Discernment of Spirits: Assessing Visions & Visionaries in the Late
Middle Ages by Wendy Love Anderson (Spatmittelalter,
Humanismus, Reformation: Mohr Siebeck) argues for continuity between
thirteenth-century debates over visionary Franciscan clerics and
fifteenth-century debates over visionary lay women. More generally,
I will argue for a visionary discourse about the discernment of
spirits throughout the late Middle Ages, that is, not only a
forward-looking discourse but a discourse in which many of the
participants either experienced revelations and other special
spiritual gifts or were reputed by contemporaries to have done so.
Academically trained theologians who wrote about the discernment of
spirits also wrote about "mystical" theology; authors of saints'
lives described their own visions of the prospective saints;
preachers and confessors alluded to their own spiritual consolations
while offering guidance to visionaries they encountered on a daily
basis. Some female visionaries — Birgitta of Sweden prominent among
them — could and did contribute to this discourse, which remained
relatively egalitarian until the fifteenth century. In other words,
there was no absolute distinction between the "visionary" and the
"examiner" until the very end of the period in question. What
preoccupied these men and women was not gender, but authority: they
sought to define, regulate, or justify their own or their
companions' religiously based claims to influence the direction of
late medieval Christendom. Their efforts turned to writing about the
discernment of spirits at precisely those historical moments when
the Church's authority structures were being called into question
(as, indeed, they frequently were during this period). And the
precise details of those historical moments had considerable and
demonstrable impact on the texts that grew out of them. It is for
just that reason that I have also focused on examining writings
about the discernment of spirits within their historical contexts, a
practice which throws the idiosyncratic details of each text into
the sharpest possible relief and avoids the temptation of lumping
too many disparate formulations into a vaguely understood
There are many things that this book does not do: most important, it does not presume to define the reality (much less the ultimate inspiration) of any individual's religious or spiritual experience, and it does not address the legal and quasi-legal events such as exorcisms and trials which bear a significant but tangential relationship to the theological discourse under consideration. (The studies of Caciola and Elliott, mentioned above, have done a great deal to illuminate just these sorts of events.) Despite revision, my work bears some of the hallmarks of the dissertation in which it originated and which was cited by many of the "recent" works I have mentioned above. But I have chosen to revise and publish this study because the current consensus that the late medieval conversation about the discernment of spirits was important in defining and limiting expressions of female spirituality simply does not give that conversation enough credit. The late medieval discourse on the discernment of spirits was a visionary project (in both senses), a series of reactions to key events in the history of Christianity, and a dynamic conversation across several centuries addressing widely diverse claims to religious authority within late medieval Christendom. To reduce it to a static doctrine or limit it to discussions of exclusively female spirituality is to miss a great deal. More
Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy by Paul C. Gutjahr (Oxford University Press) Charles Hodge (1797-1878) was one of nineteenth-century America's leading theologians, owing in part to a lengthy teaching career, voluminous writings, and a faculty post at one of the nation's most influential schools, Princeton Theological Seminary. Surprisingly, the only biography of this towering figure was written by his son, just two years after his death. Paul Gutjahr's book, therefore, is the first modern critical biography of a man some have called the "Pope of Presbyterianism." Hodge's legacy is especially important to American Presbyterians. His brand of theological conservatism became vital in the 1920s, as Princeton Seminary saw itself, and its denomination, split. The conservative wing held unswervingly to the Old School tradition championed by Hodge, and ultimately founded the breakaway Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The views that Hodge developed, refined, and propagated helped shape many of the central traditions of twentieth- and twenty-first-century American evangelicalism. Hodge helped establish a profound reliance on the Bible among evangelicals, and he became one of the nation's most vocal proponents of biblical inerrancy. Gutjahr's study reveals the exceptional depth, breadth, and longevity of Hodge's theological influence and illuminates the varied and complex nature of conservative American Protestantism. More
Images of Medieval Sanctity by Debra Higgs
Strickland (Visualising the Middle Ages: Brill
Academic) Assembled on the occasion of Gary Dickson's
retirement from the University of Edinburgh following a
distinguished career as an internationally acclaimed
scholar of medieval social and religious history, this
volume contains contributions by both established and
newer scholars inspired by Dickson's particular interests in medieval popular religion,
including 'religious enthusiasm'. Together, the essays
comprise a comprehensive and rich investigation of the
idea of sanctity and its many medieval manifestations
across time (fifth through fifteenth centuries) and in
different geographical locations (England, Scotland,
France, Italy, the Low Countries). By approaching the
theme of sanctity from multiple disciplinary
perspectives, this highly original collection pushes
forward current academic thinking about medieval
hagiography, iconography, social history, women's
studies, and architectural history.
DEBRA HIGGS STRICKLAND, Ph.D. (1993) in Art History, Columbia University, is Deputy Director of the Glasgow Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of Glasgow. Her major publications include Saracens, Demons, and Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art (Princeton, 2003). More
The Myth of Paganism: Nonnus, Dionysus and the World of Late
Antiquity by Robert Shorrock, Series Editor: David Taylor (Classical
Literature and Society Series: Bristol Classical Press) With the
adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman
world in the fourth century AD, the role of the
poet underwent a radical transformation. In place of the traditional
poet of the Muses there emerged a new figure, claiming inspiration
and authority from Christ. The poet of Christ soon came to eclipse
the poet of the Muses, and in doing so established a conceptual
framework that still drives modern approaches to the period.
Christian poetry is taken seriously as making a relevant and
valuable contribution to our understanding of the late antique
world; by contrast pagan or secular poetry is largely ignored, as
though it were devoid of meaning.
