Letter from the Religion Editor:
Dear friends, colleagues, authors, and scholars of religion and beyond—and a special hello to those attending AAR/SBL either in person or virtually:
I’m especially enthusiastic about the three books featured on the opening page. I could not be more excited to offer you Jack Miles’ and Mark Taylor’s A Friendship in Twilight. Jack, as you know, is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller God: A Biography and many other warmly received and successful books; Mark, as you also know, is one of today’s foremost philosophers of religion, author of many field-changing books, and a storied professor at Columbia. But even I did not know that they had been friends since their graduate-school days. When the pandemic hit, they took advantage of the lockdown to start a project they had wanted to do for years but never found the time for—to write a book together.
Their conversations, in the form of letters written over the Covid year through the 2020 election and its aftermath, reflect deeply on matters of “ultimate concern,” as you would expect from two scholars of philosophical bent in the twilight of their careers and their lives during a time of medical, political, and environmental crisis. You will learn much, you will think hard about what life and inevitable mortality can mean, you will mourn. A Friendship in Twilight is a work of profound philosophi-cal and literary intelligence that will change your life.
Equally inspiring and life-changing, Columbia philosopher Michele Moody-Adams’s Making Space for Justice is a stunning exploration of the pivotal role played by movements in the major upheavals of our last American century, from the Progressives to Black Lives Matter. These movements, inspired by religious and moral belief and led by powerful, impassioned figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., irrevocably changed American law, culture, politics, and values regarding race, gender, class, and sexuality. Moody-Adams urges us to embrace their passion and vision as we seek justice and equality in our times and for everyone.
The final book on the opening page is Josef Sorett’s The Sexual Politics of Black Churches. Josef, a leading scholar of Black religions and an editor of the new series Black Lives in the Diaspora: Past, Present, and Future, jointly sponsored by Howard and Columbia Universities, has collected the insights and insider knowledge of scholars, clergy, and congregation members to reveal for the first time the stark conflicts and disagreements about gender and power that are concealed under the inaccurate descriptor “the Black church” and propose new strategies for reconciliation.
There are so many more exciting titles to explore—genre-bending, disciplinary borders-breaking, style-expanding—our authors are challenging conventions and reimagining what religious studies can be in every direction. They—and I—invite you to accompany them on their journeys of discovery, and to continue the dialogue.