Religion and Society is constructed out of themes and variations. While we have a basic grammar
of contents, we try to innovate within a recognizable frame. In previous volumes, we have
always begun with a portrait of a living scholar. In this volume, however, we are publishing a
portrait around an absence as a tribute to J. D. Y. Peel. John Peel was an extraordinary man and
scholar—a great thinker on religion—who died in November 2015. His influence, writings, and
memory continue to resonate strongly in many fields and networks. Our six memorial portraits
give a flavor (to use a suitable culinary metaphor) of Peel’s wide range of interests and friends,
all nourished by his generosity and enthusiasm and his ability to live his life through his work
and his work through his life.
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