The Myth of Paganism seeks to re-evaluate the role of pagan poetry in late antiquity. Instead of maintaining a strict dichotomy between pagan and Christian, it presents a broader definition of these poets as active participants and collaborators in the creation of late antique culture. Attention focuses on an exploration of the contemporary resonance of Nonnus Dionysiaca traditionally regarded as a pagan epic in terms of its theme and content, yet in all probability the work of a Christian poet responsible for a Homeric-style retelling of St Johns Gospel. More
The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies by
Susan Ashbrook Harvey and David G. Hunter (Oxford
Handbooks in Religion and Theology: Oxford University
Press) responds to and celebrates the explosion of
research in this inter-disciplinary field over recent
decades. As a one-volume reference work, it provides an
introduction to the academic study of early Christianity
(c. 100-600 AD) and examines the vast geographical area
impacted by the early church, in Western and Eastern
late antiquity. It is thematically arranged to encompass
history, literature, thought, practices, and material
culture. It contains authoritative and up-to-date
surveys of current thinking and research in the various
sub-specialties of early Christian studies, written by
leading figures in the discipline. The essays orientate
readers to a given topic, as well as to the trajectory
of research developments over the past 30-50 years
within the scholarship itself. Guidance for future
research is also given. Each essay points the reader
towards relevant forms of extant evidence (texts,
documents, or examples of material culture), as well as
to the appropriate research tools available for the
This volume will be useful to advanced undergraduate and post-graduate students, as well as to specialists in any area who wish to consult a brief review of the 'state of the question' in a particular area or sub-specialty of early Christian studies, especially one different from their own. More
Passion of Christ, Passion of the World by
Leonardo Boff (Orbis) First Place Award Winner in
Spirituality, Catholic Press Association
A fine reinterpretation of atonement theory from a liberationist perspective. The central thesis holds: every understanding of Jesus death must begin with Jesus historical project embodied in his message and praxis of the kingdom of God. --Roger Haight, author Jesus Symbol of God This classic work of liberation theology explores the meaning of the Cross, both as it has been interpreted in the past and how it should be interpreted in the context of contemporary faith and circumstances. These particular circumstances include the poverty and repression, fear and violence under which so many of the world s people suffer today. In such a world, how can the Cross be understood and preached and what are the consequences of that understanding?
When Boff first wrote in the 1970s his immediate context was military dictatorship, torture, and violent repression. As he notes in his new Preface, that context must be enlarged today to include the passion of the Earth a continuation of the Passion of Christ in our time. The meaning of Christ s Cross remains the same: at once the symbol of a crime, and a sign of love and hope that violence does not have the last word. More
What No Mind Has Conceived: On the Significance of Christological Apophaticism by Knut Alfsvag (Studies in Philosophical Theology: Peeters)Theology is, for the sake of its own clarity, dependent on a notion of God's hiddenness and unknowability. This is a position that over the years has been maintained by a number of theologians and philosophers. Even within the Christian tradition, which understands God as manifest in the person of Jesus, the perspective of negative or apophatic theology has remained important. This book is an investigation of the significance of this perspective. It presents the tradition of negative theology from Plato to the Reformation, focusing particularly on Maximus Confessor, Nicholas Cusanus and Martin Luther as Christologically informed thinkers who develop an apophatic theology that still seems to contain a potential for renewal both from an ecumenical and a philosophical perspective. The relevance of this perspective is then explored through a discussion of the continuity between these thinkers and some contemporary contributions, both from a Western and non-Western context. More
Following the Footsteps of the Invisible: The Complete Works of Diadochus of Photike introduction, translation and notes by Cliff Ermatinger (Cistercian Studies Series: Cistercian Publications, Liturgical Press) Fifth-century Christianity was a theological battlefield. With the Messalian heretics and their experientialist spirituality on the one side and the intellectualist school on the other, representatives of both extremes found themselves condemned by the Church. In this milieu of subjectivist notions of grace and negative anthropology, there appeared a true mystic, Diadochus, Bishop of Photik in Epiros. His is a theology whose two poles are God's grace and man's ability to cooperate with it by way of discernment of spirits. Diadochus's ability to salvage what was orthodox from the Messalians and the intellectualists proves that, rather than a reactionary, he was a true theologian capable of synthesis, open to the truth even if found in his adversary, and yet firm in his faith, unwilling to compromise. He is among the earliest witnesses of the Jesus Prayer. Diadochus is the most important spiritual writer of his century, whose influence can be found in the writings of Maximus the Confessor, Simeon the New Theologian, Gregory of Palamas, and the author of The Way of the Pilgrim. Following the Footsteps of the Invisible is the first translation of his complete works into English. More
The Latter-day Saint Family Encyclopedia by Christopher Kimball
Bigelow and Jonathan Langford, edited by Don L. Brugger (Thunder Bay
Press) With its original roots in America, The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is now a global phenomenon, with
millions of members worldwide.
The Latter-day Saint Family Encyclopedia is a resource for understanding the essentials of the Mormon faith, offering a comprehensive overview of all things LDS. Arranged alphabetically for easy navigation, this A-to-Z guide to Mormonism provides information for family members of all ages. Readers meet leaders of the faith, including founders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and learn about LDS prophets and apostles and how the Book of Mormon came to be. This large-format volume is illustrated with more than 400 full-color illustrations, photographs, and works of art. More
Roman Attitudes Toward the Christians: From Claudius to Hadrian by John Granger Cook (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament: Mohr Siebeck) John Granger Cook investigates the earliest interactions between Roman authorities and Christians. The events in Claudius' time surrounding "Chrestos" and possible Jewish Christians are fascinating but obscure. The persecutions of Nero and Trajan may be crucial for interpreting certain texts of the New Testament, including the Gospel of Mark, 1 Peter, and the Apocalypse. Scholars have become increasingly skeptical of a persecution of the Christians during Domitian's rule, and the evidence is not strong. The rescript of Hadrian did little to change Trajan's policy with regard to the Christians. Although the texts provide no evidence for a general law against the Christians (probably no such law existed until the time of Decius), they do give some indication of the way magistrates characterized ("constructed") constructed") Christians: to Nero and his prefects the Christians were arsonists and harbored intense hatred of the human race; to Pliny and Trajan they were people who did not "supplicate our gods." More
Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity by Miguel Herrero de Jáuregui (Studies in the Recovery of Ancient Texts: DeGruyter) Many recent discoveries have confirmed the importance of Orphism for ancient Greek religion, philosophy and literature. Its nature and role are still, however, among the most debated problems of Classical scholarship. A cornerstone of the question is its relationship to Christianity, which modern authors have too often discussed from apologetic perspectives or projections of the Christian model into its supposed precedent. Besides, modern approaches are strongly based on ancient ones, since Orpheus and the poems and mysteries attributed to him were fundamental in the religious controversies of Late Antiquity. Both Pagan and Christian authors often present Orphism as a precedent, alternative or imitation of Chistianity.This free and thorough study of the ancient sources sheds light on these controversial questions. The presence of the Orphic tradition in Imperial Age, documented by literary and epigraphical evidence, is confronted with the informations transmitted by Christian apologists on Orphic poems and cults. The manifold Christian treatments of Pagan sources, and their particular value to understand Greek religion, are illuminated by this specific case, which exemplifies the complex encounter between Classical culture and Jewish-Christian tradition. More
Catholic Social Thought: A Documentary Heritage by David
J. O'Brien and Thomas A. Shannon (Orbis Books) This classic compendium of church teaching offers the
most complete access to more than 100 years of official
statements of the Catholic Church on social issues.
