Walking on the Pages of the Word of God

Self, Land, and Text Among Evangelical Volunteers in Jerusalem

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Aron Engberg

In Walking on the Pages of the Word of God Aron Engberg explores the religious language and identities of evangelical volunteer workers in contemporary Jerusalem. The volunteers are connected to Christian organizations which consider their work a natural consequence of the biblical promises to Israel and their responsibility to “bless the Jewish people”.

Relying on ethnographic data of the discursive practices of the volunteers, the book explores a central puzzle of Zionist Christianity: the narrative production of Israel’s religious significance and its relationship to broader Christian language traditions. By focusing on the volunteers’ stories about themselves, the land and the Bible, Aron Engberg offers a convincing account about how the State of Israel is finding its way into evangelical identities.

Transnational Religious Organization and Practice

A Contextual Analysis of Kerala Pentecostal Churches in Kuwait

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Stanley J. Valayil C. John

In Transnational Religious Organization and Practice Stanley John provides the first in-depth analysis of a migrant Christian community in the Arabian Gulf. The book explores how Kerala (South India) Pentecostal churches in Kuwait organize and practice their Christian faith, given the status of their congregants as temporary economic migrants and noting that the transient status heightens their transnational orientation toward their homeland in India.

The research follows a twofold agenda: first, examining the unique sociopolitical and migrational context within which the KPCs function, and second, analyzing the transnational character and structural patterns that have emerged in this context. The ethnographic research identifies and analyzes the emerging structures and practices of the KPCs through three lenses: networks, agents, and mission. This study concludes with a proposal for an interdisciplinary theoretical framework to be employed in the study of transnational religious communities.

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Jakob W. Wirén

In Hope and Otherness, Jakob Wirén analyses the place and role of the religious Other in contemporary eschatology. In connection with this theme, he examines and compares different levels of inclusion and exclusion in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish eschatologies. He argues that a distinction should be made in approaches to this issue between soteriological openness and eschatological openness. By going beyond Christian theology and also looking to Muslim and Jewish sources and by combining the question of the religious Other with eschatology, Wirén explores ways of articulating Christian eschatology in light of religious otherness, and provides a new and vital slant to the threefold paradigm of exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism that has been prevalent in the theology of religions.

“Jakob Wirén’s study pushes forward the frontiers of three disciplines all at the same time: theology of religions; comparative religions and eschatology. (…) This is a challenging and important book.”
- Gavin D'Costa, University of Bristol, Professor of Catholic Theology, 2017

“This book explores of the status of religious others in Christian eschatology, and of eschatology itself as a privileged place for reflecting on religious otherness. Wiren mines not only Christian, but also Jewish and Muslim sources to develop an inclusive eschatology. Hope and Otherness thus represents an important contribution to both theology of religions and comparative theology.”
- Catherine Cornille, Boston College, Professor of Comparative Theology, 2017

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Kevin T. Van Bladel

This historical study argues that the Mandaean religion originated under Sasanid rule in the fifth century, not earlier as has been widely accepted. It analyzes primary sources in Syriac, Mandaic, and Arabic to clarify the early history of Mandaeism. This religion, along with several other, shorter-lived new faiths, such as Kentaeism, began in a period of state-sponsored persecution of Babylonian paganism. The Mandaeans would survive to become one of many groups known as Ṣābians by their Muslim neighbors. Rather than seeking to elucidate the history of Mandaeism in terms of other religions to which it can be related, this study approaches the religion through the history of its social contexts.

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Edited by Umar Ryad

The present volume focuses on the political perceptions of the Hajj, its global religious appeal to Muslims, and the European struggle for influence and supremacy in the Muslim world in the age of pre-colonial and colonial empires. In the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century, a pivotal change in seafaring occurred, through which western Europeans played important roles in politics, trade, and culture. Viewing this age of empires through the lens of the Hajj puts it into a different perspective, by focusing on how increasing European dominance of the globe in pre-colonial
and colonial times was entangled with Muslim religious action, mobility, and agency. The study of Europe’s connections with the Hajj therefore tests the hypothesis that the concept of agency is not limited to isolated parts of the globe. By adopting the “tools of empires,” the Hajj, in itself a global activity, would become part of global and trans-cultural history.

With contributions by: Aldo D’Agostini; Josep Lluís Mateo Dieste; Ulrike Freitag; Mahmood Kooria; Michael Christopher Low; Adam Mestyan; Umar Ryad; John Slight and Bogusław R. Zagórski.


Sociology of Shiʿite Islam

Collected Essays

Saïd Amir Arjomand

Sociology of Shiʿite Islam is a comprehensive study of the development of Shiʿism. In these collected essays Arjomand has persistently developed a Weberian theoretical framework for the analysis of Shiʿism, from its sectarian formation in the eighth century through the establishment of the Safavid empire in the sixteenth century, to the Islamic revolution in Iran in the twentieth century. The bearers or cultural carriers of Shiʿite Islam first emerged as a sectarian elite, then a hierocracy and finally a theocracy. Imamate, Occultation and the theodicy of martyrdom are identified as the main components of the Shiʿism as a world religion. These studies highlight revolutionary impulses embedded in the belief in the advent of the hidden Imam, and the impact of Shiʿite political ethics on the authority structure of pre-modern Iran and the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Crusader Period

Ibn ʿAsākir of Damascus (1105–1176) and His Age, with an Edition and Translation of Ibn ʿAsākir’s The Forty Hadiths for Inciting Jihad

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Suleiman Mourad and James Lindsay

The Intensification and Reorientation of Sunni Jihad Ideology in the Crusader Period examines the important role of Ibn ʿAsākir, including his Forty Hadiths for Inciting Jihad, in the promotion of a renewed jihad ideology in twelfth-century Damascus as part of sultan Nūr al-Dīn’s agenda to revivify Sunnism and fight, under the banner of jihad, Crusader and Muslim opponents. This jihad vision was exclusively centered on selected quranic verses and prophetic hadiths. Ibn ʿAsākir and other Sunni scholars in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Syria departed from the earlier scholarly focus on legal nuances and aversion to invoke jihad in intra-Muslim conflicts. They championed this intensification and reorientation of jihad ideology in mainstream Sunni scholarship, and gave it a lasting legacy.