Politics and piety

God's Rule: The Politics of the World Religions. Edited by Jacob Neusner. Georgetown University Press, 281 pp., $29.95.

Years ago, Max Stackhouse taught me that the comic riff on the medieval question about angels and physical space--Can more than one angel sit on the head of a pin?--conveys a significant spiritual and political question: Can people with different beliefs live together without violence?

Jacob Neusner's goal is to help answer this question by illuminating the political views stemming from the world religions. In brief but surprisingly detailed accounts, all the authors Neusner includes in his book (luminaries such as Neusner himself, Martin Marty and Charles Curran, as well as newer lights such as Todd Lewis and Mark Csikszentmihalyi) discuss the politics of the world religions from five perspectives: classical sources, political theory, medium of expression, message about politics and relationship to nonbelievers.


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