With documents ranging from Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum (1891) to Pope Benedict XVI's Caritas in Veritate (2009), this is the single most comprehensive collection available of the primary documents of Catholic social thought. Along with the complete texts of every essential papal encyclical, this volume also includes the important documents of the American bishops I on peace, the economy, and racism. Every document is preceded by an introductory essay and helpful notes, making it an exceptional reference and teaching tool.
This updated and expanded edition of a classic reference work remains an indispensible tool for scholars and students, religious and lay people, and everyone concerned with the official statements of the Catholic Church on social issues and world peace. More
Basil of Caesarea's Anti-Eunomian Theory of Names by Mark DelCogliano (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae: Brill Academic) Basil of Caesarea's debate with Eunomius of Cyzicus in the early 360s marks a turning point in the fourth-century Trinitarian controversies. It shifted focus to methodological and epistemological disputes underlying theological differences. This monograph explores one of these fundamental points of contention: the proper theory of names. It offers a revisionist interpretation of Eunomius's theory as a corrective to previous approaches, contesting the widespread assumption that it is indebted to Platonist sources and showing that it was developed by drawing upon proximate Christian sources. While Eunomius held that names uniquely predicated of God communicated the divine essence, in response Basil developed a "notionalist" theory wherein all names signify primarily notions and secondarily properties, not essence. More
Karl Barth's Dialogue With Catholicism in Gottingen & Munster: Its Signifigance
for His Doctrine of God by Amy Marga (Beitrage Zur
Histoischen Theologie: Mohr Siebek) Amy Marga studies Karl Barth's early encounter with Roman Catholic theology during
the 1920s, especially seen in his seminal set of
dogmatic lectures given in Gottingen, and his second set
of dogmatic lectures, given in Münster and which remain
unpublished. Her analysis demonstrates his search for a
concept of God's objectivity — Gegenständlichkeit —which
would not be dependent upon philosophically-laden
concepts such as the analogia entis, but which would
rather be anchored in God's being alone. The author
shows that Roman Catholicism, especially the thought of
Erich Przywara, became the key interlocutor that helped
Barth bring this clarity to his doctrine of revelation
and the triune God.
At no time in Karl Barth's long career did Roman Catholicism play a more crucial role for him than in the 1920s. This decade saw Barth deliver two out of his three sets of lectures on dogmatic theology, the Gottingen and Münster cycles, both of which directly engaged Roman Catholic thought (the third cycle of lectures makes up the Church Dogmatics). Roman Catholicism became a conversation partner that Barth encountered with a directness and concreteness that was unprecedented in his day, and it acted as a conduit for his retrieval of Reformation theology for modern Protestantism. This study investigates the ways in which Barth engaged Catholicism in the decades of the 1920s, especially on several pivotal, material points, such as God's concrete and objective presence in the creaturely sphere, the event of revelation as an act of reconciliation, and the correspondence that exists between human knowledge of God and God's own, triune knowledge. These material issues, on which Barth found clarity and depth through the encounter with Roman Catholicism, led him to what he saw as the heart of the Protestant-Catholic divide: the doctrine of God. More
Perfect Will Theology: Divine Agency in Reformed Scholasticism As Against Suarez, Episcopius, Descartes, and Spinoza by J. Martin Bac (Brill's Series in Church History: Brill Academic) This book revisits four early-modern debates of Reformed theology concerning the will of God. Reformed scholasticism advocated a particular relationship between divine knowledge, will, and power, which was altered by Jesuits, Remonstrants, Descartes, and Spinoza. In all these debates modal categories like contingency and necessity play a prominent part. Therefore, these positions are evaluated with the help of modern modal logic including possible world semantics. The final part of this study presents a systematic defense of the Reformed position, which has been charged of theological determinism and of making God the author of sin. In modern terms, therefore, the relation of divine and human freedom and the problem of evil are discussed. More
Commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies)by Peter Martyr Vermigli; Emidio Campi; Joseph C. McLelland (Truman State University Press) This volume is techincally superb, and reflects a consistent team effort...clean, lucid, and allied with the best interdisciplinary research. More
Peter Martyr Vermigli and Predestination by Frank A. James III (Oxford University Press) Predestination and Justification: Two Theological Loci by Peter Martyr Vermigli and translated Frank A. J. L. James (Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies: Truman State University Press) It is a measure of Peter Martyr Vermigli's influence in England that his regal J portrait by Hans Asper is included in the National Portrait Gallery in London.1 The piercing brown eyes of a rather handsome Peter Martyr look beyond the confines of his gilded frame as he points to his Bible. This portrait captures something of the true spirit of this Italian theologian. It is as if, in full academic regalia, he is instructing his students to concentrate their undivided attention upon this book alone, much as he urged in his Oxford oration: "Let us immerse ourselves constantly in the sacred Scriptures, let us work at reading them, and by the gift of Christ's Spirit the things that are necessary for salvation will be for us clear, direct, and completely open." More
Orthodoxy, Process and Product by L Boeve, M Lamberigts, and T Merrigan (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium: Peeters) From 2002-2008, three research groups from the departments of systematic theology and church history at the Faculty of Theology, K.U.Leuven, joined forces in an interdisciplinary project, entitled "Orthodoxy: Process and Product". The aim of the project was a "church-historical and systematic-theological study of the determination of truth in church and theology". The present volume contains contributions from all senior members of the project research group. The contributions are the result of a research conference in 2006, in which both the question of the nature of truth as such, and the process of determination of theological truth was approached from many different angles. Thus, questions from philosophy, systematic theology and history of church and theology are discussed, including such themes as the implications of various philosophical theories of truth for theology, the question of religious pluralism and its ramifications for theological truth-claims, theological truth claims in the thought of Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, John Driedo, and at the Second Vatican Council. In addition, the meta-question of the relationship between the historical and the systematic aspects of theological truth and the way in which the historical and systematic theological disciplines interact play an important role in this volume. MoreReading and the Work of Restoration: History and Scripture in the Theology of Hugh St. Victor by Franlkin T. Harkins (Studies and Texts: PIMS) This book represents the first comprehensive study of the role of historia in the processes of reading and restoration (or salvation) in the theology of Hugh of St Victor. By providing a close reading of Hugh's major works, it affords a window onto the holistic vision of liberal arts education, scriptural exegesis, moral formation, and spirituality that attracted young students to the Parisian School of St Victor in the early twelfth century. Hugh's teaching on memory-training and his view of the liberal arts as roads leading the reader toward God have the aim of preparing students for scriptural reading and its three subdisciplines — historia, allegory, and tropology. This pedagogical program both draws on and diverges from the thought of Augustine. For Hugh, the fallen human being begins to be restored to the image of God through a program of ordered reading in the liberal arts and Sacred Scripture; this restoration continues at the fundamental level of historia even as the student advances through reading's higher disciplines. In responding to and concretizing the moral teaching found in the scriptural text, the reader comes to participate in the ongoing history of salvation. More
A Companion to the Catholic Enlightenment in Europe
by Ulrich L. Lehner and Michael Printy(Brill's
Companion to the Christian Tradition: Brill Academic
Publications) The term "Catholic Enlightenment" is no longer
considered oxymoronic within the historical profession.
