Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Religions, Society and History Explored in Book

Thu, 2 Sep 2004

Religions, Society and History Explored in New Book

As the current debate surrounding the Civil Unions Bill illustrates, issues about marriage and sexuality have significant religious dimensions.

In a new book,/ Building God's Own Country: Historical Essays on Religions in New Zealand/, editor John Stenhouse contends that many features of society and culture - family life, gender roles and relations, racial and ethnic identities and interactions, and weekly rhythms of work and leisure - cannot be understood without looking at New Zealanders' religious beliefs and values.

Although New Zealand historians have tended to pay little attention to the role of religions in this country's past, the essays in this collection show that religious beliefs have had an important historical influence on our society. Settlers in New Zealand did not leave their religious identities, beliefs and values behind. Religious movements and groups have always played a part in the social and political life of New Zealand, while many 'religious' issues have generated considerable discussion both within and outside of the churches.

Much of the collection has an Otago/Southland framework that offers a perspective on religious experiences that is regional, but of national relevance. While some essays focus on mainstream churches, such as the Anglicans and Presbyterians, authors also look at Jews, 'heathen' Chinese, Mormons, Irish Catholics, the Salvation Army, missionaries and a high-profile Dunedin atheist.

Scottish Presbyterians gave Otago and Southland much of their distinctive culture and ethos, and it is argued that they built a more tolerant, humane, sociable, inclusive, and bonded society than some historians have acknowledged. Essays on the Moray Place Congregational Church from 1862 to 1966 and the Jewish kehilah in nineteenth-century Dunedin show both groups plunging into Dunedin's relatively open and tolerant civil society. They made themselves 'insiders', winning economic success and social standing. In contrast, Dunedin's Roman Catholic minority were determined to retain a distinctive identity.

/Building God's Own Country/ is the third volume from post-graduate students of the University of Otago History Department published by University of Otago Press. Previous volumes have been on Mäori history and the history of mental health care. These collections aim to bring the best student research on an important historical theme to a broad audience of scholars and the interested public. *About the editors John Stenhouse* is a senior lecturer in history at the University of Otago. The late* Jane Thomson* worked as an independent editor and writer.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>


New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news