A broken family throws formidable stumbling blocks onto the path of life that a society as a whole must traverse. But the stones under the feet of the children in these situations are the most hurtful and most in need of redress. Gabriele Kuby answers the call and does so with an acute sense of responsibility. As a child of divorce and later divorcee, Kuby speaks to herself when she urges the men and women of her generation to consider how failing as spouses we fail as parents, and as such cause the most trouble for our children.
Reading Kuby’s analysis of cultural, sociological and biological data, the danger is clear and present. Yet Kuby asserts that, generally, our plight goes unnoticed and is veiled from our eyes. We need to see children for who and what they really are to us, to the family, and society at large. In the words of Fulton Sheen, “Children play a redeemer role in the family. The represent the victory of love over the insatiable ego. They symbolize the defeat of selfishness and the triumph of giving love.” Tragically, children are increasingly less a part of Western culture. This leaves the family, in the best case scenario, an artifact, and in the worst case, a casualty.
The topics addressed by Kuby cover towering influences in postmodern family life: Gender politics, the abortion mentality, daycare (“Socialism 2.0”), premature stress, rights of children, digital distractions, pornography, and divorce. A native German, Kuby’s work is, heartbreakingly, as relevant to American society as her own. This European perspective drives home the urgent need to recognize our situation as global and embedded, and one that requires more than political mobilization of mainstream efforts and responses. What really is good and normal, and how to we realize it? Listen to the heartstrings that yearn for true knowledge of oneself, Kuby implores, of God, and how in the surprise of God’s mercy we are guided through life. Kuby backs up this invitation to personal conversion and betterment with hard data.
Post-war, post-industrialism, post-religion, post-truth, post-biological, post-human, post-modern. What succeeds the post- age? Mark C. Taylor returns here to some of his central philosophical preoccupations and asks: What comes after the end?
Abiding Grace navigates the competing Hegelian and Kierkegaardian trajectories born out of the Reformation and finds Taylor arguing from spaces in between, showing how both narratives have shaped recent philosophy and culture. For Hegel, Luther’s internalization of faith anticipated the modern principle of autonomy, which reached its fullest expression in speculative philosophy. The closure of the Hegelian system still endures in the twenty-first century in consumer society, financial capitalism, and virtual culture. For Kierkegaard, by contrast, Luther’s God remains radically transcendent, while finite human beings and their world remain fully dependent. From this insight, Heidegger and Derrida developed an alternative view of time in which a radically open future breaks into the present to transform the past, demonstrating that, far from autonomous, life is a gift from an Other that can never be known.
Offering an alternative genealogy of deconstruction that traces its pedigree back to readings of Paul by way of Luther, Abiding Grace presents a thoroughgoing critique of modernity and postmodernity’s will to power and mastery. In this new philosophical and theological vision, history is not over and the future remains endlessly open.
A collection of essays by experts from around the world
Like the other New Testament Gospels, the Gospel of John repeatedly appeals to Scripture (Old Testament). Preferring allusions and “echoes” alongside more explicit quotations, however, the Gospel of John weaves Scripture as an authoritative source concerning its story of Jesus. Yet, this is the same Gospel that is often regarded as antagonistic toward “the Jews,” especially the Jewish religious leaders, depicted within it.
Introduces and updates readers on the question of John’s employment of Scripture
Showcases useful approaches to more general studies on the New Testament’s use of Scripture, sociological and rhetorical analyses, and memory theory
Explores the possible implications surrounding Scripture usage for the Gospel audiences both ancient and contemporary
Patrick Lee surveys the main philosophical arguments in favor of the moral permissibility of abortion and refutes them point by point. In a calm and philosophically sophisticated manner, he presents a powerful case for the pro-life position and a serious challenge to all of the main philosophical arguments on behalf of the pro-choice position.
"Religion," Mark C. Taylor maintains, "is most interesting where it is least obvious." From global financial networks to the casinos of Las Vegas, from images flickering on computer terminals to steel sculpture, material culture bears unexpected traces of the divine. In a world where the economies of faith are obscure, yet pervasive, Taylor shows that approaching religion directly is less instructive than thinking about it.
Traveling from high culture to pop culture and back again, About Religion approaches cyberspace and Las Vegas through Hegel and Kant and reads Melville's The Confidence-Man through the film Wall Street. As astonishing juxtapositions and associations proliferate, formerly uncharted territories of virtual culture disclose theological vestiges, showing that faith in contemporary culture is as unavoidable as it is elusive.
The most accessible presentation of Taylor's revolutionary ideas to date, About Religion gives us a dazzling and disturbing vision of life at the end of the old and beginning of the new millennium.
In 1980, Michel Foucault began a vast project of research on the relationship between subjectivity and truth, an examination of conscience, confession, and truth-telling that would become a crucial feature of his life-long work on the relationship between knowledge, power, and the self. The lectures published here offer one of the clearest pathways into this project, contrasting Greco-Roman techniques of the self with those of early Christian monastic culture in order to uncover, in the latter, the historical origin of many of the features that still characterize the modern subject. They are accompanied by a public discussion and debate as well as by an interview with Michael Bess, all of which took place at the University of California, Berkeley, where Foucault delivered an earlier and slightly different version of these lectures.
Foucault analyzes the practices of self-examination and confession in Greco-Roman antiquity and in the first centuries of Christianity in order to highlight a radical transformation from the ancient Delphic principle of “know thyself” to the monastic precept of “confess all of your thoughts to your spiritual guide.” His aim in doing so is to retrace the genealogy of the modern subject, which is inextricably tied to the emergence of the “hermeneutics of the self”—the necessity to explore one’s own thoughts and feelings and to confess them to a spiritual director—in early Christianity. According to Foucault, since some features of this Christian hermeneutics of the subject still determine our contemporary “gnoseologic” self, then the genealogy of the modern subject is both an ethical and a political enterprise, aiming to show that the “self” is nothing but the historical correlate of a series of technologies built into our history. Thus, from Foucault’s perspective, our main problem today is not to discover what “the self” is, but to try to analyze and change these technologies in order to change its form.
From Lake Chad to Iraq, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) provide relief around the globe, and their scope is growing every year. Policy makers and activists often assume that humanitarian aid is best provided by these organizations, which are generally seen as impartial and neutral. In Above the Fray, Shai M. Dromi investigates why the international community overwhelmingly trusts humanitarian NGOs by looking at the historical development of their culture. With a particular focus on the Red Cross, Dromi reveals that NGOs arose because of the efforts of orthodox Calvinists, demonstrating for the first time the origins of the unusual moral culture that has supported NGOs for the past 150 years.
Drawing on archival research, Dromi traces the genesis of the Red Cross to a Calvinist movement working in mid-nineteenth-century Geneva. He shows how global humanitarian policies emerged from the Red Cross founding members’ faith that an international volunteer program not beholden to the state was the only ethical way to provide relief to victims of armed conflict. By illustrating how Calvinism shaped the humanitarian field, Dromi argues for the key role belief systems play in establishing social fields and institutions. Ultimately, Dromi shows the immeasurable social good that NGOs have achieved, but also points to their limitations and suggests that alternative models of humanitarian relief need to be considered.
Was Jesus the founder of Christianity or a teacher of Judaism? When he argued the latter based on the New Testament, Abraham Geiger ignited an intense debate that began in nineteenth-century Germany but continues to this day.
Geiger, a pioneer of Reform Judaism and a founder of Jewish studies, developed a Jewish version of Christian origins. He contended that Jesus was a member of the Pharisees, a progressive and liberalizing group within first-century Judaism, and that he taught nothing new or original. This argument enraged German Protestant theologians, some of whom produced a tragic counterargument based on racial theory.
In this fascinating book, Susannah Heschel traces the genesis of Geiger's argument and examines the reaction to it within Christian theology. She concludes that Geiger initiated an intellectual revolt by the colonized against the colonizer, an attempt not to assimilate into Christianity by adopting Jesus as a Jew, but to overthrow Christian intellectual hegemony by claiming that Christianity—and all of Western civilization—was the product of Judaism.
Lincoln’s life and leadership through the lens of the Bible
How did Abraham Lincoln’s lifelong study of scripture influence him as a man and, ultimately, as president? Historian Gordon Leidner believes the impact was profound—more than previously recognized—and has investigated all the known writings of Abraham Lincoln to identify, catalog, and study every instance in which Lincoln quoted from or alluded to the Bible. Rather than dwelling on the never-ending debate about Lincoln’s religious beliefs, Leidner shows how scripture affected Lincoln personally, professionally, and politically.
Leidner offers first a short biography that focuses on Lincoln’s use of the Bible, how it shaped him as a person, how its influence changed over time, and how biblical quotations peppered his letters, speeches, and conversations. The book concludes with an unparalleled appendix that tabulates nearly 200 instances of Lincoln’s quoting from or alluding to scripture, giving locators for the Bible and Roy P. Basler’s nine volume Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln and quotations from both sources. The appendix also includes when and where Lincoln used each quote, providing valuable context, whether the use was in personal letters such as one to Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert, political speeches such as the Gettysburg Address, or state addresses such as the Second Inaugural Address.
By showcasing Lincoln’s specific biblical references and influences, Leidner reframes the question of Lincoln’s religious beliefs so that readers may evaluate for themselves what solace and guidance the Bible afforded the sixteenth president.
Sex abuse happens in all communities, but American minority religions often face disproportionate allegations of sexual abuse. Why, in a country that consistently fails to acknowledge—much less address—the sexual abuse of women and children, do American religious outsiders so often face allegations of sexual misconduct? Why does the American public presume to know “what’s really going on” in minority religious communities? Why are sex abuse allegations such an effective way to discredit people on America’s religious margins? What makes Americans so willing, so eager to identify religion as the cause of sex abuse? Abusing Religion argues that sex abuse in minority religious communities is an American problem, not (merely) a religious one.
An absorbing collection of essays on religious textures in Knausgaard’s writings and our time.
Min kamp, or My Struggle, is a six-volume novel by Karl Ove Knausgaard and one of the most significant literary works of the young twenty-first century. Published in Norwegian between 2009 and 2011, the novel presents an absorbing first-person narrative of the life of a writer with the same name as the author, in a world at once fully disillusioned and thoroughly enchanted.
In 2015, a group of scholars began meeting to discuss the peculiarly religious qualities of My Struggle. Some were interested in Knausgaard’s attention to explicitly religious subjects and artworks, others to what they saw as more diffuse attention to the religiousness of contemporary life. The group wondered what reading these textures of religion in these volumes might say about our times, about writing, and about themselves. The Abyss or Life Is Simple is the culmination of this collective endeavor—a collection of interlocking essays on ritual, beauty, and the end of the world.
The United States has long been defined by its religious diversity and recurrent public debates over the religious and political values that define it. In Accidental Pluralism, Evan Haefeli argues that America did not begin as a religiously diverse and tolerant society. It became so only because England’s religious unity collapsed just as America was being colonized. By tying the emergence of American religious toleration to global events, Haefeli creates a true transnationalist history that links developing American realities to political and social conflicts and resolutions in Europe, showing how the relationships among states, churches, and publics were contested from the beginning of the colonial era and produced a society that no one had anticipated. Accidental Pluralism is an ambitious and comprehensive new account of the origins of American religious life that compels us to refine our narratives about what came to be seen as American values and their distinct relationship to religion and politics.
Accompanying Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1494 was a young Spanish friar named Ramón Pané. The friar’s assignment was to live among the “Indians” whom Columbus had “discovered” on the island of Hispaniola (today the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic), to learn their language, and to write a record of their lives and beliefs. While the culture of these indigenous people—who came to be known as the Taíno—is now extinct, the written record completed by Pané around 1498 has survived. This volume makes Pané’s landmark Account—the first book written in a European language on American soil—available in an annotated English edition.
Edited by the noted Hispanist José Juan Arrom, Pané’s report is the only surviving direct source of information about the myths, ceremonies, and lives of the New World inhabitants whom Columbus first encountered. The friar’s text contains many linguistic and cultural observations, including descriptions of the Taíno people’s healing rituals and their beliefs about their souls after death. Pané provides the first known description of the use of the hallucinogen cohoba, and he recounts the use of idols in ritual ceremonies. The names, functions, and attributes of native gods; the mythological origin of the aboriginal people’s attitudes toward sex and gender; and their rich stories of creation are described as well.
Accounting for Fundamentalisms features treatments of fundamentalist movements, groups that often make headlines but are rarely understood, as part of the multivolume Fundamentalism Project. This book remains a standard reference source for comprehending the dynamics of fundamentalist movements around the world. Surveying fundamentalist movements in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, the contributors to Accounting for Fundamentalisms describe the organization of these movements, their leadership and recruiting techniques, and the ways in which their ideological programs and organizational structures shift over time in response to changing political and social environments.
In The Achievement of Hans Urs von Balthasar, Matthew Levering has written a book for theologically educated readers who mistrust von Balthasar or who mistrust von Balthasar’s critics. The book shows that von Balthasar’s critics can and should benefit both from the rich and wide-ranging conversations that mark his trilogy and from the critical and constructive engagement with German philosophical modernity offered by the trilogy. In addition, Levering hopes to show that those who mistrust von Balthasar’s critics need to be more Balthasarian in their response to criticisms of the Swiss theologian.
The history of the American entertainment industry and the history of the Jewish people in the United States are inextricably intertwined. Jews have provided Broadway and Hollywood with some of their most enduring talent, from writers like Arthur Miller, Wendy Wasserstein, and Tony Kushner; to directors like Jerome Robbins and Woody Allen; to performers like Gertrude Berg, John Garfield, Lenny Bruce, and Barbra Streisand. Conversely, show business has provided Jews with a means of upward mobility, a model for how to "become American," and a source of cultural pride.
Acting Jewish documents this history, looking at the work of Jewish writers, directors, and actors in the American entertainment industry with particular attention to the ways in which these artists offer behavioral models for Jewish-American audiences. The book spans the period from 1947 to the present and takes a close look at some of America's favorite plays (Death of a Salesman, Fiddler on the Roof, Angels in America), films (Gentleman's Agreement, AnnieHall), and television shows (The Goldbergs, Seinfeld), identifying a double-coding by which performers enact, and spectators read, Jewishness in contemporary performance-and, by extension, enact and read other minority identities. The book thus explores and illuminates the ever-changing relationship between Jews and mainstream American culture.
"Fascinating and original . . . Bial's command of sources is impressive, and his concept of 'double-coding' is convincing . . . the book should have no trouble finding a large audience."
-Barbara Grossman, author of Funny Woman: The Life and Times of Fanny Brice
Henry Bial is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Film, University of Kansas. He is editor of the Performance Studies Reader and co-editor of the Brecht Sourcebook.
What may we say about the significance of particular moral actions for one’s relationship with God? In this provocative analysis of contemporary Catholic moral theology Darlene Fozard Weaver shows the person as a moral agent acting in relation to God. Using an overarching theological context of sinful estrangement from and gracious reconciliation in God, Weaver shows how individuals negotiate their relationships with God in and through their involvement with others and the world.
Much of current Christian ethics focuses more on persons and their virtues and vices exemplified by the work of virtue ethicists or on sinful social structures illustrated in the work of liberation theologians. These judgments fail to appreciate the reflexive character of human action and neglect the way our actions negotiate our response to God. Weaver develops a theologically robust moral anthropology that advances Christian understanding of persons and moral actions and contends we can better understand the theological import of moral actions by seeing ourselves as creatures who live, move, and have our being in God.
"Both Thomistic scholars and analytic philosophers interested in theories of human action and accountability will find this book a welcome addition to their libraries. Truly a substantive addition to both Thomistic scholarship and the ongoing analytic investigation into human action and responsible agency."—American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly
"A first-rate book...Brock's lucid and illuminating analysis offers much of value to both intellectual historians and theologians, as well as philosophers."—Theological Studies"Brock's treatment of Aquinas's account of action exhibits a rare combination of rigor and learning. It is, no doubt, the best we have."—The Thomist
Blasphemy is a phenomenon that spans human experience, from the ancient world right up to today’s ferocious religious debates. Acts Against God is the first accessible history of this crime—its prosecution, its impact, and its punishment and suppression. While acknowledging blasphemy as an act of individuals, Acts Against God also considers the act as a widespread and constant presence in cultural, political, and religious life.
Beginning in ancient Greece and the genesis of blasphemy’s link with the state, David Nash moves on to explore blasphemy in the medieval world, where it was used both as an accusation against outsiders and as a method of crusading for piety in the West. He considers how the medieval world developed the concept of heresy as a component of disciplining its populations, the first coherent phase in state control of belief. This phenomenon reached its full flowering in the Reformation, where conformity became a fixation of confessional states. The Enlightenment created agendas of individual rights where room for religious doubt pushed blasphemy into the twilight as modern humankind hoped for its demise. But, concluding in the twenty-first century, Nash shows how individuals and the state alike now seek to adopt blasphemy as a cornerstone of identity and as the means to resist the secularization and globalization of culture.
Acts of Faith and Imagination wagers that fiction written by Catholic authors assists readers to reflect critically on the question: “what is faith?” To speak of a person’s “faith-life” is to speak of change and development. As a narrative form, literature can illustrate the dynamics of faith, which remains in flux over the course of one’s life. Because human beings must possess faith in something (whether religious or not), it inevitably has a narrative structure—faith ebbs and flows, flourishes and decays, develops and stagnates.
Through an exploration of more than a dozen Catholic authors’ novels and short stories, Brent Little argues that Catholic fiction encourages the reader to reflect upon their faith holistically, that is, the way faith informs one’s affections, and how a person conceives and interacts with the world as embodied beings. Amidst the diverse stories of modern and contemporary fiction, a consistent pattern emerges: Catholic fiction portrays faith—at its most fundamental, often unconscious, level—as an act of the imagination. Faith is the way one imagines themselves, others, and creation. A person’s primary faith conditions how they live in the world, regardless of the level of conscious reflection, and regardless of whether this is a “religious” faith.
Acts of Faith and Imagination investigates the creative depth and vitality of the Catholic literary imagination by bringing late modern Catholic authors into dialogue with more contemporary ones. Readers will then consider well-known works, such as those by Graham Greene, Flannery O’Connor, and Muriel Spark in the fresh light of contemporary stories by Toni Morrison, Alice McDermott, Uwem Akpan, and several others.
The Adam and Eve stories are a foundational myth in the Jewish and Christian worlds, and the way they were recounted reveals a great deal about those doing the retelling. How did the Armenians retell these stories? What values do these retellings express about men and women, their life in the world, sin and redemption? Presented here are twelve hundred years of Armenian telling of the Genesis 1–3 stories in an unparalleled collection of all significant narratives of Adam and Eve in Armenian literature—prose and poetry, homilies and commentaries, calendary and mathematical texts—from its inception in the fifth century to the seventeenth century. This seminal resource contributes to the lively current discussion of how biblical and apocryphal traditions were retold, embroidered, and transformed into the lenses through which the Bible itself was read.
Jimmy Creech, a United Methodist pastor in North Carolina, was visited one morning in 1984 by Adam, a longtime parishioner whom he liked and respected. Adam said that he was gay, and that he was leaving The United Methodist Church, which had just pronounced that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” could not be ordained. He would not be part of a community that excluded him. Creech found himself instinctively supporting Adam, telling him that he was sure that God loved and accepted him as he was. Adam’s Gift is Creech’s inspiring first-person account of how that conversation transformed his life and ministry.
Adam’s visit prompted Creech to re-evaluate his belief that homosexuality was a sin, and to research the scriptural basis for the church’s position. He determined that the church was mistaken, that scriptural translations and interpretations had been botched and dangerously distorted. As a Christian, Creech came to believe that discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people was morally wrong. This understanding compelled him to perform same-gender commitment ceremonies, which conflicted with church directives. Creech was tried twice by The United Methodist Church, and, after the second trial, his ordination credentials were revoked. Adam’s Gift is a moving story and an important chapter in the unfinished struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil and human rights.
Professor Leahy recounts the academic tensions between religious beliefs and intellectual inquiry, and explore the social changes that have affected higher education and American Catholicism throughout this century. He attempts to explain why the significant growth of Catholic colleges and universities was not always matched by concomitant academic esteem in the larger world of American higher education.
Investigate how Deuteronomy incorporates vulnerable, displaced people
Deuteronomy addresses social contexts of widespread displacement, an issue affecting 65 million people today. In this book Mark R. Glanville investigates how Deuteronomy fosters the integration of the stranger as kindred into the community of Yahweh. According to Deuteronomy, displaced people are to be enfolded within the household, within the clan, and within the nation. Glanville argues that Deuteronomy demonstrates the immense creativity that communities may invest in enfolding displaced and vulnerable people. Inclusivism is nourished through social law, the law of judicial procedure, communal feasting, and covenant renewal. Deuteronomy’s call to include the stranger as kindred presents contemporary nation-states with an opportunity and a responsibility to reimagine themselves and their disposition toward displaced strangers today.
Exploration of the relationship of ancient Israel’s social history to biblical texts
An integrative methodology that brings together literary-historical, legal, sociological, comparative, literary, and theological approaches
A thorough study of Israelite identity and ethnicity
Mexico is famous for spectacular fiestas that embody its heart and soul. An expression of the cult of the saint, patron saint fiestas are the centerpiece of Mexican popular religion and of great importance to the lives and cultures of people and communities. These fiestas have their own language, objects, belief systems, and practices. They link Mexico's past and present, its indigenous and European populations, and its local and global relations.
This work provides a comprehensive study of two intimately linked patron saint fiestas in the state of Guanajuato, near San Miguel de Allende—the fiesta of the village of Cruz del Palmar and that of the town of San Luis de la Paz. These two fiestas are related to one another in very special ways involving both religious practices and their respective pre-Hispanic origins.
A mixture of secular and sacred, patron saint fiestas are multi-day affairs that include many events, ritual specialists, and performers, with the participation of the entire community. Fiestas take place in order to honor the saints, and they are the occasion for religious ceremonies, processions, musical performances, dances, and dance dramas. They feature spectacular costumes, enormous puppets, masked and cross-dressed individuals, dazzling fireworks, rodeos, food stands, competitions, and public dances. By encompassing all of these events and performances, this work displays the essence of Mexico, a lens through which this country's complex history, religion, ethnic mix, traditions, and magic can be viewed.
Through most of Western European history, Jews have been a numerically tiny or entirely absent minority, but across that history Europeans have nonetheless worried a great deal about Judaism. Why should that be so? This short but powerfully argued book suggests that Christian anxieties about their own transcendent ideals made Judaism an important tool for Christianity, as an apocalyptic religion—characterized by prizing soul over flesh, the spiritual over the literal, the heavenly over the physical world—came to terms with the inescapable importance of body, language, and material things in this world. Nirenberg shows how turning the Jew into a personification of worldly over spiritual concerns, surface over inner meaning, allowed cultures inclined toward transcendence to understand even their most materialistic practices as spiritual. Focusing on art, poetry, and politics—three activities especially condemned as worldly in early Christian culture—he reveals how, over the past two thousand years, these activities nevertheless expanded the potential for their own existence within Christian culture because they were used to represent Judaism. Nirenberg draws on an astonishingly diverse collection of poets, painters, preachers, philosophers, and politicians to reconstruct the roles played by representations of Jewish “enemies” in the creation of Western art, culture, and politics, from the ancient world to the present day. This erudite and tightly argued survey of the ways in which Christian cultures have created themselves by thinking about Judaism will appeal to the broadest range of scholars of religion, art, literature, political theory, media theory, and the history of Western civilization more generally.
Martin Buber’s embrace of Hasidism at the start of the twentieth century was instrumental to the revival of this popular form of Jewish mysticism. Hoping to instigate a Jewish cultural and spiritual renaissance, he published a series of anthologies of Hasidic teachings written in German to introduce the tradition to a wide audience. In Aesthetics of Renewal, Martina Urban closely analyzes Buber’s writings and sources to explore his interpretation of Hasidic spirituality as a form of cultural criticism.
For Buber, Hasidic legends and teachings were not a static, canonical body of knowledge, but were dynamic and open to continuous reinterpretation. Urban argues that this representation of Hasidism was essential to the Zionist effort to restore a sense of unity across the Jewish diaspora as purely religious traditions weakened—and that Buber’s anthologies in turn played a vital part in the broad movement to use cultural memory as a means to reconstruct a collective identity for Jews. As Urban unravels the rich layers of Buber’s vision of Hasidism in this insightful book, he emerges as one of the preeminent thinkers on the place of religion in modern culture.
The contributors to Affective Trajectories examine the mutual and highly complex entwinements between religion and affect in urban Africa in the early twenty-first century. Drawing on ethnographic research throughout the continent and in African diasporic communities abroad, they trace the myriad ways religious ideas, practices, and materialities interact with affect to configure life in urban spaces. Whether examining the affective force of the built urban environment or how religious practices contribute to new forms of attachment, identification, and place-making, they illustrate the force of affect as it is shaped by temporality and spatiality in the religious lives of individuals and communities. Among other topics, they explore Masowe Apostolic Christianity in relation to experiences of displacement in Harare, Zimbabwe; Muslim identity, belonging, and the global ummah in Ghana; crime, emotions, and conversion to neo-Pentecostalism in Cape Town; and spiritual cleansing in a Congolese branch of a Japanese religious movement. In so doing, the contributors demonstrate how the social and material living conditions of African cities generate diverse affective forms of religious experiences in ways that foster both localized and transnational paths of emotional knowledge.
Contributors. Astrid Bochow, Marian Burchardt, Rafael Cazarin, Hansjörg Dilger, Alessandro Gusman, Murtala Ibrahim, Peter Lambertz, Isabelle L. Lange, Isabel Mukonyora, Benedikt Pontzen, Hanspeter Reihling, Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon
With great foresight and vision for the Church, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI carefully integrated theological, catechetical and pastoral themes in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Africae Munus. Maurice A. Agbaw-Ebai and Matthew Levering, in the introduction to this collection of reflections and studies focused on the Pope Emeritus’ themes, affirm the African continent’s status as a global center for the growth of the Catholic Church in the twenty-first century and the future of the international Catholic community.
Building on the vitality and enthusiasm of the Church in Africa, it is important to lift their faith through scholarly research and academic reflections. We cannot fully appreciate the dedication, commitment and perseverance of the Catholic community throughout the African continent if we do not know the truth of their sufferings and persecution and understand their resilience in the light of faith. This collection, drawn from the halls of academia, provides an important contribution to the understanding and advancement of Catholic Africa, following the insights and enlightenment of Pope Emeritus Benedict. It is my hope that these essays will enrich your understanding and experience of the Catholic faith.
— From the Preface by Seán Patrick Cardinal O’Malley
This widely-heralded collection of remarkable documents offers a view of African American religious history from Africa and early America through Reconstruction to the rise of black nationalism, civil rights, and black theology of today. The documents—many of them rare, out-of-print, or difficult to find—include personal narratives, sermons, letters, protest pamphlets, early denominational histories, journalistic accounts, and theological statements. In this volume Olaudah Equiano describes Ibo religion. Lemuel Haynes gives a black Puritan’s farewell. Nat Turner confesses. Jarena Lee becomes a female preacher among the African Methodists. Frederick Douglass discusses Christianity and slavery. Isaac Lane preaches among the freedmen. Nannie Helen Burroughs reports on the work of Baptist women. African Methodist bishops deliberate on the Great Migration. Bishop C. H. Mason tells of the Pentecostal experience. Mahalia Jackson recalls the glory of singing at the 1963 March on Washington. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes from the Birmingham jail. Originally published in 1985, this expanded second edition includes new sources on women, African missions, and the Great Migration. Milton C. Sernett provides a general introduction as well as historical context and comment for each document.
This anthology provides a coherent, interdisciplinary theoretical base for students of African American religious studies and will assist in the design of programs and courses for lay theological education and training. To this end, the editor has assembled material from Old and New Testament studies, theology, church history, pastoral counseling, worship, and social action.
A groundbreaking history of how Africans in the French Empire embraced both African independence and their Catholic faith during the upheaval of decolonization, leading to a fundamental reorientation of the Catholic Church.
African Catholic examines how French imperialists and the Africans they ruled imagined the religious future of French sub-Saharan Africa in the years just before and after decolonization. The story encompasses the political transition to independence, Catholic contributions to black intellectual currents, and efforts to alter the church hierarchy to create an authentically “African” church.
Elizabeth Foster recreates a Franco-African world forged by conquest, colonization, missions, and conversions—one that still exists today. We meet missionaries in Africa and their superiors in France, African Catholic students abroad destined to become leaders in their home countries, African Catholic intellectuals and young clergymen, along with French and African lay activists. All of these men and women were preoccupied with the future of France’s colonies, the place of Catholicism in a postcolonial Africa, and the struggle over their personal loyalties to the Vatican, France, and the new African states.
Having served as the nuncio to France and the Vatican’s liaison to UNESCO in the 1950s, Pope John XXIII understood as few others did the central questions that arose in the postwar Franco-African Catholic world. Was the church truly universal? Was Catholicism a conservative pillar of order or a force to liberate subjugated and exploited peoples? Could the church change with the times? He was thinking of Africa on the eve of Vatican II, declaring in a radio address shortly before the council opened, “Vis-à-vis the underdeveloped countries, the church presents itself as it is and as it wants to be: the church of all.”
Over the past thirty years, Italy—the historic home of Catholicism—has become a significant destination for migrants from Nigeria and Ghana. Along with suitcases and dreams of a brighter future, these Africans bring their own form of Christianity, Pentecostalism, shaped by their various cultures and religious worlds. At the heart of Annalisa Butticci’s beautifully sculpted ethnography of African Pentecostalism in Italy is a paradox. Pentecostalism, traditionally one of the most Protestant of Christian faiths, is driven by the same concern as Catholicism: real presence.
In Italy, Pentecostals face harsh anti-immigrant sentiment and limited access to economic and social resources. At times, they find safe spaces to worship in Catholic churches, where a fascinating encounter unfolds that is equal parts conflict and communion. When Pentecostals watch Catholics engage with sacramental objects—relics, statues, works of art—they recognize the signs of what they consider the idolatrous religions of their ancestors. Catholics, in turn, view Pentecostal practices as a mix of African religions and Christian traditions. Yet despite their apparently irreconcilable differences and conflicts, they both share a deeply sensuous and material way to make the divine visible and tangible. In this sense, Pentecostalism appears much closer to Catholicism than to mainstream Protestantism.
African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe offers an intimate glimpse at what happens when the world’s two fastest growing Christian faiths come into contact, share worship space, and use analogous sacramental objects and images. And it explains how their seemingly antithetical practices and beliefs undergird a profound commonality.
Catholicism continues to experience an exponential growth in Africa. Going by the figures and the intensity of religious practice, Africa can unarguably be described as the new center of the Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular. With over 236 million Catholics, Africa considers itself as having come of age and capable of making its voice heard on matters pertaining to global Catholicism/Christianity. And if there is a contemporary theologian greatly loved and admired by African scholars, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI ranks premium on that list. His convening a second synod on Africa on the theme of justice, peace and reconciliation, further endeared him to the African theologians. This book is a testimony to the affection that the Church in Africa has for Benedict XVI. In effect, as Africa finds its voice on the stage of global Catholicism, the theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI provides a fruitful space for Africa's engagement with the wider Church. Benedict XVI described Africa as the spiritual lung of the world. This volume testifies to the vitality and healthiness of that lung, a must read for all interested in African Catholicism and its definite impact on global Christianity as a whole.
In this sensitive and personal investigation into Benin's occult world, Douglas J. Falen wrestles with the challenges of encountering a reality in which magic, science, and the Vodun religion converge into a single universal force. He takes seriously his Beninese interlocutors' insistence that the indigenous phenomenon known as àze ("witchcraft") is an African science, credited with fantastic and productive deeds, such as teleportation and supernatural healing.
Although the Beninese understanding of àze reflects positive scientific properties in its use of specialized knowledge to harness nature's energy and realize economic success, its boundless power is inherently ambivalent because it can corrupt its users, who dispense death and destruction. Witches and healers are equivalent to supervillains and superheroes, locked in epic battles over malevolent and benevolent human desires. Beninese people's discourse about such mystical confrontations expresses a philosophy of moral duality and cosmic balance. Falen demonstrates how a deep engagement with another lived reality opens our minds and contributes to understanding across cultural difference.
Religion is one of the most important elements of Afro-Caribbean culture linking its people to their African past, from Haitian Vodou and Cuban Santeria—popular religions that have often been demonized in popular culture—to Rastafari in Jamaica and Orisha-Shango of Trinidad and Tobago. In Afro-Caribbean Religions, Nathaniel Samuel Murrell provides a comprehensive study that respectfully traces the social, historical, and political contexts of these religions. And, because Brazil has the largest African population in the world outside of Africa, and has historic ties to the Caribbean, Murrell includes a section on Candomble, Umbanda, Xango, and Batique.
This accessibly written introduction to Afro-Caribbean religions examines the cultural traditions and transformations of all of the African-derived religions of the Caribbean along with their cosmology, beliefs, cultic structures, and ritual practices. Ideal for classroom use, Afro-Caribbean Religions also includes a glossary defining unfamiliar terms and identifying key figures.
Mark C. Taylor University of Chicago Press, 2007 Library of Congress BL51.T3944 2007 | Dewey Decimal 200.903
Religion, Mark C. Taylor argues in After God, is more complicated than either its defenders or critics think and, indeed, is much more influential than any of us realize. Our world, Taylor maintains, is shaped by religion even when it is least obvious. Faith and value, he insists, are unavoidable and inextricably interrelated for believers and nonbelievers alike.
The first comprehensive theology of culture since the pioneering work of Paul Tillich, After God redefines religion for our contemporary age. This volumeis a radical reconceptualization of religion and Taylor’s most pathbreaking work yet, bringing together various strands of theological argument and cultural analysis four decades in the making.
Praise for Mark C. Taylor
“The distinguishing feature of Taylor’s career is a fearless, or perhaps reckless, orientation to the new and to whatever challenges orthodoxy. . . . Taylor’s work is playful, perverse, rarefied, ingenious, and often brilliant.”—New York Times Magazine
The fear of falling, the awareness of lost innocence, lost illusions, lost hopes and intentions, of civilization in decline—these are the themes which link literature to theology, both concerned with the shape of human destiny. Otten discusses the continuing viability of the myth of the Fall in literature. He relates a wide variety of romantic and modern works to fundamental issues in modern Christianity.
Eugene Thacker University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress BD311.T43 2010 | Dewey Decimal 113.8
Life is one of our most basic concepts, and yet when examined directly it proves remarkably contradictory and elusive, encompassing both the broadest and the most specific phenomena. We can see this uncertainty about life in our habit of approaching it as something at once scientific and mystical, in the return of vitalisms of all types, and in the pervasive politicization of life. In short, life seems everywhere at stake and yet is nowhere the same.
In After Life, Eugene Thacker clears the ground for a new philosophy of life by recovering the twists and turns in its philosophical history. Beginning with Aristotle’s originary formulation of a philosophy of life, Thacker examines the influence of Aristotle’s ideas in medieval and early modern thought, leading him to the work of Immanuel Kant, who notes the inherently contradictory nature of “life in itself.” Along the way, Thacker shows how early modern philosophy’s engagement with the problem of life affects thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze, Georges Bataille, and Alain Badiou, as well as contemporary developments in the “speculative turn” in philosophy.
At a time when life is categorized, measured, and exploited in a variety of ways, After Life invites us to delve deeper into the contours and contradictions of the age-old question, “what is life?”
The global pandemic has levied a heavy toll on humanity, but in its wake appears a great opportunity. Amidst what he calls a crisis of modernity, Giulio Maspero points to a phenomenon that can be seen in plain sight. "The absence of personal relationships highlighted by the health crisis exposes the consequences of the modern matrix, which, having lost its Christian element, now risks transforming itself into a digital matrix, substantially configuring itself as a technognosis."
Without Trinitarian framework ancient and new idols emerge, as the Covid-19 tragedies have shown. Yet post-pandemic must be a moment of clarity and realism, as we can see how necessary it is that humanity place itself in relation to something beyond. The post-modern journey, however, must be in the spirit of Christian humanism or else any so-called progress will no longer be unable to speak authentically of our humanity. That is to say, the relational dimension of human life will be erased right along with the other ills that plague our earth.
After Representation? explores one of the major issues in Holocaust studiesùthe intersection of memory and ethics in artistic expression, particularly within literature.
As experts in the study of literature and culture, the scholars in this collection examine the shifting cultural contexts for Holocaust representation and reveal how writersùwhether they write as witnesses to the Holocaust or at an imaginative distance from the Nazi genocideùarticulate the shadowy borderline between fact and fiction, between event and expression, and between the condition of life endured in atrocity and the hope of a meaningful existence. What imaginative literature brings to the study of the Holocaust is an ability to test the limits of language and its conventions. After Representation? moves beyond the suspicion of representation and explores the changing meaning of the Holocaust for different generations, audiences, and contexts.
Thirty years after the publication of Antoinette Clark Wire’s groundbreaking The Corinthian Women Prophets, an interdisciplinary, international, and intergenerational group of scholars reflects upon Wire’s impact on New Testament scholarship. Essays pursue further historical and theoretical possibilities, often in search of marginalized people, including the women of Corinth, using feminist, rhetorical, materialist, decolonizing, queer, and posthumanist approaches to interpret Paul’s letters and the history of ancient Mediterranean assemblies. Contributions from Cavan Concannon, Arminta Fox, Joseph A. Marchal, Shelly Matthews, Anna Miller, Jorunn Økland, and Antoinette Clark Wire reconsider how both the methods and results of Wire’s work reveal the possibilities of other people beside Paul who are worth our attention and effort. The essays in this collection introduce students and scholars to the possibilities of interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches for engaging the broader Pauline corpus.
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is best known for its abundantly productive farmland and for the Amish and other “Plain People” who have made their home there since colonial times. Now both of these unique features are in danger of being permanently destroyed. “The Garden Spot of America” loses more than 20 acres of farmland every day to accelerated development. And the Amish, with a population that has doubled in the past 20 years and little land left to farm, tired of living in a fish-bowl for five million tourists a year, and frustrated by changing regulations, are moving out. They are going to Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana -- anywhere to get away from “Amish Country.” Randy Testa initially traveled to Lancaster County in the summer of 1988 to research his dissertation, never intending to become involved personally in county affairs. But living with an Amish family that summer he saw firsthand the trials they faced: constant streams of gawking tourists, the daily paving-over of rich farmland, and the greed and complicity of local officials. Realizing that the quiet, nonresistant Amish would not fight against these destructive influences, Testa felt called to speak out on their behalf. Thus began the continuing moral journey that is at the heart of After the Fire. It is a story of family and farming, community and faith, morality as practiced by the Amish in daily life. And, ultimately, it is about our own world, for as Testa writes, we must look to the Amish to “point out how far we have strayed.” The book is illustrated with 20 charcoal drawings by Amish artist Susie Riehl. The drawings are as understated as the Amish themselves, simple yet striking sketches from within a threatened world. In this final decade of the twentieth century, a life-and-death struggle is being played out in Lancaster County: between land speculation and land stewardship, between material wealth and moral worth, between unrestrained growth and “the ties that bind.” The Amish are at the center of the conflict, trying to maintain their unique community in the face of increasing encroachment from the outside. Randy Testa stands as a witness to their struggle, telling “the story of a people on the verge of conflagration.”
What happens to us after we die? What is heaven like? How do angels live? In his classic work Heaven and Hell, Swedish visionary Emanuel Swedenborg gives readers a detailed road map to the afterlife, describing the process that our soul goes through after death, the nature of heaven and hell, angels and demons, all in meticulous detail. Afterlife is an abridged version of Heaven and Hell, with passages specially chosen to highlight the essence of Swedenborg's work.
In Afterlives of Affect Matthew C. Watson considers the life and work of artist and Mayanist scholar Linda Schele (1942–98) as a point of departure for what he calls an excitable anthropology. As part of a small collective of scholars who devised the first compelling arguments that Maya hieroglyphs were a fully grammatical writing system, Schele popularized the decipherment of hieroglyphs by developing narratives of Maya politics and religion in popular books and public workshops. In this experimental, person-centered ethnography, Watson shows how Schele’s sense of joyous discovery and affective engagement with research led her to traverse and disrupt borders between religion, science, art, life, death, and history. While acknowledging critiques of Schele’s work and the idea of discovery more generally, Watson contends that affect and wonder should lie at the heart of any reflexive anthropology. With this singular examination of Schele and the community she built around herself and her work, Watson furthers debates on more-than-human worlds, spiritualism, modernity, science studies, affect theory, and the social conditions of knowledge production.
An overwhelmingly Arab-centric perspective dominates the West’s understanding of Islam and leads to a view of this religion as exclusively Middle Eastern and monolithic. Teena Purohit presses for a reorientation that would conceptualize Islam instead as a heterogeneous religion that has found a variety of expressions in local contexts throughout history. The story she tells of an Ismaili community in colonial India illustrates how much more complex Muslim identity is, and always has been, than the media would have us believe.
The Aga Khan Case focuses on a nineteenth-century court case in Bombay that influenced how religious identity was defined in India and subsequently the British Empire. The case arose when a group of Indians known as the Khojas refused to pay tithes to the Aga Khan, a Persian nobleman and hereditary spiritual leader of the Ismailis. The Khojas abided by both Hindu and Muslim customs and did not identify with a single religion prior to the court’s ruling in 1866, when the judge declared them to be converts to Ismaili Islam beholden to the Aga Khan.
In her analysis of the ginans, the religious texts of the Khojas that formed the basis of the judge’s decision, Purohit reveals that the religious practices they describe are not derivations of a Middle Eastern Islam but manifestations of a local vernacular one. Purohit suggests that only when we understand Islam as inseparable from the specific cultural milieus in which it flourishes do we fully grasp the meaning of this global religion.
Many contemporary discussions of religion take an absolute, intractable approach to belief and non-belief, which privileges faith and dogmatism while treating doubt as a threat to religious values. As Madhuri M. Yadlapati demonstrates, however, there is another way: a faith (or non-faith) that embraces doubt and its potential for exploring both the depths and heights of spiritual reflection and speculation. Through three distinct discussions of faith, doubt, and hope, Yadlapati explores what it means to live creatively and responsibly in the everyday world as limited, imaginative, and questioning creatures. She begins with a perceptive survey of diverse faith experiences in Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Protestant Christianity, then narrows her focus to Protestant Christianity and Hinduism to explore how the great thinkers of those faiths have embraced doubt in the service of spiritual transcendence. Defending the rich tapestry of faith and doubt against polarization, Against Dogmatism reveals a spiritual middle way, an approach native to the long-standing traditions in which faith and doubt are interwoven in constructive and dynamic ways.
St. Basil of Caesarea Catholic University of America Press, 2011
Basil of Caesarea is considered one of the architects of the Pro-Nicene Trinitarian doctrine adopted at the Council of Constantinople in 381, which eastern and western Christians to this day profess as ""orthodox."" Nowhere is his Trinitarian theology more clearly expressed than in his first major doctrinal work, Against Eunomius, finished in 364 or 365 CE. Responding to Eunomius, whose Apology gave renewed impetus to a tradition of starkly subordinationist Trinitarian theology that would survive for decades, Basil's Against Eunomius reflects the intense controversy raging at that time among Christians across the Mediterranean world over who God is. In this treatise, Basil attempts to articulate a theology both of God's unitary essence and of the distinctive features that characterize the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--a distinction that some hail as the cornerstone of ""Cappadocian"" theology. In Against Eunomius, we see the clash not simply of two dogmatic positions on the doctrine of the Trinity, but of two fundamentally opposed theological methods. Basil's treatise is as much about how theology ought to be done and what human beings can and cannot know about God as it is about the exposition of Trinitarian doctrine. Thus Against Eunomius marks a turning point in the Trinitarian debates of the fourth century, for the first time addressing the methodological and epistemological differences that gave rise to theological differences. Amidst the polemical vitriol of Against Eunomius is a call to epistemological humility on the part of the theologian, a call to recognize the limitations of even the best theology. While Basil refined his theology through the course of his career, Against Eunomius remains a testament to his early theological development and a privileged window into the Trinitarian controversies of the mid-fourth century.
This is the first English translation of the last two theological works of Eusebius of Caesarea, Against Marcellus and On Ecclesiastical Theology. The first text was composed after the deposition of Marcellus of Ancyra in 336 to justify the action of the council fathers in ordering the deposition on the grounds of heresy, contending that Marcellus was “Sabellian” (or modalist) on the Trinity and a follower of Paul of Samosata (hence adoptionist) in Christology. Relying heavily upon extensive quotations from a treatise Marcellus wrote against Asterius the Sophist, this text provides important information about ecclesiastical politics in the period before and just after the Council of Nicea, and endeavors to demonstrate Marcellus’s erroneous interpretation of several key biblical passages that had been under discussion since before the council. In doing so, Eusebius criticizes Marcellus’s inadequate account of the distinction between the persons of the Trinity, eschatology, and the Church’s teaching about the divine and human identities of Christ.
On Ecclesiastical Theology, composed circa 338/339 just before Eusebius’s death, and perhaps in response to the amnesty for deposed bishops enacted by Constantius after the death of Constantine in 377 and the possibility of Marcellus’s return to his see, continues to lay out the criticisms initially put forward in Against Marcellus, again utilizing quotations from Marcellus’s book against Asterius. However, we see in this text a much more systematic explanation of Eusebius’s objections to the various elements of Marcellus’s theology and what he sees as the proper orthodox articulation of those elements.
Long overlooked for statements at odds with later orthodoxy, even written off as heretical because allegedly “semi-Arian,” recent scholarship has demonstrated the tremendous influence these texts had on the Greek theological tradition in the fourth century, especially on the orthodox understanding of the Trinity. In addition to their influence, they are some of the few complete texts that we have from Greek theologians in the immediate period following the Council of Nicea in 325, thus filling a gap in the materials available for research and teaching in this critical phase of theological development.
Nelson Maldonado-Torres argues that European modernity has become inextricable from the experience of the warrior and conqueror. In Against War, he develops a powerful critique of modernity, and he offers a critical response combining ethics, political theory, and ideas rooted in Christian and Jewish thought. Maldonado-Torres focuses on the perspectives of those who inhabit the underside of western modernity, particularly Jewish, black, and Latin American theorists. He analyzes the works of the Jewish Lithuanian-French philosopher and religious thinker Emmanuel Levinas, the Martiniquean psychiatrist and political thinker Frantz Fanon, and the Catholic Argentinean-Mexican philosopher, historian, and theologian Enrique Dussel.
Considering Levinas’s critique of French liberalism and Nazi racial politics, and the links between them, Maldonado-Torres identifies a “master morality” of dominion and control at the heart of western modernity. This master morality constitutes the center of a warring paradigm that inspires and legitimizes racial policies, imperial projects, and wars of invasion. Maldonado-Torres refines the description of modernity’s war paradigm and the Levinasian critique through Fanon’s phenomenology of the colonized and racial self and the politics of decolonization, which he reinterprets in light of the Levinasian conception of ethics. Drawing on Dussel’s genealogy of the modern imperial and warring self, Maldonado-Torres theorizes race as the naturalization of war’s death ethic. He offers decolonial ethics and politics as an antidote to modernity’s master morality and the paradigm of war. Against War advances the de-colonial turn, showing how theory and ethics cannot be conceived without politics, and how they all need to be oriented by the imperative of decolonization in the modern/colonial and postmodern world.
The tradition of agape, or unconditional love, is not exclusive to any religion. It is a primary underlying principle found in religions worldwide. The concept of altruistic love challenges the spiritual person to "love your enemies" or to "love without thought of return." It is a love that flows out to others through compassion, kindness, tenderness, and charitable giving.
Buddhists have a path of compassion, where caring for others becomes the motivating force behind existence. Hindus have a branch of yoga, the heart-centered path, that leads to enlightenment through an overwhelming love for God that takes the form of loving all humanity. Eastern religions, such as Taoism and Confucianism, see transcendent love as essential to true wisdom.
Love is a universal theme of love found in all religious traditions, Buddhist, Christian, Islam, or others. As we realize that all religions have this spiritual principle of love at their core, we can develop a sense of shared humanity. The religious tradition of agape love examined in this book will inspire those who are learning to grow in compassion and love for all people.
Just over a thousand years ago, the Song dynasty emerged as the most advanced civilization on earth. Within two centuries, China was home to nearly half of all humankind. In this concise history, we learn why the inventiveness of this era has been favorably compared with the European Renaissance, which in many ways the Song transformation surpassed.
With the chaotic dissolution of the Tang dynasty, the old aristocratic families vanished. A new class of scholar-officials—products of a meritocratic examination system—took up the task of reshaping Chinese tradition by adapting the precepts of Confucianism to a rapidly changing world. Through fiscal reforms, these elites liberalized the economy, eased the tax burden, and put paper money into circulation. Their redesigned capitals buzzed with traders, while the education system offered advancement to talented men of modest means. Their rationalist approach led to inventions in printing, shipbuilding, weaving, ceramics manufacture, mining, and agriculture. With a realist’s eye, they studied the natural world and applied their observations in art and science. And with the souls of diplomats, they chose peace over war with the aggressors on their borders. Yet persistent military threats from these nomadic tribes—which the Chinese scorned as their cultural inferiors—redefined China’s understanding of its place in the world and solidified a sense of what it meant to be Chinese.
The Age of Confucian Rule is an essential introduction to this transformative era. “A scholar should congratulate himself that he has been born in such a time” (Zhao Ruyu, 1194).
The Age of the Gods
Christopher Dawson Catholic University of America Press, 2012 Library of Congress CB301.D3 2012 | Dewey Decimal 930.1
When first published in 1928, The Age of the Gods was hailed as the best short account of what is known of pre-historic man and culture. In it, Christopher Dawson synthesized modern scholarship on human cultures in Europe and the East from the Stone Age to the beginnings of the Iron Age.
Essays that explore the rich engagement of the Talmud with its cultural world
The Babylonian Talmud (Bavli), the great compilation of Jewish law edited in the late Sasanian era (sixth–seventh century CE), also incorporates a great deal of aggada, that is, nonlegal material, including interpretations of the Bible, stories, folk sayings, and prayers. The Talmud’s aggadic traditions often echo conversations with the surrounding cultures of the Persians, Eastern Christians, Manichaeans, Mandaeans, and the ancient Babylonians, and others. The essays in this volume analyze Bavli aggada to reveal this rich engagement of the Talmud with its cultural world.
A detailed analysis of the different conceptions of martyrdom in the Talmud as opposed to the Eastern Christian martyr accounts
Illustration of the complex ways rabbinic Judaism absorbed Christian and Zoroastrian theological ideas
Demonstration of the presence of Persian-Zoroastrian royal and mythological motifs in talmudic sources
A growing number of studies indicate that older people in the church form social ties that have a significant positive impact on their physical and mental health. In Aging in the Church, Neal Krause comprehensively assesses the various relationships that stem from church involvement.
Among the many types of relationships Krause explores are close companion friendships, social-support structures (such as assistance provided by fellow church members during difficult times), and interactions that arise from Bible study and prayer groups. Through his thorough investigation of the underlying links between these relationships and the ways they relate to attributes like forgiveness, hope, gratitude, and altruism, the author hopes to explain why older adults who are involved in religious activities tend to enjoy better physical and mental health than those who are not engaged in religious communities. Going beyond merely reviewing the existing research on this subject, Aging in the Church provides a blueprint for taking research on church-based social relationships and health to the next level by identifying conceptual and methodological issues that investigators will confront as they delve more deeply into these connections.
Though these are complex issues, readers will find plain language and literature drawn from a wide array of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, public health, medicine, psychiatry, nursing, social work, gerontology, and theology. Literature, poetry, philosophy, and ethical ideas supplement the insights from these diverse fields. As a result, Aging in the Church takes on a genuinely interdisciplinary focus that will appeal to various scholars, researchers, and students.
From the Pilgrims who settled at Plymouth Rock to Christian Coalition canvassers working for George W. Bush, Americans have long sought to integrate faith with politics. Few have been as successful as Hollywood evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.
During the years between the two world wars, McPherson was the most flamboyant and controversial minister in the United States. She built an enormously successful and innovative megachurch, established a mass media empire, and produced spellbinding theatrical sermons that rivaled Tinseltown's spectacular shows. As McPherson's power grew, she moved beyond religion into the realm of politics, launching a national crusade to fight the teaching of evolution in the schools, defend Prohibition, and resurrect what she believed was the United States' Christian heritage. Convinced that the antichrist was working to destroy the nation's Protestant foundations, she and her allies saw themselves as a besieged minority called by God to join the "old time religion" to American patriotism.
Matthew Sutton's definitive study of Aimee Semple McPherson reveals the woman, most often remembered as the hypocritical vamp in Sinclair Lewis's Elmer Gantry, as a trail-blazing pioneer. Her life marked the beginning of Pentecostalism's advance from the margins of Protestantism to the mainstream of American culture. Indeed, from her location in Hollywood, McPherson's integration of politics with faith set precedents for the religious right, while her celebrity status, use of spectacle, and mass media savvy came to define modern evangelicalism.
Media coverage of the Danish cartoon crisis and the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan left Westerners with a strong impression that Islam does not countenance depiction of religious imagery. Jamal J. Elias corrects this view by revealing the complexity of Islamic attitudes toward representational religious art. Aisha’s Cushion emphasizes Islam’s perceptual and intellectual modes and in so doing offers the reader both insight into Islamic visual culture and a unique way of seeing the world.
Aisha’s Cushion evaluates the controversies surrounding blasphemy and iconoclasm by exploring Islamic societies at the time of Muhammad and the birth of Islam; during early contact between Arab Muslims and Byzantine Christians; in medieval Anatolia and India; and in modern times. Elias’s inquiry then goes further, to situate Islamic religious art in a global context. His comparisons with Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu attitudes toward religious art show them to be as contradictory as those of Islam. Contemporary theories about art’s place in society inform Elias’s investigation of how religious objects have been understood across time and in different cultures.
Elias contends that Islamic perspectives on representation and perception should be sought not only in theological writings or aesthetic treatises but in a range of Islamic works in areas as diverse as optics, alchemy, dreaming, calligraphy, literature, vehicle and home decoration, and Sufi metaphysics. Unearthing shades of meaning in Islamic thought throughout history, Elias offers fresh insight into the relations among religion, art, and perception across a broad range of cultures.
The Alchemical Body excavates and centers within its Indian context the lost tradition of the medieval Siddhas. Working from previously unexplored alchemical sources, David Gordon White demonstrates for the first time that the medieval disciplines of Hindu alchemy and hatha yoga were practiced by one and the same people, and that they can be understood only when viewed together. White opens the way to a new and more comprehensive understanding of medieval Indian mysticism, within the broader context of south Asian Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam.
"White proves a skillful guide in disentangling historical and theoretical complexities that have thus far bedeviled the study of these influential aspects of medieval Indian culture."—Yoga World
"Anyone seriously interested in finding out more about authentic tantra, original hatha yoga, embodied liberation . . . sacred sexuality, paranormal abilities, healing, and of course alchemy will find White's extraordinary book as fascinating as any Tom Clancy thriller."—Georg Feuerstein, Yoga Journal
The French Catholic priest and biblical scholar Alfred Loisy (1857-1940) was at the heart of the Roman Catholic Modernist crisis in the early part of the twentieth century. He saw much of his work as an attempt to bring John Henry Newman’s notion of development of doctrine into the realm of Catholic biblical studies, and thereby transform Catholic theology. This volume situates Loisy’s better known works on the New Testament and theology in the context of his lesser known work in Assyriology and Old Testament studies. His early training in Assyriology taught Loisy a comparative historical approach to studying ancient texts, in addition to providing him the requisite training in ancient Near Eastern languages and literature. Loisy built upon this Assyriological foundation with his historical critical work in biblical studies, first in the Old Testament. In his biblical scholarship, Loisy combined the then current trends of historical biblical criticism with his more comparative approach. Prior to his excommunication in 1908, Loisy attempted in his more popular writings to defend the inclusion of historical biblical criticism in the repertoire of Catholic biblical interpretation. He saw this as an important step in reforming Catholic theology. The Modernist crisis set the stage for the major debates that would occur in the Catholic theological world for more than a century. The controversy over Modernism became one important conflict that helped pave the way for the Second Vatican Council. The issues raised during Loisy’s time, remain contested today. Examining how Loisy approached biblical studies helps readers better understand his overall work, and the place it played in the pivotal intellectual turmoil of his day.
Widely regarded among students of medieval thought as the most important of the medieval Islamic thinkers, al-Ghazali (1058–1111) remains an extremely complex figure whose texts continue to present serious challenges for scholars. In this book, Richard M. Frank confronts the traditional view of al-Ghazali as a loyal supporter of Ash arite doctrine and reexamines his relationship to the school theologians. This reexamination, Frank argues, is essential to an understanding of al-Ghazali’s work, a diverse series of texts made difficult by the various postures and guises assumed by their author. Statements by al-Ghazali regarding the kalam (the speculative theology of the schools) and its status as a religious science provide the focus for a detailed analysis that contrasts the traditional school theology with his own. From this, the question of al-Ghazali’s relationship to the Ash arite school becomes a key to the basic characteristics of his method and language and therefore to the overall sense that governs much of his work. Finally, as reflected in the chronological sequence of al-Ghazali’s writings, Frank’s analysis demonstrates al-Ghazali’s commitment to basic elements of Avicennian philosophy and his progressive alienation from the Ash arite establishment. Al-Ghazali and the Ash arite School offers an important and provocative reassessment of a major medieval Islamic thinker. It will be of interest not only to specialists in the field, but also to a broad range of historians of the period and to those interested in all aspects of Islam.
Centuries after his death, al-Ghazali remains one of the most influential figures of the Islamic intellectual tradition. Although he is best known for his Incoherence of the Philosophers, Moderation in Belief is his most profound work of philosophical theology. In it, he offers what scholars consider to be the best defense of the Ash'arite school of Islamic theology that gained acceptance within orthodox Sunni theology in the twelfth century, though he also diverges from Ash'arism with his more rationalist approach to the Quran. Together with The Incoherence of the Philosophers, Moderation in Belief informs many subsequent theological debates, and its influence extends beyond the Islamic tradition, informing broader questions within Western philosophical and theological thought.
The first complete English-language edition of Moderation in Belief, this new annotated translation by Aladdin M. Yaqub draws on the most esteemed critical editions of the Arabic texts and offers detailed commentary that analyzes and reconstructs the arguments found in the work’s four treatises. Explanations of the historical and intellectual background of the texts also enable readers with a limited knowledge of classical Arabic to fully explore al-Ghazali and this foundational text for the first time.
With the recent resurgence of interest in Islamic philosophy and the conflict between philosophy and religion, this new translation will be a welcome addition to the scholarship.
In August 1986, Alice Auma, a young Acholi woman in northern Uganda, proclaiming herself under the orders of a Christian spirit named Lakwena, raised an army called the “Holy Spirit Mobile Forces.” With it she waged a war against perceived evil, not only an external enemy represented by the National Resistance Army of the government, but internal enemies in the form of “impure” soldiers, witches, and sorcerers. She came very close to her goal of overthrowing the government but was defeated and fled to Kenya.
This book provides a unique view of Alice’s movement, based on interviews with its members and including their own writings, examining their perceptions of the threat of external and internal evil. It concludes with an account of the successor movements into which Alice’s forces fragmented and which still are active in the civil wars of the Sudan and Uganda.
This narrative history surveying one thousand years of Jewish life integrates the Jewish experience into the context of the overall culture and society of medieval Europe. It presents a new picture of the interaction between Christians and Jews in this tumultuous era.Alienated Minority shows us what it meant to be a Jew in Europe in the Middle Ages. The story begins in the fifth century, when autonomous Jewish rule in Palestine came to a close, and when the papacy, led by Gregory the Great, established enduring principles regarding Christian policy toward Jews. Kenneth Stow examines the structures of self-government in the European Jewish community and the centrality of emerging concepts of representation. He studies economic enterprise, especially banking; constructs a clear image of the medieval Jewish family; and portrays in detail the very rich Jewish intellectual life.Analyzing policies of Church and State in the Middle Ages, Stow argues that a firmly defined legal and constitutional position of the Jewish minority in the earlier period gave way to a legal status created expressly for Jews, who in the later period were seen as inimical to the common good. It was this special status that paved the way for the royal expulsions of Jews that began at the end of the thirteenth century.
Aliens Adored is the first full length, in-depth look at the Raëlian movement, a fascinating new religion founded in the 1970s by the charismatic prophet, Raël. Born in France as Claude Vorilhon, the former race-car driver founded the religion after he experienced a visitation from the aliens (the "elohim") who, in his cosmology, created humans by cloning themselves. The millenarian movement awaits the return of the alien creators, and in the meantime seeks to develop the potential of its adherents through free love, sexual experimentation, opposition to nuclear proliferation and war, and the development of the science of cloning.
Sociologist Susan J. Palmer has studied the Raelian movement for more than a decade, observing meetings and rituals and enjoying unprecedented access to the group's leaders as well as to its rank-and-file members. In this pioneering study she provides a thorough analysis of the movement, focusing on issues of sexuality, millenarianism, and the impact of the scientific worldview on religion and the environment. Rael's radical sexual ethics, his gnostic anthropocentrism, and shallow ecotheology offer us a mirror through which we see how our worldview has been shaped by the forces of globalization, postmodernism, and secular humanism.
“Citizenship is salvation,” preached Noble Drew Ali, leader of the Moorish Science Temple of America in the early twentieth century. Ali’s message was an aspirational call for black Americans to undertake a struggle for recognition from the state, one that would both ensure protection for all Americans through rights guaranteed by the law and correct the unjust implementation of law that prevailed in the racially segregated United States. Ali and his followers took on this mission of citizenship as a religious calling, working to carve out a place for themselves in American democracy and to bring about a society that lived up to what they considered the sacred purpose of the law.
In The Aliites, Spencer Dew traces the history and impact of Ali’s radical fusion of law and faith. Dew uncovers the influence of Ali’s teachings, including the many movements they inspired. As Dew shows, Ali’s teachings demonstrate an implicit yet critical component of the American approach to law: that it should express our highest ideals for society, even if it is rarely perfect in practice. Examining this robustly creative yet largely overlooked lineage of African American religious thought, Dew provides a window onto religion, race, citizenship, and law in America.
All Abraham’s Children is Armand L. Mauss’s long-awaited magnum opus on the evolution of traditional Mormon beliefs and practices concerning minorities. He examines how members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have defined themselves and others in terms of racial lineages.
Mauss describes a complex process of the broadening of these self-defined lineages during the last part of the twentieth century as the modern Mormon church continued its world-wide expansion through massive missionary work.
Mauss contends that Mormon constructions of racial identity have not necessarily affected actual behavior negatively and that in some cases Mormons have shown greater tolerance than other groups in the American mainstream.
Employing a broad intellectual historical analysis to identify shifts in LDS behavior over time, All Abraham’s Children is an important commentary on current models of Mormon historiography.
All Great Art is Praise
Aidan Nichols Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress PR5267.R4N53 2016 | Dewey Decimal 828.809
The volume looks especially closely at Ruskin's changing attitudes to Catholicism. The son of a stoutly Bible-Protestant mother and a father politically opposed to the civil emancipation of Catholics, Ruskin found it increasingly difficult to combine his inherited anti-Catholicism with his appreciation of Byzantine-Venetian, Renaissance-humanist, and Franciscan-evangelical art and the program for living these contained or implied. The rumors in late life of his immanent conversion to Rome proved unfounded, but they were not implausible. All Great Art is Praise seeks to show why
Shortly after his mother dies of breast cancer when he is ten years old, Michael Blumenthal discovers that she was not his biological mother, and that his aunt and uncle, immigrant chicken farmers living in Vineland, New Jersey, are really his parents.
As fate would have it, his adoptive father, a German-Jewish refugee raised by a loveless and embittered stepmother after his own mother died in childbirth, has inflicted on his stepson a fate uncannily—and terrifyingly—similar to his own: Having first adopted Michael, in part, to help his dying wife, he then imposes on him the same sort of penurious and loveless stepmother whom he himself had had to survive. With these revelations, the "mysteries" that seem to have permeated Michael's childhood are laid bare, triggering a quest for belonging that will infiltrate the author's entire adult life.
Contemporary mass media descriptions of Muslims often suggest that Islam and Muslims are fundamentally undemocratic. Policy-makers in the West have weaponized these descriptions in attempts to legitimize anti-Muslim right-wing policy developments across the West and in the United States in particular, from surveillance in the aftermath of 9/11 to the anti-Islamic travel ban of 2017. But are Muslims undemocratic? Ahmed Khanani argues that this is not the case. In All Politics are God's Politics, Khanani shows that in fact, the opposite holds true: for socially conservative, politically active Muslims (Islamists), democracy or dimuqrāṭiyya reflects and extends their religious values. By drawing on conversations with over 100 Islamists in Morocco, this book enables readers to understand and appreciate the significance of dimuqrāṭiyya as a concept alongside new prospects for Islam and democracy in the Arab Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Khanani's in-depth analysis of the Moroccan case brings these Islamists and their attending political views to the forefront.
Christians face a conundrum when it comes to naming God, for if God is unnamable, as theologians maintain, he can also be called by every name. His proper name is thus an open-ended, all-encompassing list, a mystery the Church embraces in its rhetoric, but which many Christians have found difficult to accept. To explore this conflict, Valentina Izmirlieva examines two lists of God’s names: one from The Divine Names, the classic treatise by Pseudo-Dionysius, and the other from The 72 Names of the Lord, an amulet whose history binds together Kabbalah and Christianity, Jews and Slavs, Palestine, Provence, and the Balkans.
This unexpected juxtaposition of a theological treatise and a magical amulet allows Izmirlieva to reveal lists’ rhetorical potential to create order and to function as both tools of knowledge and of power. Despite the two different visions of order represented by each list, Izmirlieva finds that their uses in Christian practice point to a complementary relationship between the existential need for God’s protection and the metaphysical desire to submit to his infinite majesty—a compelling claim sure to provoke discussion among scholars in many fields.
In addition to being the sixth bishop of the Diocese of New York, Henry Codman Potter (1835-1908) was a prominent voice in the Social Gospel movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This book, the first in-depth study of Potter's life and work, examines his career in the Episcopal church as well as the origins and legacy of his progressive social views.
As industrialization and urbanization spread in the nineteenth century, the Social Gospel movement sought to apply Christian teachings to effect improvements in the lives of the less fortunate. Potter was firmly in this tradition, concerning himself especially with issues of race, the place of women in society, questions of labor and capital, and what he called "political righteousness." Placing Potter against the wider backdrop of nineteenth-century American Protestantism, Bourgeois explores the experiences and influences that led him to espouse these socially conscious beliefs, to work for social reform, and to write such works as Sermons of the City (1881) and The Citizen in His Relation to the Industrial Situation (1902).
In telling Potter's remarkable story, All Things Human stands as a valuable contribution to intellectual and religious history as well as an exploration of the ways in which religion and society interact.
Allen Ginsberg’s Buddhist Poetics revives questions of poetics, religious authenticity, and political efficacy in Ginsberg's prophetic poetry. Author Tony Trigilio examines Ginsberg's Buddhism as an imperfect but deepening influence on the major poems of his career.
The first sustained scholarly effort to test Ginsberg’s work as Buddhist poetry, this volume goes beyond biography to contemporary critical theory and textual and historical analysis to show how Ginsberg’s Buddhist religious practices inform his poetry. Trigilio takes us through the poet’s first autodidactic struggles with Buddhism to his later involvement with highly trained teachers, as he follows the development of Ginsberg’s Buddhist poetics.
The book also considers the place of Ginsberg’s poetry in the cultural and aesthetic contexts of his career, covering the rise of an “American Buddhism”; the antiwar, drug decriminalization, and gay civil rights movements; and the shift from modern to postmodern strategies in contemporary U.S. poetry.
Allen Ginsberg’s Buddhist Poetics examines some of the most significant work produced by the poet after he had become a cultural icon and marks a new direction in the study of Ginsberg’s work. Of interest to scholars of Buddhism, American poetry, cultural studies, and Beat studies, this groundbreaking volume fills significant gaps in the scholarly criticism of Ginsberg’s spiritual poetics.
John V. Glass III Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress PS3539.A74Z655 2016 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
This study reconsiders and reassesses the work of Allen Tate as a poet whose themes and expression place him among the most studied and canonical Modernists of the last century. Allen Tate (1899-1979), a former Poet Laureate of the US, although generally regarded during his lifetime as one of the twentieth century's preeminent literary critics and men of letters, has been largely overlooked by critics in the years since his death. John V. Glass III rectifies this by tracing the development of Tate's thought and verse from his early years as a student at Vanderbilt in the 1920s through his final terza-rima sequence completed in the 1950s. Tate's poetry in the intervening years charts the course of an American modernist who brings to bear on the problems of his age the unique perspective of a southerner, one who refuses either to accept sentimentality or to repudiate the past in his search for a solution to the dissociation of sensibility.
Roman Catholic moral theology is the point of departure for this multifaceted exploration of the challenge of allocating scarce medical resources.
The volume begins its exploration of discerning moral limits to modern high-technology medicine with a consensus statement born of the conversations among its contributors. The seventeen essays use the example of critical care, because it offers one of the few areas in medicine where there are good clinical predictive measures regarding the likelihood of survival. As a result, the health care industry can with increasing accuracy predict the probability of saving lives—and at what cost.
Because critical care involves hard choices in the face of finitude, it invites profound questions about the meaning of life, the nature of a good death, and distributive justice. For those who identify the prize of human life as immortality, the question arises as to how much effort should be invested in marginally postponing death. In a secular culture that presumes that individuals live only once, and briefly, there is an often-unacknowledged moral imperative to employ any means necessary to postpone death. The conflict between the free choice of individuals and various aspirations to equality compounds the challenge of controlling medical costs while also offering high-tech care to those who want its possible benefits. It forces society to confront anew notions of ordinary versus extraordinary, and proportionate versus disproportionate, treatment in a highly technologically structured social context.
This cluster of discussions is enriched by five essays from Jewish, Orthodox Christian, and Protestant perspectives. Written by premier scholars from the United States and abroad, these essays will be valuable reading for students and scholars of bioethics and Christian moral theology.
The first study to focus exclusively on the use in the Hebrew Bible of soundplay to allude to and interpret earlier literary traditions
This book focuses on the way the biblical writers used allusive soundplay to construct theological discourse, that is, in service of their efforts to describe the nature of God and God's relationship to humanity. By showing that a variety of biblical books contain examples of allusive soundplay employed for this purpose, Kline demonstrates that this literary device played an important role in the growth of the biblical text as a whole and in the development of ancient Israelite and early Jewish theological traditions.
Demonstrates that allusive soundplay was a productive compositional technique in ancient Israel
Identifies examples of innerbiblical allusion that have not been identified before
A robust methodology for identifying soundplay in innerbiblical allusions
Focusing on cemetery burials in late-eighteenth-century Mexico, Alone Before God provides a window onto the contested origins of modernity in Mexico. By investigating the religious and political debates surrounding the initiative to transfer the burials of prominent citizens from urban to suburban cemeteries, Pamela Voekel challenges the characterization of Catholicism in Mexico as an intractable and monolithic institution that had to be forcibly dragged into the modern world. Drawing on the archival research of wills, public documents, and other texts from late-colonial and early-republican Mexico, Voekel describes the marked scaling-down of the pomp and display that had characterized baroque Catholic burials and the various devices through which citizens sought to safeguard their souls in the afterlife. In lieu of these baroque practices, the new enlightened Catholics, claims Voekel, expressed a spiritually and hygienically motivated preference for extremely simple burial ceremonies, for burial outside the confines of the church building, and for leaving their earthly goods to charity. Claiming that these changes mirrored a larger shift from an external, corporate Catholicism to a more interior piety, she demonstrates how this new form of Catholicism helped to initiate a cultural and epistemic shift that placed the individual at the center of knowledge. Breaking with the traditional historiography to argue that Mexican liberalism had deeply religious roots, Alone Before God will be of interest to specialists in Latin American history, modernity, and religion.
Altruism in World Religions
Jacob Neusner and Bruce Chilton, Editors Georgetown University Press, 2005 Library of Congress BJ1474.A475 2005 | Dewey Decimal 205
In 1830 philosopher Auguste Comte coined the term altruism to provide a general definition for the act of selflessly caring for others. But does this modern conception of sacrificing one's own interests for the well-being of others apply to the charitable behaviors encouraged by all world religions? In Altruism in World Religionsprominent scholars from an array of religious perspectives probe the definition of altruism to determine whether it is a category that serves to advance the study of religion.
Exploring a range of philosophical and religious thought from Greco-Roman philia to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, from Hinduism in India to Buddhism and the religions of China and Japan, the authors find that altruism becomes problematic when applied to religious studies because it is, in fact, a concept absent from religion. Chapters on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam reveal that followers of these religions cannot genuinely perform self-sacrificing acts because God has promised to reward every good deed. Moreover, the separation between the self and the other that self-sacrifice necessarily implies, runs counter to Buddhist thought, which makes no such distinction.
By challenging our assumptions about the act of self-sacrifice as it relates to religious teachings, the authors have shown altruism to be more of a secular than religious notion. At the same time, their findings highlight how charitable acts operate with the values and structures of the religions studied.
This anthology brings together, for the first time, leading essays and book chapters from theologians, philosophers, and scientists on their research on ethics, altruism, and love. Because the general consensus today is that scholarship in moral theory requires empirical research, the arguments of the leading scholars presented in this book will be fundamental to those examining issues in love, ethics, religion, and science.
The first half of The Altruism Reader offers essential selections from religious texts, leading contemporary scholars, and cutting-edge ethicists. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism are represented. Among the highly respected writers are Thomas Aquinas, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, John Polkinghorne, Stephen Pope, Louis Fischer, Amira Shamma Abdin, Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, and Daniel Day Williams.
The book’s second half features primary readings on love and altruism from the sciences. Here the focus is on anthropology, psychology, sociology, biology, and neurology, with material written by Daniel C. Batson, David Sloan Wilson, Robert Wright, Stephen G. Post, Robert Axelrod, Richard Dawkins, Holmes Rolston III, and other renowned scientists and philosophers.
“Virtually all people act—and often talk—as if they have some clue about love. We speak about loving food, falling in love, loving God, feeling loved, and loving a type of music. We say that love hurts, love waits, love stinks, and love means never having to say you’re sorry. We use the word and its derivatives in a wide variety of ways . . . . My definition of love is this: To love is to act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others (including God), to promote well-being.” —Thomas Jay Oord
What motivates altruism? How essential is the phenomenon of altruism to the human experience? Is altruism readily accessible to the ordinary person? In The Altruistic Species, Andrew Michael Flescher and Daniel L. Worthen explore these questions through the lenses of four disciplinary perspectives—biology, psychology, philosophy, and religion. In their investigation, they make an extended argument for the existence of altruism against competing theories that construe all ostensible cases of benevolence as self-interest in disguise. The authors consider theories of egoism; the role of genetics and evolutionary biology; the psychological that induce altruistic behavior; philosophical theories of altruism in normative ethics such as Kantian, utilitarian, and Aristotelian models of moral action; and accounts of love of the neighbor in Christianity and Buddhism. Additionally, they offer a new, comprehensive definition of altruism that includes the insights of each of these perspectives.
The Altruistic Species reinvigorates the debate over the prevalence of selfless motivation in human behavior—whether it is a rare or ubiquitous phenomenon—something considered exceptional or a capacity that members of any community could potentially develop. This noteworthy interdisciplinary examination of altruism balances science, virtue theory, and theology. It is ideal for ethics, human behavior, and evolutionary biology courses as an educational resource for other multidisciplinary studies and interested lay readers.
A Bollywood blockbuster when it was released in 1977, Amar Akbar Anthony has become a classic of Hindi cinema and a touchstone of Indian popular culture. Delighting audiences with its songs and madcap adventures, the film follows the heroics of three Bombay brothers separated in childhood from their parents and one another. Beyond the freewheeling comedy and camp, however, is a potent vision of social harmony, as the three protagonists, each raised in a different religion, discover they are true brothers in the end. William Elison, Christian Lee Novetzke, and Andy Rotman offer a sympathetic and layered interpretation of the film’s deeper symbolism, seeing it as a lens for understanding modern India’s experience with secular democracy.
Amar Akbar Anthony’s celebration of an India built on pluralism and religious tolerance continues to resonate with audiences today. But it also invites a critique of modernity’s mixed blessings. As the authors show, the film’s sunny exterior only partially conceals darker elements: the shadow of Partition, the crisis of Emergency Rule, and the vexed implications of the metaphor of the family for the nation. The lessons viewers draw from the film depend largely on which brother they recognize as its hero. Is it Amar, the straight-edge Hindu policeman? Is it Akbar, the romantic Muslim singer? Or is it Anthony, the Christian outlaw with a heart of gold? In this book’s innovative and multi-perspectival approach, each brother makes his case for himself (although the last word belongs to their mother).
The story of Paul is one of irony, the New Testament depicting him at the martyrdom of Stephen holding the assassins' cloaks. Then this same Paul is transformed into the biblical archetype for someone suffering for their faith. He becomes so entrenched, it would appear that he had walked with the Christians all his life, that he was the one who defined the faith, eventually being called the “second founder of Christianity.” But much of what we think we "know" about Paul comes from Sunday school stories we heard as children. The stories were didactic tales meant to keep us reverent and obedient.
As adults reading the New Testament, we catch glimpses of a very different kind of disciple—a wild ascetic whom Tertullian dubbed “the second apostle of Marcion and the apostle of the heretics.” What does scholarship tell us about the enigmatic thirteenth apostle who looms larger than life in the New Testament? The epistles give evidence of having been written at the end of the first century or early in the second—too late to have been Paul’s actual writings. So who wrote (and rewrote) them? F. C. Baur, a nineteenth-century theologian, pointed persuasively to Simon Magus as the secret identity of “Paul.” Robert M. Price, in this exciting journey of discovery, gives readers the background for a story we thought we knew.
Ambient Sufism is a study of the intertwined musical lives of several ritual communities in Tunisia that invoke the healing powers of long-deceased Muslim saints through music-driven trance rituals. Richard C. Jankowsky illuminates the virtually undocumented role of women and minorities in shaping the ritual musical landscape of the region, with case studies on men’s and women’s Sufi orders, Jewish and black Tunisian healing musical troupes, and the popular music of hard-drinking laborers, as well as the cohorts involved in mass-mediated staged spectacles of ritual that continue to inject ritual sounds into the public sphere. He uses the term “ambient Sufism” to illuminate these adjacent ritual practices, each serving as a musical, social, and devotional-therapeutic niche while contributing to a larger, shared ecology of practices surrounding and invoking the figures of saints. And he argues that ritual musical form—that is, the large-scale structuring of ritual through musical organization—has agency; that is, form is revealing and constitutive of experience and encourages particular subjectivities. Ambient Sufism promises many useful ideas for ethnomusicology, anthropology, Islamic and religious studies, and North African studies.
The Ambiguity of Play
Brian Sutton-Smith Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress BF717.S93 1997 | Dewey Decimal 155
Every child knows what it means to play, but the rest of us can merely speculate. Is it a kind of adaptation, teaching us skills, inducting us into certain communities? Is it power, pursued in games of prowess? Fate, deployed in games of chance? Daydreaming, enacted in art? Or is it just frivolity? Brian Sutton-Smith, a leading proponent of play theory, considers each possibility as it has been proposed, elaborated, and debated in disciplines from biology, psychology, and education to metaphysics, mathematics, and sociology.
Sutton-Smith focuses on play theories rooted in seven distinct “rhetorics”—the ancient discourses of Fate, Power, Communal Identity, and Frivolity and the modern discourses of Progress, the Imaginary, and the Self. In a sweeping analysis that moves from the question of play in child development to the implications of play for the Western work ethic, he explores the values, historical sources, and interests that have dictated the terms and forms of play put forth in each discourse’s “objective” theory.
This work reveals more distinctions and disjunctions than affinities, with one striking exception: however different their descriptions and interpretations of play, each rhetoric reveals a quirkiness, redundancy, and flexibility. In light of this, Sutton-Smith suggests that play might provide a model of the variability that allows for “natural” selection. As a form of mental feedback, play might nullify the rigidity that sets in after successful adaption, thus reinforcing animal and human variability. Further, he shows how these discourses, despite their differences, might offer the components for a new social science of play.
Ambivalent Alliance convincingly defends several provocative insights into a key period in the history of French Catholicism. It investigates the strange marriage of convenience, from 1899 to 1939, between the French church and the ultra-rightist, chauvinist, monarchist, and anti-Semitic organization called the Acton Française, and raises many disturbing questions. Why did an increasingly international church find a narrowly patriotic group so appealing? How could it endorse a movement founded by an agnostic whose philosophy sanctioned violence and the persecution of Jews and othe “undesirables”?
The twentieth-century French church was still feeling the shock waves of the French Revolution, assaulted from without and torn from within regarding its role in politics. Challenging the views of prominent historians of the period, Arnal shows that between 1899 and 1939 Catholic leaders pursued a consistent strategy of political and social conservatism. Whereas many regarded the church's flirtations with social democracy and its occasional attempts to rally French Catholics behind constitutional politics as proof of its progressive character, Arnal sees a fundamentally reactionary continuity in church leadership. Pius XI did not condemn the Acton Française for its fascist ideology; he feared independence among Catholics more than the radical right.
Arnal's wide-ranging study brings a controversial new interpretation to the political and ecclesiastical history of the twentieth-century.
A new translation for scholars and students of biblical interpretation and ancient Christianity
The ancient writer dubbed Ambrosiaster was a pioneer in the revival of interest in the Pauline Epistles in the later fourth century. He was read by Latin writers, including Pelagius and Augustine, and his writings, passed on pseudonymously, had a long afterlife in the biblical commentaries, theological treatises, and canonical literature of the medieval and the early modern periods. In addition to his importance as an interpreter of scripture, Ambrosiaster provides unique perspectives on many facets of Christian life in Rome, from the emergence of clerical celibacy to the development of liturgical practices to the subordination of women.
An up-to-date overview of what is known about Ambrosiaster, the transmission of his commentary on the Pauline Epistles, his exegetical method, his theological orientation, and aspects of Christianity in Rome in the fourth century
A scholarly translation of the final version of the commentary, along with notes that identify significant variants from prior versions of the commentary
Bibliography thatincludes a comprehensive list of the scholarly literature on Ambrosiaster
Patrick J. Ryan SJ Catholic University of America Press, 2018 Library of Congress BL80.3.R93 2018 | Dewey Decimal 201.4
Amen: Jews, Christians, and Muslims Keep Faith with God examines faith as it is understood by Jews, Christians and Muslims; it does not aim to be a work of systematic theology or a lengthy explication of the contents of different faith traditions. It offers Jews, Christians and Muslims several approaches to faith as a category of human experience open to God: a faithful God who reaches out to grasp the faithful human being at the same time that the faithful human being reaches out to grasp a faithful God. This two-sided faith, divine and human, lies at the center of each faith tradition. The book examines faith as one might examine a gem, gazing at different facets in turn.
Prayer is an articulation of our noblest desires, our deepest yearnings, and our darkest places. The prayers in this collection speak directly to the complexity of human life--whether you seek expression for joy, wonder, perplexity, or heartache, for personal use or for your community, you will find here a voice for your experience that will help you linger in the blessings and move forward through the pain. This collection includes prayers for personal use, prayers for use at communal gatherings, prayers and readings for moments of grief and moments of joy, a collection of daily Psalms, and focus phrases and questions for meditation. These readings for contemplative practice and communal gatherings will aid in the search for clarity, for strength beyond what we know, and for an affirmation of holiness, of goodness, of the grandeur of God.
Mythologies offers illuminating examples of the workings of myth in the structure of societies past and present—how we create, use, and are guided by systems of myth to answer fundamental questions about ourselves and our world.
Almost all of Mythologies, originally published as a two-volume cloth set, is now available in four paperback volumes. These volumes reproduce the articles, introductory essays, and illustrations as they appeared in the full Mythologies set, and each includes a new Preface by Wendy Doniger.
This volume gathers eighty articles on mythologies from around the world. A section on the Americas and the South Pacific covers myths of native Americans, from the Inuit to the Mesoamericans, about such topics as the cosmos, fire, and the creation of the world. Essays on African mythology range from the 266 basic signs of West Africa to themes such as twins, the placenta, and masks. The final section, covering Celtic, Norse, and Slavic traditions opens with an overview of the Indo-Europeans and concludes with an essay on the religion and myths of Armenia.
The first comprehensive history of modern American evangelicalism to appear in a generation, AmericanApocalypse shows how a group of radical Protestants, anticipating the end of the world, paradoxically transformed it.
“The history Sutton assembles is rich, and the connections are startling.” —New Yorker
“American Apocalypse relentlessly and impressively shows how evangelicals have interpreted almost every domestic or international crisis in relation to Christ’s return and his judgment upon the wicked…Sutton sees one of the most troubling aspects of evangelical influence in the spread of the apocalyptic outlook among Republican politicians with the rise of the Religious Right…American Apocalypse clearly shows just how popular evangelical apocalypticism has been and, during the Cold War, how the combination of odd belief and political power could produce a sleepless night or two.” —D. G. Hart, Wall Street Journal
“American Apocalypse is the best history of American evangelicalism I’ve read in some time…If you want to understand why compromise has become a dirty word in the GOP today and how cultural politics is splitting the nation apart, American Apocalypse is an excellent place to start.” —Stephen Prothero, Bookforum
A fine line divides scripture from non-scripture, writes Robert M. Price in American Apocrypha. There are books that are not in the Bible that are as powerful and authoritative as anything in the canon. At the same time, much of the Bible was written centures after the events it narrates by scribes using fictitious names. Clearly, the hallmark of scripture is not historical accuracy but rather its spiritual impact on individuals; exclusion from the canon is not reason to dismiss a book as heretical.
Consider the Book of Mormon, first published in 1830. The nature of this volume—in particular its claim to antiquity—is the theme of nine ground-breaking essays in American Apocrypha. Thomas W. Murphy discusses the Book of Mormon’s view that American Indians are descendants of ancient Hebrews. In recent DNA tests, Native Americans have proven to be of Siberian ancestry and not of ancient Jewish or Middle Eastern descent. Nor is the Book of Mormon a traditional translation from an ancient document, writes David P. Wright, as indicated by the underlying Hebrew in the book’s Isaiah passages. Other contributors to American Apocrypha explore the evolution of ideas in the Book of Mormon during the course of its dictation.
Editors Dan Vogel and Brent Metcalfe have chosen essays by authors who represent a wide range of disciplines and perspectives: Robert Price edits the Journal of Higher Criticism; Thomas Murphy chairs the anthropology department at Edmonds Community College; David Wright teaches Hebrew Bible at Brandeis University. They are joined by Scott C. Dunn; Edwin Firmage, Jr.; George D. Smith; and Susan Staker—all of whom explore what can be reasonably asserted about the Book of Mormon as scripture.
“Wall traces the nursing and management roles of nuns and brothers in church-related US health care institutions. This well-documented volume will be a useful addition for collections supporting academic programs in public health, hospital administration, bioethics, and divinity, and for comprehensive collections in the history of medicine. Recommended.” —Choice
“American Catholic Hospitals is fair, balanced, insightful, and intriguing. The story Wall tells—a story about a significant segment of the US health care system—is meticulously documented. Readers will find her study to be illuminating, even inspirational.” —Journal of the American Medical Association
“In American Catholic Hospitals, Barbra Mann Hall traces the ways Catholic hospitals have accommodated changes both within the church and in society over the last century. Her book is well researched and a fascinating read.” —Health Progress
“Wall presents a compelling and well-documented narrative of the dynamic transformation of Catholic hospitals in twentieth-century America. Drawing on records from Catholic congregations throughout the United States, she reveals an admirable perseverance of religious caregivers, demonstrated by their willingness to adapt to socioeconomic forces often inimical to charitable care.” —American Catholic Studies
“American Catholic Hospitals is meticulously researched and well written. Although it is certainly appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate students, general readers also will find it to be an excellent overview of the history of the changes that Catholic health-care institutions have undergone in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.” —Catholic Historical Review
“American Catholic Hospitals offers a tremendous amount of new material and refreshing perspectives on current health care system challenges in the United States.” —Sioban Nelson, Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
“Wall provides solid scholarship and engaging insight into the historic and contemporary contributions of American Catholic hospitals and their ability to adapt and serve amid the changing landscapes of church and state, culture wars, and healthcare reforms of the 20th century.” —Carol K. Coburn, author of Spirited Lives: How Nuns Shaped Catholic Culture and American Life, 1836-1920
The Catholic Church remains one of the oldest institutions of Western civilization. It continues to withstand attack from without and defection from within. In his revision of American Catholicism, Monsignor Ellis has added a new chapter on the history of the Church since 1956. Here he deals with developments in Catholic education, with the changing relations of the Church to its own members and to society in general, and especially with arguments for and against the ecumenical movement brought about by Vatican Council II.
The author gives an updated historical account of the part played by Catholics in both the American Revolution and the Civil War, and of the difficulties within the Church that came with the clash of national interests among Irish, French, and Germans in the nineteenth century. He regards immigration as the key to the increasingly important role of American Catholicism in the nation after 1820. For contemporary America, the author counts among the signs of the mature Church an increase in Church membership, the presence of nine Americans in the College of Cardinals in May, 1967, and the expansion of American effort in Catholic missions throughout the world.
In the mid-twentieth century, American Catholic churches began to shed the ubiquitous spires, stained glass, and gargoyles of their European forebears, turning instead toward startling and more angular structures of steel, plate glass, and concrete. But how did an institution like the Catholic Church, so often seen as steeped in inflexible traditions, come to welcome this modernist trend?
Catherine R. Osborne’s innovative new book finds the answer: the alignment between postwar advancements in technology and design and evolutionary thought within the burgeoning American Catholic community. A new, visibly contemporary approach to design, church leaders thought, could lead to the rebirth of the church community of the future. As Osborne explains, the engineering breakthroughs that made modernist churches feasible themselves raised questions that were, for many Catholics, fundamentally theological. Couldn’t technological improvements engender worship spaces that better reflected God's presence in the contemporary world? Detailing the social, architectural, and theological movements that made modern churches possible, American Catholics and the Churches of Tomorrow breaks important new ground in the history of American Catholicism, and also presents new lines of thought for scholars attracted to modern architectural and urban history.
Christianity takes an astonishing variety of forms in America, from churches that cherish traditional modes of worship to evangelical churches and fellowships, Pentecostal churches, social-action churches, megachurches, and apocalyptic churches—congregations ministering to believers of diverse ethnicities, social classes, and sexual orientations. Nor is this diversity a recent phenomenon, despite many Americans’ nostalgia for an undeviating “faith of our fathers” in the days of yore. Rather, as Stephen Cox argues in this thought-provoking book, American Christianity is a revolution that is always happening, and always needs to happen. The old-time religion always has to be made new, and that is what Americans have been doing throughout their history.
American Christianity is an engaging book, wide ranging and well informed, in touch with the living reality of America’s diverse traditions and with the surprising ways in which they have developed. Radical and unpredictable change, Cox argues, is one of the few dependable features of Christianity in America. He explores how both the Catholic Church and the mainline Protestant churches have evolved in ways that would make them seem alien to their adherents in past centuries. He traces the rise of uniquely American movements, from the Mormons to the Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and brings to life the vivid personalities—Aimee Semple McPherson, Billy Sunday, and many others—who have taken the gospel to the masses. He sheds new light on such issues as American Christians’ intense but constantly changing political involvements, their controversial revisions in the style and substance of worship, and their chronic expectation that God is about to intervene conclusively in human life. Asserting that “a church that doesn’t promise new beginnings can never prosper in America,“ Cox demonstrates that American Christianity must be seen not as a sociological phenomenon but as the ever-changing story of individual people seeking their own connections with God, constantly reinventing their religion, making it more volatile, more colorful, and more fascinating.
American Congregations, Volume 1: Portraits of Twelve Religious Communities chronicles the founding, growth, and development of congregations that represent the diverse and complex reality of American local religious cultures. Some, like Center Church in New Haven, trace their stories back to colonial times. Others, like the Swaminarayan Hindu temple in suburban Chicago, are recent attempts to create local religious worlds. Ranging from congregations of Lebanese Muslims in Northern Canada to Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, the essays convey the distinctive character of each congregation and provide vivid evidence of the importance of congregations in daily life.
"This study refreshingly illuminates [congregations'] strengths as places where the public and private lives of their members meet in dynamic creativity and as havens of religious meaning and comfort in the midst of a secular world."—Choice
"A major contribution to how debates about American religion will be framed in the years ahead. . . . In giving us these case histories and a set of excellent interpretive essays, Wind and Lewis have reminded us that American religion must be understood in its particular, local, gathered, human forms. They remind us that congregations matter."—Nancy T. Ammerman, First Things
"Well-presented and engaging essays, by some of the foremost religious scholars working today, examining the histories of twelve diverse religious institutions. . . . A fascinating and important social history of religion."—Kirkus Reviews
"Scholarship and the religious traditions have been enriched by the labors of the Congregational History Project. Theologically, its pioneering research invites us to examine ourselves."—Gabriel Fackre, Christian Century