This book surveys Arianism, a Christian creed of tremendous historical importance that once served as the faith of Roman emperors and the barbarians on the frontiers alike, while it simultaneously advances existing scholarship by integrating the approaches of history and theology with those drawn from the cognitive science of religion. This paradigm shift allows us to understand the initial support for the Arian creed and its eventual rejection by Roman emperors; to recognize the nature of intuitions of divinity amongst Germanic peoples before their conversion; to discern the way in which these were translated into Christian belief; and to differentiate the beliefs of Arius from those called "Arians" by their opponents.
Winner, 2013 Sami Rohr Choice Award for Jewish Literature
When non-Orthodox Jews become frum (religious), they encounter much more than dietary laws and Sabbath prohibitions. They find themselves in the midst of a whole new culture, involving matchmakers, homemade gefilte fish, and Yiddish-influenced grammar. Becoming Frum explains how these newcomers learn Orthodox language and culture through their interactions with community veterans and other newcomers. Some take on as much as they can as quickly as they can, going beyond the norms of those raised in the community. Others maintain aspects of their pre-Orthodox selves, yielding unique combinations, like Matisyahu’s reggae music or Hebrew words and sing-song intonation used with American slang, as in “mamish (really) keepin’ it real.”
Sarah Bunin Benor brings insight into the phenomenon of adopting a new identity based on ethnographic and sociolinguistic research among men and women in an American Orthodox community. Her analysis is applicable to other situations of adult language socialization, such as students learning medical jargon or Canadians moving to Australia. Becoming Frum offers a scholarly and accessible look at the linguistic and cultural process of “becoming.”
During Russia's late imperial period, Orthodox churchmen, professionally trained theologians, and an array of social commentators sought to give meaning to Russian history and its supposed backwardness. Many found that meaning in asceticism. For some, ascetic religiosity prevented Russia from achieving its historical destiny. For others, it was the means by which the Russian people would realize the kingdom of God, thereby saving Holy Russia and the world from the satanic forces of the West.
Patrick Lally Michelson's intellectual history of asceticism in Russian Orthodox thought traces the development of these competing arguments from the early nineteenth century to the early months of World War I. He demonstrates that this discourse was an imaginative interpretation of lived Orthodoxy, primarily meant to satisfy the ideological needs of Russian thinkers and Orthodox intellectuals as they responded to the socioeconomic, political, and cultural challenges of modernity.
Why does medieval Rome look so, for lack of a better word, Byzantine? Why do its monuments speak an aesthetic of the medieval East? And just how do we quantify that Byzantine aesthetic or even the word “Byzantine”?
This book seeks to consider the ways in which the artistic styles and iconographies generally associated with the eastern medieval tradition had a life in the West and, in many cases, were just as western as they were eastern. Rome’s medieval monuments are a fundamental part of the history of the East, a history that says more about a cross- cultural exchange and interconnected “Romes” than difference and separation.
Each chapter follows the political and theological relationships between the East and the West chronologically, exploring the socio-political exchanges as they manifest in the visual language of the monuments that defined the medieval landscape of Rome.
Those who exit a religion—particularly one they were born and raised in—often find themselves at sea in their efforts to transition to life beyond their community. In Degrees of Separation, Schneur Zalman Newfield, who went through this process himself, interviews seventy-four Lubavitch and Satmar ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews who left their communities.He presents their motivations for leaving as well as how they make sense of their experiences and their processes of exiting, detailing their attitudes and opinions regarding their religious upbringing. Newfield also examines how these exiters forge new ways of being that their upbringing had not prepared them for, while also considering what these particular individuals lose and retain in the exit process.
Degrees of Separation presents a comprehensive portrait of the prolonged state of being “in-between” that characterizes transition out of a totalizing worldview. What Newfield discovers is that exiters experience both a sense of independence and a persistent connection; they are not completely dislocated from their roots once they “arrive” at their new destination. Moreover, Degrees of Separation shows that this process of transitioning identity has implications beyond religion.
This book sets out to answer the question of why Eastern Church writers showed no interest in analytical reasoning - the so-called "intellectual silence" of Rus' culture - while Western Church writers, by the time of the Scholastics, routinely incorporated analytical reasoning into their defences of the faith.Donald Ostrowski suggests that Western, post-Enlightenment- trained, analytical scholars often miss the point, not because of an inability to comprehend cultural ideas which seem abstract and ineffable, but because the agenda is different.
This book focuses on a key zone within the eastern frontier of medieval Europe: Podillya in modern-day Ukraine. Vitaliy Mykhaylovskiy offers a definitive guide to the region, which experienced great cultural and religious diversity, together with a continuous influx of newcomers. This is where Christian farmers met Muslim nomads. This is where German town residents and Polish nobles met urban Armenians and Tatars serving in the military. Podillya offers a unique opportunity to see interaction of so many peoples, principalities, and cultures – the eastern frontier of Europe at its most dynamic.
Expanding the Palace of Torah offers a broad philosophical overview of the challenges the women’s revolution poses to Orthodox Judaism, as well as Orthodox Judaism’s response to those challenges. Writing as an insider—herself an Orthodox Jew—Tamar Ross confronts the radical feminist critique of Judaism as a religion deeply entrenched in patriarchy. Surprisingly, very little work has been done in this area, beyond exploring the leeway for ad hoc solutions to practical problems as they arise on the halakhic plane. In exposing the largely male-focused thrust of the rabbinic tradition and its biblical grounding, she sees this critique as posing a potential threat to the theological heart of traditional Judaism—the belief in divine revelation.
This new edition brings this acclaimed and classic text back into print with a new essay by Tamar Ross which examines new developments in feminist thought since the book was first published in 2004.
According to tradition, the First Crusade began at Pope Urban II’s instigation and culminated in July 1099, when western European knights liberated Jerusalem. But what if the First Crusade’s real catalyst lay far to the east of Rome? Countering nearly a millennium of scholarship, Peter Frankopan reveals the First Crusade’s untold history.
A revealing account of contemporary tensions between Jews and Christians, playing out beneath the surface of conciliatory interfaith dialogue.
A new chapter in Jewish-Christian relations opened in the second half of the twentieth century when the Second Vatican Council exonerated Jews from the accusation of deicide and declared that the Jewish people had never been rejected by God. In a few carefully phrased statements, two millennia of deep hostility were swept into the trash heap of history.
But old animosities die hard. While Catholic and Jewish leaders publicly promoted interfaith dialogue, doubts remained behind closed doors. Catholic officials and theologians soon found that changing their attitude toward Jews could threaten the foundations of Christian tradition. For their part, many Jews perceived the new Catholic line as a Church effort to shore up support amid atheist and secular advances. Drawing on extensive research in contemporary rabbinical literature, Karma Ben-Johanan shows that Jewish leaders welcomed the Catholic condemnation of antisemitism but were less enthusiastic about the Church’s sudden urge to claim their friendship. Catholic theologians hoped Vatican II would turn the page on an embarrassing history, hence the assertion that the Church had not reformed but rather had always loved Jews, or at least should have. Orthodox rabbis, in contrast, believed they were finally free to say what they thought of Christianity.
Jacob’s Younger Brother pulls back the veil of interfaith dialogue to reveal how Orthodox rabbis and Catholic leaders spoke about each other when outsiders were not in the room. There Ben-Johanan finds Jews reluctant to accept the latest whims of a Church that had unilaterally dictated the terms of Jewish-Christian relations for centuries.
<p >As a small, landlocked country, medieval Bosnia managed topreserve its individuality, characterized by religious plurality and by thepersistence of its own ancient customs. But its central position in the region,situated between east and west, and between Catholic and Orthodox Christianity,meant it was heavily influenced, both politically and culturally by theVenetian Republic, the Hungarian Kingdom, and the Byzantine Empire. Due to languageissues and scarcity of sources, this region has largely been overlooked bywestern historiography. This volume features contributions from an exciting newgeneration of medievalists, who are working to rectify this gap in thenarrative.</p>
In 1913, Russian imperial marines stormed an Orthodox monastery at Mt. Athos, Greece to haul off monks engaged in a dangerously heretical practice known as Name Worshipping. Loren Graham and Jean-Michel Kantor take us on an exciting mathematical mystery tour as they unravel a bizarre tale of political struggles, psychological crises, sexual complexities, and ethical dilemmas. The men and women of the leading French and Russian mathematical schools are central characters in this absorbing tale that could not be told until now. Naming Infinity is a poignant human interest story that raises provocative questions about science and religion, intuition and creativity.
