A collection of essays by experts from around the world
Like the other New Testament Gospels, the Gospel of John repeatedly appeals to Scripture (Old Testament). Preferring allusions and “echoes” alongside more explicit quotations, however, the Gospel of John weaves Scripture as an authoritative source concerning its story of Jesus. Yet, this is the same Gospel that is often regarded as antagonistic toward “the Jews,” especially the Jewish religious leaders, depicted within it.
Edited by the noted Hispanist José Juan Arrom, Pané’s report is the only surviving direct source of information about the myths, ceremonies, and lives of the New World inhabitants whom Columbus first encountered. The friar’s text contains many linguistic and cultural observations, including descriptions of the Taíno people’s healing rituals and their beliefs about their souls after death. Pané provides the first known description of the use of the hallucinogen cohoba, and he recounts the use of idols in ritual ceremonies. The names, functions, and attributes of native gods; the mythological origin of the aboriginal people’s attitudes toward sex and gender; and their rich stories of creation are described as well.
What may we say about the significance of particular moral actions for one’s relationship with God? In this provocative analysis of contemporary Catholic moral theology Darlene Fozard Weaver shows the person as a moral agent acting in relation to God. Using an overarching theological context of sinful estrangement from and gracious reconciliation in God, Weaver shows how individuals negotiate their relationships with God in and through their involvement with others and the world.
Much of current Christian ethics focuses more on persons and their virtues and vices exemplified by the work of virtue ethicists or on sinful social structures illustrated in the work of liberation theologians. These judgments fail to appreciate the reflexive character of human action and neglect the way our actions negotiate our response to God. Weaver develops a theologically robust moral anthropology that advances Christian understanding of persons and moral actions and contends we can better understand the theological import of moral actions by seeing ourselves as creatures who live, move, and have our being in God.
Adam’s visit prompted Creech to re-evaluate his belief that homosexuality was a sin, and to research the scriptural basis for the church’s position. He determined that the church was mistaken, that scriptural translations and interpretations had been botched and dangerously distorted. As a Christian, Creech came to believe that discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people was morally wrong. This understanding compelled him to perform same-gender commitment ceremonies, which conflicted with church directives. Creech was tried twice by The United Methodist Church, and, after the second trial, his ordination credentials were revoked. Adam’s Gift is a moving story and an important chapter in the unfinished struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil and human rights.
Professor Leahy recounts the academic tensions between religious beliefs and intellectual inquiry, and explore the social changes that have affected higher education and American Catholicism throughout this century. He attempts to explain why the significant growth of Catholic colleges and universities was not always matched by concomitant academic esteem in the larger world of American higher education.
Investigate how Deuteronomy incorporates vulnerable, displaced people
Deuteronomy addresses social contexts of widespread displacement, an issue affecting 65 million people today. In this book Mark R. Glanville investigates how Deuteronomy fosters the integration of the stranger as kindred into the community of Yahweh. According to Deuteronomy, displaced people are to be enfolded within the household, within the clan, and within the nation. Glanville argues that Deuteronomy demonstrates the immense creativity that communities may invest in enfolding displaced and vulnerable people. Inclusivism is nourished through social law, the law of judicial procedure, communal feasting, and covenant renewal. Deuteronomy’s call to include the stranger as kindred presents contemporary nation-states with an opportunity and a responsibility to reimagine themselves and their disposition toward displaced strangers today.
Mexico is famous for spectacular fiestas that embody its heart and soul. An expression of the cult of the saint, patron saint fiestas are the centerpiece of Mexican popular religion and of great importance to the lives and cultures of people and communities. These fiestas have their own language, objects, belief systems, and practices. They link Mexico's past and present, its indigenous and European populations, and its local and global relations.
This work provides a comprehensive study of two intimately linked patron saint fiestas in the state of Guanajuato, near San Miguel de Allende—the fiesta of the village of Cruz del Palmar and that of the town of San Luis de la Paz. These two fiestas are related to one another in very special ways involving both religious practices and their respective pre-Hispanic origins.
A mixture of secular and sacred, patron saint fiestas are multi-day affairs that include many events, ritual specialists, and performers, with the participation of the entire community. Fiestas take place in order to honor the saints, and they are the occasion for religious ceremonies, processions, musical performances, dances, and dance dramas. They feature spectacular costumes, enormous puppets, masked and cross-dressed individuals, dazzling fireworks, rodeos, food stands, competitions, and public dances. By encompassing all of these events and performances, this work displays the essence of Mexico, a lens through which this country's complex history, religion, ethnic mix, traditions, and magic can be viewed.
