Letter from the Religion Editor:
Friends, colleagues, authors, scholars of religion, and beyond: Greetings, with a special hello to those attending AAR/SBL in person! It’s nice to see you here. It’s that time of the year when we introduce our new titles for 2022-2023. Our just-off-the-press catalog showcases new books in philosophy of religions; Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East Asian traditions; American religions; science; politics; ethics—all reflecting innovative, field-transforming scholarship.
Perhaps no book could be more timely than Judith Butler’s What World Is This? Butler argues that the pandemic has challenged our very senses, and our idea of an individual self; she invites us to enter a world of essential interrelationship and to fight for a radical social equality.
Equally relevant, Michele Moody-Adams’s Making Space for Justice, argues that progressive social movements, from nineteenth-century abolitionism to the civil rights era to Black Lives Matter, were agents of revolutionary change not only through political activism but also through deep moral questioning of what justice means. Also addressing social justice issues in the United States, Terrence Johnson’s We Testify with Our Lives argues that the Black radical tradition always has been greatly influenced by Black religion.
A completely different facet of the American religious landscape is depicted in William Jankowiak’s Illicit Monogamy: a Mormon Polygamous Community where, perhaps counterintuitively, both women and men often yearn for monogamous relationships–and conduct them in secret. And in evangelical Christianity, Katie Gaddini’s The Struggle to Stay provides an intimate portrait of single women’s fraught experiences in a patriarchal church.
In the provocative area of religion and science, Critical Approaches to Science and Religion, a major theoretical and methodological intervention edited by Myrna Perez Sheldon, Ahmed Ragab, and Terence Keel, integrates critical race, feminist, queer, and postcolonial theory. Great Minds Don’t Think Alike, edited by Marcelo Gleiser, features prominent scholars in dialogue on issues ranging from consciousness to faith, immortality, and the human. Ethics in Action for Sustainable Development, with a foreword by Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, enlists an interfaith cohort of religious leaders and scholars to provide an ethical consensus in support of sustainability efforts.
In theory and philosophy of religion, G. William Barnard, an initiated elder of the Santo Daime tradition, invites us into its ayahuasca-based rituals in Liquid Light. Sister Death by Beatrice Marovich shows that death and life are not opposing forces but family. Clayton Crockett, in a tour de force of cosmotheology, Energy and Change, unites physics, biology, ecology, politics, and religion with new materialisms.
We have an extraordinary range of new work in Middle Eastern and Asian religious traditions. Wives and Work by Marion Holmes Katz explores the dialogue between classical Islamic law and ethics as it relates to the duties of married women. Ahmad Agbaria, in The Politics of Arab Authenticity, gives voice to the debates between modernist and postcolonial thinkers in the 1970s, explaining why so many turned to tradition.
Several of your favorites are now in paperback for the first time, and there are so many exciting titles that I haven’t had time to mention—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.