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The idea that God reveals himself to human beings is central in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but differs in regard of content and conceptualization. The first volume of the new series Key Concepts in Interreligious Discourses points out similarities and differences of "revelation". KCID aims to establish an archeology of religious knowledge in order to create a new conceptual platform of mutual understanding among religious communities. Erratum: Wenzel Maximilian Widenka is co-author of the epilogue (pp. 195-206).
Opening the Qur'an can be a bewildering experience to non-Muslim, English-speaking readers. Those who expect historical narratives, stories, or essays on morals are perplexed once they pass the beautiful first Surah, often shocked and then bogged down by Surah 2, and even offended by Surah 3's strictures against nonbelievers. Walter H. Wagner "opens" the Qur'an by offering a comprehensive and extraordinarily readable, step-by-step introduction to the text, making it accessible to students, teachers, clergy, and general readers interested in Islam and Islam's holy Book.
Wagner first places the prophet Muhammad, the Qur'an, and the early Muslim community in their historical, geographical, and theological contexts. This background is a basis for interpreting the Qur'an and understanding its role in later Muslim developments as well as for relationships between Muslims, Jews, and Christians. He then looks in detail at specific passages, moving from cherished devotional texts to increasingly difficult and provocative subjects. The selected bibliography serves as a resource for further reading and study. Woven into the discussion are references to Islamic beliefs and practices. Wagner shows great sensitivity toward the risks and opportunities for non-Muslims who attempt to interpret the Qur'an, and sympathy in the long struggle to build bridges of mutual trust and honest appreciation between Muslims and non-Muslims.
"Walter Wagner's "Opening the Quran: Introducing Islam's Holy Book"raises excellent questions designed to draw in curious readers. He then follows up with sound analysis that is easy to grasp. Wagner has clearly learned much about the Qur'an and Islam. What is more he has found a most appealing way to speak about what he has learned to his fellow non-Muslims. --Charles E. Butterworth, University of Maryland, College Park
"A number of observers, like Mahmood Mamdani, have pointed out that contemporary events have led to an expansion in the market for translations of the Qur'an. This book will assist and guide readers of these Qur'an translations in the English language. This book could be used in introductory courses on Islam or advanced courses focusing exclusively on Islam's holy Book, the Qur'an . . . general readers outside the academy may also find it useful in helping them understand how to use and make sense of the Qur'an." --A. Rashied Omar, The Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame
"The Quroan can be terra incognita for the non-Muslim reader. Walter Wagner's learned book brings us to terra firma. With clear, empathetic, religiously sensitive yet historical-critical commentary, "Opening the Qur'an"makes sense of Islam's holy book. Wagner is a rare guide: a committed Christian who has listened carefully and sympathetically to Muslims, who understand the Quran as God's word. Wagner conveys their faith without compromising his own. This is more than a work of scholarship and pedagogy; it is an act of respect from one great tradition to another." --Alan Mittleman, The Jewish Theological Seminary
"This is not just a book that is being introduced but a context, a culture, its teachings, and the way Muslims have been interpreting, finding meaning, and living in obedience to the Qur'an over the centuries. What for many non-Muslims has been a puzzling, bewildering, and perplexing book now begins to come alive and to make some sense. . . . I highly recommend this book for use in schools and seminaries and even church study groups where people are serious about learning why the Qur'an is considered by Muslims to be God's final revelation. The book's step-by-step procedure and the important glossary of key terms in the back are extremely useful for readers who are being introduced to the Qur'an for the first time." --Harold Vogelaar, Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice, Lutheran School of Theology
A comprehensive survey of how religions understand death, dying, and the afterlife, drawing on examples from Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Shamanic perspectives. Considers shared and differing views of death across the world's major religions, including on the nature of death itself, the reasons for it, the identity of those who die, religious rituals, and on how the living should respond to deathPlaces emphasis on the varying concepts of the 'self' or soulUses a thematic structure to facilitate a broader comparative understandingWritten in an accessible style to appeal to an undergraduate audience, it fills major gap in current textbook literature
The endeavour to prove God's existence through rational argumentation was an integral part of classical Islamic theology (kalam) and philosophy (falsafa), thus the frequently articulated assumption in the academic literature. The Islamic discourse in question is then often compared to the discourse on arguments for God's existence in the western tradition, not only in terms of its objectives but also in terms of the arguments used: Islamic thinkers, too, put forward arguments that have been labelled as cosmological, teleological, and ontological. This book, however, argues that arguments for God's existence are absent from the theological and philosophical works of the classical Islamic era. This is not to say that the arguments encountered there are flawed arguments for God's existence. Rather, it means that the arguments under consideration serve a different purpose than to prove that God exists. Through a close reading of the works of several mutakallimun and falasifa from the 3rd-7th/9th-13th century, such as al-Baqillani and Fakhr al-Din al-Razi as well as Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd, this book proffers a re-evaluation of the discourse in question, and it suggests what its participants sought to prove if it is not that God exists.