How aesthetic religious experiences can create solidarity in marginalized communities
Latine Catholics have used Our Lady of Guadalupe as a symbol in democratic campaigns ranging from the Chicano movement and United Farm Workers’ movements to contemporary calls for just immigration reform. In diverse ways, these groups have used Guadalupe’s symbol and narrative to critique society’s basic structures—including law, policy, and institutions—while seeking to inspire broader participation and representation among marginalized peoples in US democracy.
Yet, from the outside, Guadalupe’s symbol is illegible within a liberal political framework that seeks to protect society’s basic structures from religious encroachment by relegating religious speech, practices, and symbols to the background.
The Aesthetics of Solidarity argues for the capacity of Our Lady of Guadalupe—and similar religious symbols—to make democratic claims. Author Nichole M. Flores exposes the limitations of political liberalism’s aesthetic responses to religious difference, turning instead to Latine theological aesthetics and Catholic social thought to build a framework for interpreting religious symbols in our contemporary pluralistic and participatory democratic life. By offering a lived theology of Chicanx Catholics in Denver, Colorado, and their use of Guadalupe in the pursuit of justice in response to their neighborhood’s gentrification, this book provides an important framework for a community of interpretation where members stand in solidarity to respond to justice claims made from diverse religious and cultural communities.
Winner of the John Gilmary Shea Prize
A groundbreaking history of how Africans in the French Empire embraced both African independence and their Catholic faith during the upheaval of decolonization, leading to a fundamental reorientation of the Catholic Church.
African Catholic examines how French imperialists and the Africans they ruled imagined the religious future of French sub-Saharan Africa in the years just before and after decolonization. The story encompasses the political transition to independence, Catholic contributions to black intellectual currents, and efforts to alter the church hierarchy to create an authentically “African” church.
Elizabeth Foster recreates a Franco-African world forged by conquest, colonization, missions, and conversions—one that still exists today. We meet missionaries in Africa and their superiors in France, African Catholic students abroad destined to become leaders in their home countries, African Catholic intellectuals and young clergymen, along with French and African lay activists. All of these men and women were preoccupied with the future of France’s colonies, the place of Catholicism in a postcolonial Africa, and the struggle over their personal loyalties to the Vatican, France, and the new African states.
Having served as the nuncio to France and the Vatican’s liaison to UNESCO in the 1950s, Pope John XXIII understood as few others did the central questions that arose in the postwar Franco-African Catholic world. Was the church truly universal? Was Catholicism a conservative pillar of order or a force to liberate subjugated and exploited peoples? Could the church change with the times? He was thinking of Africa on the eve of Vatican II, declaring in a radio address shortly before the council opened, “Vis-à-vis the underdeveloped countries, the church presents itself as it is and as it wants to be: the church of all.”
Over the past thirty years, Italy—the historic home of Catholicism—has become a significant destination for migrants from Nigeria and Ghana. Along with suitcases and dreams of a brighter future, these Africans bring their own form of Christianity, Pentecostalism, shaped by their various cultures and religious worlds. At the heart of Annalisa Butticci’s beautifully sculpted ethnography of African Pentecostalism in Italy is a paradox. Pentecostalism, traditionally one of the most Protestant of Christian faiths, is driven by the same concern as Catholicism: real presence.
In Italy, Pentecostals face harsh anti-immigrant sentiment and limited access to economic and social resources. At times, they find safe spaces to worship in Catholic churches, where a fascinating encounter unfolds that is equal parts conflict and communion. When Pentecostals watch Catholics engage with sacramental objects—relics, statues, works of art—they recognize the signs of what they consider the idolatrous religions of their ancestors. Catholics, in turn, view Pentecostal practices as a mix of African religions and Christian traditions. Yet despite their apparently irreconcilable differences and conflicts, they both share a deeply sensuous and material way to make the divine visible and tangible. In this sense, Pentecostalism appears much closer to Catholicism than to mainstream Protestantism.
African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe offers an intimate glimpse at what happens when the world’s two fastest growing Christian faiths come into contact, share worship space, and use analogous sacramental objects and images. And it explains how their seemingly antithetical practices and beliefs undergird a profound commonality.
