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Religion and liberalism under scrutiny in new collection

24 September 2013

A new book on the challenges of religious diversity, edited by academics at Bristol, is being published thanks to a bequest by an alumnus and friend of the University.

Dr Derek Zutshi (1930-2007), a former Chairman of Convocation and a member of Council and Court, left a generous bequest to the University to undertake regular academic activities that contribute to ‘the improvement of international relations and the promotion of religious tolerance and understanding’.

The first of these activities was a public lecture by Lord Professor Raymond Plant of King’s College London and an interdisciplinary symposium organised by Professors Gavin D’Costa, Malcolm Evans, Tariq Modood and Julian Rivers.

The lecture and the symposium papers have been edited and are now published in Religion in a Liberal State (Cambridge University Press).

The book brings the disciplines of law, sociology, politics and theology into conversation with each other, as the place and significance of religion in British public life has become increasingly contested and legally regulated. It discusses practical problems such as the accommodation of religious dress, discrimination against sexual minorities and state support for historic religions; considers legal frameworks of equality and human rights; and elucidates leading ideas of neutrality, pluralism, secularism and public reason. Fundamentally, it asks what it means to be liberal in a world in which religious diversity is becoming more present and more problematic.

The book is edited by Gavin D’Costa (Professor of Catholic Theology), Malcolm Evans, OBE (Professor of Public International Law), Tariq Modood, MBE (Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy and the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship), and Julian Rivers (Professor of Jurisprudence).


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