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This book examines the emergence of self-knowledge as a determining legal consideration among the rabbis of Late Antiquity, from the third to the seventh centuries CE. Based on close readings of rabbinic texts from Palestine and Babylonia, Ayelet Hoffmann Libson highlights a unique and surprising development in Talmudic jurisprudence, whereby legal decision-making incorporated personal and subjective information. She examines the central legal role accorded to individuals' knowledge of their bodies and mental states in areas of law as diverse as purity laws, family law and the laws of Sabbath. By focusing on subjectivity and self-reflection, the Babylonian rabbis transformed earlier legal practices in a way that cohered with the cultural concerns of other religious groups in Late Antiquity. They developed sophisticated ideas about the inner self and incorporated these notions into their distinctive discourse of law.
In This Hour offers the first English translations of selected German writings by Abraham Joshua Heschel from his tumultuous years in Nazi-ruled Germany and months in London exile, before he found refuge in the United States. Moreover, several of the works have never been published in any language. Composed during a time of intense crisis for European Jewry, these writings both argue for and exemplify a powerful vision of spiritually rich Jewish learning and its redemptive role in the past and the future of the Jewish people. The collection opens with the text of a speech in which Heschel laid out with passion his vision for Jewish education. Then it goes on to present his teachings: a set of essays about the rabbis of the Mishnaic period, whose struggles paralleled those of his own time; the biography of the medieval Jewish scholar and leader Don Yitzhak Abravanel; reflections on the power and meaning of repentance, written for the High Holidays in 1936; and a short story on Jewish exile, written for Hanukkah 1937. The collection closes with a set of four recently discovered meditations-on suffering, prayer, spirituality, and God-in which Heschel grapples with the horrors unfolding around him. Taken together, these essays and story fill a significant void in Heschel's bibliography: his Nazi Germany and London exile years. These translations convey the spare elegance of Heschel's prose, and the introduction and detailed notes make the volume accessible to readers of all knowledge levels. As Heschel teaches history, his voice is more than that of a historian: the old becomes new, and the struggles of one era shed light on another. Even as Heschel quotes ancient sources, his words address the issues of his own time and speak urgently to ours.
"Al-Ghazali on the Ninety-nine Beautiful Names of God" (al-Masad al-asna fi sharh asma'Allah al-husna) is based on the Prophet's teaching that `Ninety-nine Beautiful Names' are truly predicated of God. In this work, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali explores the meaning and resonance of each of these divine Names, and reveals the functions they perform both in the cosmos and in the soul of the spiritual adept. In addition, Ghazali explains how man's perfection and happiness consists in being moulded by the qualities of God. Although some of the book is rigorously analytical, the author never fails to attract the reader with his profound mystical and ethical insights, which has made this book one of the perennial classics of Muslim thought, popular among Muslims to this day.
T. M. Rudavsky presents a new account of the development of Jewish philosophy from the tenth century to Spinoza in the seventeenth, viewed as part of an ongoing dialogue with medieval Christian and Islamic thought. Her aim is to provide a broad historical survey of major figures and schools within the medieval Jewish tradition, focusing on the tensions between Judaism and rational thought. This is reflected in particular philosophical controversies across a wide range of issues in metaphysics, language, cosmology, and philosophical theology. The book illuminates our understanding of medieval thought by offering a much richer view of the Jewish philosophical tradition, informed by the considerable recent research that has been done in this area.
Many Christians are torn between their belief in the Bible and the conclusions of science. This is especially the case concerning the creation narratives of Scripture and the rather different stories that science tells. Physicist Richard Carlson and biblical scholar Tremper Longman address the longstanding problem of how to relate scientific description of the beginnings of the universe with the biblical creation passages found in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Experts in their respective fields, these two authors provide a way to resolve the seeming conflicting descriptions by showing the meaning of the biblical texts as well as the meaning of scientific description. In the process they will uncover how theology and science differ, and what they both contribute what the key biblical passages actually say how the ancient Hebrews themselves understood the meaning of Genesis 1--2 how the rest of Scripture helps us understand these passages what we can gain from science and what its limits are Properly interpreting the biblical texts and clearly identifying the nature of scientific claims are key. With those in hand we can see how Christian revelation and scientific findings about the origin of the universe are not in opposition but rather work in partnership with each other.
Provides a theology of polytheism -- the belief in many deities -- using examples from a wide range of world religions.
