2003

BB -- Religion


Harenberg-Lexikon der Religionen: die Religionen und Glaubensgemeinschaften der Welt; ihre Bedeutung in Alltag, Geschichte und Gesellschaft [Harenberg Dictionary of Religions: The World’s Religions und Communities of Faith; Their Significance in Daily Life, History, and Society]. Berthold Budde for Redaktionsbüro Heidi Wetzel. Dortmund: Harenberg, 2002. 1,022 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 3-611-01060-X: EUR 50 [03-1-081]

The first part of the lexicon is arranged topically by religion, in the order of their significance within the European cultural arena: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, other Asiatic religions, “traditional religions,” and “new religions.” This section provides an historical and contemporary overview of each religion, leading into consideration of its mythology, sacred writings, leading figures, customs, rites, shrines, and other details, as well as a chronology. The book closes with an alphabetic section arranged by topic. Abundant cross-references throughout enhance the value of the work, and rich color illustrations, a hallmark of Harenberg lexicons, are a welcome feature. Name and topic indexes are included. The overall presentation enables the reader to gain a sense of context for the information provided, which distinguishes this work from the purely “lexical,” “drier” presentation of such a work as the Kleines Oxford-Lexikon der Weltreligionen [Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions] (see IFB 03-1-082). [sh/rlk]

Theologen des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts: konfessionelles Zeitalter, Pietismus, Aufklärung [Theologians of the 17th and 18th Centuries: The Age of Confessionalism, Pietism, and Enlightenment]. Ed. Peter Walter and Martin H. Jung. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2003. 273 p. 23 cm. ISBN 3-534-15763-X [03-1-083]

This is the last in a series of theologian portraits that began in 2002 with volumes covering Christian antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the 16th, 19th, and 20th centuries (see IFB 02-2-276 to 280). As with its predecessors, this volume contains 12 portraits, some of which would seem to belong in the 16th century (e.g., William Perkins, 1558–1602). The movements listed in the subtitle help to explain the selection criteria, beyond the restrictions of the time period. The articles are contributed by professors at German and Swiss universities. Each article includes a selective bibliography, divided into works and criticism. [sh/hh]

Diccionario histórico de la Compañia de Jesús: biográficotemático [Historical Dictionary of the Society of Jesus: Biographical-Thematic]. Ed. Charles E. O’Neill. Roma: Institutum Historicum S.I.; Madrid: Universidad Pontificia Comillas, 2001. 4 vols. liii, 4,110 p. 31 cm. ISBN 84-8468-036-3 (Universidad…): EUR 330.26 [03-1-085]

Among the Catholic orders, the Jesuits possess an unusually rich corpus of information. This historical dictionary contains over 5,600 biographies of Jesuits as well as ex-Jesuits and other persons who had a strong positive or negative connection to the order. With few exceptions, only those who died by 1990 are included. Added to these are some 275 articles on countries and other subjects. Another volume, dealing with Jesuit settlements and establishments, is still to come. Much of the material is highly current and originates from source materials in Rome that are otherwise not accessible. One disadvantage is that all names have been translated into Spanish, making it difficult to locate foreign names. Considering the importance of this order, the lexicon is indispensable for all research libraries. [sh/mjc]

Die Lutherdrucke von 1601 bis 1800 in Rudolstädter Bibliotheken [Luther-Related Publications from 1601 to 1800 in Rudolstadt Libraries]. Frank-Joachim Stewing. Rudolstadt: Historische Bibliothek der Stadt Rudolstadt, 2002. xxiv, 591 p. ill. 21 cm. (Schriften der Historischen Bibliothek der Stadt Rudolstadt, 4). ISBN 3-9805806-3-6: EUR 69. (Historische Bibliothek, Postfach 52, D-07392 Rudolstadt, histbrudschuetterle@rudolstadt.de) [03-1-086]

