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Books > Biography > Religious & spiritual

Thomas Cranmer - A Life (Paperback, Revised edition): Diarmaid MacCulloch Thomas Cranmer - A Life (Paperback, Revised edition)
Diarmaid MacCulloch
R549 Discovery Miles 5 490 Ships in 10 - 15 working days

Thomas Cranmer, the architect of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, was the archbishop of Canterbury who guided England through the early Reformation-and Henry VIII through the minefields of divorce. This is the first major biography of him for more than three decades, and the first for a century to exploit rich new manuscript sources in Britain and elsewhere. Diarmaid MacCulloch, one of the foremost scholars of the English Reformation, traces Cranmer from his east-Midland roots through his twenty-year career as a conventionally conservative Cambridge don. He shows how Cranmer was recruited to the coterie around Henry VIII that was trying to annul the royal marriage to Catherine, and how new connections led him to embrace the evangelical faith of the European Reformation and, ultimately, to become archbishop of Canterbury. By then a major English statesman, living the life of a medieval prince-bishop, Cranmer guided the church through the king's vacillations and finalized two successive versions of the English prayer book. MacCulloch skillfully reconstructs the crises Cranmer negotiated, from his compromising association with three of Henry's divorces, the plot by religious conservatives to oust him, and his role in the attempt to establish Lady Jane Grey as queen to the vengeance of the Catholic Mary Tudor. In jail after Mary's accession, Cranmer nearly repudiated his achievements, but he found the courage to turn the day of his death into a dramatic demonstration of his Protestant faith. From this vivid account Cranmer emerges a more sharply focused figure than before, more conservative early in his career than admirers have allowed, more evangelical than Anglicanism would later find comfortable. A hesitant hero with a tangled life story, his imperishable legacy is his contribution in the prayer book to the shape and structure of English speech and through this to the molding of an international language and the theology it expressed.

Daring to Hope - Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful (Paperback): Katie Davis Majors Daring to Hope - Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful (Paperback)
Katie Davis Majors
R294 R225 Discovery Miles 2 250 Save R69 (23%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

Picking up where she left off in the best-selling book Kisses from Katie, Katie Davis Majors shares her ongoing experiences in Uganda as the adoptive mother to thirteen girls and describes how she's wrestled through the darkness of disappointment to find the answer to whether God truly is good. New readers and long-time followers alike will find themselves alternately celebrating and crying as they witness a life of faith where death and loss are daily companions alongside miracles and joy. Readers will recognise their own questions and doubts in Katie's descriptions of seeking evidence of God's grace in both the beauty and brokenness of life. Through the wrestling, Katie finds an unshakable hope, one that she prays her readers will find as well in the pages of her story.

When People Pray - What Happens When People Pray to an Extraordinary God (Paperback): Brian Alarid, Hill Holden When People Pray - What Happens When People Pray to an Extraordinary God (Paperback)
Brian Alarid, Hill Holden
R358 R289 Discovery Miles 2 890 Save R69 (19%) Out of stock
God Gave Me You - A True Story of Love, Loss and Heaven-Sent Miracle (Paperback): Tricia Seaman, Diane Nichols God Gave Me You - A True Story of Love, Loss and Heaven-Sent Miracle (Paperback)
Tricia Seaman, Diane Nichols
R271 R240 Discovery Miles 2 400 Save R31 (11%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

In this inspiring story of a single mother with terminal cancer who asked a nurse she'd met on the oncology ward to raise her son after her death, two extraordinary mothers learn that family isn't always blood ... sometimes it's made up of the people God gives you if you have a willing heart. Oncology nurse Tricia Seaman and her family had their hearts set on adopting a son. They were months into the gruelling process when Tricia met terminally ill cancer patient Trish on her regular rounds. As the cancer spread, Trish asked her nurse, a complete stranger just days before, to raise her beloved son when she passed away. This is the true story of how these two remarkable women met, the immediate bond they formed, and the ups and downs of joining their families together as Trish's life ebbed away. God Gave Me You is a story of courage, trust, and faith that God's plans are bigger and more amazing than we could ever hope for on our own.