Religion, Mark C. Taylor argues in After God, is more complicated than either its defenders or critics think and, indeed, is much more influential than any of us realize. Our world, Taylor maintains, is shaped by religion even when it is least obvious. Faith and value, he insists, are unavoidable and inextricably interrelated for believers and nonbelievers alike.
The first comprehensive theology of culture since the pioneering work of Paul Tillich, After God redefines religion for our contemporary age. This volumeis a radical reconceptualization of religion and Taylor’s most pathbreaking work yet, bringing together various strands of theological argument and cultural analysis four decades in the making.
Praise for Mark C. Taylor
“The distinguishing feature of Taylor’s career is a fearless, or perhaps reckless, orientation to the new and to whatever challenges orthodoxy. . . . Taylor’s work is playful, perverse, rarefied, ingenious, and often brilliant.”—New York Times Magazine
The fear of falling, the awareness of lost innocence, lost illusions, lost hopes and intentions, of civilization in decline—these are the themes which link literature to theology, both concerned with the shape of human destiny. Otten discusses the continuing viability of the myth of the Fall in literature. He relates a wide variety of romantic and modern works to fundamental issues in modern Christianity.
In After Life, Eugene Thacker clears the ground for a new philosophy of life by recovering the twists and turns in its philosophical history. Beginning with Aristotle’s originary formulation of a philosophy of life, Thacker examines the influence of Aristotle’s ideas in medieval and early modern thought, leading him to the work of Immanuel Kant, who notes the inherently contradictory nature of “life in itself.” Along the way, Thacker shows how early modern philosophy’s engagement with the problem of life affects thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze, Georges Bataille, and Alain Badiou, as well as contemporary developments in the “speculative turn” in philosophy.
At a time when life is categorized, measured, and exploited in a variety of ways, After Life invites us to delve deeper into the contours and contradictions of the age-old question, “what is life?”
As experts in the study of literature and culture, the scholars in this collection examine the shifting cultural contexts for Holocaust representation and reveal how writersùwhether they write as witnesses to the Holocaust or at an imaginative distance from the Nazi genocideùarticulate the shadowy borderline between fact and fiction, between event and expression, and between the condition of life endured in atrocity and the hope of a meaningful existence. What imaginative literature brings to the study of the Holocaust is an ability to test the limits of language and its conventions. After Representation? moves beyond the suspicion of representation and explores the changing meaning of the Holocaust for different generations, audiences, and contexts.
Rhetoric, Power, and Possibilities
Thirty years after the publication of Antoinette Clark Wire’s groundbreaking The Corinthian Women Prophets, an interdisciplinary, international, and intergenerational group of scholars reflects upon Wire’s impact on New Testament scholarship. Essays pursue further historical and theoretical possibilities, often in search of marginalized people, including the women of Corinth, using feminist, rhetorical, materialist, decolonizing, queer, and posthumanist approaches to interpret Paul’s letters and the history of ancient Mediterranean assemblies. Contributions from Cavan Concannon, Arminta Fox, Joseph A. Marchal, Shelly Matthews, Anna Miller, Jorunn Økland, and Antoinette Clark Wire reconsider how both the methods and results of Wire’s work reveal the possibilities of other people beside Paul who are worth our attention and effort. The essays in this collection introduce students and scholars to the possibilities of interdisciplinary and intersectional approaches for engaging the broader Pauline corpus.
What happens to us after we die? What is heaven like? How do angels live? In his classic work Heaven and Hell, Swedish visionary Emanuel Swedenborg gives readers a detailed road map to the afterlife, describing the process that our soul goes through after death, the nature of heaven and hell, angels and demons, all in meticulous detail. Afterlife is an abridged version of Heaven and Hell, with passages specially chosen to highlight the essence of Swedenborg's work.
An overwhelmingly Arab-centric perspective dominates the West’s understanding of Islam and leads to a view of this religion as exclusively Middle Eastern and monolithic. Teena Purohit presses for a reorientation that would conceptualize Islam instead as a heterogeneous religion that has found a variety of expressions in local contexts throughout history. The story she tells of an Ismaili community in colonial India illustrates how much more complex Muslim identity is, and always has been, than the media would have us believe.
The Aga Khan Case focuses on a nineteenth-century court case in Bombay that influenced how religious identity was defined in India and subsequently the British Empire. The case arose when a group of Indians known as the Khojas refused to pay tithes to the Aga Khan, a Persian nobleman and hereditary spiritual leader of the Ismailis. The Khojas abided by both Hindu and Muslim customs and did not identify with a single religion prior to the court’s ruling in 1866, when the judge declared them to be converts to Ismaili Islam beholden to the Aga Khan.