Nihil Obstat—Latin for "nothing stands in the way"—examines the interplay between religion and politics in East-Central Europe and Russia. While focusing on the postcommunist, late twentieth century, Sabrina P. Ramet discusses developments as far back as the eleventh century to explain the patterns that have developed over time and to show how they still affect contemporary interecclesiastical relations as well as those among Church, state, and society. Based on interview research in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Macedonia, and on materials published in German, Italian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Russian, and English, Ramet paints a clear picture of the political and religious fragility of former communist states, which are experiencing some aspects of freedom and choice for the first time. With its comprehensive discussion of the largest religious institutions in the area, especially the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and its extensive survey of nontraditional religious associations that have become active in the region since 1989, this study makes a distinct contribution to growing discussions about the rise of fundamentalism and the inner dilemmas of modernity. With its depth of information and thoughtful exploration of cultural traditions, Nihil Obstat uniquely presents the ramifications and complexities of European religion in a postcommunist world.
A new English translation of the first text translated from Arabic to Armenian for research and classroom use
Robert W. Thomson translates this ninth-century commentary defending the miaphysite theological position of the Armenian church against the chalcedonian position of the Greek Byzantine church. Nonnus’s exegesis of the gospel falls in the context of trends in Eastern Christian biblical exposition, primarily the Syrian tradition. Therefore, Thomson emphasizes the parallels in Syriac commentaries on the book of John, noting also earlier Greek writers whose works were influential in Syria. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the Armenian church and church history.
Introductory material on the text’s history, manuscript traditions, and theological importance
Translation of the Armenian text and commentary
Bibliography covering the Armenian, Greek, Syriac, and Arabic texts as well as secondary sources
Salvation through Temptation describes the development of predominant Greek and Latin Christian conceptions of temptation and of the work of Christ to heal and restore humankind in the context of that temptation, focusing on Maximus the Confessor and Thomas Aquinas as well-developed examples of Greek and Latin thought on these matters.
Maximus and Thomas represent two trajectories concerning the woundedness of human emotionality in the wake of the primordial human sin. Heidgerken argues that Maximus stands in essential continuity with earlier Greek ascetic theology, which conceives of the weakness of fallen humankind in demonological categories, so that the Pauline law of sin is bound to external demonic agents that act upon the human mind through thoughts, desires, and sensory impressions. For Thomas, on the other hand, this wound consists primarily of an internal disordering of the faculties that results from the withdrawal of original grace: concupiscence or the fomes peccati. Yet even in this framework, the devil plays a significant role in Thomas’s account of postlapsarian temptation.
On the basis of these differing frameworks for human temptation, Heidgerken demonstrates the centrality of Christ’s exemplarity in the Greek account and the centrality of Christ’s moral perfections in the Latin account. As a consequence of these emphases, the Greek tradition of Maximus places distinct limits on the ability of human emotionality (even that of Christ) to be perfected in this life, whereas Thomas’s approach allows Christ to completely embody a perfected form of human emotionality in his earthly life. Reciprocally, Thomas’s account of Christ’s moral perfections and virtue places distinct limits on his affirmation of Christ’s experience of postlapsarian temptation, whereas Maximus’s account allows for Christ to experience interior forms of temptation that more closely mirror the concrete moral experiences and circumstances of fallen human beings. Salvation through Temptation recommends a retrieval of early ascetic theology and demonology as the best contemporary systematic and ecumenically-viable approach to Christ’s temptation and victory over the devil.
One of the foremost scholars of the Talmud in the last century, Saul Lieberman (1898–1983) is also an intriguing and controversial figure. Highly influential in Orthodox society, he left Israel in 1940 to accept an appointment at the Jewish Theological Seminary, a Conservative institution. During his forty years at the Seminary, Lieberman served in the Rabbinical Assembly as one of the most important arbiters of Jewish law, though his decisions were often too progressive to be recognized by the Orthodox. Marc B. Shapiro here considers Lieberman’s experiences to examine the conflict between Jewish Orthodoxy and Conservatism in the mid-1900s. This invaluable scholarly resource also includes a Hebrew appendix and previously unpublished letters from Lieberman.
The ideas of the Protestant Reformation, followed by the European Enlightenment, had a profound and long-lasting impact on Russia’s church and society in the eighteenth century. Though the traditional Orthodox Church was often assumed to have been hostile toward outside influence, Andrey V. Ivanov’s study argues that the institution in fact embraced many Western ideas, thereby undergoing what some observers called a religious revolution.
