1st Edition

Perspectives on Civil Religion Volume 3

By Gerald Parsons Copyright 2002

    This title was first published in 2002: Perspectives on Civil Religion introduces the concept of civil religion, examines the use of the concept in recent scholarship and investigates examples of civil religion in the contemporary world.

    The book sets out to explore tensions and complexities in the relationship between the 'sacred' and the 'secular', and draws on two major case studies for in-depth illustration of key issues. It looks first at the development of rituals of remembrance from the American civil war, British and American responses to the two world wars and the controversial Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

    It then considers civil religion in the Italian city of Siena, especially in relation to the Palio of Siena and Sienese devotion to the Virgin. The five textbooks and Reader that make up the Religion Today Open University/Ashgate series are: From Sacred Text to Internet; Religion and Social Transformations; Perspectives on Civil Religion; Global Religious Movements in Regional Context; Belief Beyond Boundaries; Religion Today: A Reader

    Introduction: the Concept of Civil Religion; Part I: ’Lest We Forget’: British and American Rituals of Remembrance as Civil Religion; Public Monuments and Private Grief: War Graves, War Memorials and Personal Pilgrimage; ’To Heal a Nation?’: Civil Religion and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; ’Dedicated to the Virgin’: Civil Religion and Sienese Devotion to the Madonna; ’Unity in Diversity’: Civil Religion and the Palio of Siena; Images of Civic Devotion: Palio Drappelloni and Sienese Civil Religion; ’Sacred and Profane’: Popular Rituals in Sienese Civil Religion; Conclusions: Civil Religion Reconsidered; Glossary of Sienese Words;


    Parsons, Gerald

    'This is a beautifully produced textbook... Like other books in the series, it has numerous black and white illustrations, as well as 18 colour plates. There is an esy-to-read typeface, a detailed index, plentiful references (including to the internet), and close engagement with a range of key texts on the subject discussed. The reader is left with an understanding of what is meant by civil religion, the controversies surrounding it as a theoretical concept, and detailed knowledge of a number of specific case studies and the issues they give rise to... the book as a whole is an excellent example of what makes a good textbook: it informs without patronizing, and clarifies without trivializing or misrepresenting. Highly recommended.' Reviews in Religion and Theology 'Nicely produced and not too expensive. Reflects UK authors whom students have heard about. Good level of detail and illustrations and clear font.' Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Cardiff Research Fellow, Department of Religious and Theological Studies, Cardiff University, UK '... I find this presentation a valuable contribution to the literature on civil religion, not merely as a review text, but as broaching new applications, both within the existing subject matter and for opening new ground... a useful, worthwhile text that can function to open the field of civil religion study to a new generation of students ... worthy of adoption...' Implicit Religion