The 38th chapter of the Revival of the Religious Sciences, this treatise follows on from "Al-Ghazali on Intention, Sincerity & Truthfulness." Here, Ghazali focuses on the different stations of steadfastness in religion (murabaha), vigilance and self-examination being its cornerstones. As in all his writings, Ghazali bases his arguments on the Qur an, the example of the Prophet, and the sayings of numerous scholars and Sufis. As relevant today as it was in the 11th century, this discourse will be of interest to anyone concerned with ethics and moral philosophy."
In this first English translation of the prize-winning Dutch title Leven is Een Kunst, Paul van Tongeren creates a new kind of virtue ethics, one that centres on how to 'live well' in our contemporary world. While virtue ethics is based on the moral philosophy of Aristotle, it has had many interpretations and iterations throughout history and features prominently in the thinking of the Stoics, Christian narratives and the writings of Nietzsche. The Art of Living Well explores and expands upon these traditions, using them as a basis to form a new interpretation; one that foregrounds art and creativity as paramount to the struggle to act in an authentic and moral way. Acting as both a clear introduction to virtue ethics and moral philosophy and a serious work of original philosophy, this book connects philosophy with real lived experience and tackles, head-on, the perennial philosophical question: 'how do we live well?'
The debate between science and religion is never out of the news: emotions run high, fuelled by polemical bestsellers like The God Delusion and, at the other end of the spectrum, high-profile campaigns to teach 'Intelligent Design' in schools. Yet there is much more to the debate than the clash of these extremes. As Thomas Dixon shows in this balanced and thought-provoking introduction, many have seen harmony rather than conflict between faith and science. He explores not only the key philosophical questions that underlie the debate, but also the social, political, and ethical contexts that have made 'science and religion' such a fraught and interesting topic in the modern world, offering perspectives from non-Christian religions and examples from across the physical, biological, and social sciences.. Along the way, he examines landmark historical episodes such as the trial of Galileo by the Inquisition in 1633, and the famous debate between 'Darwin's bulldog' Thomas Huxley and Bishop Wilberforce in Oxford in 1860. The Scopes 'Monkey Trial' in Tennessee in 1925 and the Dover Area School Board case of 2005 are explained with reference to the interaction between religion, law, and education in modern America. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
John R. Schneider explores the problem that animal suffering, caused by the inherent nature of Darwinian evolution, poses to belief in theism. Examining the aesthetic aspects of this moral problem, Schneider focuses on the three prevailing approaches to it: that the Fall caused animal suffering in nature (Lapsarian Theodicy), that Darwinian evolution was the only way for God to create an acceptably good and valuable world (Only-Way Theodicy), and that evolution is the source of major, God-justifying beauty (Aesthetic Theodicy). He also uses canonical texts and doctrines from Judaism and Christianity - notably the book of Job, and the doctrines of the incarnation, atonement, and resurrection - to build on insights taken from the non-lapsarian alternative approaches. Schneider thus constructs an original, God-justifying account of God and the evolutionary suffering of animals. His book enables readers to see that the Darwinian configuration of animal suffering unveiled by scientists is not as implausible on Christian theism as commonly supposed.
This book offers a discussion of the kalam cosmological argument, and presents a defence of a version of that argument after critically evaluating three of the most important versions of the argument. It argues that, since the versions of the kalam cosmological argument defended by Philoponus (c. 490-c. 570), al-Ghazali (1058- 1111), and the contemporary philosopher, William Lane Craig, all deny the possibility of the existence of an actual infinite, these arguments are incompatible with Platonism and the view that God foreknows an endless future. This conclusion, however, is not a problem for the proponents of the kalam cosmological argument, for the book shows how the argument can be defended without denying the possibility of the actual infinite. In order to offer a comprehensive analysis of Philoponus and al-Ghazali's cosmological arguments, the book draws on recent English translations of some of their works. Next, the book advances a detailed argument against the popular argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite. Finally, the book offers a unique defence of the kalam cosmological argument by defending philosophical arguments for a beginning of time that do not deny the actual infinite, evaluating which hypothesis best explains the discoveries of modern cosmology, and offering an argument in support of the premise that, if the universe came into existence, then God brought it into existence.
