Monday, April 10, 2006

More novels about life in theocracies

Professor David Cook takes an expansive view of theocracies and comes up with several interesting additions to our list of novels about life in theocracies.

His first two suggestions come out of South Africa during the apartheid era which began under Prime Minister Daniel Fran├žois Malan, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church.
I guess that would depend upon the definition of a theocracy, but I suppose that any novels about apartheid S. Africa (like Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country or Michener's The Covenant) would fit the bill.

What about Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy (most of Michelangelo's life under the Papal States, a medieval theocracy)?

Effectively the Pitcairn Island community of the descendants of the mutineers of the Bounty turned into a theocracy, so perhaps the last volume of Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall's, The Bounty Trilogy, might qualify.

Also any of the works of George MacDonald (The Lay of the Last Minstrel, etc, all set in Scotland).

But maybe my definition of a theocracy is a bit broad.
Yes, these titles depend upon a broad understanding of what constitutes a theocracy--and that makes these choices all the more interesting as well as illuminating the issue that started this whole series here on the site.

David Cook is an Assistant Professor in Rice University's Department of Religious Studies. His interests include the study of early Islam, Muslim apocalyptic literature and movements for radical social change, dreams, historical astronomy, Judeo-Arabic literature and West African Islam. His most recent books are Understanding Jihad, and Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature. He is currently working on a book on the theme of Islamic martyrdom for Cambridge University Press, and has published on the subject of martyrdom operations.

Thanks to David for ranging across the globe and through history to come up with these titles.

--Marshal Zeringue