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In this study of new atheism and religious fundamentalism, this book advances two provocative - and surprising - arguments. Liam Jerrold Fraser argues that atheism and Protestant fundamentalism in Britain and America share a common historical origin in the English Reformation, and the crisis of authority inaugurated by the Reformers. This common origin generated two presuppositions crucial for both movements: a literalist understanding of scripture, and a disruptive understanding of divine activity in nature. Through an analysis of contemporary new atheist and Protestant fundamentalist texts, Fraser shows that these presuppositions continue to structure both groups, and support a range of shared biblical, scientific, and theological beliefs. Their common historical and intellectual structure ensures that new atheism and Protestant fundamentalism - while on the surface irreconcilably opposed - share a secret sympathy with one another, yet one which leaves them unstable, inconsistent, and unsustainable.
After years of discussion within the field of anthropology concerning how to properly engage with theology, a growing number of anthropologists now want to engage with theology as a counterpart in ethnographic dialogue. Theologically Engaged Anthropology focuses on the theological history of anthropology, illuminating deeply held theological assumptions that humans make about the nature of reality, and illustrating how these theological assumptions manifest themselves in society. This volume brings together leading anthropologists and theologians to consider what theology can contribute to cultural anthropology and ethnography. It provides anthropologists and theologians with a rationale and framework for using theology in anthropological research.
In this unique collection of essays, some of today's smartest Jewish thinkers explore a broad range of fundamental questions in an effort to balance ancient tradition and modern sexuality.
In the last few decades a number of factors--post-modernism, feminism, queer liberation, and more--have brought discussion of sexuality to the fore, and with it a whole new set of questions that challenge time-honored traditions and ways of thinking. For Jews of all backgrounds, this has often led to an unhappy standoff between tradition and sexual empowerment.
Yet as The Passionate Torah illustrates, it is of critical importance to see beyond this apparent conflict if Jews are to embrace both their religious beliefs and their sexuality. With incisive essays from contemporary rabbis, scholars, thinkers, and writers, this collection not only surveys the challenges that sexuality poses to Jewish belief, but also offers fresh new perspectives and insights on the changing place of sexuality within Jewish theology--and Jewish lives. Covering topics such as monogamy, inter-faith relationships, reproductive technology, homosexuality, and a host of other hot-button issues, these writings consider how contemporary Jews can engage themselves, their loved ones, and their tradition in a way that's both sexy and sanctified.
Seeking to deepen the Jewish conversation about sexuality, The Passionate Torah brings together brilliant thinkers in an attempt to bridge the gap between the sacred and the sexual.
Contributors: Rebecca Alpert, Wendy Love Anderson, Judith R. Baskin, Aryeh Cohen, Elliot Dorff, Esther Fuchs, Bonna Haberman, Elliot Kukla, Gail Labovitz, Malka Landau, Sarra Lev, Laura Levitt, Sara Meirowitz, Jay Michaelson, Haviva Ner-David, Danya Ruttenberg, Naomi Seidman, and Arthur Waskow.
Death, Resurrection, and Human Destiny: Christian and Muslim Perspectives is a record of the 2012 Building Bridges seminar for leading Christian and Muslim scholars, convened by Rowan Williams, then Archbishop of Canterbury. The essays in this volume explore what the Bible and Qur n-and the Christian and Islamic theological traditions-have to say about death, resurrection, and human destiny. Special attention is given to the writings of al-Ghazali and Dante. Other essays explore the notion of the good death. Funeral practices of each tradition are explained. Relevant texts are included with commentary, as are personal reflections on death by several of the seminar participants. An account of the informal conversations at the seminar conveys a vivid sense of the lively, penetrating, but respectful dialogue which took place. Three short pieces by Rowan Williams provide his opening comments at the seminar and his reflections on its proceedings. The volume also contains an analysis of the Building Bridges Seminar after a decade of his leadership.
For millennia, messianic visions of redemption have inspired men and women to turn against unjust and oppressive orders. Yet these very same traditions are regularly decried as antecedents to the violent and authoritarian ideologies of modernity. Informed in equal parts by theology and historical theory, this book offers a provocative exploration of this double-edged legacy. Author Jayne Svenungsson rigorously pursues a middle path between utopian arrogance and an enervated postmodernism, assessing the impact of Jewish and Christian theologies of history on subsequent thinkers, and in the process identifying a web of spiritual and intellectual motifs extending from ancient Jewish prophets to contemporary radicals such as Giorgio Agamben and Slavoj Zizek.
Over the past centuries the pendulum has constantly swung between an emphasis on the role of either nature or nurture in shaping human destiny, a pendulum often energised by ideological considerations. In recent decades the flourishing of developmental biology, genomics, epigenetics and our increased understanding of neuronal plasticity have all helped to subvert such dichotomous notions. Nevertheless, the media still report the discovery of a gene 'for' this or that behaviour, and the field of behavioural genetics continues to extend its reach into the social sciences, reporting the heritability of such human traits as religiosity and political affiliation. There are many continuing challenges to notions of human freedom and moral responsibility, with consequent implications for social flourishing, the legal system and religious beliefs. In this book, Denis Alexander critically examines these challenges, concluding that genuine free will, often influenced by genetic variation, emerges from an integrated view of human personhood derived from contemporary biology.
National Jewish Book Awards Finalist for the Anthologies and Collections Award, 2012. Two of the most pervasive aspects of modern Jewish life are interaction with people of other faiths and exposure to their beliefs to a degree unknown in the past. Jewish thinking regarding other religions has not succeeded in keeping pace with the contemporary realities that regularly confront most Jews, nor has it adequately assimilated the ways in which other religions have changed their teachings about Jews and Judaism. Many Jews who grapple with Jewish tradition in the contemporary world want to know how Judaism sees today's non-Jewish other in order to affirm itself. Re-examining Jewish tradition, they seek guidance in understanding their interfaith relationships in the light of a Jewish religious mission. Jewish Theology and World Religions advances this conversation, exploring critical issues that Jews and Jewish thought face when relating to Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. It also analyses the philosophical issues raised by pluralism, non-exclusive approaches to religious truth, and appreciating the religious other. The contributors to this volume represent a range of disciplines and denominations within Judaism and share the conviction that articulating contemporary Jewish views of other world religions is an urgent objective for Judaism. Their essays show why formulating a Jewish theology of world religions is a priority for Jewish thinkers and educators concerned with reinvigorating Judaism's contribution to the contemporary world, and how it coheres with maintaining Jewish identity and continuity.
This textbook provides complete and comprehensive coverage of the theological tradition of Aquinas, Maximus, Luther, Irenaeus, Lonergan, von Balthasar, Schmemann, Meyendorf and Barth. Each section of this textbook explores a wide variety of questions - who are we? Is there a God, and if so, what is his nature? Who is Jesus? What does it mean that we live both in sin and righteousness? It consists of 15 modules that are comprised of 46 chapters. Each module has two parts: there are systematic chapters that discuss and explain each module's topic; and the final chapter of each module examines 4 to 6 primary sources that are important for each topic. This textbook includes an extensive range of pedagogical features: - Sample tests in which each objective question has been quality tested by classroom use (with a discrimination index) - A discussion guide for each chapter - Learning objectives linked to each chapter - The text includes bold-faced terms, boxed text sections that identify central figures and points of debate, study question, chapter summaries, glossary
In a work that casts philosophical and theological reflections against a backdrop of personal experience, Leon Wiener Dow offers a learned discourse that elucidates the telos of Jewish law and the philosophical-theological commitments that animate it. To the reader gazing upon the halakha from the outside, this book offers a glimpse of its central, orienting concepts. To the reader who lives amidst the rigor of halakha, this book bestows an insightful glance at the law's orienting ethos and higher aspirations that often remain opaque.
