The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Social Justice
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More About This Title The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Social Justice


The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Social Justice brings together a team of distinguished scholars to provide a comprehensive and comparative account of social justice in the major religious traditions.

  • The first publication to offer a comparative study of social justice for each of the major world religions, exploring viewpoints within Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism
  • Offers a unique and enlightening volume for those studying religion and social justice - a crucially important subject within the history of religion, and a significant area of academic study in the field 
  • Brings together the beliefs of individual traditions in a comprehensive, explanatory, and informative style 
  • All essays are newly-commissioned and written by eminent scholars in the field 
  • Benefits from a distinctive four-part organization, with sections on major religions; religious movements and themes; indigenous people; and issues of social justice, from colonialism to civil rights, and AIDS through to environmental concerns


Michael D. Palmer is the Dean of the School of Divinity at Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, he has published two books: Elements of a Christian Worldview (1998) and Names, Reference, and Correctness in Plato's Cratylus (1989). Palmer has extensive experience at teaching university-level courses in moral theory, social ethics, applied ethics, and philosophy of religion. He also has considerable experience conducting professional workshops and seminars for educators in subjects relating to religion and ethics.

Stanley M. Burgess is Distinguished Professor of Christian History, Regent University, Virginia Beach, and Professor Emeritus, Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri. In addition to over 150 scholarly articles, he has published numerous books, including the International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (2002), the Encyclopedia of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity (2004) and Christian Peoples of the Spirit: a Documentary Collection (2011). In addition, he is co-editor and contributor to Testamoni della fede nelle chiese della riforma (2010), a Roman Catholic Who's Who of Protestant Heroes.


Notes on Contributors ix

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction 1

Part I Major World Religions 13

Introduction 15

1 Buddhism: Historical Setting 17
Mavis Fenn

2 Buddhism: Contemporary Expressions 30
Steven Emmanuel

3 Christianity: Historical Setting 46
Stanley M. Burgess

4 Christianity: Contemporary Expressions 61
Curtiss Paul DeYoung

5 Confucianism: Historical Setting 77
Joseph Chan

6 Confucianism: Contemporary Expressions 93
Stephen C. Angle

7 Hinduism: Historical Setting 110
O.P. Dwivedi

8 Hinduism: Contemporary Expressions 124
Amita Singh

9 Islam: Historical Setting 137
Hussam S. Timani

10 Islam: Contemporary Expressions 153
Erin E. Stiles

11 Judaism: Historical Setting 170
Moshe Hellinger

12 Judaism: Contemporary Expressions 190
Eliezer Segal

Part II Religious Movements and Themes 205

Introduction 207

13 Baháí Faith 210
Christopher Buck

14 The Quest for Justice in Revival, a Creole Religion in Jamaica 224
William Wedenoja

15 The Muhammadiyah: A Muslim Modernist Organization in Contemporary Indonesia 241
Florian Pohl

16 The Role of the Chief in Asante Society 256
Yaw Adu-Gyamfi

17 Tibetan Monastics and Social Justice 268
Derek F. Maher

18 Sangha and Society 280
Hiroko Kawanami

19 G’meelut Chasadim (Deeds of Kindness) 292
W.E. Nunnally

20 Hospitality 306
Ana María Pineda

21 Zakat: Faith and Giving in Muslim Contexts 319
Azim Nanji

22 Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue 330
Barbara Brown Zikmund

Part III Indigenous People 345

Introduction 347

23 Africa: Religion and Social Justice among the Diola of Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau 350
Robert M. Baum

24 Australia: Religion and Social Justice in a Continent of Hunter-Gatherers 361
Robert Tonkinson

25 Central America: A God for the Poor – Folk Catholicism and Social Justice among the Yucatec Maya 373
Christine A. Kray

26 Europe: The Roma People of Romania 388
Sorin Gog and Maria Roth

27 Middle East: The Kurds – Religion and Social Justice of a Stateless Nation 402
Charles G. MacDonald

28 New Zealand: The Māori People 412
Rawinia Higgins

29 North America: Ojibwe Culture 425
Gregory O. Gagnon

30 Southern Asia: The Gonds of India – A Search for Identity and Justice 438
Sushma Yadav

Part IV Social Justice Issues 451

Introduction 453

31 Colonialism 456
Brigid M. Sackey

32 Abundant Life or Abundant Poverty? The Challenge for African Christianity 469
T. John Padwick

33 AIDS, Religion, and the Politics of Social Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa 482
Afe Adogame

34 Religion, Civil Rights, and Social Justice 496
Paul Harvey

35 Human Rights: The South African Experience 507
Glenda Wildschut

36 The “Double-Conscious” Nature of American Evangelicalism’s Struggle over Civil Rights during the Progressive Era 519
L.B. Gallien, Jr.

37 Gender and Sexuality in the Context of Religion and Social Justice 535
Mary E. Hunt

38 Beginning of Life 547
Andrew Lustig

39 Death and Dying 561
Courtney S. Campbell

40 Religion’s Infl uence on Social Justice Practices Relating to Those with Disabilities 575
Ruth Vassar Burgess

41 Ecology and the Environment 591
Laurel Kearns

42 Christianity and Nonviolent Resistance 607
Celia Cook-Huffman

43 Building Peace in the Pursuit of Social Justice 620
Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Index 633


“The articles work together to form a comprehensive whole and also to provide an encyclopedic handbook on the topic.  Summing Up: Recommended.  Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.”  (Choice, 1 December 2012)

"A wide-ranging and engaging gathering of contributors have provided an ideal text for exploring the social justice implications of varied religious traditions. The organization - around historical and present expressions of social justice in the world religions and in the traditions of indigenous peoples, together with selected issues - is user-friendly for beginning students as well as teachers and scholars."  —Larry Rasmussen, Union Theological Seminary

"[The Companion's] global range, intellectual ecumenism, and attention to diverse historical contexts provides a rich resource for exploring how religious beliefs and practices engage issues of colonialism, gender justice, political struggle, healthcare, race, and the environment, among other topics ... Bringing together theoretical discussions with case studies, it opens up new pathways for exploring how global and local religions interrogate matters of historical injustice, identity, and the moral quality of public life. I recommend it enthusiastically."
Richard B. Miller, Indiana University