The idea of freedom of religion was developed in Europe in the 16th and 17th century in the context of religious diversity as an alternative for religious wars. The concept requires reconsideration in the current globalized culture: religious plurality has increased as has the awareness of the religious potential for social cohesion and for sectarian division and violence. In this volume, legal experts, sociologists, theologians, and philosophers clarify the historical development of the concept, and analyze the present situation in various countries with religious tensions. They propose possible models and solutions, and discuss the fundamental question of whether the Western model of human rights with its separation of religion and state and freedom of religion can be conceived as universal.
Abraham van de Beek, PhD (1974) in the sciences at Utrecht University; PhD (1980) in theology at Leiden University, full professor of systematic theology in Leiden (1981-2000), in the Christian creeds at VU University Amsterdam (since 2000); Extraordinary Professor of Systemic Theology at Stellenbosch University; member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Eduardus Van der Borght, Ph.D. (2000) in theology, Leiden University, is Professor of Systematic Theology at VU University Amsterdam. He has published on theology of ministry, ecclesiology and faith, and ethnicity.
Bernardus Petrus Vermeulen, Ph.D. (1989) in Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, is Professor of Constitutional Law at VU University Amsterdam and member of the Council of State. He has published on human rights, constitutional law, and education law.