This book is designed to help students of all denominations learn how to do theology for themselves! It's not your usual textbook which only represents the theology of the author. Drawing on his rich ecumenical, international experience, his years of working with the Black church, and dialoguing with Evangelicals, Mark Ellingsen introduces readers to all the major theological options for explaining the Church's doctrine which have appeared in the history of Christianity. He offers empathetic description and critical evaluation of each option (strengths and weaknesses) in such a way that unless you have read his other books you'll never figure out where he stands. Whether you're mainline Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical, or Eastern Orthodox, this is a book to help you determine which options make the most sense for you and your church, and then helps you decide what you believe. A feature unique to this publication are the charts in the back of the book - handy tools to orient you to all of the major theological options which will help you locate where you stand on each doctrine and what great theologians of the past are your allies. Along with the simplicity and convenience of the charts, reading the chapters will reflect the kind of scholarship and nuance one expects from a textbook, the careful work the academy has come to expect from Ellingsen, and ample Biblical authorization for most of the positions considered.
This Companion provides an accessible guide for those seeking to comprehend the significance of Vatican II for Catholicism today. It offers a thorough overview of the Second Vatican Council, the most significant event in the history of Roman Catholicism since the Protestant Reformation. Almost six decades since the close of the council, its teaching remains what one pope referred to as a 'sure compass' for guiding today's church. The first part of the Companion examines the historical, theological, and ecclesial contexts for comprehending the significance of the council. It also presents the key processes, as well as the participants who were central to the actual conduct of the council. The second part identifies and explores the central themes embedded in the council documents. The Companion concludes with a unique appendix intended to guide students wishing to pursue more advanced research in Vatican II studies.
Remembering the Names of Allah is a sacred tradition in Islam. Both the Qur'an and sayings of the Prophet (ahadith) state the importance of learning them and promise reward for reciting them in supplications and prayers. "Allah's are the names most beautiful. Whatever is in the heavens and earth extols His glory." - Qur'an (Al-Hashr 59:24). "Allah has 99 names. He who remembers these will certainly enter Paradise." - Prophet Muhammad (Bukharhi Hadith Kitab Ad-Dawat, 2, 949). The 99 Blessed Names of Allah help to conceptualize Allah Whose limitless greatness and glory is impossible to grasp.Each name is presented in the original Arabic and its translation into English. Accompanying each name is a commentary that is concise and easy to understand but rich in meaning. Based on authentic sources and richly produced.
Including contributions from twenty-two leading moral theologians, this volume is the most thorough assessment of modern Roman Catholic social teaching available. In addition to interrogations of the major documents, it provides insight into the biblical and philosophical foundations of Catholic social teaching, addresses the doctrinal issues that arise in such a context, and explores the social thought leading up to the "modern" era, which is generally accepted as beginning in 1891 with the publication of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum. The book also includes a review of how Catholic social teaching has been received in the United States and offers an informed look at the shortcomings and questions that future generations must address. This second edition includes revised and updated essays as well as two new commentaries: one on Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas in Veritate and one on Pope Francis's encyclical Laudato Si'. An outstanding reference work for anyone interested in studying and understanding the key documents that make up the central corpus of modern Catholic social teaching.
A stunning reexamination of one of the essential tenets of Christian belief from one of the most provocative and admired writers on religion today "A scathing, vigorous, eloquent attack on those who hold that that there is such a thing as eternal damnation."-Karen Kilby, Commonweal The great fourth-century church father Basil of Caesarea once observed that, in his time, most Christians believed that hell was not everlasting, and that all would eventually attain salvation. But today, this view is no longer prevalent within Christian communities. In this momentous book, David Bentley Hart makes the case that nearly two millennia of dogmatic tradition have misled readers on the crucial matter of universal salvation. On the basis of the earliest Christian writings, theological tradition, scripture, and logic, Hart argues that if God is the good creator of all, he is the savior of all, without fail. And if he is not the savior of all, the Kingdom is only a dream, and creation something considerably worse than a nightmare. But it is not so. There is no such thing as eternal damnation; all will be saved. With great rhetorical power, wit, and emotional range, Hart offers a new perspective on one of Christianity's most important themes.
"Paul the Jewish Theologian" reveals Saul of Tarsus as a man who, though rejected in the synagogue, never truly left Judaism. Author Young disagrees with long held notions that Hellenism was the context which most influenced Paul's communication of the Gospel. This skewed notion has led to widely divergent interpretations of Paul's writings. Only in rightly aligning Paul as rooted in his Jewishness and training as a Pharisee can he be correctly interpreted. Young asserts that Paul's view of the Torah was always positive, and he separates Jesus' mission among the Jews from Paul's call to the Gentiles.
