Going beyond the more usual focus on Jerusalem as a sacred place, this book presents legal perspectives on the most important sacred places of the Mediterranean. The first part of the book discusses the notion of sacred places in anthropological, sociological and legal studies and provides an overview of existing legal approaches to the protection of sacred places in order to develop and define a new legal framework. The second part introduces the meaning of sacred places in Jewish, Christian and Islamic thought and focuses on the significance and role that sacred places have in the three major monotheistic religions and how best to preserve their religious nature whilst designing a new international statute. The final part of the book is a detailed analysis of the legal status of key sacred places and holy cities in the Mediterranean area and identifies a set of legal principles to support a general framework within which specific legal measures can be implemented. The book concludes with a useful appendix for the protection of sacred places in the Mediterranean region. Including contributions from leading law and religion scholars, this interesting book will be valuable to those in the fields of international law, as well as religion and heritage studies.
Silvio Ferrari is Professor of Law and Religion at the Universities of Milan and Leuven. He has been Visiting professor at the University of California (Berkeley, 1994 and 2001), the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (London, 1998-99) and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris, Sorbonne, 2004). His main fields of interest are law and religion in Europe, comparative law of religions (particularly Jewish law, Canon law and Islamic law) and the Vatican policy in the Middle East. He has published widely on these and related areas. Andrea Benzo is Head of the Economic and Commercial Affairs Section of the Italian Embassy in Riyadh. He holds a Doctorate from the University of Macerata (Italy) in Canon and Ecclesiastical Law. His main fields of interest are law and religion in the Middle East and the role of religion in international relations.
’This book opens up different perspectives on an ancient and still unsolved issue. It provides new tools to deal with the complex question of the sacred places in an innovative and constructive way and contains a Declaration for their protection that is based on an accurate analysis of the religious, legal and political significance of the most important sacred places of the Mediterranean. It will be of great interest to politicians, diplomats and scholars.’ Cesare Mirabelli, University of Roma Tor Vergata, Italy and former President of the Italian Constitutional Court ’These essays by distinguished scholars offer a thoughtful insight into the way sacred places of the three monotheistic religions in the Mediterranean have forged European cultural identity. Furthermore, they provide the reader with carefully thought out legal and administrative policies with regard to their protection and access.’ Ismini Kriari, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece