Offering the first long-duration analysis of the relationship between the state and religion in South Asia, this book looks at the nature and origins of Indian secularism. It interrogates the proposition that communalism in India is wholly a product of colonial policy and modernisation, questions whether the Indian state has generally been a benign, or disruptive, influence on public religious life, and evaluates the claim that the region has spawned a culture of practical toleration.
The book is structured around six key arenas of interaction between state and religion: cow worship and sacrifice, control of temples and shrines, religious festivals and processions, proselytising and conversion, communal riots, and religious teaching/doctrine and family law. It offers a challenging argument about the role of the state in religious life in a historical continuum, and identifies points of similarity and contrast between periods and regimes. The book makes a significant contribution to the literature on South Asian History and Religion.
Lowell Streiker, a longtime expert on free church movements and cults, examines a vital and growing free church movement-an impressive movement that is yet largely unknown. Founded in Norway more than 90 years ago, it is a church without membership rolls, clergy, central administration, tithing, or even a name. Outsiders call them Smith's Friends after their founder, Johan Oscar Smith. On a worldwide basis, some 30,000 people participate in more than 200 churches in 50 countries.
As a phenomenologist of religion, Streiker attempts to be descriptive, analytic, and constructively critical. In order to set Smith's Friends in historical, social, and religious perspectives, he first examines their similarities to and differences from earlier Norwegian revival movements. He then provides a detailed phenomenological report on Smith's Friends, based on field study in America and Europe. He examines their worship, hymnody, theology, and their everyday way of life. As a friendly critic, Streiker entertains the hope that Smith's Friends will come out of their small-church shell and actively engage Christendom and the world. If they do, Streiker believes we would all be better impressed by the influence of this extremely positive force for spiritual renewal. Streiker's examination presents an important study for scholars of religion, sociologists, psychologists, historians, and the general public concerned with modern religious life.
This volume deals with a central aspect of Charles V's empire: The emperor's policy regarding the church and the rising reform movement in the seventeen provinces of the Netherlands. The first part of the book provides a survey of the situation in the Netherlands at the beginning of Charles' reign and deals with the prominence of these territories in the emperor's testaments. In the second part the role of the regents is closely examined and the successful efforts of the government to submit the church to secular power are also looked at in detail. The final part of the book is especially important as it is the first close examination of Charles' restrictive antireform policy throughout his whole reign from 1515 to 1555, including the introduction of an inquisitorial system in all seventeen provinces of the Netherlands.
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