Shari'a is one of the most hotly contested and misunderstood concepts and practices in the world today. Debates about Islamic law and its relationship to secularism and Christianity have dominated political and theological discourse for centuries. Unfortunately, Western Christian theologians have failed to engage sufficiently with the challenges and questions raised by Islamic political theology, preferring instead to essentialize or dismiss it. In Law and the Rule of God, Joshua Ralston presents an innovative approach to Christian-Muslim dialogue. Eschewing both polemics and apologetics, he proposes a comparative framework for Christian engagement with Islamic debates on shari'a. Ralston draws on a diverse range of thinkers from both traditions including Karl Barth, Ibn Taymiyya, Thomas Aquinas, and Mohammad al-Jabri. He offers an account of public law as a provisional and indirect witness to the divine rule of justice. He also demonstrates how this theology of public law deeply resonates with the Christian tradition and is also open to learning from and dialoguing with Islamic and secular conceptions of law, sovereignty, and justice.
At the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and at selected museum theaters around this country, a movies entitled 'Blue Planet' is currently being shown. Spliced together from film footage taken by astronauts in orbit around planet Earth, this movie entrances viewers with the loveliness of our planet, a small blue and white marble revolving through the black void of space.
"The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration" is the twenty-ninth chapter of "Revival of the Religious Sciences", a monumental work written by the jurist Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (d.1111). Perhaps the most important chapter in the "Revival", "The Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration" delves into the fundamental spiritual ailments and major impediments of the soul, namely pride and self-admiration. From the beginning of the work, Ghazali states that both pride and self-admiration are forms of spiritual disease. He treats of pride in Part One, firstly condemning this ailment with verses from the Qur'an, describing how it manifests outwardly, how the virtue of humility represents its opposite, what it is and what its symptoms are, as well as the seven reasons for the cause of pride and the root cause of pride in self-admiration. As an antidote, Ghazali offers examples of true humility, showing the manner by which the seven causes of pride can be dealt with, balancing these observations out with a warning against false humility. In Part Two Ghazali discusses self-admiration, condemning it as he did pride in Part One, showing the various ways it manifests inwardly, how it causes negligence, delusion and complacency, how each can be remedied, that self-admiration does not always lead to proud actions, and how the cure lies in the Qur'an, the teachings of the Prophet, proofs based on sound reasoning, as well as recognising that knowledge is a blessing from God.
From the "New York Times" bestselling author of "American Fascists" and the NBCC finalist for "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning" comes this timely and compelling work about new atheists: those who attack religion to advance the worst of global capitalism, intolerance and imperial projects.
Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, has long been a courageous voice in a world where there are too few. He observes that there are two radical, polarized and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: the fundamentalists who see religious faith as their prerogative, and the new atheists who brand all religious belief as irrational and dangerous. Both sides use faith to promote a radical agenda, while the religious majority, those with a commitment to tolerance and compassion as well as to their faith, are caught in the middle.
The new atheists, led by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, do not make moral arguments about religion. Rather, they have created a new form of fundamentalism that attempts to permeate society with ideas about our own moral superiority and the omnipotence of human reason.
"I Don't Believe in Atheists" critiques the radical mindset that rages against religion and faith. Hedges identifies the pillars of the new atheist belief system, revealing that the stringent rules and rigid traditions in place are as strict as those of any religious practice.
Hedges claims that those who have placed blind faith in the morally neutral disciplines of reason and science create idols in their own image -- a sin for either side of the spectrum. He makes an impassioned, intelligent case against religious andsecular fundamentalism, which seeks to divide the world into those worthy of moral and intellectual consideration and those who should be condemned, silenced and eradicated. Hedges shatters the new atheists' assault against religion in America, and in doing so, makes way for new, moderate voices to join the debate. This is a book that must be read to understand the state of the battle about faith.
Is the human mind uniquely nonphysical or even spiritual, such that divine intentions can meet physical realities? As scholars in science and religion have spent decades attempting to identify a 'causal joint' between God and the natural world, human consciousness has been often privileged as just such a locus of divine-human interaction. However, this intuitively dualistic move is both out of step with contemporary science and theologically insufficient. By discarding the God-nature model implied by contemporary noninterventionist divine action theories, one is freed up to explore theological and metaphysical alternatives for understanding divine action in the mind. Sarah Lane Ritchie suggests that a theologically robust theistic naturalism offers a more compelling vision of divine action in the mind. By affirming that to be fully natural is to be involved with God's active presence, one may affirm divine action not only in the human mind, but throughout the natural world.
An Insurrectionist Manifesto contains four insurrectionary gospels based on Martin Heidegger's philosophical model of the fourfold: earth and sky, gods and mortals. Challenging religious dogma and dominant philosophical theories, they offer a cooperative, world-affirming political theology that promotes new life through not resurrection but insurrection. The insurrection in these gospels unfolds as a series of miraculous yet worldly practices of vital affirmation. Since these routines do not rely on fantasies of escape, they engender intimate transformations of the self along the very coordinates from which they emerge. Enacting a comparative and contagious postsecular sensibility, these gospels draw on the work of Slavoj Zizek, Giorgio Agamben, Catherine Malabou, Francois Laruelle, Peter Sloterdijk, and Gilles Deleuze yet rejuvenate scholarship in continental philosophy, critical race theory, the new materialisms, speculative realism, and nonphilosophy. They think beyond the sovereign force of the one to initiate a radical politics "after" God.
In the Old Testament, God wrestles with a man (and loses). In the Talmud, God wriggles his toes to make thunder and takes human form to shave the king of Assyria. In the New Testament, God is made flesh and dwells among humans. For religious thinkers trained in Greek philosophy and its deep distaste for matter, sacred scripture can be distressing. A philosophically respectable God should be untainted by sensuality, yet the God of sacred texts is often embarrassingly sensual. Setting experts' minds at ease was neither easy nor simple, and often faith and logic were stretched to their limits. Focusing on examples from both Christian and Jewish sources, from the Bible to sources from the Late Middle Ages, Aviad Kleinberg examines the way Christian and Jewish philosophers, exegetes, and theologians attempted to reconcile God's supposed ineffability with numerous biblical and postbiblical accounts of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and even tasting the almighty. The conceptual entanglements ensnaring religious thinkers, and the strange, ingenious solutions they used to extricate themselves, tell us something profound about human needs and divine attributes, about faith, hope, and cognitive dissonance.
"The Catechism of the Catholic Church" was a document of outstanding importance which sold millions of copies worldwide. Many critics at the time of publication said the Catechism lacked sufficient coverage of the social teaching of the Catholic Church, teaching on justice, peace and human rights. To remedy this, the Vatican commissioned this remarkable new publication from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Burns & Oates are now its proud publishers. Throughout the course of her history, and particularly in the last hundred years, the Church has never failed, in the words of Pope Leo XIII, to speak the words that are hers with regard to questions concerning life in society. To maintain this tradition, Pope John Paul II has for his part published three great encyclicals that represent fundamental stages of Catholic thought in this area. Moreover, numerous Bishops in every part of the world have contributed to a deeper understanding of the Church's social doctrine as have numerous scholars. This book also shows the value of Catholic social teaching as an instrument of evangelisation because it places the human person and society in relationship with the light of the Gospel. The principles of the Church's social doctrine, which are based on the natural law, are then seen to be confirmed and strengthened in the faith of the Church by the Gospel of Christ. The Pope hopes that the present publication will help humanity in its quest for the common good.
This collection of writings presents contemporary views on the integration of Buddhism in the West. Over the past few decades Buddhism has deepened its presence in the West and as a result teachings and practices are becoming integrated with those of Western psychology in a more productive way. The decline of mechanism and positivism offers new opportunities to bring together Western Buddhist views of the mind and its relationship to its surroundings. Written by psychologists and scholars, the essays discuss many of the difficult questions raised by Buddhism's increased presence. In particular the issue of the balance between authenticity and accessibility is examined. Buddhist traditions are often perceived as inaccessible and too firmly fixed to a cultural framework with some people, especially women, left feeling alienated and undervalued. However, by responding to this by attempting to synthesise Buddhism with the values of contemporary culture can lead to doubts about authenticity and dilution. Examining these issues and many more, the contributors seek to bring Buddhism into a realistic and informed relationship with contemporary Western thought.
For centuries, Jews have been known as the "people of the book." It is commonly thought that Judaism in the first several centuries CE found meaning exclusively in textual sources. But there is another approach to meaning to be found in ancient Judaism, one that sees it in the natural world and derives it from visual clues rather than textual ones. According to this conception, God embedded hidden signs in the world that could be read by human beings and interpreted according to complex systems. In exploring the diverse functions of signs outside of the realm of the written word, Swartz introduces unfamiliar sources and motifs from the formative age of Judaism, including magical and divination texts and new interpretations of legends and midrashim from classical rabbinic literature. He shows us how ancient Jews perceived these signs and read them, elaborating on their use of divination, symbolic interpretation of physical features and dress, and interpretations of historical events. As we learn how these ancient people read the world, we begin to see how ancient people found meaning in unexpected ways.
Vibrates with encouragement for women who want to explore and enjoy the world of books Gladys Hunt, long-time advocate of reading and author of the cherished Honey for a Child s Heart, has written this new book for busy women who want a wider worldview and stimulus for intellectual and emotional growth. Honey for a Woman s Heart explores: * The wonder of words, language, and reading * What good books offer thoughtful readers * What makes a good book * The value of reading fiction * Best books in genres of fiction, nonfiction, spirituality, and poetry * How to enjoy the best of books: the Bible * The pleasure of sharing books with others * Something for everyone, no matter what age or reading experience * Recommendations for over 500 books to enjoy Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24"
A deeply personal look at death, mourning, and the afterlife in Jewish tradition After One-Hundred-and-Twenty provides a richly nuanced and deeply personal look at Jewish attitudes and practices regarding death, mourning, and the afterlife as they have existed and evolved from biblical times to today. Taking its title from the Hebrew and Yiddish blessing to live to a ripe old age-Moses is said to have been 120 years old when he died-the book explores how the Bible's original reticence about an afterlife gave way to views about personal judgment and reward after death, the resurrection of the body, and even reincarnation. It examines Talmudic perspectives on grief, burial, and the afterlife, shows how Jewish approaches to death changed in the Middle Ages with thinkers like Maimonides and in the mystical writings of the Zohar, and delves into such things as the origins of the custom of reciting Kaddish for the deceased and beliefs about encountering the dead in visions and dreams. After One-Hundred-and-Twenty is also Hillel Halkin's eloquent and disarmingly candid reflection on his own mortality, the deaths of those he has known and loved, and the comfort he has and has not derived from Jewish tradition.
From the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People comes an inspiring new bestseller that puts human feelings of guilt and inadequacy in perspective - and teaches us how we can learn to accept ourselves and others even when we and they are less than perfect. How Good Do We Have to Be? is for everyone who experiences that sense of guilt and disappointment. Harold Kushner, writing with his customary generosity and wisdom, shows us how human life is too complex for anyone to live it without making mistakes, and why we need not fear the loss of God's love when we are less than perfect. Harold Kushner begins by offering a radically new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, which he sees as a tale of Paradise Outgrown rather than Paradise Lost: eating from the Tree of Knowledge was not an act of disobedience, but a brave step forward toward becoming human, complete with the richness of work, sexuality and child-rearing, and a sense of our mortality. Drawing on modern literature, psychology, theology, and his own thirty years of experience as a congregational rabbi, Harold Kushner reveals how acceptance and forgiveness can change our relationships with the most important people in our lives and help us meet the bold and rewarding challenge of being human.
Providing an excellent overview of the latest thinking in Maimonides studies, this book uses a novel philosophical approach to examine whether Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed contains a naturalistic doctrine of salvation after death. The author examines the apparent tensions and contradictions in the Guide and explains them in terms of a modern philosophical interpretation rather than as evidence of some esoteric meaning hidden in the text.
The book of Numbers in Hebrew, Bemidbar, In the Wilderness is a key text for our time. It is among the most searching, self-critical books in all of literature about what Nelson Mandela called the long walk to freedom. Its message is that there is no shortcut to liberty. Numbers is not an easy book to read, nor is it an optimistic one. It is a sober warning set in the midst of a text the Hebrew Bible that remains the West s master narrative of hope.
The Mosaic books, especially Exodus and Numbers, are about the journey from slavery to freedom and from oppression to law-governed liberty. On the map, the distance from Egypt to the Promised Land is not far. But the message of Numbers is that it always takes longer than you think. For the journey is not just physical, a walk across the desert. It is psychological, moral, and spiritual. It takes as long as the time needed for human beings to change....
You cannot arrive at freedom merely by escaping from slavery. It is won only when a nation takes upon itself the responsibilities of self-restraint, courage, and patience. Without that, a journey of a few hundred miles can take forty years. Even then, it has only just begun.
The aggression of the biblical God named Yhwh is notorious. Students of theology, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East know that the Hebrew Bible describes Yhwh acting destructively against his client country, Israel, and against its kings. But is Yhwh uniquely vengeful, or was he just one among other, similarly ferocious patron gods? To answer this question, Collin Cornell compares royal biblical psalms with memorial inscriptions. He finds that the Bible shares deep theological and literary commonalities with comparable texts from Israel's ancient neighbours. The centrepiece of both traditions is the intense mutual loyalty of gods and kings. In the event that the king's monument and legacy comes to harm, gods avenge their individual royal protege. In the face of political inexpedience, kings honour their individual divine benefactor.
This book is both a themed volume on translation and a Festschrift for Leonard J. Greenspoon, the Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Professor in Jewish Civilization and professor of classical and near Eastern studies and of theology at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Professor Greenspoon has made significant contributions to the study of Jewish biblical translations, particularly the ancient translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, known as the Septuagint. In this volume, an internationally renowned group of scholars presents a wide range of essays on Bible translation, the influence of culture on biblical translation, Bible translations' reciprocal influence on culture, and the translation of various Jewish texts and collections, especially the Septuagint.
How does temptation come to you? What can you do to fight it? What can you do to avoid it?
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