating fundamental gaps in our knowledge of this legal tradition. Moreover, each entry charts out bold new avenues for research that map out the future study of Islamic law. The Handbook will be an essential resource for scholars and students of Islam and Islamic law for years to come.”

January 2019

Philippa Byrne, Justice and mercy: Moral theology and the exercise of law in twelfth-century England (Oxford University Press)

From the publisher: “This book examines one of the most fundamental issues in twelfth-century English politics: justice. It demonstrates that during the foundational period for the common law, the question of judgement and judicial ethics was a topic of heated debate DS a common problem with multiple different answers. How to be a judge, and how to judge well, was a concern shared by humble and high, keeping both kings and parish priests awake at night. Using theological texts, sermons, legal treatises and letter collections, the book explores how moralists attempted to provide guidance for uncertain judges. It argues that mercy was always the most difficult challenge for a judge, fitting uncomfortably within the law and of disputed value. Shining a new light on English legal history, Justice and mercy reveals the moral dilemmas created by the establishment of the common law.”

Sharon D. Welch, After the Protests Are Heard: Enacting Civic Engagement and Social Transformation (NYU Press)

From the publisher: “From the Women’s March in D.C. to #BlackLivesMatter rallies across the country, there has been a rising wave of protests and social activism. These events have been an important part of the battle to combat racism, authoritarianism, and xenophobia in Trump’s America. However, the struggle for social justice continues long after the posters and megaphones have been packed away. After the protests are heard, how can we continue to work toward lasting change?   This book is an invaluable resource for anyone invested in the fight for social justice. Welch highlights examples of social justice work accomplished at the institutional level.  From the worlds of social enterprise, impact investing, and sustainable business, After the Protests Are Heard describes the work being done to promote responsible business practices and healthy, cooperative communities. The book also illuminates how colleges and universities educate students to strive toward social justice on campuses across the country, such as the Engaged Scholarship movement, which fosters interactions between faculty and students and local and global communities.  In each of these instances, activists work from within institutions to transform practices and structures to foster justice and equality. After the Protests Are Heard confronts the difficult reality that social change is often followed by spikes in violence and authoritarianism. It offers important insights into how the nation might more fully acknowledge the brutal costs of racism and the historical drivers of racial injustice, and how people of all races can contain such violence in the present and prevent its resurgence in the future. For many members of the social justice community, the real work begins when the protests end. After the Protests Are Heard is a must-read for everyone interested in social justice and activism – from the barricades and campuses to the breakrooms and cubicles.”

Lindsay G. Driediger-Murphy, Roman Republican Augury: Freedom and Control (Oxford University Press)

From the publisher: “Roman Republican Augury: Freedom and Control proposes a new way of understanding augury, a form of Roman state divination designed to consult the god Jupiter. Previous scholarly studies of augury have tended to focus either upon its legal-constitutional aspects (especially its place in defining, structuring, and circumscribing the precise constitutional powers of magistrates), or upon its role in maintaining and perpetuating Roman social and political structures (primarily as a tool of the elite). This volume makes a new and original contribution to the study of Roman religion, theology, politics, and cultural history by challenging the prevailing view that official divination was organized to produce only the results its users wanted, and focusing instead upon what it can tell us about how the Romans understood their relationship with their gods. Rather than supposing that augury, like other forms of Roman public divination, told Romans what they wanted to hear, it argues that augury in both theory and practice left space for perceived expressions of divine will which contradicted human wishes, and that its rules and precepts did not allow human beings simply to create or ignore signs at will. Analysis of the historical evidence for Romans receiving, and heeding, signs which would seem to have conflicted with their own desires allows the Jupiter whom they approached in augury to emerge as not simply a source of power to be tapped and channelled to human ends, but as a person with his own interests and desires, which did not always overlap with those of his human enquirers. When human and divine will clashed, it was the will of Jupiter, not that of the man consulting him, which was supposed to prevail. In theory as in practice, it was the Romans, not their supreme god, who were ‘bound’ by the auguries and auspices.”

Traci C. West, Solidarity and Defiant Spirituality: Africana Lessons on Religion, Racism, and Ending Gender Violence (NYU Press)

From the publisher: “How can the U.S. learn from the perspectives of anti-gender violence activists in South America and Africa as we seek to end intimate violence in this country?  The U.S. has consistently positioned itself as a moral exemplar, seeking to export its philosophy and values to other societies. Yet in this book, Traci C. West argues that the U.S. has much to learn from other countries when it comes to addressing gender-based violence. West traveled to Ghana, South Africa, and Brazil to interview activists involved in the struggle against gender violence. In each of these places, as in the United States, Christianity and anti-black racism have been implicated in violence against women. In Ghana and Brazil, in particular, their Christian colonial and trans-Atlantic slave trade histories directly connect with the socioeconomic development of the Americas and historic incidents of rape of black slave women. With a transnational focus on religion and racism, West brings a new perspective to efforts to systemically combat gender violence. Calling attention to forms of violence in the U.S. and international settings, such as marital rape, sex trafficking of women and girls, domestic violence, and the targeting of lesbians, the book offers an expansive and nuanced view of how to form activist solidarity in tackling this violence. It features bold and inspiring approaches by black women leaders working in each setting to uproot the myriad forms of violence against women and girls. Ultimately, West calls for us to learn from the lessons of Africana activists, drawing on a defiant Africana spirituality as an invaluable resource in the quest to combat the seemingly chronic problem of gender-based violence.”

