‘This book offers the possibility of a detailed knowledge about an eminent scholar like Hans Mol, a great specialist on the topic of "identity and religion" which is a key problem in the contemporary socio-religious global situation.’
Roberto Cipriani, Senior and Emeritus Professor at Roma Tre University, Italy & Former President of the ISA Research Committee ‘Sociology of Religion’.
‘Identity demands ever increased attention in today's interdisciplinary world and here Adam Powell doubly illuminates this dynamic human process. He not only returns Hans Mol's creative formulation of identity-sacralization to focused attention within theories of religion, but also provides an astutely crisp sociological account of identity theories at large. Sociologists, anthropologists, theologians and religious studies colleagues will enjoy this book a great deal.’
Douglas J. Davies, Professor in the Study of Religion at Durham University, UK & Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
‘In this admirably thoughtful study, A. J. Powell has provided a timely reminder of the achievement recorded by Hans Mol, whose Identity and the Sacred (1976) left a notable imprint on debate among specialists in both the sociology and theory of religion during the later decades of the last century. Dr. Powell contends, rightly, that Mol has been an underappreciated figure, too readily depicted as "yet another functionalist" at a time when his dialectical conception of religion as the "sacralization of identity" offered elements of originality more evident and discernible todayin newer light cast by current shifts in theory and criticism.
Mol has remained steadily productive over his many years, and fully half of the volume consists of four of his previously unpublished papers, offering a convenient occasion to measure the assessments made by Powell as author against the texts with which he has enriched his readers as editor. He is properly mindful also that in Mol’s case especially, biography is integral to theory. Alongside engagement with theologian Karl Barth, two years as a captive of the Gestapo in his native Netherlands during World War II brought an awakening of Christian Calvinist faith that Mol, now at age 94, has never left behind, and that we can see as not irrelevant to the distinctive stress on "commitment" that he saw as one of religion’s defining essentials. Could it be this idea, traceable to his existential wartime experience, that led Mol also to swim presciently against the tide of prematurely framed secularization theories?
Not to be overlooked is the postscript, which closes the discussion, poignantly, with the text of Powell’s 2012 personal interview with Mol in retirement at his home in Australiahealth faltering, yet in moments lucid enough to be reflective in a manner that author and readers alike can appreciate as sagacious and serene.’
Daniel L. Pals, Professor of Religious Studies and History at the University of Miami, USA