Giving It All Away...and Getting It All Back Again - The Way of Living Generously (Paperback, Special edition): David Green Giving It All Away...and Getting It All Back Again - The Way of Living Generously (Paperback, Special edition)
David Green; As told to Bill High
R259 R188 Discovery Miles 1 880 Save R71 (27%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

David Green believes that generosity and building a legacy based on giving can lead to getting back what you really want: a family that stays together, prays together, and shares life joyfully. Green tells the story of caring for the small things and starting Hobby Lobby in their garage. He shares the difference between the worlds of "having and hoarding" and a world of "giving and generosity," the principle of working for God and not for men, and that now is not too soon to consider what you want your legacy to be. As proof of how living by those principles can change your life, Green shares that when Hobby Lobby came close to bankruptcy in 1986 and when the Supreme Court challenged the Hobby Lobby's right to life beliefs in 2014, the company emerged with its integrity intact. Green sees the life of giving as a life of adventure. But it's a life that pays the best rewards personally, offers a powerful legacy to your family, and changes those you touch.

Judas - The Most Hated Name in History (Hardcover): Peter Stanford Judas - The Most Hated Name in History (Hardcover)
Peter Stanford
R577 R463 Discovery Miles 4 630 Save R114 (20%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

In this fascinating historical and cultural biography, Peter Stanford deconstructs that most vilified of Bible characters: Judas Iscariot, who famously betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Beginning with the gospel accounts, Stanford explores two thousand years of cultural and theological history to investigate how the very name Judas came to be synonymous with betrayal and, ultimately, human evil. But as the author points out, there has long been a counter-current of thought that suggests that Judas might in fact have been victim of a terrible injustice: central to Jesus' mission was his death and resurrection, and for there to have been a death, there had to be a betrayal. This thankless role fell to Judas; should we in fact be grateful to him for his role in the divine drama of salvation? "You'll have to decide," as Bob Dylan sang in the sixties, "Whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side." An essential but doomed character in the Passion narrative, and thus the entire story of Christianity, Judas and the betrayal he symbolizes continue to play out in much larger cultural histories, speaking as he does to our deepest fears about friendship, betrayal, and the problem of evil.

Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry (Paperback): Marcus Thompson Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry (Paperback)
Marcus Thompson
R271 R241 Discovery Miles 2 410 Save R30 (11%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

The incredible and inspiring story of Stephen Curry, the greatest shooter basketball has ever seen and a devout Christian who is not afraid of sharing his faith on the world stage. When it comes to Stephen Curry-point guard for the Golden State Warriors and reigning MVP of the NBA-journalists, fans, and sports analysts are running out of ways to say "wow." Deemed too small and too short at 6'3 and 180 pounds by NBA coaches around the league, Curry has taken the game back from the bigger men who usually dominate the court. With his incredible shooting ability that started a "three-point revolution" he led the Warriors to seventy-three wins in the 2015-2016 season, beating out Michael Jordan and the 1996 Chicago Bulls' long-time record. Marcus Thompson, a lifelong Warriors insider who has been reporting on the team for twelve seasons, explores this all-star player, his love for the game and his team, his close-knit and supportive family and his grounding in a strong Christian faith. Loved by everyone he works with in the NBA, Stephen's devout Christian faith and nice-guy attitude make him a different breed of superstar. He writes two scriptures on his game shoes every time he plays: Romans 8:28, his mother's favourite verse, and Philippians 4:13, his favourite, which reads "I can do all things". People assume Curry loves this verse because God allows him to accomplish success and that his faith is so strong that he can achieve the greatest heights, but the real point may be that through faith he can handle anything thrown his way. That includes success but it also includes failure. It includes fighting back from a career-threatening ankle injury and remaining humble despite the spoils of global fame.

