Modern Believing


Modern Believing (2017), 58, (2), 171–212.


BOOK REVIEWS J. Haynes, ed., Routledge Handbook of Religion and Politics, 2nd edn. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2016. Pp. xxiv, 395. Hb. £150. ISBN 978-1-138-82699-1. This second edition of the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Politics is an extraordinary achievement. The first part offers readers a broad overview of key aspects of diverse religious perspectives on politics (Buddhism, Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Sunni Islam, Shiism and Judaism). The second to fourth parts treat well-chosen themes: ‘Religion and Governance’, ‘Religion and International Relations’ and ‘Religion, Security and Development’. All are expertly written with modern historical and present-day concerns deftly informed by historical and theological insight. Consistently high quality is unusual in any edited collection. In the first part, Schmuel Sandler’s essay on ‘Judaism: State and Foreign Policy’ especially struck me as a fine example of a short but feisty and informative essay on whether it is possible to identify a Jewish approach to statehood and foreign policy (p. 122). Sandler interweaves an historical perspective from Abraham, the forefather of Judaism, through the diaspora period following the fall of the Second Temple in 70 CE, modern anti-Semitism, the presidency of Aharon Barak, and beyond. The focus is modern and present-day, but informed by the sacred narratives of the ancient Israelites’ experience in Egypt, etc., attentive to the theology of covenant, and mindful of atrocities in the Middle Ages and beyond. The concern throughout is the ‘tension between statecraft and religious principles’ (p. 133). In the second part, the choice of top-quality essays upon which to comment is again extensive. Luca Ozzano’s ‘Religious Fundamentalism’ examines diverse ways in which this imprecise category is treated in the relevant literature, before reviewing fundamentalist belief-sets and practices in Protestantism, Islam and Judaism. It would have been Modern Believing 58.2 2017

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