March 2019

Roberto Strongman, Queering Black Atlantic Religions: Transcorporeality in Candombié, Santeria, and Vodou (Duke University Press)

From the publisher: “In Queering Black Atlantic Religions Roberto Strongman examines Haitian Vodou, Cuban Lucumí/Santería, and Brazilian Candomblé to demonstrate how religious rituals of trance possession allow humans to understand themselves as embodiments of the divine. In these rituals, the commingling of humans and the divine produces gender identities that are independent of biological sex. As opposed to the Cartesian view of the spirit as locked within the body, the body in Afro-diasporic religions is an open receptacle. Showing how trance possession is a primary aspect of almost all Afro-diasporic cultural production, Strongman articulates transcorporeality: a black, trans-Atlantic understanding of the human psyche, soul, and gender as multiple, removable, and external to the body.”

May 2019

Andrew T. LaZella (Series edited by Gyula Klima), The Singular Voice of Being: John Duns Scotus and Ultimate Difference (Fordham University Press)

From the publisher: “The Singular Voice of Being: John Duns Scotus, Ultimate Difference, and the Univocity of Being reconsiders John Duns Scotus’s well-covered theory of the univocity of being in light of his less explored discussions of ultimate difference. Ultimate difference is a notion introduced by Aristotle and known by the Aristotelian tradition, but one that, the book argues, Scotus radically retrofits to buttress his doctrine of univocity. Ultimate difference for Aristotle meant the last difference in a line of specific differences whereby all the preceding differences would be united into a single substance rather than remain a heapish multiplicity. LaZella argues that Scotus both broadens and deepens the term such that, in the end, it comes to resemble its Aristotelian ancestor more in name than in substance. Scotus broadens ultimate difference to include not only specific differences, but also intrinsic modes of being (e.g., finite/infinite) and principles of individuation (i.e. haecceitates). Furthermore, he deepens it by divorcing it from any thing with categorial classification, such as substantial form. Scotus uses his revamped notion of ultimate difference as a means of dividing being, despite the longstanding Parmenidean arguments against such division. The book highlights the unique role of difference in Scotus’s thought, which conceives of difference not as a fall from the perfect unity of being, but rather as a perfective determination of an otherwise indifferent concept. The division of being culminates in individuation as the final degree of perfection, which constitutes indivisible (i.e. singular) degrees of being. This systematic study of ultimate difference opens new dimensions for understanding Scotus’s dense thought with respect to not only univocity, but also individuation, cognition, and acts of the will. The book aims to place Scotus’s thought in conversation around topics of metaphysics, cognition, and language relevant to contemporary philosophers from various traditions.”

Dörthe Engelcke, Reforming Family Law: Social and Political Change in Jordan and Morocco (Cambridge University Press)

From the publisher: “As the only area of law that is still commonly termed ‘Islamic law’, family law is one of the most sensitive and controversial legal areas in all Muslim-majority countries. Morocco and Jordan both issued new family codes in the 2000s, but there are a number of differences in the ways these two states engaged in reform. These include how the reform was carried out, the content of the new family codes, and the way the new laws are applied. Based on extensive fieldwork and rich in sources, this book examines why these two ostensibly similar semi-authoritarian regimes varied so significantly in their engagement with family law. Dörthe Engelcke demonstrates that the structure of the legal systems, shaped by colonial policies, had an effect on how reform processes were carried out as well as the content and the application of family law.”

Frank B. Farrell, How Theology Shaped Twentieth-Century Philosophy (Cambridge University Press)

From the publisher: “Medieval theology had an important influence on later philosophy which is visible in the empiricisms of Russell, Carnap, and Quine. Other thinkers, including McDowell, Kripke, and Dennett, show how we can overcome the distorting effects of that theological ecosystem on our accounts of the nature of reality and our relationship to it. In a different philosophical tradition, Hegel uses a secularized version of Christianity to argue for a kind of human knowledge that overcomes the influences of late-medieval voluntarism, and some twentieth-century thinkers, including Benjamin and Derrida, instead defend a Jewish-influenced notion of the religious sublime. Frank B. Farrell analyzes and connects philosophers of different eras and traditions to show that modern philosophy has developed its practices on a terrain marked out by earlier theological and religious ideas, and considers how different philosophers have both embraced, and tried to escape from, those deep-seated patterns of thought.”

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