Five years after the appearance of a volume for the 16th century, Die Lutherdrucke des 16. Jahrhunderts in Rudolstädter Bibliotheken (see IFB 98-3/4-228), the author has published a similar catalog covering the 17th and 18th centuries. Luther-related publications are defined as Luther’s writings, works of other authors translated or edited by him, and editions of his translation of the Bible. Included are publications in the Historical Library of the City of Rudolstadt, the Protestant Church Library in the city, the Palace Library of the Thuringian State Museum in Heidecksburg, the Th uringian State Archives, and the City Archives. As in the catalog of the Stuttgart Bible collection, the titles are given in unabbreviated form, in order to make identification as certain as possible. In addition to entry heading and title transcription (including title from an engraved title page and subtitles), the descriptions contain collation, bibliographical references, and a general descriptive section with detailed information about contents, printing, and copy-specific details. The 24 illustrations at the end of the volume show mainly title pages. Eleven indexes give access to the volume. The catalog has been produced very carefully. It represents significant progress in documenting Luther’s influence and reception in the 17th and 18th centuries. [ch/gh]

Islam-Lexikon: Geschichte, Ideen, Gestalten [Dictionary of Islam: History, Ideas, Individuals]. Ed. Adel Theodor Khoury, Ludwig Hagemann, and Peter Heine. Rev. new ed. 3 vols. Freiburg [et al.]: Herder, 1999. 941 p. 19 cm. (Herder-Spektrum, 4753). ISBN 3-451-04753-5: EUR 24.90 [03-1-097]

The original 1991 edition of this work (see RREO 1995, section BB-95-1, nr. 95-1-050) has earned its place in public and academic libraries as a well-grounded entry point into the history, ideas, and important figures of Islam. The editors’ CD-ROM publication, Lexikon des Islam (Berlin, 2001) allows the benefits of full-text searching. The nominally “revised” edition in hand actually contains few discernible changes. Perhaps many of the excellent definitions and articles required little updating, but some contemporary references and some treatment of the changed research conditions after eight years would have been fitting, particularly with regard to such topics as Holy War, human rights, and criminal law. For example, in the entry “Germany, Islam in,” readers might expect more than the general conclusion that Islam in Germany presents a diverse picture.

A number of the literary references following each article and in the general bibliography have been updated, but the omissions are significant. Certainly the fourth edition of Werne Ende and Udo Steinbach’s Der Islam in der Gegenwart [Islam in the Present Day] (München, 1996) and the third edition of Gerhard Endress’ Der Islam: eine Einführung in seine Geschichte [Islam: An Introduction to its History] (München, 1997) should have been mentioned. By the same token, in the entry on the Koran, the listing of Friedrich Rückert’s translation of the Koran should have been updated to reflect its 4th edition (Würzburg, 2001).

Overall, this bibliography remains valuable for the quality of its articles, but the new edition can only be recommended to those who do not own the first edition. [ro/ mm]

Kleines Islam-Lexikon: Geschichte, Alltag, Kultur [Concise Dictionary of Islam: History, Daily Life, Culture]. Ed. Ralf Elger. München: Beck, 2001. 334 p. 19 cm. (Beck’sche Reihe, 1430). ISBN 3-406-47556-6: EUR 14.90 [03-1-099]

This dictionary covers Islam as a culture as well as a religion, and surveys not only the Islamic homelands but also “all countries where there are mosques” (p. 8)—hence Islam in Germany is also a focal point. In more than 400 articles the most important aspects in such areas as history, theology, law, language and literature, economics, art, and daily life are discussed.

Elger worked with a team of 30 specialists, and they have succeeded well in bringing their immense topic into the compass of a small volume. The articles are concise— often very concise—but accurate. Numerous cross-references are useful, as are the bibliographical references at the end of almost all articles. All in all, this is an excellent introduction to Islam. [ro/dss]

Knaurs Taschenlexikon Islam [Knaur’s Pocket Lexicon of Islam]. Herbert Schwinghammer. München: Droemer Knaur, 2002. 144 p. ill. 14 cm. ISBN 3-426-66457-7: EUR 5 [03-1-100]

This work treats the topic of Islam in a short and superficial fashion. The author is not known as a specialist on Islam, hence it is not surprising that the text contains numerous errors. It suffices to point out a few examples: “zatak” instead of “zakat” [poor tax], the third caliph Uthman is erroneously referred to as the son-in-law of the prophet, and India rather than Indonesia becomes the country with the largest Muslim population. The book’s cover claims that the work is intended to correct prejudices and fears that shape the West’s view of Islam, yet the book, occasionally written in tabloid journalism style, tends to do just the opposite by presenting statistics about Islam in alarmist fashion. This book cannot be recommended and brings no honor to the previously respected Knaur name. [ro/dsa]