Nevertheless, it is a term that is much debated and much
misunderstood; this is especially true amongst
Anglo-American scholars. Indeed, the scholarship of such
historians as Sebastian Merkle and Bernard Plongeron
established the concept of a distinctly Catholic
eighteenth-century reform for Continental historians
well in advance of their English speaking colleagues.
Still, Anglo-American historiography is ready to
consider a distinctly Catholic and reformist dimension
to the Age of Enlightenment.
This volume aims to provide an essential guide to scholarship on the Catholic Enlightenment by providing a country-by-country survey of the major events, figures, texts and subsequent scholarship of the Catholic Enlightenment. Moreover, this volume makes two other important contributions: first, it brings together European, English and American scholars as contributors. Second, and more importantly, essays contained in the volume significantly broaden the scope of the Catholic Enlightenment from the "center" (France, Holy Roman Empire, Italian States) to also include the periphery of Catholic Europe, including Poland, and Malta. More
Augustine and Postmodern Thought: A New Alliance against Modernity? by L Boeve, M Lamberigts, M. Wisse, and M Lamberigts (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium: Peeters) The North-African Church Father, or at least the thinking patterns or intuitions borrowed from him, are often invoked in discussions on the relation between Christian faith and the contemporary postmodern context. On the one hand, one observes the retrieval of rather premodern approaches in order to remedy the so-called (post-)modern crisis, which is said to result in nihilism, relativism, etc. For what seems to attract some theologians in Augustinian thinking is the (apparent) marriage between Greek (neo-Platonic) philosophy and Christian faith. Such a combination of premodern metaphysics and Christian faith would serve as a necessary presupposition for every legitimate theological epistemology. On the other hand, there are theologians and philosophers who are increasingly trying to reread Augustine from a postmodern stance, stressing the role of particularity, narrativity, historicity, and the decentring of subjectivity, which they see present in Augustine's approach, or from which they deconstruct Augustine's thinking. Central questions discussed during the symposium were: Are the analyses, offered by authors who are re-introducing Augustine with respect to the contemporary context, correct? To what diagnosed problems, and on what basis, do they propose Augustine as a remedy? Are their presentations of other theological and philosophical responses to the present situation correct and which 'Augustine' do they claim to represent? More fundamentally: what would a genuine Augustinian epistemology look like, and what can we gain from it? In what way can it be normative for a theological epistemology in our day? In answering these questions, the symposium focused explicitly on contemporary philosophical and theological evaluations of both modernity and postmodernity, and theological responses to them. More
Hidden and Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography by Irina Yazykova, Paul Greneir, with a foreword by Wendy Salmond (Paraclete Press) recounts the story of an aspect of Russian culture that fought to survive throughout the 20th century the icon. Russian iconography kept faith alive in Soviet Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. As monasteries and churches were ruined, icons destroyed, thousands of believers killed or sent to Soviet prisons and labor camps, a few courageous iconographers continued to paint holy images secretly, despite the ever-present threat of arrest. Others were forced to leave Russia altogether, and while living abroad, struggled to preserve their Orthodox traditions. Today we are witness to a renaissance of the Russian icon, made possible by the sacrifices of this previous generation of heroes. More
John, Jesus, and History, Volume 1: Critical Appraisals of Critical Views edited by Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just, S.J., and Tom Thatcher (Brill Academic Publications) (paperback) Over the last two centuries, many scholars have considered the Gospel of John off-limits for all quests for the historical Jesus. That stance, however, creates a new set of problems that need to be addressed thoughtfully. The essays in this book, reflecting the ongoing deliberations of an international group of Johannine and Jesus scholars, critically assess two primary assumptions of the prevalent view: the dehistoricization of John and the de-Johannification of Jesus. The approaches taken here are diverse, including cognitive-critical developments of Johannine memory, distinctive characteristics of the Johannine witness, new historicism, Johannine-Synoptic relations, and fresh analyses of Johannine traditional development. In addition to offering state-of-the-art reviews of Johannine studies and Jesus studies, this volume draws together an emerging consensus that sees the Gospel of John as an autonomous tradition with its own perspective, in dialogue with other traditions. Through this challenging of critical and traditional assumptions alike, new approaches to John’s age-old riddles emerge, and the ground is cleared for new and creative ways forward.
