Christian Religious Leadership in the Middle East: The Political Role of the Patriarch

Author: McCallum, Fiona
Year:2010
Pages:316
ISBN:0-7734-3704-5
978-0-7734-3704-3
Price:249.95
This study examines the political role of the two main Christian communities in the Middle East, the Copts and the Maronites. Current theoretical debates on the relationship between religion and politics, as well as secularization and the role of religious pluralism in state formation and national integration, are presented.

Reviews

"This study makes two valuable contributions to the literature on religion and politics. It is, first, a major study of the two main Christian communities in the Middle East and, in particular, of their leadership and political dynamics. Second, the cases are located within the context of the major issues of concern to students of religion and politics such as secularization and the role of religious pluralism in state formation and national integration. There is no comparable study on this topic that so effectively combines detailed mastery of the cases and theoretical perspective."
Prof. John Anderson and Prof. Raymond Hinnebusch, University of St. Andrews

"This study is an important contribution to the study of the Christian Church in the Middle East....This study of the role of the patriarch in the contemporary Middle East is located in the political history of the Christians of Egypt and Lebanon. McCallum narrates how this unique Christian institution has responded to great challenges presented by church-state relations, the role of ecclesial leadership in its communal setting, political change and conflict in the context of religious revival, both Christian and Islamic, in today's Middle Eastern region."
Dr. A. O'Mahony, Heythrop College, University of London

"Fiona McCallum has produced an important study of the changing political role of religious leaders and institutions in the modern Middle East. While a great deal of scholarly attention has been given to the rise of political Islam in its different forms, McCallum’s examination of two of the most important Christian communities in the Middle East, the Copts in Egypt and the Maronites in Lebanon, sheds new light on the way in which their religious leadership have consolidated and expanded their temporal authority. Grounded in a careful and considered evaluation of the theoretical literature she explores this phenomenon through consideration of the tradition and character of patriarchal authority, the nature and territoriality of communal identity, and the role of their respective diasporas. By maintaining their communal support and re-asserting their political authority, she argues that the patriarchs of the Coptic and Maronite churches have become political actors in their own right and are central to determining the future development of Christian-Muslim relations in an environment where secular elites and the state have failed to do so."
Dr. Anthony Gorman, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh

Table of Contents

Foreword
-Professors John Anderson and Raymond Hinnebusch
Acknowledgements
Introduction

Chapter 1: Theoretical Approaches towards the relationship between Religion and Politics: A Middle Eastern Christian Perspective

Introduction
The Secularization Thesis
The ‘Crisis of State’ Thesis
The Globalization Thesis
The Rational Choice Thesis
Analytical Framework
Summary

Chapter 2: Patriarchal Authority in the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite Traditions
Introduction
The Origins of the Patriarch in the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite Traditions
Patriarchal Authority and Constraints
The Historical Experiences of the Church in the Middle East
Summary

Chapter 3: The Twentieth Century Nationalist Alternative to Political Representation by Religious Leaders
Introduction
The Emergence of Nationalism in the Middle East and Christian Involvement
The Shortcomings of Nationalism as a Strategy for Christians in the Independence Era
The Challenges to Nationalism since the 1970s and the Impact on Christians
The Contemporary Concerns of the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite Communities
Summary

Chapter 4: The Political Role of Patriarch Shenouda III, Coptic Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa
Introduction
Biography of Patriarch Shenouda
The Early Years as Patriarch (1971-1981)
The Coptic Renewal Process and Church Governance
The Political Role of Patriarch Shenouda in the Mubarak Era
The Response to the Political Role of Patriarch Shenouda
The Consequences of the Political Role of the Patriarch and Future Prospects
Summary

Chapter 5: The Political Role of Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the Maronites
Introduction
Biography of Patriarch Sfeir
The Early Years as Patriarch (1986-1989)
The Post-War Spiritual Renewal of the Maronite Church
The Political Role of Patriarch Sfeir in Post-War Lebanon
The Response to the Political Role of Patriarch Sfeir
The Consequences of the Political Role of the Patriarch and Future Prospects
Summary

Chapter 6: The Implications of Global Expansion on the Political Role of the Patriarch
Introduction
A Theoretical Framework of the Diaspora
The Response of the Churches to Emigration
The Global Expansion of the Coptic Orthodox and Maronite Churches
The Challenge of Émigré Groups to the Political Role of the Patriarch
The Impact of Global Expansion on Identity
Summary

Chapter 7: Conclusion
Summary
The Secularization Thesis
The ‘Crisis of State’thesis
The Globalization Thesis
The Rational Choice Thesis
Concluding Remarks

Appendix 1: The Effect of the Variables on the Case Studies
Bibliography
Index