In the Roman and Byzantine Near East, the holy fool emerged in Christianity as a way of describing individuals whose apparent madness allowed them to achieve a higher level of spirituality. Youval Rotman examines how the figure of the mad saint or mystic was used as a means of individual and collective transformation prior to the rise is Islam.
In reality, medieval outlaws were dangerous, desperate individuals. In the fiction of the Middle Ages, however, the possibilities afforded by their position on societies’ margins granted them the ability to fill a number of transitory, transgressive roles: young adventurer, freedom fighter, and even saint. Outlawry, Liminality, and Sanctity in the Literature of the Early Medieval North Atlantic examines the development of the literary outlaw in the early Middle Ages, when traditions drawn from Anglo-Saxon England, early Christian Ireland, and Viking Age Iceland informed a generous view of itinerant criminality and facilitated the application of outlaw tropes to moral questions of conduct in both secular and religious life. Taken together, the traditions of the North Atlantic archipelago reveal a world of interconnected cultures with an expansive view of movement across boundaries both literal and conceptual, capable of finding value in unlikely places and countenancing the challenges presented by such discoveries.
Queenship and Sanctity brings together for the first time in English the anonymous Lives of Mathilda and Odilo of Cluny's Epitaph of Adelheid. Richly annotated, with an extensive introduction placing the texts and their subjects in historical and hagiographical context, it provides teachers and students with a crucial set of sources for the history of Europe (particularly Germany) in the tenth and eleventh centuries, for the development of sacred biography and medieval notions of sanctity, and for the life of aristocratic and royal women in the early Middle Ages.
*Sacred Sisters* focuses on five saints: the four female Irish saints who have extant medieval biographies (Darerca, Brigid, Íte, and Samthann), and Patrick, whose writings -- fifth-century Ireland’s sole surviving texts -- attest to the centrality of women in Irish Christianity’s development. Women served as leaders and teachers, perhaps even as bishops and priests, and men and women worked together in a variety of arrangements as well as independently. Previous studies of gender in medieval Ireland have emphasized sexism and sex-segregated celibacy, dismissing abundant evidence of alternative approaches throughout the sources, including in the Lives of Ireland’s female saints. Sacred Sisters places these generally marginalized texts at its center, exploring their portraits of empowered, authoritative, compassionate women who exemplified an accepting and affirming ethics of gender and sexuality that would be unusual in many mainstream Christian movements in the present day, let alone in the Middle Ages.
The Sanctity of Human Life
David Novak Georgetown University Press, 2007 Library of Congress R725.57.N68 2007 | Dewey Decimal 174.2
Heated debates are not unusual when confronting tough medical issues where it seems that moral and religious perspectives often erupt in conflict with philosophical or political positions. In The Sanctity of Human Life, Jewish theologian David Novak acknowledges that it is impossible not to take into account the theological view of human life, but the challenge is how to present the religious perspective to nonreligious people. In doing so, he shows that the two positions—the theological and the philosophical—aren't as far apart as they may seem.
Novak digs deep into Jewish scripture and tradition to find guidance for assessing three contemporary controversies in medicine and public policy: the use of embryos to derive stem cells for research, socialized medicine, and physician-assisted suicide. Beginning with thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Nietsche, and drawing on great Jewish figures in history—Maimonides, Rashi, and various commentators on the Torah (written law) and the Mishnah (oral law)—Novak speaks brilliantly to these modern moral dilemmas.
The Sanctity of Human Life weaves a rich and sophisticated tapestry of evidence to conclude that the Jewish understanding of the human being as sacred, as the image of God, is in fact compatible with philosophical claims about the rights of the human person—especially the right to life—and can be made intelligible to secular culture. Thus, according to Novak, the use of stem cells from embryos is morally unacceptable; the sanctity of the human person, and not capitalist or socialist approaches, should drive our understanding of national health care; and physician-assisted suicide violates humankind's fundamental responsibility for caring for one another.
Novak's erudite argument and rigorous scholarship will appeal to all scholars and students engaged in the work of theology and bioethics.
Reexamines the nature of death and dying as seen from the physician's point of view. Unlike other treatments of the subject, this study is concerned not with what physician's should do for the critically ill, but with their actual behavior. Based on extensive interviews with physicians in several medical specialties, more than 3000 questionnaires completed by physicians in four specialties, and studies of the records of actual hospital patients, the book shows that while withdrawal of treatment in certain types of cases is widespread, euthanasia is rare.