Religious Literacy, Law and History: Perspectives on European Pluralist Societies, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Religious Literacy, Law and History

Perspectives on European Pluralist Societies, 1st Edition

Edited by Alberto Melloni, Francesca Cadeddu


216 pages

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The book profiles some of the macro and micro factors that have impact on European religious literacy. It seeks to understand religious illiteracy and its effects on the social and political milieu through the framing of the historical, institutional, religious, social, juridical and educational conditions within which it arises. Divided into four parts, in the first one, One literacy, more literacies?, the book defines the basic concepts underpinning the question of religious illiteracy in Europe. Part II, Understanding illiteracies, debating disciplines?, highlights the theological, philosophical, historical and political roots of the phenomenon, looking at the main nodes that are both the reasons religious illiteracy is widespread and the starting points for literacy strategies. Part III, Building literacy, shaping alphabets, examines the mix of knowledge and competences acquired about religion and from religion at school as well as through the media, with a critical perspective on what could be done both in the schools and for the improvement of journalists’ religious literacy. Part IV, Views and experiences, presents the reader with the opportunity to learn from three different case studies: religious literacy in the media, religious illiteracy and European Islam, and a Jewish approach to religious literacy. Building on existing literature, the volume takes a scientific approach which is enriched by interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives, and deep entrenchment in historical methodology.

Table of Contents

Preface - Alberto Melloni and Francesca Cadeddu

Part I: One Literacy, More Literacies?

1. European Religious Illiteracy: The Historical Framework of a Removed Agenda – Alberto Melloni

2. Religious Literacy in Modern Europe - Grace Davie and Adam Dinham

3. Different Illiteracies for Different Countries: Are There No Data for Religious Illiteracy? - Maria Chiara Giorda

4. Religious Rights, Educational Duties? - Flavio Pajer

Part II: Understanding Illiteracies, Debating Disciplines?

5. The Ethics of the Torah Compared to Neopaganism - Donatella Di Cesare

6. Theological Roots of Religious Illiteracy - Martin M. Lintner

7. Philosophical Implications of Religious Illiteracy - Adam B. Seligman

8. Is Religious Illiteracy a Private or a Public Issue? - Vincente Fortier

9. Secularism and Religious Literacy - Francesca Cadeddu

10. Is ‘Religious’ Violence Really Religious? - John Wolffe

11. European Law and the Veil: Muslim Women from Victims to Emblems of the Enemy - Susanna Mancini

Part III: Building Literacy, Shaping Alphabets

12. Why Study Religions in Publicly Funded Schools? - Robert Jackson

13. Teaching Faith - Mary Earl

14. The Role of the Media in the Development of Religious Illiteracy - Michael Wakelin

Part IV: Views and Experiences

15. The Attitude of the Media to Religion - Jennifer M. Taylor

16. A Jewish Educational Approach to Religious Pluralism - Robin Sclafani

17. Positions and Actions in the European Islam - Erdal Toprakyaran

About the Editors

Alberto Melloni is a Full Professor of History of Christianity at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, director of the Fondazione per le scienze religiose Giovanni XXIII in Bologna and chair holder of the UNESCO Chair on Religious Pluralism and Peace at the University of Bologna. He is principal investigator for the European Infraia ReIReS project headed by the Fondazione and coordinator of the Resilience research infrastructure project, and he spearheaded the establishment of the European Academy of Religion.

Francesca Cadeddu is Research Fellow at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and at the Fondazione per le scienze religiose Giovanni XXIII in Bologna. She is affiliated to the Faiths and Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths University of London and serves as secretary general of the European Academy of Religion. She works on the history of American Catholicism in the twentieth century and on religious literacy in Italy and Europe.

About the Series

ICLARS Series on Law and Religion

ICLARS Series on Law and Religion

The ICLARS Series on Law and Religion is designed to provide a forum for the rapidly expanding field of research in law and religion. The series is published in association with the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies, an international network of scholars and experts of law and religion founded in 2007 with the aim of providing a place where information, data and opinions can easily be exchanged among members and made available to the broader scientific community ( The series aims to become a primary source for students and scholars while presenting authors with a valuable means to reach a wide and growing readership.

The series editors are currently welcoming proposals for this new series on any matter falling under ‘law and religion’ widely defined. Collections arising from important conferences and events are welcome as well as monographs by both established names and new voices (including monographs based on doctoral dissertations). Also of interest are interdisciplinary works and studies of particular jurisdictions.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Multicultural Education
LAW / General
LAW / Civil Rights
LAW / Comparative
LAW / Constitutional
LAW / Educational Law & Legislation
RELIGION / Comparative Religion
RELIGION / Education
RELIGION / Religion, Politics & State
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Minority Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion