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'Do you want to improve the world? I don't think it can be done. The world is sacred. It can't be improved. If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it. If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.' Stephen Mitchell's translation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching (The Book of the Way) has sold over half a million copies worldwide. In this stunningly beautiful edition of the fundamental modern Taoist philosophy text, Mitchell's words are set against ancient Chinese paintings selected by Asian art expert, Dr Stephen Little.
An essential biography of the greatest love poem ever written The Song of Songs has been embraced for centuries as the ultimate song of love. But the kind of love readers have found in this ancient poem is strikingly varied. Ilana Pardes invites us to explore the dramatic shift from readings of the Song as a poem on divine love to celebrations of its exuberant account of human love. With a refreshingly nuanced approach, she reveals how allegorical and literal interpretive lines are inextricably intertwined in the Song's tumultuous life. The body in all its aspects "pleasure and pain, even erotic fervor "is key to many allegorical commentaries. And although the literal, sensual Song thrives in modernity, allegory has not disappeared. New modes of allegory have emerged in modern settings, from the literary and the scholarly to the communal. Offering rare insights into the story of this remarkable poem, Pardes traces a variegated line of passionate readers. She looks at Jewish and Christian interpreters of late antiquity who were engaged in disputes over the Song's allegorical meaning, at medieval Hebrew poets who introduced it into the opulent world of courtly banquets, and at kabbalists who used it as a springboard to the celestial spheres. She shows how feminist critics have marveled at the Song's egalitarian representation of courtship, and how it became a song of America for Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Toni Morrison. Throughout these explorations of the Song's reception, Pardes highlights the unparalleled beauty of its audacious language of love.
This book explores the evolution of a Shia Ismaili identity and crucial aspects of the historical forces that conditioned the development of the Muslim modern in late colonial South Asia. It traces the legal process that, since the 1860s, recast a Shia Imami identity for the Ismailis, and explicates the public career of Imam Aga Khan III amid heightened religious internationalism since the late-nineteenth century, the age of 'religious internationals'. It sheds light and elaborates on the enduring legacies of questions such as the Aga's understanding of colonial modernity, his ideas of India, restructured modalities of community governance and the evolution of Imamate-sponsored institutions, key strands in scholarship that characterized the development of the Muslim and Shia Ismaili modern, and Muslim universality vis-...-vis denominational particularities that often transcended the remits of the modular nation and state structure.
As the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has captured the attention and admiration of the world through his wisdom. This jewel of a book offers some of his most helpful insights on daily living, inner peace, compassion and justice - for all of us in these troubled times.
The conversion of Saul of Tarsus, also known as Paul, a former persecutor who will then be persecuted himself.
Buddha said that the essence of his teaching is 'awareness'. In his straightforward, simple exposition of Buddhism, Steve Hagen, a Zen priest, explains what is meant by that awareness. He takes us back to Buddha's original insights and observations and demonstrates their relevance to us today. Awareness, he says, is about freeing our mind from dissatisfaction and letting go of the problems we create for ourselves.
For those readers approaching Buddhism for the first time, or those who have long been practising, this book offers invaluable, clear insights into the heart of Buddhism.
An unparalleled exploration of magic in the Greco-Roman world What did magic mean to the people of ancient Greece and Rome? How did Greeks and Romans not only imagine what magic could do, but also use it to try to influence the world around them? In Drawing Down the Moon, Radcliffe Edmonds, one of the foremost experts on magic, religion, and the occult in the ancient world, provides the most comprehensive account of the varieties of phenomena labeled as magic in classical antiquity. Exploring why certain practices, images, and ideas were labeled as oemagic and set apart from oenormal kinds of practices, Edmonds gives insight into the shifting ideas of religion and the divine in the ancient past and in the later Western tradition. Using fresh approaches to the history of religions and the social contexts in which magic was exercised, Edmonds delves into the archaeological record and classical literary traditions to examine images of witches, ghosts, and demons as well as the fantastic powers of metamorphosis, erotic attraction, and reversals of nature, such as the famous trick of drawing down the moon. From prayer and divination to astrology and alchemy, Edmonds journeys through all manner of ancient magical rituals and paraphernalia "ancient tablets, spell books, bindings and curses, love charms and healing potions, and amulets and talismans. He considers the ways in which the Greco-Roman discourse of magic was formed amid the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, including Egypt and the Near East. An investigation of the mystical and marvelous, Drawing Down the Moon offers an unparalleled record of the origins, nature, and functions of ancient magic.
One of the most inspiring spiritual teachers of our time offers simple, practical advice for living with less fear, less anxiety and a more open heart. Bought in a hotly contested auction, The Places That Scare You is now available in massmarket, taking Pema Choedroen 's spiritual teachings to a wider audience. We always have a choice, Pema Choedroen teaches: we can either let the circumstances of our lives harden us and make us increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kind. This unique book shows us how to awaken our basic goodness and connect to others. In her lively, contemporary voice, Choedroen translates the wisdom of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for the layperson. Her wisdom cuts across all traditions and religions - appealing to everyone from the Dalai Lama's followers to ordinary people trying to make sense of their lives. This title has gone straight onto the bestseller lists in the USA, where it has just been published. Recently profiled in Oprah's O magazine, Pema Choedroen is a spiritual teacher for anyone - whether they have a spiritual path or not. Her heartfelt advice and wisdom (developed in her 20 years of practice as a Tibetan Buddhist nun as well as her years previously as a normal `housewife and mother') give her a wide appeal. Particularly in these difficult times, this advice strikes just the right note, offering us comfort and challenging us to live deeply and contribute to creating a more loving world.
Widely regarded as the founder of the Islamic philosophical tradition, and as the single greatest philosophical authority after Aristotle by his successors in the medieval Islamic, Jewish, and Christian communities, Alfarabi was a leading figure in the fields of Aristotelian logic and Platonic political science. The first complete English translation of his commentary on Aristotle's Topics, Alfarabi's Book of Dialectic, or Kitab al-Jadal, is presented here in a deeply researched edition based on the most complete Arabic manuscript sources. David M. DiPasquale argues that Alfarabi's understanding of the Socratic art of dialectic is the key prism through which to grasp his recovery of an authentic tradition of Greek science on the verge of extinction. He also suggests that the Book of Dialectic is unique to the extent to which it unites Alfarabi's logical and political writings, opening up novel ways of interpreting Alfarabi's influence.
"What's this you're writing?" asked Pooh, climbing onto the writing table. "The Tao of Pooh," I replied. "The how of Pooh?" asked Pooh, smudging one of the words I had just written. "The Tao of Pooh," I replied, poking his paw away with my pencil. "It seems more like ow! of Pooh," said Pooh, rubbing his paw. "Well, it's not," I replied huffily. "What's it about?" asked Pooh, leaning forward and smearing another word. "It's about how to stay happy and calm under all circumstances!" I yelled. "Have you read it?" asked Pooh... Winnie-the-Pooh has a certain way about him, a way of doing things that has made him the world's most beloved bear, and Pooh's Way, as Benjamin Hoff brilliantly demonstrates, seems strangely close to the ancient Chinese principles of Taoism. Follow the Pooh Way in this humorous and enlightening introduction to Taoism, with classic decorations by E.H. Shepard throughout.
Written by four outstanding Torah scholars, the JPS Torah Commentary series represents a fusion of the best of the old and new. Utilizing the latest research to enhance our understanding of the biblical text, it takes its place as one of the most authoritative yet accessible Bible commentaries of our day. The JPS Torah Commentary series guides readers through the words and ideas of the Torah. Each volume is the work of a scholar who stands at the pinnacle of his field. every page contains the complete traditional Hebrew text, with cantillation notes, the JPS translation of the Holy Scriptures, aliyot breaks, Masoretic notes, and commentary by a distinguished Hebrew Bible scholar, integrating classical and modern sources. Each volume also contains supplementary essays that elaborate upon key words and themes, a glossary of commentators and sources, extensive bibliographic notes, and maps.
Since the 1980 military coup in Turkey, much of the history and politics of the country can be described as a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism. In this accessible account of the country's politics, society and economics, the authors delve into the causes and processes of what has been called a democratic 'backsliding'. In order to explore this, Yesim Arat and Sevket Pamuk, two of Turkey's leading social scientists, focus on the mutual distrust between the secular and Islamist groups. They argue that the attempts by a secular coalition to circumscribe the Islamists in power had a boomerang effect. The Islamists struck back first in self-defence, then in pursuit of authoritarian power. With chapters on urbanization, Kurdish nationalism, women's movements, economic development and foreign relations, this book offers a comprehensive and lively examination of contemporary Turkey and its role on the global stage.