Embedded with lively portrayals of historical actors and vivid descriptions of political details, A Spiritual Revolution is the first large-scale effort to fully identify exactly how Western progressive thought influenced the Russian Church. These new ideas played a foundational role in the emergence of the country as a modernizing empire and the rise of the Church hierarchy as a forward-looking agency of institutional and societal change. Ivanov addresses this important debate in the scholarship on European history, firmly placing Orthodoxy within the much wider European and global continuum of religious change.
Hasidism, a Jewish religious movement that originated in Poland in the eighteenth century, today counts over 700,000 adherents, primarily in the U.S., Israel, and the UK. Popular and scholarly interest in Hasidic Judaism and Hasidic Jews is growing, but there is no textbook dedicated to research methods in the field, nor sources for the history of Hasidism have been properly recognized. Studying Hasidism, edited by Marcin Wodzinski, an internationally recognized historian of Hasidism, aims to remedy this gap. The work’s thirteen chapters each draws upon a set of different sources, many of them previously untapped, including folklore, music, big data, and material culture to demonstrate what is still to be achieved in the study of Hasidism. Ultimately, this textbook presents research methods that can decentralize the role community leaders play in the current literature and reclaim the everyday lives of Hasidic Jews.
On a typical weekday, men of the Beverly-La Brea Orthodox community wake up early, beginning their day with Talmud reading and prayer at 5:45am, before joining Los Angeles’ traffic. Those who work “Jewish jobs”—teachers, kosher supervisors, or rabbis—will stay enmeshed in the Orthodox world throughout the workday. But even for the majority of men who spend their days in the world of gentiles, religious life constantly reasserts itself. Neighborhood fixtures like Jewish schools and synagogues are always after more involvement; evening classes and prayers pull them in; the streets themselves seem to remind them of who they are. And so the week goes, culminating as the sabbatical observances on Friday afternoon stretch into Saturday evening. Life in this community, as Iddo Tavory describes it, is palpably thick with the twin pulls of observance and sociality.
In Summoned, Tavory takes readers to the heart of the exhilarating—at times exhausting—life of the Beverly-La Brea Orthodox community. Just blocks from West Hollywood’s nightlife, the Orthodox community thrives next to the impure sights, sounds, and smells they encounter every day. But to sustain this life, as Tavory shows, is not simply a moral decision they make. To be Orthodox is to be constantly called into being. People are reminded of who they are as they are called upon by organizations, prayer quorums, the nods of strangers, whiffs of unkosher food floating through the street, or the rarer Anti-Semitic remarks. Again and again, they find themselves summoned both into social life and into their identity as Orthodox Jews. At the close of Tavory’s fascinating ethnography, we come away with a better understanding of the dynamics of social worlds, identity, interaction and self—not only in Beverly-La Brea, but in society at large.
Thinking Orthodox in Modern Russia illuminates the significant role of Russian Orthodox thought in shaping the discourse of educated society during the imperial and early Soviet periods. Bringing together an array of scholars, this book demonstrates that Orthodox reflections on spiritual, philosophical, and aesthetic issues of the day informed much of Russia’s intellectual and cultural climate.
Volume editors Patrick Lally Michelson and Judith Deutsch Kornblatt provide a historical overview of Russian Orthodox thought and a critical essay on the current state of scholarship about religious thought in modern Russia. The contributors explore a wide range of topics, including Orthodox claims to a unique religious Enlightenment, contests over authority within the Russian Church, tensions between faith and reason in academic Orthodoxy, the relationship between sacraments and the self, the religious foundations of philosophical and legal categories, and the effect of Orthodox categories in the formation of Russian literature.
Honorable Mention for the Robert K. Martin Prize 2019
Media portrayals of Orthodox Jewish women frequently depict powerless, silent individuals who are at best naive to live an Orthodox lifestyle, and who are at worst, coerced into it. Karen E. H. Skinazi delves beyond this stereotype in Women of Valor to identify a powerful tradition of feminist literary portrayals of Orthodox women, often created by Orthodox women themselves. She examines Orthodox women as they appear in memoirs, comics, novels, and movies, and speaks with the authors, filmmakers, and musicians who create these representations. Throughout the work, Skinazi threads lines from the poem “Eshes Chayil,” the Biblical description of an Orthodox “Woman of Valor.” This proverb unites Orthodoxy and feminism in a complex relationship, where Orthodox women continuously question, challenge, and negotiate Orthodox and feminist values. Ultimately, these women create paths that unite their work, passions, and families under the framework of an “Eshes Chayil,” a woman who situates religious conviction within her own power.