In her analysis of the ginans, the religious texts of the Khojas that formed the basis of the judge’s decision, Purohit reveals that the religious practices they describe are not derivations of a Middle Eastern Islam but manifestations of a local vernacular one. Purohit suggests that only when we understand Islam as inseparable from the specific cultural milieus in which it flourishes do we fully grasp the meaning of this global religion.
Considering Levinas’s critique of French liberalism and Nazi racial politics, and the links between them, Maldonado-Torres identifies a “master morality” of dominion and control at the heart of western modernity. This master morality constitutes the center of a warring paradigm that inspires and legitimizes racial policies, imperial projects, and wars of invasion. Maldonado-Torres refines the description of modernity’s war paradigm and the Levinasian critique through Fanon’s phenomenology of the colonized and racial self and the politics of decolonization, which he reinterprets in light of the Levinasian conception of ethics. Drawing on Dussel’s genealogy of the modern imperial and warring self, Maldonado-Torres theorizes race as the naturalization of war’s death ethic. He offers decolonial ethics and politics as an antidote to modernity’s master morality and the paradigm of war. Against War advances the de-colonial turn, showing how theory and ethics cannot be conceived without politics, and how they all need to be oriented by the imperative of decolonization in the modern/colonial and postmodern world.
The tradition of agape, or unconditional love, is not exclusive to any religion. It is a primary underlying principle found in religions worldwide. The concept of altruistic love challenges the spiritual person to "love your enemies" or to "love without thought of return." It is a love that flows out to others through compassion, kindness, tenderness, and charitable giving.
Buddhists have a path of compassion, where caring for others becomes the motivating force behind existence. Hindus have a branch of yoga, the heart-centered path, that leads to enlightenment through an overwhelming love for God that takes the form of loving all humanity. Eastern religions, such as Taoism and Confucianism, see transcendent love as essential to true wisdom.
Love is a universal theme of love found in all religious traditions, Buddhist, Christian, Islam, or others. As we realize that all religions have this spiritual principle of love at their core, we can develop a sense of shared humanity. The religious tradition of agape love examined in this book will inspire those who are learning to grow in compassion and love for all people.
Just over a thousand years ago, the Song dynasty emerged as the most advanced civilization on earth. Within two centuries, China was home to nearly half of all humankind. In this concise history, we learn why the inventiveness of this era has been favorably compared with the European Renaissance, which in many ways the Song transformation surpassed.
With the chaotic dissolution of the Tang dynasty, the old aristocratic families vanished. A new class of scholar-officials—products of a meritocratic examination system—took up the task of reshaping Chinese tradition by adapting the precepts of Confucianism to a rapidly changing world. Through fiscal reforms, these elites liberalized the economy, eased the tax burden, and put paper money into circulation. Their redesigned capitals buzzed with traders, while the education system offered advancement to talented men of modest means. Their rationalist approach led to inventions in printing, shipbuilding, weaving, ceramics manufacture, mining, and agriculture. With a realist’s eye, they studied the natural world and applied their observations in art and science. And with the souls of diplomats, they chose peace over war with the aggressors on their borders. Yet persistent military threats from these nomadic tribes—which the Chinese scorned as their cultural inferiors—redefined China’s understanding of its place in the world and solidified a sense of what it meant to be Chinese.
The Age of Confucian Rule is an essential introduction to this transformative era. “A scholar should congratulate himself that he has been born in such a time” (Zhao Ruyu, 1194).
Essays that explore the rich engagement of the Talmud with its cultural world
The Babylonian Talmud (Bavli), the great compilation of Jewish law edited in the late Sasanian era (sixth–seventh century CE), also incorporates a great deal of aggada, that is, nonlegal material, including interpretations of the Bible, stories, folk sayings, and prayers. The Talmud’s aggadic traditions often echo conversations with the surrounding cultures of the Persians, Eastern Christians, Manichaeans, Mandaeans, and the ancient Babylonians, and others. The essays in this volume analyze Bavli aggada to reveal this rich engagement of the Talmud with its cultural world.
A growing number of studies indicate that older people in the church form social ties that have a significant positive impact on their physical and mental health. In Aging in the Church, Neal Krause comprehensively assesses the various relationships that stem from church involvement.