The emergence of spirituality in contemporary culture in holistic forms suggests that organised religions have failed. This thesis is explored and disputed in this book in ways that mark important critical divisions. This is the first collection of essays to assess the significance of spirituality in the sociology of religion. The authors explore the relationship of spirituality to the visual, individualism, gender, identity politics, education and cultural capital. The relationship between secularisation and spirituality is examined and consideration is given to the significance of Simmel in relation to a sociology of spirituality. Problems of defining spirituality are debated with reference to its expression in the UK, the USA, France and Holland. This timely, original and well structured volume provides undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers with a scholarly appraisal of a phenomenon that can only increase in sociological significance.
What is God if he's not perfect, all-knowing, and ever-present? How could Time exist before 'spacetime' did? Why did God stay entirely "on the sidelines" after the Big Bang? What is God learning from us that has transformed him? How will a coming nuclear war bring about the end of organised religion? How will a neuroelectronic "information chip" revolutionise education? And why is the afterlife open equally to saints and sinners alike? These and many other questions are answered by God in a hypothetical dialogue with three 21st century humans, a clergyman, a philosopher, and a scientist, set in the far-distant future. He also talks about his design of the Universe, our own immediate future, and a totally unrecognisable afterlife. Preceding the dialogue is a short essay that explains why we must look beyond faith to our known reality to find the reasons for a vast Universe with intelligent life. This book ends with another short essay contending that this unorthodox picture of a hands-off but synergistic God is much more plausible than the alternatives of either revelation religion or absolute atheism. As a former trial lawyer, the author spent 30 years analysing evidence, drawing logical conclusions, and presenting cogent arguments, which he put to good use in writing this book. A "believer" who cannot find a plausible God among the traditional choices, he has long pondered an alternative God and the other issues addressed here. In addition to spending time with his family and working on two other books, he is now engaged in pursuing his lifelong interest in history and various outdoor activities.
Volume 12 in the edition of the complete Jerusalem Talmud. Tractates Sanhedrin and Makkot belong together as one tractate, covering procedural law for panels of arbitration, communal rabbinic courts (in bare outline) and an elaborate construction of hypothetical criminal courts supposedly independent of the king's administration. Tractate Horaiot, an elaboration of Lev. 4:1-26, defines the roles of High Priest, rabbinate, and prince in a Commonwealth strictly following biblical rules.
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya on Divine Wisdom and the Problem of Evil is a translation of selections from two of Ibn Qayyim's books Key to the Blissful Abode and Remedy for Those who Question on Matters Concerning Divine Decree, Predestination, Wisdom and Causality. As with all his other writings, Ibn al-Qayyim's foremost goal is to establish the wisdom of God, the primacy of the Qur'an and Sunna, and the congruity between reason and revelation. In the present selections, Ibn al-Qayyim focuses on the application of the wisdom of God to the existence of evil.Ibn al-Qayyim first discusses twenty-six wise purposes behind God creating humanity and settling them on Earth. His perspective is that whatever exists in this world is either purely or preponderantly good, or indirectly leads to a greater good. Ibn Qayyim then explores how the presence of evil allows the manifestation of many of God's Beautiful Names, glorious attributes and compassionate actions. While for humanity, the existence of the evil provides the righteous with opportunities to strive against it; for Paradise can only be reached by 'traversing a bridge of hardships and tribulations'.The discussions of the existence of evil is followed by thirty wise purposes and secrets in God allowing people to sin. Prominent among them are that God loves repentance and loves to manifest His Attributes of forgiveness and mercy. Here, Ibn al-Qayyim also debates at length whether the punishment of Hellfire will be eternal or whether it will come to an end. He favours the the latter position in accordance with the Qur'anic verse 107 of the Chapter Hud and because of God's mercy.
Thomas J. J. Altizer is the leading radical theologian of our time. His creative lifework-a steady output of some seventeen books and tens of articles-spans from the late 1950s to the present. In the past few decades, Altizer has written letters on religious, theological, political, and philosophical matters to an international virtual community of scholars and friends who work in a number of disciplines, ranging from British literary theorist David Jasper, to well-known contemporary philosophers such as Richard Kearney, John D. Caputo, and Edward S. Casey. Like the seventeenth century philosopher Marin Mersenne, who was renowned in the age of Descartes for gathering around him a network of brilliant philosophers and scientists through exchanges of written correspondence, so Altizer in his own domain of philosophical theology has acted as a hub for networking talented thinkers and scholars. In these brilliant letters, which take the form of meditative mini-essays, Altizer writes in an accessible, personal, and occasionally confessional manner. They are an intellectual tour de force and provide another entry into engagement with Altizer's thought.
