In Pious Citizens, Ringer tells the story of a major intellectual revolution in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century India and Iran, one that radically transformed the role of religion in society. At this time, key theological debates revolved around Zoroastrianism's capacity to generate progress and civilization. Armed with both the destructive and creative capacities of historicism, reformers reevaluated their own religious tradition, molding Zoroastrian belief and practice according to contemporary ideas of rational religion and its potential to create pious citizens. Ringer demonstrates how rational and enlightened religion, characterized by social responsibility and the interiorization of piety, was understood as essential for the development of modern individuals, citizens, new public space, national identity, and secularism. She argues persuasively not only that social reform must be accompanied by religious reform but that it is in fact a product of religious reform. Pious Citizens offers new insights into the theological premises behind the promotion of secularism, the privatization of religion, and new national identities. Ringer's work also explores growing connections between the Iranian and Indian Zoroastrian communities and the revival of the ancient Persian past.
Syracuse University Press
Reforming Zoroastrianism in India and Iran
Mind, Body & Spirit