Among the many types of relationships Krause explores are close companion friendships, social-support structures (such as assistance provided by fellow church members during difficult times), and interactions that arise from Bible study and prayer groups. Through his thorough investigation of the underlying links between these relationships and the ways they relate to attributes like forgiveness, hope, gratitude, and altruism, the author hopes to explain why older adults who are involved in religious activities tend to enjoy better physical and mental health than those who are not engaged in religious communities. Going beyond merely reviewing the existing research on this subject, Aging in the Church provides a blueprint for taking research on church-based social relationships and health to the next level by identifying conceptual and methodological issues that investigators will confront as they delve more deeply into these connections.
Though these are complex issues, readers will find plain language and literature drawn from a wide array of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, public health, medicine, psychiatry, nursing, social work, gerontology, and theology. Literature, poetry, philosophy, and ethical ideas supplement the insights from these diverse fields. As a result, Aging in the Church takes on a genuinely interdisciplinary focus that will appeal to various scholars, researchers, and students.
From the Pilgrims who settled at Plymouth Rock to Christian Coalition canvassers working for George W. Bush, Americans have long sought to integrate faith with politics. Few have been as successful as Hollywood evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson.
During the years between the two world wars, McPherson was the most flamboyant and controversial minister in the United States. She built an enormously successful and innovative megachurch, established a mass media empire, and produced spellbinding theatrical sermons that rivaled Tinseltown's spectacular shows. As McPherson's power grew, she moved beyond religion into the realm of politics, launching a national crusade to fight the teaching of evolution in the schools, defend Prohibition, and resurrect what she believed was the United States' Christian heritage. Convinced that the antichrist was working to destroy the nation's Protestant foundations, she and her allies saw themselves as a besieged minority called by God to join the "old time religion" to American patriotism.
Matthew Sutton's definitive study of Aimee Semple McPherson reveals the woman, most often remembered as the hypocritical vamp in Sinclair Lewis's Elmer Gantry, as a trail-blazing pioneer. Her life marked the beginning of Pentecostalism's advance from the margins of Protestantism to the mainstream of American culture. Indeed, from her location in Hollywood, McPherson's integration of politics with faith set precedents for the religious right, while her celebrity status, use of spectacle, and mass media savvy came to define modern evangelicalism.
Media coverage of the Danish cartoon crisis and the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan left Westerners with a strong impression that Islam does not countenance depiction of religious imagery. Jamal J. Elias corrects this view by revealing the complexity of Islamic attitudes toward representational religious art. Aisha’s Cushion emphasizes Islam’s perceptual and intellectual modes and in so doing offers the reader both insight into Islamic visual culture and a unique way of seeing the world.
Aisha’s Cushion evaluates the controversies surrounding blasphemy and iconoclasm by exploring Islamic societies at the time of Muhammad and the birth of Islam; during early contact between Arab Muslims and Byzantine Christians; in medieval Anatolia and India; and in modern times. Elias’s inquiry then goes further, to situate Islamic religious art in a global context. His comparisons with Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu attitudes toward religious art show them to be as contradictory as those of Islam. Contemporary theories about art’s place in society inform Elias’s investigation of how religious objects have been understood across time and in different cultures.
Elias contends that Islamic perspectives on representation and perception should be sought not only in theological writings or aesthetic treatises but in a range of Islamic works in areas as diverse as optics, alchemy, dreaming, calligraphy, literature, vehicle and home decoration, and Sufi metaphysics. Unearthing shades of meaning in Islamic thought throughout history, Elias offers fresh insight into the relations among religion, art, and perception across a broad range of cultures.
In August 1986, Alice Auma, a young Acholi woman in northern Uganda, proclaiming herself under the orders of a Christian spirit named Lakwena, raised an army called the “Holy Spirit Mobile Forces.” With it she waged a war against perceived evil, not only an external enemy represented by the National Resistance Army of the government, but internal enemies in the form of “impure” soldiers, witches, and sorcerers. She came very close to her goal of overthrowing the government but was defeated and fled to Kenya.
This book provides a unique view of Alice’s movement, based on interviews with its members and including their own writings, examining their perceptions of the threat of external and internal evil. It concludes with an account of the successor movements into which Alice’s forces fragmented and which still are active in the civil wars of the Sudan and Uganda.
The book is the first of its kind to draw together in conversation the views of the early Church, contemporary biblical and theological scholarship, and post-conciliar teachings. Steck develops a comprehensive, Catholic theology of animals based on an in-depth exploration of Catholicism's fundamental doctrines—trinitarian theology, Christology, pneumatology, eschatology, and soteriology. All God's Animals makes two central claims. First, we can hope that God will include animals of the present age in the kingdom inaugurated by Christ. Second, because of this inclusion, our responses to animals should be guided by the values of the kingdom. As Christians await the final liberation of all creation, they are to be witnesses to God’s kingdom by embodying its ideals in their relations with animal life. Because the kingdom's fullness is yet to come and because our world remains marked by the wounds of sin, however, Christian treatment of animals will at times require acts that are at odds with the kingdom’s ideals (for example, those causing suffering and death). Steck examines each of these ideas and explores all of their complexities.
Roman Catholic moral theology is the point of departure for this multifaceted exploration of the challenge of allocating scarce medical resources.
The volume begins its exploration of discerning moral limits to modern high-technology medicine with a consensus statement born of the conversations among its contributors. The seventeen essays use the example of critical care, because it offers one of the few areas in medicine where there are good clinical predictive measures regarding the likelihood of survival. As a result, the health care industry can with increasing accuracy predict the probability of saving lives—and at what cost.
Because critical care involves hard choices in the face of finitude, it invites profound questions about the meaning of life, the nature of a good death, and distributive justice. For those who identify the prize of human life as immortality, the question arises as to how much effort should be invested in marginally postponing death. In a secular culture that presumes that individuals live only once, and briefly, there is an often-unacknowledged moral imperative to employ any means necessary to postpone death. The conflict between the free choice of individuals and various aspirations to equality compounds the challenge of controlling medical costs while also offering high-tech care to those who want its possible benefits. It forces society to confront anew notions of ordinary versus extraordinary, and proportionate versus disproportionate, treatment in a highly technologically structured social context.
This cluster of discussions is enriched by five essays from Jewish, Orthodox Christian, and Protestant perspectives. Written by premier scholars from the United States and abroad, these essays will be valuable reading for students and scholars of bioethics and Christian moral theology.
The first study to focus exclusively on the use in the Hebrew Bible of soundplay to allude to and interpret earlier literary traditions
This book focuses on the way the biblical writers used allusive soundplay to construct theological discourse, that is, in service of their efforts to describe the nature of God and God's relationship to humanity. By showing that a variety of biblical books contain examples of allusive soundplay employed for this purpose, Kline demonstrates that this literary device played an important role in the growth of the biblical text as a whole and in the development of ancient Israelite and early Jewish theological traditions.Features:
In 1830 philosopher Auguste Comte coined the term altruism to provide a general definition for the act of selflessly caring for others. But does this modern conception of sacrificing one's own interests for the well-being of others apply to the charitable behaviors encouraged by all world religions? In Altruism in World Religions prominent scholars from an array of religious perspectives probe the definition of altruism to determine whether it is a category that serves to advance the study of religion.
Exploring a range of philosophical and religious thought from Greco-Roman philia to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, from Hinduism in India to Buddhism and the religions of China and Japan, the authors find that altruism becomes problematic when applied to religious studies because it is, in fact, a concept absent from religion. Chapters on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam reveal that followers of these religions cannot genuinely perform self-sacrificing acts because God has promised to reward every good deed. Moreover, the separation between the self and the other that self-sacrifice necessarily implies, runs counter to Buddhist thought, which makes no such distinction.
By challenging our assumptions about the act of self-sacrifice as it relates to religious teachings, the authors have shown altruism to be more of a secular than religious notion. At the same time, their findings highlight how charitable acts operate with the values and structures of the religions studied.
This anthology brings together, for the first time, leading essays and book chapters from theologians, philosophers, and scientists on their research on ethics, altruism, and love. Because the general consensus today is that scholarship in moral theory requires empirical research, the arguments of the leading scholars presented in this book will be fundamental to those examining issues in love, ethics, religion, and science.
The first half of The Altruism Reader offers essential selections from religious texts, leading contemporary scholars, and cutting-edge ethicists. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism are represented. Among the highly respected writers are Thomas Aquinas, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, John Polkinghorne, Stephen Pope, Louis Fischer, Amira Shamma Abdin, Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, and Daniel Day Williams.
The book’s second half features primary readings on love and altruism from the sciences. Here the focus is on anthropology, psychology, sociology, biology, and neurology, with material written by Daniel C. Batson, David Sloan Wilson, Robert Wright, Stephen G. Post, Robert Axelrod, Richard Dawkins, Holmes Rolston III, and other renowned scientists and philosophers.
“Virtually all people act—and often talk—as if they have some clue about love. We speak about loving food, falling in love, loving God, feeling loved, and loving a type of music. We say that love hurts, love waits, love stinks, and love means never having to say you’re sorry. We use the word and its derivatives in a wide variety of ways . . . . My definition of love is this: To love is to act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others (including God), to promote well-being.” —Thomas Jay Oord
What motivates altruism? How essential is the phenomenon of altruism to the human experience? Is altruism readily accessible to the ordinary person? In The Altruistic Species, Andrew Michael Flescher and Daniel L. Worthen explore these questions through the lenses of four disciplinary perspectives—biology, psychology, philosophy, and religion. In their investigation, they make an extended argument for the existence of altruism against competing theories that construe all ostensible cases of benevolence as self-interest in disguise. The authors consider theories of egoism; the role of genetics and evolutionary biology; the psychological that induce altruistic behavior; philosophical theories of altruism in normative ethics such as Kantian, utilitarian, and Aristotelian models of moral action; and accounts of love of the neighbor in Christianity and Buddhism. Additionally, they offer a new, comprehensive definition of altruism that includes the insights of each of these perspectives.
The Altruistic Species reinvigorates the debate over the prevalence of selfless motivation in human behavior—whether it is a rare or ubiquitous phenomenon—something considered exceptional or a capacity that members of any community could potentially develop. This noteworthy interdisciplinary examination of altruism balances science, virtue theory, and theology. It is ideal for ethics, human behavior, and evolutionary biology courses as an educational resource for other multidisciplinary studies and interested lay readers.
A Bollywood blockbuster when it was released in 1977, Amar Akbar Anthony has become a classic of Hindi cinema and a touchstone of Indian popular culture. Delighting audiences with its songs and madcap adventures, the film follows the heroics of three Bombay brothers separated in childhood from their parents and one another. Beyond the freewheeling comedy and camp, however, is a potent vision of social harmony, as the three protagonists, each raised in a different religion, discover they are true brothers in the end. William Elison, Christian Lee Novetzke, and Andy Rotman offer a sympathetic and layered interpretation of the film’s deeper symbolism, seeing it as a lens for understanding modern India’s experience with secular democracy.
Amar Akbar Anthony’s celebration of an India built on pluralism and religious tolerance continues to resonate with audiences today. But it also invites a critique of modernity’s mixed blessings. As the authors show, the film’s sunny exterior only partially conceals darker elements: the shadow of Partition, the crisis of Emergency Rule, and the vexed implications of the metaphor of the family for the nation. The lessons viewers draw from the film depend largely on which brother they recognize as its hero. Is it Amar, the straight-edge Hindu policeman? Is it Akbar, the romantic Muslim singer? Or is it Anthony, the Christian outlaw with a heart of gold? In this book’s innovative and multi-perspectival approach, each brother makes his case for himself (although the last word belongs to their mother).
Every child knows what it means to play, but the rest of us can merely speculate. Is it a kind of adaptation, teaching us skills, inducting us into certain communities? Is it power, pursued in games of prowess? Fate, deployed in games of chance? Daydreaming, enacted in art? Or is it just frivolity? Brian Sutton-Smith, a leading proponent of play theory, considers each possibility as it has been proposed, elaborated, and debated in disciplines from biology, psychology, and education to metaphysics, mathematics, and sociology.
Sutton-Smith focuses on play theories rooted in seven distinct “rhetorics”—the ancient discourses of Fate, Power, Communal Identity, and Frivolity and the modern discourses of Progress, the Imaginary, and the Self. In a sweeping analysis that moves from the question of play in child development to the implications of play for the Western work ethic, he explores the values, historical sources, and interests that have dictated the terms and forms of play put forth in each discourse’s “objective” theory.
This work reveals more distinctions and disjunctions than affinities, with one striking exception: however different their descriptions and interpretations of play, each rhetoric reveals a quirkiness, redundancy, and flexibility. In light of this, Sutton-Smith suggests that play might provide a model of the variability that allows for “natural” selection. As a form of mental feedback, play might nullify the rigidity that sets in after successful adaption, thus reinforcing animal and human variability. Further, he shows how these discourses, despite their differences, might offer the components for a new social science of play.
A new translation for scholars and students of biblical interpretation and ancient Christianity
The ancient writer dubbed Ambrosiaster was a pioneer in the revival of interest in the Pauline Epistles in the later fourth century. He was read by Latin writers, including Pelagius and Augustine, and his writings, passed on pseudonymously, had a long afterlife in the biblical commentaries, theological treatises, and canonical literature of the medieval and the early modern periods. In addition to his importance as an interpreter of scripture, Ambrosiaster provides unique perspectives on many facets of Christian life in Rome, from the emergence of clerical celibacy to the development of liturgical practices to the subordination of women.
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2015
The first comprehensive history of modern American evangelicalism to appear in a generation, American Apocalypse shows how a group of radical Protestants, anticipating the end of the world, paradoxically transformed it.
“The history Sutton assembles is rich, and the connections are startling.”
“American Apocalypse relentlessly and impressively shows how evangelicals have interpreted almost every domestic or international crisis in relation to Christ’s return and his judgment upon the wicked…Sutton sees one of the most troubling aspects of evangelical influence in the spread of the apocalyptic outlook among Republican politicians with the rise of the Religious Right…American Apocalypse clearly shows just how popular evangelical apocalypticism has been and, during the Cold War, how the combination of odd belief and political power could produce a sleepless night or two.”
—D. G. Hart, Wall Street Journal
“American Apocalypse is the best history of American evangelicalism I’ve read in some time…If you want to understand why compromise has become a dirty word in the GOP today and how cultural politics is splitting the nation apart, American Apocalypse is an excellent place to start.”
—Stephen Prothero, Bookforum
Consider the Book of Mormon, first published in 1830. The nature of this volume—in particular its claim to antiquity—is the theme of nine ground-breaking essays in American Apocrypha. Thomas W. Murphy discusses the Book of Mormon’s view that American Indians are descendants of ancient Hebrews. In recent DNA tests, Native Americans have proven to be of Siberian ancestry and not of ancient Jewish or Middle Eastern descent. Nor is the Book of Mormon a traditional translation from an ancient document, writes David P. Wright, as indicated by the underlying Hebrew in the book’s Isaiah passages. Other contributors to American Apocrypha explore the evolution of ideas in the Book of Mormon during the course of its dictation.
Editors Dan Vogel and Brent Metcalfe have chosen essays by authors who represent a wide range of disciplines and perspectives: Robert Price edits the Journal of Higher Criticism; Thomas Murphy chairs the anthropology department at Edmonds Community College; David Wright teaches Hebrew Bible at Brandeis University. They are joined by Scott C. Dunn; Edwin Firmage, Jr.; George D. Smith; and Susan Staker—all of whom explore what can be reasonably asserted about the Book of Mormon as scripture.
“Wall traces the nursing and management roles of nuns and brothers in church-related US health care institutions. This well-documented volume will be a useful addition for collections supporting academic programs in public health, hospital administration, bioethics, and divinity, and for comprehensive collections in the history of medicine. Recommended.” —Choice
“American Catholic Hospitals is fair, balanced, insightful, and intriguing. The story Wall tells—a story about a significant segment of the US health care system—is meticulously documented. Readers will find her study to be illuminating, even inspirational.” —Journal of the American Medical Association
“In American Catholic Hospitals, Barbra Mann Hall traces the ways Catholic hospitals have accommodated changes both within the church and in society over the last century. Her book is well researched and a fascinating read.” —Health Progress
“Wall presents a compelling and well-documented narrative of the dynamic transformation of Catholic hospitals in twentieth-century America. Drawing on records from Catholic congregations throughout the United States, she reveals an admirable perseverance of religious caregivers, demonstrated by their willingness to adapt to socioeconomic forces often inimical to charitable care.” —American Catholic Studies
“American Catholic Hospitals is meticulously researched and well written. Although it is certainly appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate students, general readers also will find it to be an excellent overview of the history of the changes that Catholic health-care institutions have undergone in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.” —Catholic Historical Review
“American Catholic Hospitals offers a tremendous amount of new material and refreshing perspectives on current health care system challenges in the United States.” —Sioban Nelson, Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
“Wall provides solid scholarship and engaging insight into the historic and contemporary contributions of American Catholic hospitals and their ability to adapt and serve amid the changing landscapes of church and state, culture wars, and healthcare reforms of the 20th century.” —Carol K. Coburn, author of Spirited Lives: How Nuns Shaped Catholic Culture and American Life, 1836-1920
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