You are invited to enter the new-old pathway of Neo-Hasidism-a movement that uplifts key elements of Hasidism's Jewish revival of two centuries ago to reexamine the meaning of existence, see everything anew, and bring the world as it is and as it can be closer together. This volume brings this discussion into the twenty-first century, highlighting Neo-Hasidic approaches to key issues of our time. Eighteen contributions by leading Neo-Hasidic thinkers open with Zalman Schachter-Shalomi's and Arthur Green's Neo-Hasidic credos. Or Rose wrestles with reinterpreting the rebbes' harsh teachings concerning non-Jews. Ebn Leader assesses the perils of trusting one's whole being to a single personality: can Neo-Hasidism endure as a living tradition without a rebbe? Shaul Magid candidly calibrates Shlomo Carlebach: how "the singing rabbi" transformed him, and why Magid eventually walked away. Other contributors engage questions such as: How might women enter this hitherto gendered sphere created by and for men? How can we honor and draw nourishment from other religions' teachings? Can the rebbes' radiant wisdom guide those who struggle with self-diminishment to reclaim wholeness? Together these intellectually honest and spiritually robust conversations inspire us to grapple anew with Judaism's legacy and future.
The Cambridge Companion to Judaism and Law explores the Jewish conception of law as an essential component of the divine-human relationship from biblical to modern times, as well as resistance to this conceptualization. It also traces the political, social, intellectual, and cultural circumstances that spawned competing Jewish approaches to its own 'divine' law and the 'non-divine' law of others, including that of the modern, secular state of Israel. Part I focuses on the emergence and development of law as an essential element of religious expression in biblical Israel and classical Judaism through the medieval period. Part II considers the ramifications for the law arising from political emancipation and the invention of Judaism as a 'religion' in the modern period. Finally, Part III traces the historical and ideological processes leading to the current configuration of religion and state in modern Israel, analysing specific conflicts between religious law and state law.
There are Heroes - and then there are Greek Heroes. Stephen Fry's glorious retelling of their fascinating stories will be loved by young and old alike. ___________ Mortals and Monsters. Quests and Adventures . . . Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils, or outwitted scheming vengeful gods, quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes. In this companion to his bestselling Mythos, Stephen Fry brilliantly retells these dramatic, funny, tragic and timeless tales. Join Jason aboard the Argo as he quests for the Golden Fleece. See Atalanta - who was raised by bears - outrun any man before being tricked with golden apples. Witness wily Oedipus solve the riddle of the Sphinx and discover how Bellerophon captures the winged horse Pegasus to help him slay the monster Chimera. Filled with white-knuckle chases and battles, impossible puzzles and riddles, acts of base cowardice and real bravery, not to mention murders and selfless sacrifices, Heroes is the story of what we mortals are truly capable of - at our worst and our very best. 'Assured and engaging. The pace is lively, the jokes are genuinely funny, and Fry once again proves himself a master of great learning worn lightly' Guardian 'Here, indeed, be monsters, myriad adventures and machinating gods. Fry is a personable and passionate narrator' - Mail on Sunday 'Just as delightful and difficult to put down as the first. Heroes makes the stories relatable without skimping on the gory details, or sacrificing the truths of the myth. It's rich, it's funny and you'll feel like you've learned a lot' Herald 'This is a spirited retelling of stories that Fry clearly knows and loves' The Times ___________ If you like the sound of Heroes, you'll love Mythos - Fry's first foray into the enthralling world of Greek mythology. Praise for Mythos: 'Ebullient and funny' The Times 'A rollicking good read' Independent 'The Greek gods of the past become relatable as pop culture, modern literature and music are woven throughout. Joyfully informal yet full of the literary legacy' Guardian
'Reading this book is like sitting in the pub listening to a good friend tell you stories. It does what only the best retellings can and makes you see the myth anew' Daisy Johnson That was the start of it. A terrible business altogether. Oh, it was all kept off the news, for the sake of the talks and the ceasefire. But them that were around that part of the country remember every bit. Wait now till you hear the rest. Northern Ireland, 1996. After twenty-five years of conflict, the IRA and the British have agreed an uneasy ceasefire, as a first step towards lasting peace. But if decades of savage violence are leading only to smiles and handshakes, those on the ground in the border country will start to question what exactly they have been fighting for. When an IRA man's wife turns informer, he and his brother gather their old comrades for an assault on the local army base. But the squad's feared sniper suddenly refuses to fight, and the SAS are sent in to crush this rogue terror cell before it can wreck the fragile truce, and drag the whole region back to the darkest days of the Troubles. Inspired by the oldest war story of them all, this powerful new Irish novel explores the brutal glory of armed conflict, and the bitter tragedy of those on both sides who offer their lives to defend the honour of their country.