Ezra and the Second Wilderness addresses the relationship between Ezra, the Ezra Memoir, and the Pentateuch. Tracing the growth of the Ezra Memoir and its incorporation into Ezra-Nehemiah, Philip Y. Yoo discusses the literary strategies utilized by some of the composers and redactors operating in the post-exilic period. After the strata in Ezra 7-10 and Nehemiah 8-10 are identified, what emerges as the base Ezra Memoir is a coherent account of Ezra's leadership of the exiles from Babylon over the course of a single year, one that is intricately modelled on the multiple presentations of Moses and the Israelite wilderness preserved in the Pentateuch. Through discussion of the detected influences, allusions, and omissions between the Pentateuch and the Ezra Memoir, Yoo shows that the Ezra Memoir demonstrates a close understanding of its source materials and received traditions as it constructs the Babylonian returnees as the inheritors of torah and, in turn, the true and unparalleled successors of the Israelite cult. This study presents the Ezra Memoir as a sophisticated example of 'biblical' interpretation in the Second Temple period. It also suggests that the Ezra Memoir has access to the Pentateuch in only its constituent parts. Acknowledging not only the antiquity but also efficacy of its prototypes, the Ezra Memoir employs a variety of hermeneutical strategies in order to harmonize the competing claims of its authoritative sources. In closing the temporal gap between these sources and its own contemporary time, the Ezra Memoir grants authority to the utopic past yet also projects its own vision for the proper worship of Israel's deity.
Gai Eaton's "Remembering God" is a profound analysis of the most urgent concerns and questions facing humanity at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Contrasting modern, secular society with religion and tradition in general and with Islam in particular, Gai Eaton clarifies the essential need for spirituality, religion and values based on eternal principles.---In "Remembering God", Gai Eaton emphasises that religion is not an isolated part of human life which can be disregarded at will and without consequences; that a total rejection of the past cannot be the basis for the future, and that a true link with Heaven modifies all the decisions and actions of society. Touching on religion in principle-metaphysics, knowledge of the divine and of oneself, prayer, the necessity for purifying the ego-and on the application of religion to society-as well as to politics, architecture, the environment and gender relations-Gai Eaton illustrates the subtle harmony of a religious perspective and its ability to transform both the individual and society.
For more than a century, scholars have debated whether Paul the apostle was a faithful follower of Jesus or a corruptor of Jesus's message and the true founder of Christianity. Signs of Continuity intervenes in this debate by exploring a largely overlooked element of similarity between the two men: the place of miracles in their ministries. In his close analysis of the miracles performed by Jesus and Paul, Greg Rhodea points to signs of continuity between these two historical figures of Christianity. He argues that both Jesus and Paul understood their miracles as accompanying and actualizing a message of gracious inclusion of the marginalized, resisted proving their ability to work miracles to those who asked for a sign despite the importance of miracle-working to their personal authentication, and interpreted miracles as proof of the presence of the eschatological kingdom. Based on these similarities, Rhodea concludes that Paul the apostle knew of Jesus's miracles and that he imitated Jesus in his own ministry of miracle-working. In highlighting this previously unexplored area of continuity, Rhodea makes a significant contribution to the debate over the relationship between Jesus and Paul. Biblical scholars and students interested in this debate will find Signs of Continuity enlightening and informative.
What cannot be said about God, and how can we speak about God by negating what we say? Traveling across prominent negators, denialists, ineffectualists, paradoxographers, naysayers, ignorance-pretenders, unknowers, I-don't-knowers, and taciturns, Unsaying God: Negative Theology in Medieval Islam delves into the negative theological movements that flourished in the first seven centuries of Islam. Aydogan Kars argues that there were multiple, and often competing, strategies for self-negating speech in the vast field of theology. By focusing on Arabic and Persian textual sources, the book defines four distinct yet interconnected paths of negative speech formations on the nature of God that circulated in medieval Islamic world. Expanding its scope to Jewish intellectuals, Unsaying God also demonstrates that religious boundaries were easily transgressed as scholars from diverse sectarian or religious backgrounds could adopt similar paths of negative speech on God. This is the first book-length study of negative theology in Islam. It encompasses many fields of scholarship, and diverse intellectual schools and figures. Throughout, Kars demonstrates how seemingly different genres should be read in a more connected way in light of the cultural and intellectual history of Islam rather than as different opposing sets of orthodoxies and heterodoxies.
