"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Church and State in Europe

Lavinia Stan, a political scientist, is married to Lucian Turcescu, a Romanian Orthodox theologian and patrologist. Together they have collaborated on past books of considerable importance, including Religion and Politics in Post-Communist Romania, which was favorably reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. Now, again from Oxford and in the same series, the couple have just published Church, State, and Democracy in Expanding Europe (Religion and Global Politics) (Oxford University Press, 2011, 304pp). 

About this book, the publisher tells us:

Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu examine the relationship between religion and politics in ten former communist Eastern European countries. Contrary to widespread theories of increasing secularization, Stan and Turcescu argue that in most of these countries, the populations have shown themselves to remain religious even as they embrace modernization and democratization.
Church-state relations in the new EU member states can be seen in political representation for church leaders, governmental subsidies, registration of religions by the state, and religious instruction in public schools. Stan and Turcescu outline three major models: the Czech church-state separation model, in which religion is private and the government secular; the pluralist model of Hungary, Bulgaria and Latvia, which views society as a group of complementary but autonomous spheres - for example, education, the family, and religion - each of which is worthy of recognition and support from the state; and the dominant religion model that exists in Poland, Romania, Estonia, and Lithuania, in which the government maintains informal ties to the religious majority.
Church, State, and Democracy in Expanding Europe offers critical tools for understanding church-state relations in an increasingly modern and democratic Eastern Europe.

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