In 1099, when the first crusaders arrived triumphant and bloody before the walls of Jerusalem, they carved out a Christian European presence in the Islamic world that remained for centuries, bolstered by subsequent waves of new crusades and pilgrimages. But how did medieval Muslims understand these events? What does an Islamic history of the Crusades look like? The answers may surprise you. In The Race for Paradise, we see medieval Muslims managing this new and long-lived Crusader threat not simply as victims or as victors, but as everything in-between, on all shores of the Muslim Mediterranean, from Spain to Syria. This is not just a straightforward tale of warriors and kings clashing in the Holy Land - of military confrontations and enigmatic heros such as the great sultan Saladin. What emerges is a more complicated story of border-crossers and turncoats; of embassies and merchants; of scholars and spies, all of them seeking to manage this new threat from the barbarian fringes of their ordered world. When seen from the perspective of medieval Muslims, the Crusades emerge as something altogether different from the high-flying rhetoric of the European chronicles: as a diplomatic chess-game to be mastered, a commercial opportunity to be seized, a cultural encounter shaping Muslim experiences of Europeans until the close of the Middle Ages - and, as so often happened, a political challenge to be exploited by ambitious rulers making canny use of the language of jihad.
Heretic and impostor or reformer and statesman? The contradictory Western visions of Muhammad In European culture, Muhammad has been vilified as a heretic, an impostor, and a pagan idol. But these aren (TM)t the only images of the Prophet of Islam that emerge from Western history. Commentators have also portrayed Muhammad as a visionary reformer and an inspirational leader, statesman, and lawgiver. In Faces of Muhammad, John Tolan provides a comprehensive history of these changing, complex, and contradictory visions. Starting from the earliest calls to the faithful to join the Crusades against the oeSaracens, he traces the evolution of Western conceptions of Muhammad through the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and up to the present day. Faces of Muhammad reveals a lengthy tradition of positive portrayals of Muhammad that many will find surprising. To Reformation polemicists, the spread of Islam attested to the corruption of the established Church, and prompted them to depict Muhammad as a champion of reform. In revolutionary England, writers on both sides of the conflict drew parallels between Muhammad and Oliver Cromwell, asking whether the prophet was a rebel against legitimate authority or the bringer of a new and just order. Voltaire first saw Muhammad as an archetypal religious fanatic but later claimed him as an enemy of superstition. To Napoleon, he was simply a role model: a brilliant general, orator, and leader. The book shows that Muhammad wears so many faces in the West because he has always acted as a mirror for its writers, their portrayals revealing more about their own concerns than the historical realities of the founder of Islam.
A compelling account of Christianity's Jewish beginnings, from one of the world's leading scholars of ancient religion How did a group of charismatic, apocalyptic Jewish missionaries, working to prepare their world for the impending realization of God's promises to Israel, end up inaugurating a movement that would grow into the gentile church? Committed to Jesus's prophecy--"The Kingdom of God is at hand!"--they were, in their own eyes, history's last generation. But in history's eyes, they became the first Christians. In this electrifying social and intellectual history, Paula Fredriksen answers this question by reconstructing the life of the earliest Jerusalem community. As her account arcs from this group's hopeful celebration of Passover with Jesus, through their bitter controversies that fragmented the movement's midcentury missions, to the city's fiery end in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, she brings this vibrant apostolic community to life. Fredriksen offers a vivid portrait both of this temple-centered messianic movement and of the bedrock convictions that animated and sustained it.
Book 18 of the Iliad is an outstanding example of the range and power of Homeric epic. It describes the reaction of the hero Achilles to the death of his closest friend, and his decision to re-enter the conflict even though it means he will lose his own life. The book also includes the forging of the marvellous shield for the hero by the smith-god Hephaestus: the images on the shield are described by the poet in detail, and this description forms the archetypal ecphrasis, influential on many later writers. In an extensive introduction, R. B. Rutherford discusses the themes, style and legacy of the book. The commentary provides line-by-line guidance for readers at all levels, addressing linguistic detail and larger questions of interpretation. A substantial appendix considers the relation between Iliad 18 and the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, which has been prominent in much recent discussion.
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