The words, phrases, and stories of the New Testament permeate the English language. Indeed, this relatively small group of twenty-seven works, written during the height of the Roman Empire, not only helped create and sustain a vast world religion, but also have been integral to the larger cultural dynamics of the West, above and beyond particular religious expressions. Looking at the New Testament through the lens of literary study, Kyle Keefer offers an engrossing exploration of this revered religious text as a work of literature, but also keeps in focus its theological ramifications. Unique among books that examine the Bible as literature, this brilliantly compact introduction offers an intriguing double-edged look at this universal text-a religiously informed literary analysis. The book first explores the major sections of the New Testament-the gospels, Paul's letters, and Revelation-as individual literary documents. Keefer shows how, in such familiar stories as the parable of the Good Samaritan, a literary analysis can uncover an unexpected complexity to what seems a simple, straightforward tale. At the conclusion of the book, Keefer steps back and asks questions about the New Testament as a whole. He reveals that whether read as a single document or as a collection of works, the New Testament presents readers with a wide variety of forms and viewpoints, and a literary exploration helps bring this richness to light. A fascinating investigation of the New Testament as a classic literary work, this Very Short Introduction uses a literary framework-plot, character, narrative arc, genre-to illuminate the language, structure, and the crafting of this venerable text. 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.
"The Concept of God is an excellent treatment of an increasingly critical issue in philosophical theology. With characteristic clarity and forthrightness, Dr. Nash judiciously evaluates competing conceptions of deity, and in the end recommends an understanding of God that is both theologically sound and philosophically acceptable." -Michael L. Peterson, Ph. D. "Nash's book brings together for the general reader the intense and wide-ranging discussions now taking place among philosophers on the attributes of God. Without being simplistic, he admirably succeeds in making these discussions accessible to those who are not specialists in philosophy. It's a book that needed to be written, a fine contribution." -Nicholas Wolterstorff "The strength of The Concept of God is in its excellent balance of technical issues and lucid explanation. It makes for illuminating reading both for the beginning student and for the professional philosopher...Because of its clear explanations, numerous examples, brevity and breadth, the book will make an excellent component of introductory courses in philosophy." -V. James Mannoia, Jr. "This book is relevant, interesting, and fresh in its treatment...It will be an important supplemental text to theology classes and philosophy of religion classes." -Alan Johnson "The suitability of Nash's book as a text for philosophy of religion is obvious. It is also useful for apologetics because of its concern to vindicate and validate the Christian doctrine of God against attacks on its coherence. In addition, it will be a most welcome text for the section of theology proper that deals with God's attributes." -Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
This book examines the practice of poetry in the devotional Vaisnava tradition inspired by Sri Krsna Caitanya (1486-1533), through a detailed study of the Sanskrit poetic works of Kavikarnapura, one of the most significant sixteenth-century Caitanya Vaisnava poets and theologians. It places his ideas in the context both of Sanskrit literary theory (by exploring his use of earlier works of Sanskrit criticism) and of Vaisnava theology (by tracing the origins of his theological ideas to earlier Vaisnava teachers, especially his guru Srinatha). Both Kavikarnapura's poetics as well as the style of his poetry is in many ways at odds with those of his time, particularly with respect to the place of phonetic ornamentation and rasa. Like later early modern theorists, Kavikarnapura reaches back to the earliest Sanskrit poeticians whom he attempts to harmonise with the theories current in his time, to develop a new poetics that values both literary ornamentation and the suggestion of emotion through rasa. This book argues that the reasons of and purposes for Kavikarnapura's literary innovations are firmly rooted in his unique Vaisnava theology, and exemplifies this through a careful reading of select passages from the Ananda-vrndavana, his poetic retelling of Krsna's play in Vrndavana.
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