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You'll find everything you need to know about being Jewish in this indispensable, revised and updated guide to the religious traditions, everyday practices, philosophical beliefs, and historical foundations of Judaism. What happens at a synagogue service? What are the rules for keeping kosher? How do I light the Hanukah candles? What is in the Hebrew Bible? What do the Jewish holidays signify? What should I be teaching my children about being Jewish? With the first edition of Essential Judaism, George Robinson offered the world the accessible compendium that he sought when he rediscovered his Jewish identity as an adult. In his "ambitious and all-inclusive" (New York Times Book Review) guide, Robinson illuminates the Jewish life cycle at every stage and lays out many fascinating aspects of the religion-the Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, the evolution of Hasidism, and much more-while keeping a firm focus on the different paths to living a good Jewish life in today's world. Now, a decade and a half later, Robinson has updated this valuable introductory text with information on topics including denominational shifts, same-sex marriage, the intermarriage debate, transgender Jews, the growth of anti-Semitism, and the changing role of women in worship, along with many other hotly debated topics in the contemporary Jewish world and beyond. The perfect gift for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or anyone thinking about conversion-this is the ultimate companion for anyone interested in learning more about Judaism, the kind of book its readers will revisit over and over for years to come.
For centuries, theologians and philosophers, among others, have examined the nature of religious experience. Students and scholars unfamiliar with the vast literature face a daunting task in grasping the main issues surrounding the topic of religious experience. The Cambridge Companion to Religious Experience offers an original introduction to its topic. Going beyond an introduction, it is a state-of-the-art overview of the topic, with critical analyses of and creative insights into its subject. Religious experience is discussed from various interdisciplinary perspectives, from religious perspectives inside and outside traditional monotheistic religions, and from various topical perspectives. Written by leading scholars in clear and accessible prose, this book is an ideal resource for undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, and scholars across many disciplines.
This collection of essays by leading international philosophers considers central themes in the ethics of Danish philosopher Knud Ejler Logstrup (1905-1981). Logstrup was a Lutheran theologian much influenced by phenomenology and by strong currents in Danish culture, to which he himself made important contributions. The essays in What Is Ethically Demanded? K. E. Logstrup's Philosophy of Moral Life are divided into four sections. The first section deals predominantly with Logstrup's relation to Kant and, through Kant, the system of morality in general. The second section focuses on how Logstrup stands in connection with Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Levinas. The third section considers issues in the development of Logstrup's ethics and how it relates to other aspects of his thought. The final section covers certain central themes in Logstrup's position, particularly his claims about trust and the unfulfillability of the ethical demand. The volume includes a previously untranslated early essay by Logstrup, "The Anthropology of Kant's Ethics," which defines some of his basic ethical ideas in opposition to Kant's. The book will appeal to philosophers and theologians with an interest in ethics and the history of philosophy. Contributors: K. E. Logstrup, Svend Andersen, David Bugge, Svein Aage Christoffersen, Stephen Darwall, Peter Dews, Paul Faulkner, Hans Fink, Arne Gron, Alasdair MacIntyre, Wayne Martin, Kees van Kooten Niekerk, George Pattison, Robert Stern, and Patrick Stokes.
How much does ethics demand of us? On what authority does it demand it? How does what ethics demand relate to other requirements, such as those of prudence, law, and social convention? Does ethics really demand anything at all? Questions of this sort lie at the heart of the work of the Danish philosopher and theologian K. E. Logstrup (1905-1981), and in particular his key text The Ethical Demand (1956). In The Radical Demand in Logstrup's Ethics, Robert Stern offers a full account of that text, and situates Logstrup's distinctive position in relation to Kant, Kierkegaard, Levinas, Darwall and Luther. For Logstrup, the ethical situation is primarily one in which the fate of the other person is placed in your hands, where it is then your responsibility to do what is best for them. The demand therefore does not come from the other person as such, as what they ask you to do may be different from what you should do. It is also not laid down by social rules, nor by God or by any formal principle of practical reason, such as Kant's principle of universalizability. Rather, it comes from what is required to care for the other, and the directive power of their needs in the situation. Logstrup therefore rejects accounts of ethical obligation based on the commands of God, or on abstract principles governing practical reason, or on social norms; instead he develops a different picture, at the basis of which is our interdependence, which he argues gives his ethics a grounding in the nature of life itself.
The love of God is perhaps the most essential element in Judaism--but also one of the most confounding. In biblical and rabbinic literature, the obligation to love God appears as a formal commandment. Yet most people today think of love as a feeling. How can an emotion be commanded? How could one ever fulfill such a requirement? The Love of God places these scholarly and existential questions in a new light. Jon Levenson traces the origins of the concept to the ancient institution of covenant, showing how covenantal love is a matter neither of sentiment nor of dry legalism. The love of God is instead a deeply personal two-way relationship that finds expression in God's mysterious love for the people of Israel, who in turn observe God's laws out of profound gratitude for his acts of deliverance. Levenson explores how this bond has survived episodes in which God's love appears to be painfully absent--as in the brutal persecutions of Talmudic times--and describes the intensely erotic portrayals of the relationship by biblical prophets and rabbinic interpreters of the Song of Songs. He examines the love of God as a spiritual discipline in the Middle Ages as well as efforts by two influential modern Jewish thinkers--Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig--to recover this vital but endangered aspect of their tradition. A breathtaking work of scholarship and spirituality alike that is certain to provoke debate, The Love of God develops fascinating insights into the foundations of religious life in the classical Jewish tradition.
The Gospel of John is renowned for the challenges it presents to interpreters: its historical complexity, theological and literary unity, and its consistently critical stance toward characters known as 'the Jews'. There is abundant scholarly literature on each of these challenges, and yet there are very few studies that consider the Gospel as a whole in light of these pressing issues. Mark Blumhofer offers a fresh approach to understanding the Fourth Gospel, one that draws together the insights of scholarship in all of these areas. He shows that a historically sensitive, ethically attuned, and theologically and literarily compelling reading of the Fourth Gospel lies before us in the synthesis of the approaches that have long been separated. Unlike studies that consider only a narrow portion of the Gospel, Blumhofer's unique approach draws on most of it and shows how common themes and interests run throughout the narrative of John.
Justice for All demonstrates that the Jewish Bible, by radically changing the course of ethical thought, came to exercise enormous influence on Jewish thought and law and also laid the basis for Christian ethics and the broader development of modern Western civilization. Jeremiah Unterman shows us persuasively that the ethics of the Jewish Bible represent a significant moral advance over Ancient Near East cultures. Moreover, he elucidates how the Bible's unique conception of ethical monotheism, innovative understanding of covenantal law, and revolutionary messages from the prophets form the foundation of many Western civilization ideals. Justice for All connects these timeless biblical texts to the persistent themes of our times: immigration policy, forgiveness and reconciliation, care for the less privileged, and attaining hope for the future despite destruction and exile in this world.
In sixteen concise chapters on key topics, this book provides a rich, authoritative, and up-to-date introduction to Islamic political thought from the birth of Islam to today, presenting essential background and context for understanding contemporary politics in the Islamic world and beyond. Selected from the acclaimed Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, and focusing on the origins, development, and contemporary importance of Islamic political ideas and related subjects, each chapter offers a sophisticated yet accessible introduction to its topic. Written by leading specialists and incorporating the latest scholarship, the alphabetically arranged chapters cover the topics of authority, the caliphate, fundamentalism, government, jihad, knowledge, minorities, modernity, Muhammad, pluralism and tolerance, the Qur'an, revival and reform, shari?a (sacred law), traditional political thought, 'ulama' (religious scholars), and women. Read separately or together, these chapters provide an indispensable resource for students, journalists, policymakers, and anyone else seeking an informed perspective on the complex intersection of Islam and politics. The contributors are Gerhard Bowering, Ayesha S. Chaudhry, Patricia Crone, Roxanne Euben, Yohanan Friedmann, Paul L. Heck, Roy Jackson, Wadad Kadi, John Kelsay, Gudrun Kramer, Ebrahim Moosa, Armando Salvatore, Aram A. Shahin, Emad El-Din Shahin, Devin J. Stewart, SherAli Tareen, and Muhammad Qasim Zaman. A new afterword discusses the essays in relation to contemporary political developments.
The feminine dimension of the Divine is omnipresent, vivant and alive in Hinduism. Many scholars, particularly women, have undertaken research into the nature and worship of Hindu goddesses and thus have augmented our knowledge of previously little-known, yet complex scared figures. This work pays great attention to local details and differences between individual Indian goddesses, details relating to their diverse locations, their rich phenomenology, here documented by visual evidence, their presence and power in people's lives, and the joyous celebration of their existence and influence through numerous rituals and festivities. Many of the book's nuanced observations and conclusions raise questions about earlier goddess research and invite the reader to a new evaluation of the significance of dynamic goddess beliefs and practices in Indian culture.
Is original sin compatible with evolution? Many today believe the answer is 'No'. Engaging Aquinas's revolutionary account of the doctrine, Daniel W. Houck argues that there is not necessarily a conflict between this Christian teaching and mainstream biology. He draws on neglected texts outside the Summa Theologiae to show that Aquinas focused on humanity's loss of friendship with God - not the corruption of nature (or personal guilt). Aquinas's account is theologically attractive in its own right. Houck proposes, moreover, a new Thomist view of original sin that is consonant with evolution. This account is developed in dialogue with biblical scholarship on Jewish hamartiology and salient modern thinkers (including Kant, Schleiermacher, Barth, and Schoonenberg), and it is systematically connected to debates over nature, grace, the desire for God, and justification. In addition, the book canvasses a number of neglected premodern approaches to original sin, including those of Anselm, Abelard, and Lombard.
Help Your Teen Catch the Lifelong Reading Bug. Honey for a Teen's Heart spells out how good books can help you and your teenager communicate heart-to-heart about ideas, values, and the various issues of a Christian worldview. Sharing the adventure of a book lets both of you know the same people, see the same sights, face the same choices, and feel the same emotions. Life spills out of books--giving you plenty to talk about! But Honey for a Teen's Heart will do more than strengthen the bonds between you and your son or daughter. You'll also learn how to help your teen catch the reading habit and become a lover of good books. Gladys Hunt's insights on how to read a book, what to look for in a book, and how to question what you read will challenge you and your teenager alike. It's training for life! And it's fabulous preparation for teens entering college. Including an annotated list of over four hundred books, Honey for a Teen's Heart gives you expert guidance on the very best books for teens.
The Holy Spirit, once forgotten, has been "rediscovered" in the twentieth century--or has he? Sinclair Ferguson believes we should rephrase this common assertion: "While his work has been recognized, the Spirit himself remains to many Christians an anonymous, faceless aspect of the divine being." In order to redress this balance, Ferguson seeks to recover the who of the Spirit fully as much as the what and how. Ferguson's study is rooted and driven by the scriptural story of the Spirit in creation and redemption. Throughout he shows himself fully at home in the church's historical theology of the Spirit and conversant with the wide variety of contemporary Christians who have explored the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Foundational issues are surveyed and clarified. Hard questions are explored and answered. Clarity and insight radiate from every page. Here is the mature reflection of a Reformed theologian who will summon respect and charity from those who disagree.
The subject of "Mystical Languages of Unsaying" is an important but
neglected mode of mystical discourse, "apophasis." which literally
means "speaking away." Sometimes translated as "negative theology,"
apophatic discourse embraces the impossibility of naming something
that is ineffable by continually turning back upon its own
propositions and names. In this close study of "apophasis" in
Greek, Christian, and Islamic texts, Michael Sells offers a
sustained, critical account of how apophatic language works, the
conventions, logic, and paradoxes it employs, and the dilemmas
encountered in any attempt to analyze it.
Business is generally viewed as a means to generate personal or corporate wealth, but business transactions can also sacrificially serve the common good. In conversation with contemporary social theorists, Joshua S. Nunziato in this book critically evaluates the spiritual significance and aims of economic exchange. Inspired by Augustine's vision of the Church as a 'universal sacrifice', he explores how Augustine's approach teaches us detachment - both personal and collective - which releases us from illusory claims of ownership and reframes business as an exercise in loving and letting go. Nunziato's volume engages with the big questions of economic life and considers both why and how we acknowledge people through business in a way that results in collective well-being. It will be of interest to scholars and students of Augustinian studies, philosophy of exchange, and economic ethics.
Saints are more than distant figures from legends and wall paintings. Their lives and cults have been rewritten over and over again to suit changing cultural preconceptions and social and political agendas. The obscure Cambro-Breton saint Armel became a badge of loyalty to the Tudor dynasty; Eastern European countries have competed to lay claim to Cyril and Methodius, founding fathers of eastern Christianity; the Indian mystic and poet Kabir came from a Muslim background but was appropriated by both Hindus and Sikhs. And perhaps most bizarrely, right-wing groups in England march under the badge of the Middle Eastern saint George. While these ideas are familiar to historians of "popular" religion (that slippery term) in western Europe, they have a clear relevance to the study of religion in other continents and other faith traditions. Ranging from Ireland to India and from the first to the third millennium, this collection brings together essays written from the perspective of gender, politics and national and cultural identities as well as the sociology of religion. The main thrust is medieval and Christian but it also considers more recent developments in Sikh, Hindu and Muslim cults and in the heritagisation of religion. A substantial introduction offers an overview of the literature, sets out theoretical frameworks and suggests further avenues for exploration. Madeleine Gray is Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of South Wales. Contributors: Diane Auslander, Slavia Barlieva, Karen Casebier, Adam Coward, James M. Hegarty, Kate Helsen, Andrew Hughes, John R. Black, Madeleine Gray, Svitlana Kobets, Samantha Riches, Anne Schuchman, Jayita Sinha,
'God is dead,' Nietzsche famously declared in The Gay Science; but this book will investigate God's surprising persistence and resurrection in the works of even the most seemingly atheistic of writers, who continue to deploy Judaic and Christian narratives and tropes even as they radically rewrite them in the face of new cultural, political and scientific imperatives. Contributors explore the range, power and implication of Christian and Jewish heresies in canonical Anglo-American writers -- including Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, T S Eliot, John Steinbeck and Jim Crace -- as well as in some less familiar texts: the Mormon Scriptures of Joseph Smith and various Victorian rewritings of the Book of Esther. A polemical essay by Michelene Wandor reflects on conceptions of Jewishness, which she finds in need of heretical renewal. Valentine Cunningham's provocative introduction argues that the acts of literary writing and reading are necessarily heretical. A coda to the book, 'Between Heresy and Superstition', takes as its motto Thomas Huxley's observation in 1881 that 'It is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions.';Contributions offer readers a rare opportunity of witnessing an extended academic exchange -- exploring the process by which former heresies may indeed risk ossification as new kinds of doctrinal conformity. Bryan Cheyette's critique of the 'Christian Albums' of Bob Dylan is answered by Kevin Mills's essay which uncovers heretical possibility even in this most seemingly orthodox part of Dylan's work. The revitalisation of heresy in literary interpretations, as well as in our religious thinking, forms the guiding objective of this exciting critical book.
A must-read book for understanding this vibrant and influential modern Jewish movement Hasidism originated in southeastern Poland, in mystical circles centered on the figure of Israel Ba'al Shem Tov, but it was only after his death in 1760 that a movement began to spread. Today, Hasidism is witnessing a remarkable renaissance around the world. This book provides the first comprehensive history of the pietistic movement that shaped modern Judaism. Written by an international team of scholars, its unique blend of intellectual, religious, and social history demonstrates that, far from being a throwback to the Middle Ages, Hasidism is a product of modernity that forged its identity as a radical alternative to the secular world.
The word Islam means surrender to God. In our secular Western culture, it is difficult to imagine what that means. Among other things, it indicates dependence and predestination. But is this really the case? Isn't this a superficial presumption? Allah calls on human beings to surrender in freedom to their God (Sura 96). Allah is merciful and forgiving. At the same time, however, Allah is the all-seeing one and the one who humbles. In Islam, free will and predestination have an uneasy relationship with each other-but isn't this true for every religion? In this collection of essays, three authors discuss various aspects of the tension between freedom and predestination in Islam from the perspective of Rudolf Steiner's works. This background enables them to throw sometimes surprising light on the freedom impulse of Islam. It is the authors' hope that this book may contribute to a more balanced view of Islam today. This timely book offers interested non-Muslims a rare opportunity to examine a frequently misunderstood aspect of one of the world's fastest growing religions.
At a time when many more students around the world are taking courses and seminars in theology and religious studies, some can be confused about the meaning of basic and even very important theological terms. To help relieve this situation, the dictionary identifies and clarifies a thousand central terms, providing necessary information about their origin, the history of their usage, and their place in the story of Christianity. Fresh in its language and ecumenical in its style, this dictionary has already proved itself a valuable resource for thousands of students and teachers of theology and religious studies. The third, enlarged edition adds some further entries, updates other entries, includes two timelines, and indicates some essential bibliographical resources (both printed and online). Highlights: * Shorter and more accessible than larger theological dictionaries and encyclopedias that often run to many volumes * Balanced and ecumenical in perspective * Offers essential and up to date information on Eastern Christianity * Includes essential information from the Bible and the history of Christianity * Includes some of the very latest information and "breaking news" in theology
Does Islam make people violent? Does Islam make people peaceful? In this book, A. Kevin Reinhart demonstrates that such questions are misleading, because they assume that Islam is a monolithic essence and that Muslims are made the way they are by this monolith. He argues that Islam, like all religions, is complex and thus best understood through analogy with language: Islam has dialects, a set of features shared with other versions of Islam. It also has cosmopolitan elites who prescribe how Islam ought to be, even though these experts, depending on where they practice the religion, unconsciously reflect their own local dialects. Reinhart defines the distinctive features of Islam and investigates how modernity has created new conditions for the religion. Analyzing the similarities and differences between modern and pre-modern Islam, he clarifies the new and old in the religion as it is lived in the contemporary world.
Religious and ethnic diversity have become crucial and pressing concerns in Europe: in particular, the presence of Muslims, their integration, citizenship, and how to deal with the influx of refugees. Can we draw on the resources of religions and their leaders for models of peaceful coexistence or do religious identities constitute obstacles to cooperation and unity? This volume treats "Islam, Religions, and Pluralism in Europe" based on a 2014 conference in Montenegro. Experts analyze Islam and Muslim issues as well as Christian perspectives and state social policies. Case studies drawn from Western and Eastern Europe including the Balkans, constructively review and interrogate diverse theological, philosophical, pedagogical, legal, and political models and strategies that deal with pluralism.
"Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya on Knowledge: from Key to the Blissful Abode (Miftah Dar al-Sa`ada)" is an abridgement of the first volume of "Key to the Blissful Abode", a popular title by the renowned theologian and jurist Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya. In it, Ibn al-Qayyim focuses on the importance of knowledge and willpower, as means through which a person may attain Paradise. Willpower is the door and knowledge-in particular, knowledge which pertains to God and His Attributes, the Qur'an and the example of the Prophet-is the key. Ibn al-Qayyim discusses the virtues and benefits of knowledge over wealth and worldly matters; the path to knowledge; the importance of pursuing knowledge and applying it to gain guidance from God and protect oneself from doubts; the superiority of the scholar over the worshipper; the necessity of using knowledge and willpower as the bases for all actions if one is to achieve spiritual bliss. Ibn al-Qayyim then concludes "Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya on Knowledge: from Key to the Blissful Abode", by discussing the importance of contemplation and reflection in order to attain further knowledge and guidance.
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