John, Jesus, and History, Volume 2: Aspects of Historicity in the Fourth Gospel edited by Paul N. Anderson, Felix Just, S.J., and Tom Thatcher (Brill Academic Publications) (Paperback) This groundbreaking volume draws together an international group of leading biblical scholars to consider one of the most controversial religious topics in the modern era: Is the Gospel of John—the most theological and distinctive among the four canonical Gospels—historical or not? If not, why does John alone among the Gospels claim eyewitness connections to Jesus? If so, why is so much of John’s material unique to John? Using various methodologies and addressing key historical issues in John, these essays advance the critical inquiry into Gospel historiography and John’s place within it, leading to an impressive consensus and convergences along the way. More
The Brill Dictionary of Gregory of Nyssa Edited by Lucas Francisco Mateo-Seco & Giulio Maspero, translated by Seth Cherney (Brill Academic) is the fruit of wide-ranging collaboration between experts in Philology, Philosophy, History and Theology. These scholars shared the desire to develop a comprehensive reference work that would help attract more people to the study of the 'Father of Fathers' and assist them in their work. Gregory of Nyssa's thought is at once quintessentially classic and modern, as it speaks directly to the contemporary reader. As interest in Gregory has increased along with the number of works devoted to him, the need for a comprehensive introduction and bibliographical reference work has arisen. In order to meet this need, more than forty scholars from various disciplines and perspectives have contributed to this work. In two hundred articles, the Brill Dictionary of Gregory of Nyssa provides a symphonic vision of the studies on Gregory of Nyssa and his thought. The work is fun to browse and skip around in, one peculiarity is Gregory's surviving works are listed by their standard abbreviations. More
Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship by Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine: Cambridge University Press) (Hardcover) The rise of modern science and the proclaimed 'death' of God in the nineteenth century led to a radical questioning of divine action and authorship - Bultmann's celebrated 'demythologizing'. Remythologizing Theology moves in another direction that begins by taking seriously the biblical accounts of God's speaking. It establishes divine communicative action as the formal and material principle of theology, and suggests that interpersonal dialogue, rather than impersonal causality, is the keystone of God's relationship with the world. This original contribution to the theology of divine action and authorship develops a new vision of Christian theism. It also revisits several long-standing controversies such as the relations of God's sovereignty to human freedom, time to eternity, and suffering to love. Groundbreaking and thought-provoking, it brings theology into fruitful dialogue with philosophy, literary theory, and biblical studies. More
Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Collaborative Exploration of Contexts & Coherence edited by Darrell L. Bock, Robert L. Webb(Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament / Scientific Research on the New Testament: Mohr Siebeck) Using a carefully defined approach to historical Jesus studies and historical method, this collection of essays examines twelve key events in the life of Jesus that were part of a decade-long collaborative research project. Each essay examines the case for the event's authenticity and then explores the social and cultural background to the event to provide an under-standing of the event's historical significance. The first six events are related to the public ministry context of Jesus, mostly associated with his Galilean ministry, while latter six events involve his final days in Jerusalem. The final essay closes with suggestions about how these events cohere and what they can tell us about what Jesus did. More
The Sentences Book 1: The Mystery of the Trinity by Peter Lombard and Giulio Silano (Mediaeval Sources in Translation: PIMS)
The Sentences Book 2: On Creation by Peter Lombard and Giulio Silano (Mediaeval Sources in Translation: PIMS)
The Sentences Book 3: Incarnation of the Word by Peter Lombard and Giulio Silano (Mediaeval Sources in Translation: PIMS)
The Sentences, Book 4: On the Doctrine of Signs by Peter Lombard and Giulio Silano (Mediaeval Sources in Translation: PIMS)
Despite the centrality of Peter Lombard's work in the history of the Western academic tradition, very little is known about his life. The earliest unimpeachable reference occurs in a letter of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, of around 1138— 1140, introducing him to the abbot of St. Victor in Paris. By 1144, a poet in far-off Bavaria could list him as one of the theological luminaries of the Parisian schools. His major work, the four books of the Sentences, was written in the mid twelfth century, and as early as the 1160s, the text was glossed and commented on in the schools. There is hardly a theologian of note throughout the rest of the Middle Ages who did not write a commentary on it.
Yet in spite of its importance in Western intellectual history and its capacity to excite many generations of students and teachers, the Sentences has received little attention in more recent times. Indeed, it has been called 'one of the least read of the world's great books.' The form of the work has proved misleading, not least to modern readers. One recurring question is whether Peter could be called an author at all, since he seems to be a mere compiler of the works of the Fathers and other universally accepted ecclesiastical writers. But it would be misleading to describe Peter's efforts as mere anthologizing. Rather, his Sentences can be likened to a modern legal casebook and the patristic citations in it to legal precedents. In other words, they serve as the binding authorities which collectively provide the matter for the normative elaboration of the Christian faith. This laborious activity of collecting sentences from ancient works and framing new ones occurred in the classroom. In short, the effort to identify and point out the coherence of the Christian tradition was inseparable from the work of teaching. Technique, rationality, and dialectic were emphasized, not for their own sake, but to bring the tradition alive and make it relevant to students and the larger communities they would serve.
Peter Lombard's major work, the four books of the Sentences, was written in the mid twelfth century, and as early as the 1160s, the text was glossed and commented on in the schools. There is hardly a theologian of note throughout the rest of the Middle Ages who did not write a commentary on the. Sentences. Yet in spite of its importance in Western intellectual history and its capacity to excite many generations of students and teachers, the Sentences has received little attention in more recent times. Indeed, it has been called 'one of the least read of the world's great books.'
Volume One makes available for the first time in English a`full translation of Book 1 of the Sentences. It consists of forty-eight Distinctions, the bulk of which deal with God in his transcendence and with the mystery of the Trinity. The person of God the Father is the topic in Distinction iv, that of God the Son in v—ix, that of God the Holy Spirit in x—xviii. Distinctions xix—xxxiv are deeply concerned with the language that can be used in describing the Trinity and the relations among the divine persons. The remaining distinctions deal with the divine attributes as they become manifest in God's action "toward creatures. An important concern is the preservation of God's sovereign freedom and the avoidance of any confusion regarding the absolute transcendence of God, despite his graceful self-disclosure in creation and revelation.
Volume Two makes available for the first time in English a full translation of the forty-four Distinctions of Book 2. In the first Peter sets out a definition of creation and ponders the reasons which God may have had for engaging in it. Angels, their creation, nature, fall, ranks, and ministries are the subject of Distinctions 2-11. Distinctions 12-15 set out an hexaemeron, or an account of the six days of creation as described in Genesis. The next five Distinctions concentrate on the creation of man and woman and the state of human beings before their sinful fall, including their manner of procreation. Distinctions 21-29, organized around the fall, are devoted to human psychology, freedom of choice, and grace. In Distinctions 30-33 the focus is on original sin, its transmission by the current mode of procreation, its remission in baptism. And the Book concludes in Distinctions 34-44 with a detailed analysis of actual sin and how it occurs by free choice in the diminished condition of human freedom after the fall.
Volume Three makes available for the first time in English a full translation of Book 3 of the Sentences. The first twenty-two of its forty Distinctions deal with the mystery of the Word made flesh: Christ's incarnation, passion, and death, and the consequent restoration of humankind. With the question of whether Christ had the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, a transition is made from Christology to a consideration of the virtues; these belong in this Book principally because the Christian is called to live them in imitation of Christ, who embodies all of them perfectly. The last four Distinctions outline the Decalogue in the context of the two commandments given by Christ regarding the love of God and neighbour. The Book closes by asserting the superiority of the Gospel over the Law of the Old Testament.
Volume Four not seen
Theses volumes each contain an introduction to Peter and to the Sentences and its particular book, a list of the major chapter headings, and a bibliography. More
Christian Humanism by Alasdair A. MacDonald, Zweder R. W. M. von Martels, Jan R. Veenstra, and Zweder R. W. M. von Martels (Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions: Brill Academic) The reception of classical literature and philosophy in Christian circles was never unaccompanied by frictions and it always required a serious re-evaluation of people's intellectual positions. This was true in the time of Augustine, when Christianity took root in Roman culture and thus became an important vehicle for the survival and transmission of classical learning when the Empire declined. It was also true in the Middle Ages, when scholastic philosophers and theologians rediscovered classical learning and science and not only adapted it to Christian doctrine, but also made theology undergo the further influence of classical thought. Finally, the age of humanism, though generally appreciated for deriving its literary, moral and educational predilections from classical models, likewise strove to maintain its Christian identity rather than give in to the secularising tendencies for which it is commonly praised. The central theme of the present book concerns these frictions between Christian and pagan learning, in a somewhat loosely defined humanist context. Christian humanism, therefore, might seem to be a contradiction in terms, in the sense that the doctrinal, philosophical and scientific interests of scholars from the humanist era accommodated a type of learning that was alien to the Christian religion. On the other hand, the phrase is also quite apt inasmuch as it articulates the project of intellectual reconciliation that made it possible for literate and learned Christians to appreciate the classical literary and intellectual heritage. More
Alternative Christs by Olav
Hammer(Cambridge University Press) The lack of reliable
biographical data on Jesus Christ has left his life open
to radical interpretations. This book explores the views
of Gnostics, Manicheans, and Muslims as well as less
well-known traditions and individuals, without taking
sides in any theological arguments.
Few, if any, individuals have had such a profound influence on Western culture as Jesus, even though not a single detail of his life or teaching can be confirmed with certainty. This lack of reliable biographical data has left his life open to broad interpretation. Jesus, gnostic and apocryphal sources insist, never truly died on the cross since he was a divine being, whose human frame was an illusion. Muslim sources affirm that Jesus was a prophet of God and will return at the end of time. Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels formulated racial theories in which Jesus was a redeemer for Aryans only, while the Renaissance polymath Guillaume Postel was convinced that Christ had returned as a Venetian woman. This book explores these and other views without taking sides in any theological arguments and presents research on a variety of alternative Christologies. More
Athanasius Kirchers Theatre of the World: The Life and Work of the Last Man to Search for Universal Knowledge by Joscelyn Godwin (Inner Traditions) Linguist, archaeologist, and exceptional scholar, Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) was the last true Renaissance man. By profession a Jesuit priest, he made himself an authority on almost every subject under the sun. To Kircher the entire world was a glorious manifestation of God, and his exploration was both a scientific quest and a religious experience. His works on Egyptology (he is credited with being the first Egyptologist), music, optics, magnetism, geology, and comparative religion were the definitive tests of their time--and yet they represent only a part of his vast range of knowledge. A Christian Hermeticist in the mold of Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, his work also examined alchemy, the Kabbalah, and the Egyptian Mystery tradition exemplified by Hermes Trismegistus. Kircher was the first to map ocean currents; the first to offer a comprehensive theory of vulcanism; the first to compile an encyclopedia on China, a dictionary of Coptic, a book dedicated solely to acoustics; the first to construct a machine for coding messages and another for composing music. His museum in Rome was among the most famous "cabinets of curiosities," visited by everybody in the intellectual world. More
Tracing Nicholas of Cusa's Early Development by J. de Guzman Miroy(Philosophes Medievaux: Peeters) When Nicholas of Cusa collected all his works in attractive codices at the end of his life, he did not include his earliest major work, namely, De concordantia catholica (DCC). Eventually, however, the work was included in the editions of his collected works, the earliest being the 1514 Paris edition'. From the time of its exclusion, the DCC has been considered to be outside the corpus of Nicholas of Cusa, who is now known as a metaphysician and a mystic. On the other hand, scholars of medieval political philosophy have considered him as one of the earliest thinkers to make "consent" constitutive of legitimate government. For this reason, contemporary popular academic perception regards Cusanus either as a philosopher or as a political thinker. More
Theophany: The Appearing of God According to the Writings of Johannes Scottus Eriugena by Hilary Anne-Marie Mooney (Beitrage Zur Historischen Theologie, 146: Mohr Siebeck) Hilary Anne-Marie Mooney's study is based on the new critical edition of Eriugena's Periphyseon and analyzes Eriugena as a biblically rooted theologian. The author presents the notion of "theophany", the appearing of God, as the key to understanding Eriugena's system as a whole. The theophanic structure inherent in all Eriugena's accounts of divine revealing possesses an impressive coherence. She focuses on the creative impulses which he draws from Scripture and she investigates the influence of theological and philosophical thinkers of the first six Christian centuries on Eriugena. The author considers those passages of Eriugena's writings in which the precise term `theophany' is used as well as other passages in which the term does not occur but which are nonetheless imbued with the 'notion' of a theophanic appearing of God. In her study the author maintains that a theophanic structure characterized by four recurring facets may be unearthed in Eriugena's theology of the revealing of God. More
Book of All Saints by Adrienne von Speyr (Ignatius Press) Adrienne von Speyr, a renowned mystic and spiritual writer from Switzerland, was received into the Catholic Church at the age of 38 by one of the theological giants of the 20th century, Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar, on the Feast of All Saints, 1940. Balthasar became her spiritual director and confessor until her death in 1967, during which time Adrienne was favored with many gifts of authentic mystical prayer. Balthasar considered one of the central characteristics of Adrienne's prayer to be her transparency to the inspirations she received from God, along with a deep personal communion with the saints. More
Christ in Postmodern Philosophy: Gianni Vattimo, Rene Girard, and Slavoj Zizek by Frederiek Depoortere (T&T Clark) (Hardcover) offers an investigation into the Christological ideas of three contemporary thinkers: Slavoj Zizek, Gianni Vattimo and Rene Girard.