How the rabbis of the Talmud transformed everything into a legal question-and Jewish law into a way of thinking and talking about everything Though typically translated as "Jewish law," the term halakhah is not an easy match for what is usually thought of as law. This is because the rabbinic legal system has rarely wielded the political power to enforce its many detailed rules, nor has it ever been the law of any state. Even more idiosyncratically, the talmudic rabbis claim that the study of halakhah is a holy endeavor that brings a person closer to God-a claim no country makes of its law. In this panoramic book, Chaim Saiman traces how generations of rabbis have used concepts forged in talmudic disputation to do the work that other societies assign not only to philosophy, political theory, theology, and ethics but also to art, drama, and literature. In the multifaceted world of halakhah where everything is law, law is also everything, and even laws that serve no practical purpose can, when properly studied, provide surprising insights into timeless questions about the very nature of human existence. What does it mean for legal analysis to connect humans to God? Can spiritual teachings remain meaningful and at the same time rigidly codified? Can a modern state be governed by such law? Guiding readers across two millennia of richly illuminating perspectives, this book shows how halakhah is not just "law" but an entire way of thinking, being, and knowing.
We have fallen in thrall to the theology of supply and demand. According to its acolytes, the Market is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It can raise nations and ruin households, and comes complete with its own doctrines, prophets, and evangelical zeal. Harvey Cox brings this theology out of the shadows, demonstrating that the way the world economy operates is shaped by a global system of values that can be best understood as a religion. Drawing on biblical sources and the work of social scientists, Cox points to many parallels between the development of Christianity and the Market economy. It is only by understanding how the Market reached its "divine" status that can we hope to restore it to its proper place as servant of humanity. "An essential and thoroughly engaging book...Harvey Cox's ingenious sense of how market theology has developed a scripture, a liturgy, and sophisticated apologetics allow us to see old challenges in a remarkably fresh light." -E. J. Dionne, Jr. "Cox argues that...we are now imprisoned by the dictates of a false god that we ourselves have created. We need to break free and reclaim our humanity." -Forbes "Cox clears the space for a new generation of Christians to begin to develop a more public and egalitarian politics." -The Nation
Lee Barrett discusses the uniqueness and challenges of Kierkegaard's approach to theology. He examines Kierkegaard's explicit reflections on the appropriate way to engage in the theological task, as well as shows how the theme of God's "otherness" is held in dialectical tension with the theme of God's intimate love. Barrett discusses Kierkegaard's key reflections of the nature and purpose of human life as a paradoxical journey toward self-fulfilment through a self-emptying in which the self more intensively reflects God's self-giving love. He examines the works that describe sin as both a condition in which the individual is trapped and as a culpable act for which the individual must assume responsibility. Barrett explores Kierkegaard's thoughts on sin, his descriptions of Jesus Christ as the enactment in time of God's eternal self-giving compassion, his view of faith and his critique of culturally established Christianity as a form of fatal religious anaesthesia. This volume includes the following pedagogical features: - Each chapter contains its own introduction, explanatory notes, discussion questions and recommendation for further reading in both the primary and secondary literature - Includes links to Kierkegaardian texts provided by the Kierkegaard Research Center of the University of Copenhagen, the Howard and Edna Hong Kierkegaard Library of St Olaf College, as well as the resources of the Soren Kierkegaard Society
1 and 2 Kings unfolds an epic narrative that concludes the long story of Israel's experience with institutional monarchy, a sequence of events that begins with the accession of Solomon and the establishment of the Jerusalem temple, moves through the partition into north and south, and leads inexorably toward the nation's destruction and the passage to exile in Babylon. Keith Bodner's The Theology of the Book of Kings provides a reading of the narrative attentive to its literary sophistication and theological subtleties, as the cast of characters - from the royal courts to the rural fields - are variously challenged to resist the tempting pathway of political and spiritual accommodations and instead maintain allegiance to their covenant with God. In dialogue with a range of contemporary interpreters, this study is a preliminary exploration of some theological questions that arise from the Kings narrative, while inviting contemporary communities of faith into deeper engagement with this enduring account of divine reliability amidst human scheming and rapaciousness.
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