Secularization and the World Religions

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The question of religion, its contemporary and future significance, and its role in state and society is currently perceived by many people as being of great urgency and is widely discussed within the public sphere. But it has also long been one of the core topics of the historically oriented social science. The immense stock of knowledge furnished by the history of religion and religious studies, theology, sociology and history can promote greater awareness of the contemporary global religious situation and its links with politics and economics, and counter rash hypotheses such as the 'clash of civilizations'.

This volume is concerned with the connections between religions and the social world and with the extent, limits and future of secularization. The first part deals with major religious traditions and their explicit or implicit ideas about the individual, social and political order. The second part gives an overview of the religious situation in important geographical areas. Additional contributions analyse the legal organization of the relationship between state and religion in a global perspective and the role of the natural sciences in the process of secularization. The contributors include internationally renowned scholars such as Winfried Brugger, José Casanova, Friedrich Wilhelm Graf, Hans Joas, Hans G. Kippenberg, Gudrun Krämer, David Martin, Eckart Otto and Rudolf Wagner.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"... the publication of these conference papers is to be welcomed as the scope of them is precise and original, and the chapters generally are of a high quality. Finally, it has to be remarked that Alex Skinner has done a first-rate job of translating the papers into a flowing and coherent English."--iJournal of Contemporary European Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781846311888
  • Publisher: Liverpool University Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Hans Joas is director of the Max Weber Center at the University of Erfurt and professor of sociology and social thought at the University of Chicago. Klaus Wiegandt is founder and CEO of Forum für Verantwortung.


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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors vii

Foreword Hans Joas Klaus Wiegandt ix

Society, State and Religion: Their Relationship from the Perspective of the World Religions: An Introduction Hans Joas 1

1 Catholic Christianity Cardinal Karl Lehmann 23

2 Protestantism Friedrich Wilhelm Graf 46

3 The Departure and Return of God: Secularization and Theologization in Judaism Eckart Otto 77

4 Islam and Secularization Gudrun Krämer 108

5 Hinduism Heinrick von Stietencron 122

6 Secularization: Confucianism and Buddhism Rudolf G. Wagner 141

7 From Hostility through Recognition to Identification: State-Church Models and their Relationship to Freedom of Religion Winfried Brugger 160

8 'Science Doesn't Tremble': The Secular Natural Sciences and the Modern Feeling for Life Ernst Teter Fischer 181

9 The Religious Situation in Europe José Casanova 206

10 The Religious Situation in the USA Hans Joas 229

11 The Religious Situation in East Asia Joachim Gentz 241

12 The Relevance of the European Model of Secularization in Latin America and Africa David Maitm 278

13 The Desecularization of the Middle East Conflict: From a Conflict between States to a Conflict between Religious Communities Hans G. Kippenberg 296

Afterword Klaus Wiegandt 324

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