Thursday, October 01, 2009

New book: Religious Voices in Public Places

Religious Voices in Public Places

Edited by Nigel Biggar and Linda Hogan

(Oxford University Press, 2009)


Must religious voices keep quiet in public places? Does fairness in a plural society require it? Must the expression of religious belief be so authoritarian as to threaten civil peace? Do we need translation into 'secular' language, or should we try to manage polyglot conversation? How neutral is 'secular' language? Is a religious argument necessarily unreasonable? What issues are specific to Islam within this exchange?

These are just some of the pressing questions addressed by "Religious Voices in Public Places". Drawn from Australia, Canada, France, Ireland and England - as well as the United States - thirteen contributors take the long-running discussion about religion in the public square beyond its usual American confines.

"Religious Voices in Public Places" comprehends both political philosophy and theology, and moves adeptly between political theory and practice. Whether offering critical analyses of key theorists such as John Rawls, Jeffrey Stout and Jürgen Habermas, or pursuing the issue of the public expression of religion into the debate about religious education in the USA, the legalisation of euthanasia in the UK, and human rights worldwide, this incisive volume speaks directly into crucial areas of religious and political complexity.


Linda Hogan: Introduction

I: Religion & Public Reason: Philosophical Views

1. Nicholas Wolterstorff - Why Can't We Just Get Along With Each Other?
2. Raymond Plant - Citizenship, Religion, and Political Liberalism [on Rawls]
3. Maureen Junker-Kenny - Between Postsecular Society and the Neutral State: Religion as a Resource for Public Reason [on Rawls & Habermas]

II: Religion & Public Reason: Theological Views

4. Luke Bretherton - Translation, Conversation, or Hospitality? Approaches to Theological Reasons in Public Deliberation
5. Travis Kroeker - Messianic Ethics and Diaspora Communities: Upbuilding the Secular Theologically from Below
6. Robert Gascoigne - Christian Hope and Public Reason [on Rawls]

III: Religion & Public Reason: Public Policy Issues

7. Nigel Biggar - Not Translation, but Conversation: Theology in Public Debate about Euthanasia
8. Paul Weithman - Religious Education and Democratic Character
9. Linda Hogan - Religion and Public Reason in the Global Politics of Human Rights

IV: Religion & Public Reason: National Contexts

10. Peter Sedgwick - The Public Presence of Religion in England: Anglican Religious Leaders and Public Culture
11. Steven Michels & Brian Stiltner - Religion, Rhetoric, and Running for Office: Public Reason on the U.S. Campaign Trail
12. Jocelyne Cesari - Islam and the Secularized Nation: A Transatlantic Comparison

Nigel Biggar - Conclusion

Read abstract on each chapter here.


Anonymous said...

I don't want to knock people's beliefs but aren't there more pressing issues for both political theorists and critical theorists to address. For example global economic troubles an possible collapse and creping authoritarianism.

Thomas Gregersen said...

You centainly have a point. In recent years, the focus of political theory has shifted to topics which have minor importance for people's life conditions. It is a sad reflection of a similar shift in the public debates - and the election campaigns - towards minor issues such as same-sex marriage and prayers in schools.

At the same time, it is understandable that a topic like religious pluralism attracts attention from many scholars. It is a topic that raises questions which are very difficult to answer for modern philosophy and political theory and it therefore requires development of new theoretical perspectives.