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Why does Islam play a larger role in contemporary politics than other religions? Is there something about the Islamic heritage that makes Muslims more likely than adherents of other faiths to invoke it in their political life? If so, what is it? Ancient Religions, Modern Politics seeks to answer these questions by examining the roles of Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity in modern political life, placing special emphasis on the relevance—or irrelevance—of their heritages to today's social and political concerns.

Michael Cook takes an in-depth, comparative look at political identity, social values, attitudes to warfare, views about the role of religion in various cultural domains, and conceptions of the polity. In all these fields he finds that the Islamic heritage offers richer resources for those engaged in current politics than either the Hindu or the Christian heritages. He uses this finding to explain the fact that, despite the existence of Hindu and Christian counterparts to some aspects of Islamism, the phenomenon as a whole is unique in the world today. The book also shows that fundamentalism—in the sense of a determination to return to the original sources of the religion—is politically more adaptive for Muslims than it is for Hindus or Christians.

A sweeping comparative analysis by one of the world's leading scholars of premodern Islam, Ancient Religions, Modern Politics sheds important light on the relationship between the foundational texts of these three great religious traditions and the politics of their followers today.

Islam and its Past: Jāhiliyya, Late Antiquity, and the Qur'an brings together scholars from various disciplines and fields to consider Islamic revelation, with particular focus on the Qur'an. The collection provides a wide-ranging survey of the development and current state of Qur'anic studies in the Western academy. It shows how interest in the field has recently grown, how the ways in which it is cultivated have changed, how it has ramified, and how difficult it now is for any one scholar to keep abreast of it. Chapters explore the milieu in which the Meccan component of the Qur'an made its appearance. The general question is what we can say about that milieu by combining a careful reading of the relevant parts of the Qur'an with what we know about the religious trends of Late Antiquity in Arabia and elsewhere. More specifically, the issue is what we can learn in this way about the manner in which the 'polytheists' of the Qur'an related to the Jewish and Christian traditions: were they Godfearers in the sense familiar from the study of ancient Judaism? It looks at the Qur'an as a text of Late Antiquity-not just considering those features of it that could be seen as normal in that context, but also identifying what is innovative about it against the Late Antique background. Here the focus is on the 'believers' rather than the 'polytheists'. The volume also engages in different ways with notions of monotheism in pre-Islamic Arabia. This collection provides a broad survey of what has been happening in the field and concrete illustrations of some of the more innovative lines of research that have recently been pursued.
Islam and its Past: Jāhiliyya, Late Antiquity, and the Qur'an brings together scholars from various disciplines and fields to consider Islamic revelation, with particular focus on the Qur'an. The collection provides a wide-ranging survey of the development and current state of Qur'anic studies in the Western academy. It shows how interest in the field has recently grown, how the ways in which it is cultivated have changed, how it has ramified, and how difficult it now is for any one scholar to keep abreast of it. Chapters explore the milieu in which the Meccan component of the Qur'an made its appearance. The general question is what we can say about that milieu by combining a careful reading of the relevant parts of the Qur'an with what we know about the religious trends of Late Antiquity in Arabia and elsewhere. More specifically, the issue is what we can learn in this way about the manner in which the 'polytheists' of the Qur'an related to the Jewish and Christian traditions: were they Godfearers in the sense familiar from the study of ancient Judaism? It looks at the Qur'an as a text of Late Antiquity-not just considering those features of it that could be seen as normal in that context, but also identifying what is innovative about it against the Late Antique background. Here the focus is on the 'believers' rather than the 'polytheists'. The volume also engages in different ways with notions of monotheism in pre-Islamic Arabia. This collection provides a broad survey of what has been happening in the field and concrete illustrations of some of the more innovative lines of research that have recently been pursued.
This authoritative guide to the principles and practice of archives management in private and public sector organizations has been substantially revised. It now provides detailed advice on changes in national and international standards and approaches, in particular ISAD(G) (International Standard Archival Description) and ISASAR(CPF) (International Standard Archive Authority Record). The new edition also includes guidance on the interpretation of the Manual of Archival Description, also published by Gower. Michael Cook takes the reader through the history, definition and function of archives and archival services, international service models, staffing and resource issues. He explains how to set up and run a records management programme, manage the interface with archival management, conduct a records survey, set up retention schedules and organize appraisal, acquisition and disposal in a way which ensures the service meets organizational and individual needs. Chapters covering the arrangement, coding and description of archival material, and the administration of its physical storage, demonstrate how efficient management facilitates the accessibility of archival information. The book concludes with chapters on computing and user issues, such as rights of access, Freedom of Information, security and data protection standards. This key reference on best practice is intended for students and lecturers in archives administration and records management, and for archives and records managers, particularly those newly qualified or seeking professional registration. Managers without formal qualifications but responsible for records or archives management, and information managers working with archivists and records managers, will find it helps to improve working methods and to run a more effective archives service within the modern information management environment.
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