Evolving Attitudes towards "Others" in Modern Shiʿi Thought and Practice
Author: Meir Litvak
In Know Thy Enemy, Meir Litvak analyzes the re-articulations of the “Others” in modern Shiʿism, as a novel way to examine the formulation of modern Shiʿi identity and place in the world. Among these others, which have transformed into "enemies" in the modern period are the West, apostates, Wahhabism, Jews, Baha'is and feminism.

Looking at the rhetorical themes that Shiʿi writers use, the book demonstrates the contrast between the collective positive “We” and the negative threatening "Other" as a major principle in the evolution of Shiʻism as the minority branch of Islam. It offers a complex view of Shiʿi identity combining a sense of victimhood and insecurity together with conviction of intellectual and moral superiority and long-term triumph.
Learning, Religion and Rulership at the Mamluk Court of Qāniṣawh al-Ghawrī (r. 1501–1516)
Christian Mauder’s In the Sultan’s Salon builds on his award-winning research and constitutes the first detailed study of the Egyptian court culture of the Mamluk Sultanate (1250–1517), one of the most important polities in Islamic history. Based mainly on understudied Arabic manuscript sources describing the learned salons convened by the penultimate Mamluk Sultan al-Ghawrī, In the Sultan’s Salon presents the first theoretical conceptualization of the term “court” which can be fruitfully applied to premodern Islamic societies, thereby facilitating comparative and interdisciplinary research. It uses this conceptualization to demonstrate that al-Ghawrī’s court functioned as a transregionally interconnected center of dynamic intellectual exchange, theological debate, and performance of rule that triggered novel developments in Islamic scholarly, religious and political culture.
A Critical Edition of Ḥāfiẓ-i Baṣīr’s Maẓhar al-ʿAjāʾib
The Maẓhar al-ʿajāʾib is the devotional work written to expound upon the teachings of Aghā-yi Buzurg, a female religious master active in the early 16th century in Bukhara. The work was produced in 16th century Central Asia, when the region underwent major socio-economic and religio-political changes in the aftermath of the downfall of the Timurid dynasty and the establishment of the Shibanid dynasty in Mavarannahr and the Safavid dynasty in Iran.
In its portrayal of Aghā-yi Buzurg, the Maẓhar al-ʿajāʾib represents a tradition that maintained an egalitarian conception of gender in the spiritual equality of women and men, attesting to the presence of multiple voices in Muslim discourse and challenging conventional ways of thinking about gender history in early modern Central Asia.
From the early phases of modern missions, Christian missionaries supported many humanitarian activities, mostly framed as subservient to the preaching of Christianity. This anthology contributes to a historically grounded understanding of the complex relationship between Christian missions and the roots of humanitarianism and its contemporary uses in a Middle Eastern context. Contributions focus on ideologies, rhetoric, and practices of missionaries and their apostolates towards humanitarianism, from the mid-19th century Middle East crises, examining different missionaries, their society’s worldview and their networks in various areas of the Middle East. In the early 20th century Christian missions increasingly paid more attention to organisation and bureaucratisation (‘rationalisation’), and media became more important to their work. The volume analyses how non-missionaries took over, to a certain extent, the aims and organisations of the missionaries as to humanitarianism. It seeks to discover and retrace such ‘entangled histories’ for the first time in an integral perspective.

Contributors include: Beth Baron, Philippe Bourmaud, Seija Jalagin, Nazan Maksudyan, Michael Marten, Heleen (L.) Murre-van den Berg, Inger Marie Okkenhaug, Idir Ouahes, Maria Chiara Rioli, Karène Sanchez Summerer, Bertrand Taithe, and Chantal Verdeil
Authors: Josef van Ess and Renee Otto
Theology and Society is the most comprehensive study of Islamic intellectual and religious history, focusing on Muslim theology. With its emphasis on the eighth and ninth centuries CE, it remains the most detailed prosopographical study of the early phase of the formation of Islam. Originally published in German between 1991 and 1995, Theology and Society is a monument of scholarship and a unique scholarly enterprise which has stood the test of the time as an unparalleled reference work.

The volume consists of a Bibliography, followed by an Index of Names, an Index of Works and a General Index.
In The Semantics of Qurʾanic Language: al-Āḫira, Ghassan el Masri offers a semantic study of the concept al-āḫira ‘the End’ in the Qurʾān. The study is prefaced with a detailed account of the late antique concept of etymologia (Semantic Etymology). In his work, he demonstrates the necessity of this concept for appreciating the Qurʾān’s rhetorical strategies for claiming discursive authority in the Abrahamic theological tradition. The author applies the etymological tool to his investigation of the theological significance of al-āḫira, and concludes that the concept is polysemous, and tolerates a large variety of interpretations. The work is unique in that it draws extensively on Biblical material and presents a plethora of pre-Islamic poetry verses in the analysis of the concept.

Czechia could be labeled as country of an indifferent approach to religious ideas, as religious faith is considered a private issue, and the role of religion in the public sphere is low. This article summarizes the first attempt to research Korean Protestant churches active in current Czechia. A total of fourteen churches is briefly overviewed stating that the churches are not successful in gaining new members throughout the Czech population. Also, a clear distinction cannot be drawn between diaspora and missionary churches, but rather mixed types can be observed. The findings show that the churches do not accommodate their mission strategies according to the religiously indifferent milieu in Czechia, mostly because the missionaries are not aware of this situation. Moreover, language is identified as the main barrier in communication. We conclude by stating that this topic is poorly understudied and difficult to follow due to its dynamic yet closed nature.

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
Author: Marco Piana

This essay explores the reception of Pope Julius ii’s statuary deities in his Cortile del Belvedere through the poetic works of two humanists, papal courtier Evangelista Maddaleni de’ Capodiferro and Savonarolan philosopher Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola. The construction of the Cortile animated a lively querelle on the state and mission of the Catholic Church, as it allowed the pagan idols of antiquity to re-enter the holy grounds of the Vatican. Through the analysis of two divergent poetic receptions of the Belvedere gods, this article will explore the Cortile del Belvedere and Julius ii’s Rome, as a space of spiritual dialogue and religious hybridism.

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
In: Journal of Religion in Europe