The present book offers an investigation into the Christological reflections found in the work of three contemporary thinkers, namely Gianni Vattimo, Rene Girard and Slavoj Zizek. It is one of the results of my doctoral research, which began in October 2003 and which intended to compare and evaluate from a theological perspective the work of a number of contemporary continental philosophers who had recently made a so-called 'turn to religion' and to monotheism in particular. The original project text mentioned the names of John D. Caputo, Richard Kearney, Gianni Vattimo, Merold Westphal and Slavoj Zizek. My first exploratory study of these philosophers suggested to me that they can be divided into two groups. The first group consists of Caputo, Kearney and Westphal. In the wake of Heidegger's announcement of the end of onto-theology and inspired by both Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, they search for a post-metaphysical God, a God who is often indicated as tout autre (wholly other). Zizek, on the other hand, does not belong to this group. First, he clearly has another source of inspiration: not Heidegger, Levinas or Derrida, but Lacan and the great thinkers of German Idealism (Kant, Schelling and Hegel). Moreover, he does not aim at tracing a post-metaphysical God. His 'turn' to Christianity is a result of his concern to 'save' the achievements of modernity from fundamentalism as well as from postmodern relativism and religious obscurantism. Vattimo, finally, is a go-between. His sources (mainly Nietzsche and Heidegger) seem to indicate that he aligns with the first group. Like Caputo, Kearney and Westphal, Vattimo is also searching for the God who comes after metaphysics, but, as we shall see in due course, he explicitly rejects the wholly other God defended by them. With Zizek, furthermore, Vattimo shares the attention for the event of the incarnation and the conviction that the incarnation amounts to the end of God's transcendence. Both thinkers also defend the uniqueness of Christianity vis-a-vis natural religiosity. In this way, they seem to share at least some affinity with the views of Rene Girard, who has also defended the uniqueness of Christianity and claims that the latter broke away from the violent transcendence of the natural religions. In what follows, we will investigate the Christological ideas of these three contemporary thinkers, focusing on the topics of the relation between transcendence and the event of the incarnation on the one hand, and the topic of the uniqueness of Christianity on the other. More
Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume 3, Early Medieval Christianities, c.600-c.1100 edited by Thomas F. X. Noble, Julia M. H. Smith (Cambridge University Press) The key focus of this book is the vitality and dynamism of all aspects of Christian experience from late antiquity to the First Crusade. By putting the institutional and doctrinal history firmly in the context of Christianity's many cultural manifestations and lived formations everywhere from Afghanistan to Iceland, this volume of The Cambridge History of Christianity emphasizes the ever-changing, varied expressions of Christianity at both local and world level. The insights of many disciplines, including gender studies, codicology, archaeology and anthropology, are deployed to offer fresh interpretations which challenge the conventional truths concerning this formative period. Addressing eastern, Byzantine and western Christianity, it explores encounters between Christians and others, notably Jews, Muslims, and pagans; the institutional life of the church including law, reform and monasticism; the pastoral and sacramental contexts of worship, belief and morality; and finally its cultural and theological meanings, including heresy, saints' cults and the afterlife. More
The Mass: The Presence of the Sacrifice of the Cross by Charles Cardinal
Journet (St. Augustines Press) Charles Journet, the great Swiss theologian and
cardinal of the Church, first wrote this work on the Mass over forty years ago;
yet his ever-ancient-ever-new insights into the sacrificial nature of the Mass
are most needed today, when this aspect of the sacrament is so often
misunderstood or neglected.
The Mass is the "unbloody presence of the one unique bloody sacrifice of the Cross." This is the fundamental principle upon which Journet develops his theology of the Mass. Guided by the teachings of the Fathers, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Magisterium of the Church, and supported by his own rich spiritual life, Journet plumbs the depths of this unfathomable Mystery and presents It to the reader with a clarity rarely equaled. More
Theology: Rethinking the Western Body edited by Gerard Loughlin
Queer Theology makes an important contribution to public debate about
Christianity and sex. This remarkable collection of essays reconceptualizes the
body and its desires, enlarging the meaning of sexuality for the good of the
Written by some of the most able and insightful of Anglo-American scholars, established and up-coming, and from a variety of academic and religious backgrounds, the book shows how western bodies are queerer than often thought, and that the same is true of the God who elicits and tutors their desires.
The History of Theology II: The Middle Ages edited by Giulio D'Onofrio, translated by Matthew J. O'Connell (History of Theology: Liturgical Press) At last, a thorough, balanced, and readable history of medieval theology for nonspecialist readers! This is that book we so often ask for and so seldom get: written by a scholar for everyone to read. Giulio D’Onofrio, a historian of philosophy and theology, uses his deep and broad-ranging knowledge of the thought of the scholars (Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) of the Middle Ages to describe in a thoroughly readable style the development of ideas from the beginnings of what can rightly be called Western culture to the Renaissance and the eve of the Reformation. No longer can medieval theology be regarded as merely Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure with appendages fore and aft. This book is a page-turner, as readers are continually invited to join scholars and mystics of another age in the perennial pursuit of “faith seeking understanding.” More
Godly Republic: A Centrist Blueprint for America's Faith-Based Future by John J. DiIulio Jr. (Wildavsky Forum: University of California Press) By 2006 the electoral and public policy victories conservative religious groups had achieved began to energize those who were uncomfortable with the emphasis on such issues as abortion and same-gender marriage at the expense of what were considered more pressing concerns, including poverty, affordable health care, and global warming. Many moderate and liberal Christians who opposed the Bush administration's policies, such as the Iraq war and budget cuts for social welfare programs, began to organize, forming such groups as Faith in Public Life, Catholic Alliance for the Common Good, and Faithful America.
Mainline Christians and U.S. Public Policy: A Reference Handbook by Glenn Utter (Contemporary World Issues: ABC-CLIO) This reference work offers an overview of eight major mainline Protestant denominations along with the Catholic Church in the United States and the value positions they promote in the public arena, emphasizing the differences as well as similarities among them. The book presents these churches' historical development from colonial times to the present; the dominant values held by the leadership, clergy, and lay members; their social missions; and their efforts to influence public opinion and public policy on several social, economic, and political issues. An examination of the conversations, disagreements, and interest conflicts within each denomination provides insight into how value positions and the relationship between the denominations and the larger world have developed.