Koran-Lexikon> [Dictionary of the Koran]. Bernhard Maier. Stuttgart: Kröner, 2001. xiv, 210 p. 18 cm. (Kröners Taschenbuchausgabe, 348). ISBN 3-520-34801-2: EUR 13.80 [03-1-102]

The book jacket text claims that this volume, with its 200 pages and 400 catchwords, delivers all the pertinent information on the Koran. A more modest “most of ” would be more accurate. Bernhard Maier selects terms from a variety of categories: theology, law, ethics, and religiosity; names of persons and places that occur in the Koran; and topics relevant to Islam studies, such as “language” or “style.” Personal and geographic names are given in [German] transliteration from the Arabic, while subject terms are in German. A useful index provides references from the Arabic terms to these translated entries. One unfortunate lack is the omission of living Koran scholars among the biographies. In its way, this volume gives the Koran-interested reader a lot of basic information in a concise form, and the numerous bibliographical citations encourage further reading. But for the scholar and for in-depth research, the new four-volume Encyclopaedia of the Qu’ran (Leiden, 2001–) is highly recommended. And if you are looking for an introduction to Koran studies without the dictionary format, try Michael Cook’s The Koran: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2000). [ro/hh]

Muslime in Deutschland: Informationen und Klärungen [Muslims in Germany: Facts and Clarifications]. Ursula Spuler-Stegemann. 3d ed. Freiburg [et al.]: Herder, 2002. 380 p. 19 cm. (Herder-Spektrum, 5245). ISBN 3-451-05245-8: EUR 14.90 [03-1-103]

At present one can find no better book for gaining a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon of Islam in Germany. The author, a specialist in religious studies and Turkish studies at the University of Marburg, has made extensive revisions to a work first published in 1998, though much of the earlier material remains. This work benefits from the author’s extensive contacts, numerous surveys and interviews, and wide reading in current publications.

It is also suffused with the author’s point of view. A committed Christian, Spuler-Stegemann provides enlightening testimonies from German converts to Islam, but then exaggerates the dangers of Islamic mission efforts. She also cautions against Islamist political movements and their attempts to infiltrate German institutions. At the same time, she displays considerable interest in the problems Muslim women face in Germany and points out the need of Muslims to be treated as equals, not as objects of conscientious good-neighborliness, in social situations. Th roughout the book she advocates the full integration of Muslims into German society, necessitating greater tolerance and understanding on the part of the “native” majority but also an acceptance by Muslims (and their leaders) of Germany’s constitution and the human rights it guarantees.

Chapters in this book deal with problems resulting from the encounter of Islamic rules of religious observance with the realities of German life (e.g., dietary laws, women’s issues, business practices), the various Islamic institutions in Germany (schools, media, religious organizations), and interfaith and political relations, among other topics. The author also provides contact information for Islamic organizations and a glossary of initialisms. [ro/gw]

Islam in Deutschland [Islam in Germany]. Faruk Sen and Hayrettin Aydin. München: Beck, 2002. 126 p. 19 cm. (Beck’sche Reihe, 1466). ISBN 3-406-47606-6: EUR 8.90 [01-1-104]

Published with the intention of providing a differentiated understanding of Islam as it is practiced by some 3.2 million Muslims in Germany (largely of Turkish origin), this work provides basic (sometimes rather sketchy) information on the various divisions, movements, and organizations within the Islamic faith, as well as on Islamic rites and rituals. A large section is devoted to issues relating to the integration of Germany’s Muslims into the country’s mainstream: religious instruction, the wearing of scarves, prayer rituals, slaughtering of animals, care of the elderly, death and burial, etc. The book has a decidedly Turkish emphasis, and although specialized terms are sometimes given in both Arabic (not always correctly transcribed) and Turkish, often only the Turkish variant is given. This is a useful introduction to its topic, though Ursula Spuler-Stegemann’s Muslime in Deutschland (see RREA 9:66) is better. [ro/sl]


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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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