Autobiography of a Yogi (Paperback): Paramahansa Yogananda Autobiography of a Yogi (Paperback)
Paramahansa Yogananda
R171 R145 Discovery Miles 1 450 Save R26 (15%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Fiction / General; Biography

Alfred Edersheim - Jewish Scholar for the Mormon Prophets (Paperback): Marianna Richardson Alfred Edersheim - Jewish Scholar for the Mormon Prophets (Paperback)
Marianna Richardson
R314 R295 Discovery Miles 2 950 Save R19 (6%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

Perhaps the most influential non-LDS scholar was a man named Alfred Edersheim. Born in 1825 to Jewish parents, he became an Anglican minister, a prolific writer, and a gifted linguist. His works have been studied and quoted by Church authorities and scholars for more than a hundred years. Edersheim used his knowledge of Jewish customs, language, and beliefs to increase Christianity's understanding of the events and teachings of both the Old and New Testaments. His scholarship, coupled with a fervent testimony of Jesus Christ, has made him one of the most influential scripture scholars of our time. Alfred Edersheim: Jewish Scholar for the Mormon Prophets explores his life, his writings, and his influence on LDS writers, scholars, and authorities. Whether or not you are already familiar with Edersheim's work, you will enjoy reading the words of this inspiring disciple of Christ. His powerful testimony of the Savior will strengthen your own faith in the mission of Jesus Christ.

A Noble Knight - Dan Priatko's Story of Faith and Courage (Paperback): Scott Brown A Noble Knight - Dan Priatko's Story of Faith and Courage (Paperback)
Scott Brown
R383 R313 Discovery Miles 3 130 Save R70 (18%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
Carl Llewellyn Weschcke - Pioneer and Publisher of Body, Mind and Spirit (Hardcover): Melanie Marquis Carl Llewellyn Weschcke - Pioneer and Publisher of Body, Mind and Spirit (Hardcover)
Melanie Marquis
R607 R432 Discovery Miles 4 320 Save R175 (29%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

To the countless people he inspired, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke will forever be known as the Father of the New Age. In vivid and entertaining detail, this book tells the story of Carl, from a childhood influenced by his Spiritualist grandfather to his early days as a member and past president of the St. Paul NAACP. Discover the fascinating details of his acquisition of Llewellyn Worldwide, his relationships with the most influential thinkers and teachers of the counterculture, his public Wiccan hand-fasting and enduring relationship with his wife, Sandra, and his stewardship of a world-famous publishing company. Written by long-time correspondent Melanie Marquis and including contributions from friends, family, artists, authors, and collaborators this is a book that looks back at the kindling of a movement while empowering fellow travellers on their journey forward. CARL LLEWELLYN WESCHCKE was the chairman of Llewellyn Worldwide. In the 1970s and early 1980s, he served as a Wiccan high priest, past Grand Master of the Aurum Solis, and past chairman of the Council of American Witches. He shared his passion for metaphysical subjects for more than sixty years, coauthoring eleven books and pursuing topics including astrology, parapsychology, Kabbalah, tarot, and world spirituality.

Saint Monica Power of Mother (Paperback, English): Giovanni Falbo Saint Monica Power of Mother (Paperback, English)
Giovanni Falbo
R338 R272 Discovery Miles 2 720 Save R66 (20%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
Pure - Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free (Paperback): Linda Kay Klein Pure - Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free (Paperback)
Linda Kay Klein 1
R294 R195 Discovery Miles 1 950 Save R99 (34%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

In Pure, Linda Kay Klein uses a potent combination of journalism, cultural commentary, and memoir to take us "inside religious purity culture as only one who grew up in it can" (Gloria Steinem) and reveals the devastating effects evangelical Christianity's views on female sexuality has had on a generation of young women. In the 1990s, a "purity industry" emerged out of the white evangelical Christian culture. Purity rings, purity pledges, and purity balls came with a dangerous message: girls are potential sexual "stumbling blocks" for boys and men, and any expression of a girl's sexuality could reflect the corruption of her character. This message traumatized many girls-resulting in anxiety, fear, and experiences that mimicked the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder-and trapped them in a cycle of shame. This is the sex education Linda Kay Klein grew up with. Fearing being marked a Jezebel, Klein broke up with her high school boyfriend because she thought God told her to and took pregnancy tests despite being a virgin, terrified that any sexual activity would be punished with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. When the youth pastor of her church was convicted of sexual enticement of a twelve-year-old girl, Klein began to question purity-based sexual ethics. She contacted young women she knew, asking if they were coping with the same shame-induced issues she was. These intimate conversations developed into a twelve-year quest that took her across the country and into the lives of women raised in similar religious communities-a journey that facilitated her own healing and led her to churches that are seeking a new way to reconcile sexuality and spirituality. Pure is "a revelation... Part memoir and part journalism, Pure is a horrendous, granular, relentless, emotionally true account" (The Cut) of society's larger subjugation of women and the role the purity industry played in maintaining it. Offering a prevailing message of resounding hope and encouragement, "Pure emboldens us to escape toxic misogyny and experience a fresh breath of freedom" (Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior and founder of Together Rising).

The Axe and the Tree - How bloody persecution sowed the seeds of new life in Zimbabwe (Paperback, New edition): Stephen... The Axe and the Tree - How bloody persecution sowed the seeds of new life in Zimbabwe (Paperback, New edition)
Stephen Griffiths
R195 R161 Discovery Miles 1 610 Save R34 (17%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

A powerful account of British missionaries, Peter and Brenda Griffiths, who played a critical role in the development of the Elim church in the aftermath of the Vumba massacre. Peter and Brenda Griffiths, Stephen's parents, and their team had set up a superb secondary school, only for guerrillas to slaughter almost all the staff. After their funerals Peter maintained that forgiveness for the attackers was the Christian thing to do. This is an inspiring story of Peter and Brenda's courage, sacrifice, and faithfulness in God, who despite the atrocities, continues to build His church in Zimbabwe.

The Rainbow Road from Tooting Broadway to Kalimpong: Memoirs of an English Buddhist, 20 (Paperback): Sanghara Kshita The Rainbow Road from Tooting Broadway to Kalimpong: Memoirs of an English Buddhist, 20 (Paperback)
Sanghara Kshita
R536 R439 Discovery Miles 4 390 Save R97 (18%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

Sangharakshita read the Diamond Sutra for the first time the summer he turned seventeen. It seemed to awaken him to something whose existence he had forgotten, and he joyfully embraced those profound teachings 'with an unqualified acceptance'. This experience decided the whole future direction of his life.In this first volume of memoirs he describes how, from a working-class childhood in the London suburb of Tooting, he came, a twenty-four-year-old Buddhist novice monk, to Kalimpong in the eastern Himalayas. Sangharakshita paints a vivid picture of the people, the places and the experiences that shaped his life: his childhood, his army days, and the gurus he met during his years as a wandering ascetic staying in the caves and ashrams of India. He moves between the ordinary and the extraordinary, from the mundane to the sublime; his narrative takes in the psychological and aesthetic, the philosophical and spiritual. His experiences are both universal - love and loss, comedy and tragedy - and unique to what is an exceptional life.

Teacher in a Foreign Land - M Fethullah Gulen (Paperback): Murat Alptekin Teacher in a Foreign Land - M Fethullah Gulen (Paperback)
Murat Alptekin
R156 R139 Discovery Miles 1 390 Save R17 (11%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

Fethullah Gulen is an enlightened person who knows well many issues related to literature, art, philosophy and science, he is a man of action who has not wasted his life, but struggled to serve humanity. He is tolerant of mankind and sensitive enough to cry when he sees an ant drown. He is a great person altruistic enough to say, "Regardless of where the fire falls, it burns my heart" instead of saying, "Fire burns where it falls." Since his childhood Fethullah Gulen has shown himself to be a unique person with his knowledge, morality and ideals. His life is full of service to others which he recommended and made in spite of the difficulties he endured for his people and all of humanity. Murat Alptekin (MA in Literature) is a researcher, based in Istanbul.

Wurmbrand Participant's Guide - A Six-Session Study on the Complete Tortured for Christ Story (Paperback): The Voice of... Wurmbrand Participant's Guide - A Six-Session Study on the Complete Tortured for Christ Story (Paperback)
The Voice of the Martyrs
R232 R189 Discovery Miles 1 890 Save R43 (19%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days
Hiding in the Light - Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus (Paperback): Rifqa Bary Hiding in the Light - Why I Risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus (Paperback)
Rifqa Bary
R267 R237 Discovery Miles 2 370 Save R30 (11%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

The compelling personal story of a teenage girl who stood against her family's faith to convert to Christianity and who gave up everything in her flight from religious persecution. In 2009 the story broke in national media of a teenage girl who had run away from her Ohio home, claiming that her Muslim father had threatened to kill her for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Her parents denied the charges and fought to have her returned home, but she became a ward of the state, placed into foster care until she was emancipated at age 18. Today that girl is a young woman still living in an undisclosed location, still convinced her life is under threat, and still passionate about following Jesus, despite the risks. Teens and young adults will be moved by Rifqa's story of standing up to religious persecution, literally giving up everything to follow her faith.

Mercy Within Mercy - Georges and Pauline Vanier and the Search for God (Paperback, UK ed.): Mary Frances Coady Mercy Within Mercy - Georges and Pauline Vanier and the Search for God (Paperback, UK ed.)
Mary Frances Coady
R262 R102 Discovery Miles 1 020 Save R160 (61%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

Georges and Pauline Vanier were the parents of Jean Vanier, the co-founder of the L'Arche communities. They lived an intensely spiritual life, influenced mainly by the Carmelite tradition. Mercy Within Mercy is the warmly-told story of their life together through World War Two and the second half of the 20th Century, drawing on many letters and journals by Georges and Pauline themselves and those closest to them. An incredible thirst for God can be seen in the lives of this couple, who were always striving in spite of (and through) human imperfection. The excerpts from letters and journals in this volume show a rare example of the contemplative life and struggles in prayer of an active and prominent married couple. The Vanier story is unique in that it forms a direct link back to the spiritual teaching that includes St. Therese and the Carmelite tradition in its emphasis on simplicity, trust in God's love, and self-abandonment to the mercy of God. After Pauline's death in 1991, an investigation began into the possible introduction of their cause for beatification as a married couple.

In the Footsteps of Jesus: A Journey Through His Life (Paperback): Jean-Pierre Isbouts In the Footsteps of Jesus: A Journey Through His Life (Paperback)
Jean-Pierre Isbouts
R562 R378 Discovery Miles 3 780 Save R184 (33%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

A pivotal era of history comes to life in this fascinating biography of Jesus of Nazareth. The scrupulous account of Jesus' life spans his birth in Bethlehem to his trial and death in Jerusalem along with an emphasis on the characters and events that shaped his journey and his enduring legacy. This revised and updated edition features new images from Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the latest information from the groundbreaking work to expose the original surface of Jesus' tomb. Renowned religious historian and best-selling author Jean-Pierre Isbouts combines the latest historical and archaeological discoveries with enthralling storytelling to illustrate what is known and speculated about Jesus' youth, life, and work. This expert text is presented in an enjoyable, reader-friendly format sure to inspire both newcomers to biblical history as well as the devoted.

A Ready Man - Hugh Stowell Brown: Preacher, Activist, Friend of the Poor (Paperback): Wayne Clarke A Ready Man - Hugh Stowell Brown: Preacher, Activist, Friend of the Poor (Paperback)
Wayne Clarke
R240 R191 Discovery Miles 1 910 Save R49 (20%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days
The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi - My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began (Paperback):... The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi - My Journey into the Heart of Scriptural Faith and the Land Where It All Began (Paperback)
Kathie Lee Gifford; As told to Rabbi Jason Sobel
R287 R208 Discovery Miles 2 080 Save R79 (28%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

As a lifelong student of Scripture, Kathie Lee Gifford has always desired a deeper understanding of God's Word and a deeper knowledge of God Himself. But it wasn't until she began studying the biblical texts in their original Hebrew and Greek-along with actually hiking the ancient paths of Israel-that she found the fulfillment of those desires. Now you can walk with Kathie on a journey through the spiritual foundations of her faith: The Rock (Jesus Christ): Hear directly from Kathie about her life-changing and ever-deepening connection with Jesus, the Lover of her soul. The Road (Israel): Explore dozens of ancient landmarks and historical sites from Israel, the promised land of God's covenant. The Rabbi (God's Word): Go beyond a Sunday-school approach to the Bible by digging into the original languages and deeper meanings of the Holy Scriptures. As you journey through The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi, you'll also find additional content from Messianic Rabbi Jason Sobel throughout the book. Jason's insight into the Hebrew language, culture, and heritage will open your eyes to the Bible like never before. Come! Begin your journey toward a deeper faith through The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi.

The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila - A Biography (Hardcover): Carlos Eire The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila - A Biography (Hardcover)
Carlos Eire
R569 R458 Discovery Miles 4 580 Save R111 (20%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

The life and many afterlives of one of the most enduring mystical testaments ever written The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila is among the most remarkable accounts ever written of the human encounter with the divine. The Life is not really an autobiography at all, but rather a confession written for inquisitors by a nun whose raptures and mystical claims had aroused suspicion. Despite its troubled origins, the book has had a profound impact on Christian spirituality for five centuries, attracting admiration from readers as diverse as mystics, philosophers, artists, psychoanalysts, and neurologists. How did a manuscript once kept under lock and key by the Spanish Inquisition become one of the most inspiring religious books of all time? National Book Award winner Carlos Eire tells the story of this incomparable spiritual masterpiece, examining its composition and reception in the sixteenth century, the various ways its mystical teachings have been interpreted and reinterpreted across time, and its enduring influence in our own secular age. The Life became an iconic text of the Counter-Reformation, was revered in Franco's Spain, and has gone on to be read as a feminist manifesto, a literary work, and even as a secular text. But as Eire demonstrates in this vibrant and evocative book, Teresa's confession is a cry from the heart to God and an audacious portrayal of mystical theology as a search for love. Here is the essential companion to the Life, one woman's testimony to the reality of mystical experience and a timeless affirmation of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.

Cole & Sav - Our Surprising Love Story (Hardcover): Cole Labrant, Savannah Labrant Cole & Sav - Our Surprising Love Story (Hardcover)
Cole Labrant, Savannah Labrant
R447 R320 Discovery Miles 3 200 Save R127 (28%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

Cole and Savannah LaBrant's lives have been a series of trials and triumphs-but also full of beautiful redemption and grace. They were on seemingly different paths but were brought together by God in a surprising way, which culminated in a public love story on the Internet that was witnessed by millions of viewers. Their subsequent YouTube channel, dedicated to family and faith, garners over 100 million views each month. Now Cole and Sav are giving readers a chance to go beyond the small glimpses of their lives offered on their YouTube videos, sharing the full richness of God's work in their lives through their powerful, inspiring story. Readers will be reminded that hope is always possible, even when our situations seem too messy and we seem beyond His reach.

Cole and Sav believe that God's biggest surprises are sometimes right in front of us, hiding in plain sight. Even when we get off the right path, even when it feels like we've made such a mess that not even God can clean it up, He steps in and turns our messes into something beautiful.

The Besht - Magician, Mystic, and Leader (Paperback): Immanuel Etkes The Besht - Magician, Mystic, and Leader (Paperback)
Immanuel Etkes
R988 Discovery Miles 9 880 Ships in 7 - 11 working days

Founded in Eastern Europe in the eighteenth century, the Hasidic movement and its religious thinking have dramatically transformed modern Judaism. The figure of the Ba'al Shem Tov (known in acronym form as the BeSHT)--the purported founder of the Hasidic movement--has fascinated scholars, Jewish philosophers, and laypeople interested in popular Jewish mysticism in general and the contemporary Hasidic movement in all its variety.
In this volume, Etkes enters a rich and heated debate over the origins of the movement, as well as the historicity of its mythic founder, Rabbi Israel Ba'al Shem Tov, who lived much of his life as a miracle worker. The eighteenth century, as Etkes vividly portrays, was the heyday of the kabbalists, who dabbled in the magical power of letters and words to solve personal and communal problems--and to earn a living. Etkes sheds light on the personality of the Besht, on his mysticism, and on his close circle of followers. But equally important, he challenges the popular myth of the Besht as a childlike mystic, wandering the fields in prayer, seeing visions and engaging in acts of godliness and piety. Although Etkes shows great empathy for his subject, the Besht who emerges in these pages is much more down to earth, much more a man of his times. Indeed, according to Etkes, it was never the intention of the Besht to found a religious movement.
Etkes looks at the Besht's mystical roots, examining him not only from the vantage point of a social historian, but as a religious figure. Moshe Rosman, author of Founder of Hasidism, a biography of the Besht, claims that In Praise of the Besht--a volume published about the Besht in 1814, many years after his death, which portrayed his character by means of stories told by his close followers--could not be a reliable source. Etkes, disputing this claim, shows definitively that this well-known text (translated and interpreted by, among others, Martin Buber) may indeed offer trustworthy accounts of the Besht's life and thinking.

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