Jean Gerson And the Last Medieval Reformation by Brian Patrick McGuire (Hardcover) (Pennsylvania State University Press) One of the problems of dividing our history into epochs, such as ancient, medieval, Renaissance and Reformation; is that these great divisions of time cast a shadow on transitional people who belong to their place in history without the prescience of future history's flow. Jean Gerson, the major French religious reformer, educator, and theologian who lived between the 14th and 15th century is such a transitional figure. McGuire's intensive biography and study of Gerson, the first since 1929, provides a rich overview of the life and times of this visionary scholar by giving a summary account of his writings that were very influential on Luther and to a lesser extent, Calvin in the generation after Gerson’s death. Gerson played an important role in attempts to heal the Great Schism which culminated in the Council of Constance (1414 – 1418) More
The Word Has Been Abroad: A Guide Through Balthasar's Aesthetics
by Aidan Nichols (Introduction to Hans Urs Von Balthasar: T. & T.
Clark Publishers) (Hardcover)
No Bloodless Myth: A Guide Through Balthasar's Dramatics by
Aidan Nichols (Introduction to Hans Urs Von Balthasar: T. & T. Clark
Say It Is Pentecost: A Guide Through Balthasar's Logic (Introduction
to Hans Urs Von Balthasar) by Aidan Nichols (Introduction to
Hans Urs Von Balthasar: T. & T. Clark Publishers) (Hardcover)
Scattering the Seed: A Guide Through Balthasar's Early Writings on
Philosophy And the Arts by Aidan Nichols (Introduction to Hans
Urs Von Balthasar: T. & T. Clark Publishers) (Hardcover)
Divine Fruitfulness: A Guide to Balthasar's Theology beyond the
Trilogy by Aidan Nichols (Introduction to Hans Urs Von
Balthasar: T. & T. Clark Publishers) (Hardcover)
With the present work Nichols concludes the five-volume Introduction to Hans Urs von Balthasar which has offered readers a series of 'guides' to the different parts of his corpus. In calling this fifth and final installment a 'Guide to Balthasar's Theology', Nichols means to institute a contrast with the fourth book in the series, Scattering the Seed, which took as subject his early writings on philosophy and the arts. In Balthasar's mature theology we see the seed there sown springing up, flowering and fruiting in an abundance of theological applications. Hence the title of the book: Divine Fruitfulness. Its subtitle also includes the words, 'Beyond the Trilogy'. To Nichols' three studies dedicated to Balthasar's great Trilogy (The Word has been Abroad on his theological aesthetics, No Bloodless Myth on his theological dramatics, Say it is Pentecost on his theological logic), Divine Fruitfulness goes further in four respects.
First, while at the opening of my three-part commentary on the Trilogy Nichols offered an introduction to Balthasar's life-story as well as to the works of the Trilogy itself, here in the opening chapter, 'Introduction to the Wider Oeuvre', Nichols ventures to consider not only other aspects of his literary production but also the Church-political context of his work. How did he see contemporary Catholicism – and, for that matter, how did it see him? Secondly, whereas the studies of the Trilogy touch wherever appropriate on the literally dozens of writers – both Christian and non-Christians – of whom Balthasar makes occasional use, this book identifies the principal origins of his architectonic approach to the structure, content and ethos of theology as a whole. Thirdly, though the Trilogy contains, no doubt, Balthasar's richest theological fare, to grasp the bread-and-butter of his theological doctrine the remaining writings are frequently more helpful. To alter the metaphor from gastronomy to optics: the aesthetics, dramatics and logic offer three perspectives on revelation, perspectives that correspond to the three 'transcendentals', the beautiful, the good, the true. But that is not to say that the great affirmations of revelation, and the major motifs of the Christian life, are incapable of exhibition by a multi-focal approach which prescinds from these particular 'formalities' – to use the more precise Scholastic expression in place of the somewhat impressionistic contemporary term 'perspective'. Fourthly, while Say it is Pentecost included a brief 'Postword', Divine Fruitfulness offers a Conclusion to the whole five-part series, asking at greater length the question, What will the Catholic theology of the twenty-first century (and later) owe to this enormously ambitious oeuvre? More
Echoes from the Gnosis: 100th Anniversary Edition of the Spiritual
Classics by G.R.S. Mead edited by John Algeo,
introduction Robert Gilbert, Commentary by Stephan Hoeller (Quest Books)
Long before the mid-twentieth-century discovery of the Nag Hammadi
Library, G. R. S. Mead had translated ancient Gnostic texts. Here in one
book is the entire collection of his eleven volumes first published
between 1906 and 1908, including "The Hymn of Jesus" and "The Wedding
Song of Wisdom."
Each Gnostic text has added historical background, source information, literary comment, and spiritual interpretation. Mead, who devoted his life to esoteric studies and was a pioneer in the Gnostic revival, uniquely understood the complex symbolism of his subject. The reader may be surprised to learn that some of these texts were originally not books, but instead initiatory mystery rituals.
Editor John Algeo preserves Mead's own inspired language. To enhance the texts for today's readers, the volume includes new explanatory essays by contemporary Gnostic Stephan Hoeller and a biography by Robert Gilbert, a world authority on Mead. More
Nahuatl Theater: Our Lady of Guadalupe edited by Barry D. Sell, Louise M. Burkhart, Stafford Poole (University of Oklahoma Press) Rare Guadalupan dramas based on the Virgin of Guadalupe story are published in English for the first time and accompanied by introductory essays.
The foundation legend of the Mexican devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most appealing and beloved of all religious stories. In this volume, editors Barry D. Sell, Louise M. Burkhart, and Stafford Poole present the only known colonial Nahuatl-language dramas based on the Virgin of Guadalupe story: the Dialogue of the Apparition of the Virgin Saint Mary of Guadalupe, an anonymous work from the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, and The Mexican Portent, authored by creole priest Joseph Perez de la Fuente in the early eighteenth century. The plays, never before published in English translation, are vital works in the history of the Guadalupe devotion, for they show how her story was presented to native people at a time when it was not universally known.
Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata by Jeff Bach (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press) The long-lived community that was housed at the Ephrata Cloister in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, embodied a significant chapter in the extensive American history of religious experimentation. Although dozens, if not hundreds, of books and articles have previously told Ephrata's story and attempted to plumb its mystical theology, Jeff Bach's is the first book to do the job comprehensively, empathetically, and accurately. More
The Spirituality of the Christian East, A Systematic Handbook, Volume One by Tomás Spidlík SJ; translated by Anthony P. Gythiel (Cistercian Publications) Prayer: The Spirituality of the Christian East, Volume 2 by Tomás Spidlík SJ, translated by Anthony P. Gythiel Cistercian Publications) