PER FAXNELD ON SATANISM: There is much to praise here and, in summary, [Massimo] Introvigne’s book is the best, most detailed, and broadest overview of Satanism produced thus far ... If you want to read only one book to get a general grasp of what Satanism is all about, Satanism: A Social History should be the go-to option ... Introvigne shines when it comes to present-day figures and groups—especially with regard to his international scope.
BE THE FIRST TO REVIEW: A bold experiment is taking place in Russia. After a century of being scarred by militant, atheistic communism, the Orthodox Church has become Russia’s largest and most significant nongovernmental organization. As it has returned to life, it has pursued a vision of reclaiming Holy Rus’: that historical yet mythical homeland of the eastern Slavic peoples; a foretaste of the perfect justice, peace, harmony, and beauty for which religious believers long; and the glimpse of heaven on earth that persuaded Prince Vladimir to accept Orthodox baptism in Crimea in A.D. 988.
Religion and Innovation
ALLISON COURDET REVIEWS: In the introduction to this volume, Donald A. Yerxa admits that while no general theory of religion and innovation emerges from this volume, it does show that the concept of innovation extends beyond the business and scientific worlds and provides a useful tool in investigating the cultural role of religion (7). The authors in this volume agree that there can be no essentialist definitions of either religion or innovation. However, they still employ both terms and provide evidence that in certain cases religion and innovation can be partners. Consequently religion does not inevitably function, as has often been thought, as an inhibitor of change and guardian of tradition.
Longing for the Lost Caliphate
REVIEWER NEEDED: In the United States and Europe, the word “caliphate” has conjured historically romantic and increasingly pernicious associations. Yet the caliphate’s significance in Islamic history and Muslim culture remains poorly understood. This book explores the myriad meanings of the caliphate for Muslims around the world through the analytical lens of two key moments of loss in the thirteenth and twentieth centuries. Through extensive primary-source research, Mona Hassan explores the rich constellation of interpretations created by religious scholars, historians, musicians, statesmen, poets, and intellectuals.
How the Wise Man Got to Chelm
RACHEL SLUTSKY'S REVIEW JUST IN: The stories of Chelm have developed an established place in Jewish lore and literature during the past hundred years. Chelm is an imaginary, Eastern European shtetl, or village, in which many of its Jewish inhabitants are constantly running into conundrums. These problems are solved through the ingenuity of the “wise men of Chelm,” men who conjure up what the reader knows to be utterly foolish and self-defeating “solutions.” Somehow, however, the townspeople are always satisfied with the result.