Tag: In the Author’s Own Words

Our book connects the subject of ageing with that of religion in contemporary European society. This might seem a natural association to make but in fact is largely missing in current research in both gerontology and religious studies. . . . The study of ageing in its turn has also given limited attention to the role of religious faith and practice, as well as to secular alternatives to religion, in providing existential meaning to older people’s lives.

What political theologies are embedded in and shape Zionist and Palestinian refugee mappings of space and place? This is the animating question of my new book, Mapping Exile and Return, which stems from my doctoral studies in theology at the University of Chicago and 11 years of work in the Middle East.

This is a book about India and China. It is about the ways in which these nation-forms, and the nationalist understandings of religion that have thereby developed, have been transformed by Western imperial modernity.

This book examines the development of Catholic social philosophy from the end of World War II up through the turbulent 1960s. Vatican Council II can be seen as the culmination of the Catholic liberal or progressive tradition, the earlier history of which was the subject of my previous book Catholic Intellectuals and the Challenge of Democracy (2002). Thanks to the ground-breaking work of such Catholics as Jacques Maritain, Virgil Michel, Hans Küng, John Courtney Murray and others, there was in place by the calling of Vatican II a theological platform from which the Church could launch a progressive approach to the secular challenges of the modern age.

Writing in May, 1670, the German theologian Jacob Thomasius fulminated against a recent, anonymously published book. It is, he claimed, “a godless document” that should be immediately banned in all countries. His Dutch colleague, Regnier Mansveld, a professor at the University of Utrecht, insisted that the new publication was harmful to all religions and “ought to be buried forever in an eternal oblivion.” Willem van Blijenburgh, a philosophically inclined Dutch merchant, wrote that “this atheistic book is full of abominations … which every reasonable person should find abhorrent.” One disturbed critic went so far as to call it “a book forged in hell”, written by the devil himself.

Re-thinking the intersection of law and religion today tends to proceed from a concern for the limits of religious freedom and a critique of the foundational historical, social, and cultural presumptions about religion that are seen to undercut or frustrate the possibility of advancing religious freedom.