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Polity publishes a number of textbooks and original works in the area of Religious Studies. Our list is especially rich in books exploring the sociology of religion, including Alan Aldridge’s Religion in the Contemporary World, Steve Bruce’s Fundamentalism and Sutton and Vertigans’ Resurgent Islam.
Polity also publishes a number of Religious Studies texts designed to appeal to a broader readership. Recent highlights have included Hammoudi’s A Season in Mecca, Zeitlin’s The Historical Muhammad and Steve Fuller’s Science vs Religion?
We also publish many leading philosophers and social thinkers whose work is directly relevant to students and scholars of religion, including Jürgen Habermas, Paul Ricoeur and Gianni Vattimo.
Visit our highlights page for more information on our new and forthcoming general interest titles.
Alan Dowty: Israel/Palestine 3e
In this fully revised and updated third edition of his highly respected introductory text, Alan Dowty demystifies the conflict by putting it in broad historical perspective, identifying its roots, and tracing its evolution up to the current impasse. His account offers a clear analytic framework for understanding transformations over time, and in doing so, punctures the myths of an "age-old" conflict with an unbridgeable gap between the two sides.
Oliver Leaman: Islamic Philosophy: An Introduction 2e
A concise and accessible introduction to the major movements, thinkers and concepts within Islamic philosophy, from the foundation of Islam to the present day. Leaman outlines this history and demonstrates that, although the development of Islamic philosophy is closely linked with Islam itself, its form is not essentially connected to religion, and its leading ideas and arguments are of general philosophical significance. The author illustrates the importance of Islamic thought within philosophy through the use of many modern examples.
Beverley Clack & Brian R. Clack: The Philosophy of Religion 2e
The fully revised and updated second edition of Beverley Clack and Brian R. Clack’s exciting and innovative introduction to the philosophy of religion provides a bold and refreshing alternative to the standard analytic approaches to the subject. Retaining the accessibility which made it popular for both teachers and students, the new edition reflects recent developments in the subject, and, in a move that highlights the originality of the authors’ approach, they offer a critical engagement with current world events. An entirely new concluding chapter interrogates the connection between religion and terror, and demonstrates how philosophy of religion might be conducted under the terrible shadow of 9/11.
In the new edition of this widely read text, Alan Aldridge examines the complex realities of religious belief, practice and institutions, ranging from the high growth rates of successful minority religious movements such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, to the phenomenal rise of Pentecostalism, the challenge of ‘fundamentalism’ and the apparent turn from religion to spirituality.
The second edition has been carefully revised to make sure it is fully up-to-date with recent developments and debates. Major themes in the revised edition include religious diversity and its implications for social cohesion, and the paradoxical fate of religion in societies that appear to be obsessed with individualism and consumerism.
Steve Bruce: Fundamentalism 2e
The new edition of Steve Bruce's Fundamentalism grapples with the combination of social strains and religious ideas that have produced an explosion of fundamentalist activity in the wake of 9/11.
In a direct and punchy style, the new edition of his book investigates what lies behind the actions of Al-Qaeda, suicide bombings and the war against terror, and also gets to grips with the continuing rise of the Christian Right in the USA. It offers new insights into the Protestant fundamentalism of the American political right-wing, looking at the influence issues such as abortion, gay rights and intelligent design have had on US foreign policy and domestic politics.
Philip W. Sutton & Stephen Vertigans: Resurgent Islam
The contemporary resurgence of Islam in all of its varied manifestations demands the attention of social scientists. This ground-breaking book provides a unique insight into resurgent Islam from the standpoint of sociology. Clearly written, and jargon free, the book aims to create a more comprehensive and balanced understanding of the recent Islamic resurgence.
Akbar Ahmed: Islam Under Siege
"In my view there surely cannot be a more relevant book...written by one of the most distinguished Muslim scholars today...In truth, I cannot think of a more relevant book...Professor Akbar Ahmed offers us a clear vision that has the potential to unite us in common action and purpose. It is one of the most hopeful books as well as one of the most challenging I have read in recent years."
Dr George Carey, The Washington Times
Paul Ricouer: On Psychoanalysis
“Ricoeur writes the best kind of philosophy - critical, economical, and clear."
New York Times
Ricoeur reading Freud: this could have been the title of this volume, in which the focus is on the actual work of Freud and not on subsequent commentaries. An open reading of intellectual integrity. A critical reading which shuns definitive positions. A reading to understand Freud. This book – the first volume of Ricoeur's writings and lectures – brings together texts which appeared between 1966 and 1988. It is published under the auspices of Le Fonds Ricoeur.
Irving M. Zeitlin: Jews: The Making of a Diaspora People
“Of Jewish histories there is no shortage. But this remarkable book offers history from the critical perspective of sociology – itself critically examined in the light of history. In short, an intellectual feast.”
Norman Miller, Trinity College, Hartford
Zeitlin retraces the history of the Jewish diaspora from the ancient world to the present, beginning with expulsion from their ancestral homeland and concluding with the Holocaust and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of Jewish studies, diaspora studies, history and religion, as well as to general readers keen to learn more about the history of the Jewish experience.
Michel Wieviorka: Evil
“Wieviorka lays out the case for thinking of "evil" as "social", as opposed to theological … A work to facilitate discussion.”
If we wish to live in an open, democratic world in which each individual constructs his or her own experience and leads his or her own life in a spirit of respect for and solidarity with others, then we must understand the processes that lead in totally different directions, negating the individual's subjectivity and moral and physical integrity. Michel Wieviorka invites us to do just that in this highly topical and engaging book.
Jürgen Habermas: An Awareness of What is Missing
In 2007 Habermas conducted a debate, entitled ‘An Awareness of What Is Missing’, with philosophers from the Jesuit School for Philosophy. This volume includes Habermas’s essay, the contributions of his interlocutors and Habermas’s reply and will be essential reading for anyone wishing to understand one of the most intractable issues of our time.
Jürgen Habermas: Between Naturalism and Religion
Two countervailing trends mark the intellectual tenor of our age - the spread of naturalistic worldviews and religious orthodoxies. Drawing on both contemporary scientific advances and the revitalization of religious practices Jürgen Habermas explores the fundamental tension between naturalism and religion.
Peter Sloterdijk: God’s Zeal
‘One of the most interesting contemporary European philosophers tackles one of the key questions: the relation between the three great monotheistic religions. Dense, allusive, and complex, God's Zeal is a significant and provocative intervention into contemporary debates that is likely to appeal to a wide audience.’
Stuart Elden, Durham University
Paul Veyne: When Our World Became Christian
‘This is a vigorously written interpretative essay about the triumph of Christianity in late antiquity by a self-professed unbeliever. Veyne, always as sensitive to the process of writing history as he is to the study of the past itself, approaches the early history of Christianity as an avant-garde religion. He examines the implications of its appropriation by the state with great energy and in an uncompromising manner.’
Rosamond McKitterick, University of Cambridge
Ulrich Beck: A God of One’s Own
This is a major new book by one of the world’s leading sociologists. Here he draws on his theory of the second modernity to offer a highly original account of the role of religion and religious experience in contemporary societies.
Christian Joppke: Veil
‘Joppke’s Veil retrieves a topic subjected to clichéd overkill for genuine scholarly analysis. It is erudite, readable and unrivalled, a no-punches-pulled critique of the relationship between Islam, gender and liberalism. Informative, thought-provoking and powerful, it reaches new heights and is a must-read for those informed, or bemused, about Islam in the West.’
Paul Statham, University of Bristol
John R. Hall: Apocalypse
‘This is a necessary book. Theoretically sophisticated, historically erudite, Hall explains the contemporary crisis in a new way. Conflicts between the religious and the secular have given way to confrontations between sacred and profane. Apocalypse has entered fully into modern history, and it may be here to stay.’
Jeffrey C. Alexander, Yale University
Irving M. Zeitlin: The Historical Muhammad
In his quest for the historical Muhammad, Zeitlin’s chief aim is to catch a few reliable glimpses of the birth of Islam and the role played by its extraordinary founder. Islam, as its Prophet came to conceive it, was a strict and absolute monotheism. Zeitlin tries to assess the extent to which these other religious influences shaped the emergence of Islam and the development of the Prophet’s beliefs.
Abdellah Hammoudi: A Season in Mecca: Narrative of a Pilgrimage
Hammoudi describes not just the adventure, the human pressures, and the social tumult-- everything from the early preparations to the last climactic scenes in the holy shrines of Medina and Mecca--but also the intricate politics and amazing complexity of the entire pilgrimage experience. He pays special heed to the effects of Saudi bureaucratic control over the Hajj, to the ways that faith itself becomes a lucrative source of commerce for the Arabian kingdom, and to the Wahhabi inflections of the basic Muslim message.
Jack Goody: Islam in Europe
This vigorously argued book reveals the central role that Islam has played in European history. Following the movement of people, culture and religion from East to West, Goody breaks down the perceived opposition between Islam and Europe, showing Islam to be a part of Europe’s past and present. In an historical analysis of religious warfare and forced migration, Goody examines our understanding of legitimate violence, ethnic cleansing and terrorism. His comparative perspective offers important and illuminating insights into current political problems and conflicts.