Comparative Constitutional Law, Democracy, Dutch Politics, Law and Religion, Public Theology, Religion and Politics

‘An Encouraging Trend in Dutch Scholarship’

The latest issue of Ecclesiastical Law Journal contains a review of a recent book by my colleague Sophie van Bijsterveld, who is Professor of Religion, Law, and Society at Radboud University in Nijmegen. The opening paragraph of the review reads as follows:

State and Religion: re-assessing a mutual relationship is a spry and engaging contribution to modern constitutional theory. The central thesis of the book is that important, controversial questions about the place of religion vis-a-vis the state and society need working answers. Such has been the effect of Islam upon Western societies that traditional principles governing Church-state relations, state neutrality and the right to religious freedom – are being called into question like never before and can no longer simply be taken for granted. Rather, van Bijsterveld argues in the Introduction that they need to undergo serious re-examination if growing social tensions are to be addressed with humane, proportionate and effective public policy.’

Towards the end of the review, Dr. Patrick Nash (LLB, MSc, Ph.D., FHEA, BPTC) of the Woolf Institute, Cambridge, also refers to my recent book:

‘Van Bijsterveld’s book fits into an encouraging trend in Dutch scholarship – another good example of which is Hans-Martien ten Napel’s Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom: to be fully human (2017) – which rejects the traditional state–individual binary of Church-state relations in favour of a richer, more holistic approach. Both van Bijsterveld and ten Napel rightly stress the systematic nature of constitutional democracy, whose health ultimately depends as much on civil society activity and positive social norms as on the protection of individual rights.’

Source: Nash, P. (2019). State and Religion: Re-Assessing a Mutual Relationship Sophie van Bijsterveld Eleven International Publishing, The Hague, 2018, 198 pp (paperback £45) ISBN: 978-94-6236-828-6Ecclesiastical Law Journal,21(3), 373-375.

See also:

New review of book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To Be Fully Human (2017) in Ecclesiastical Law Journal


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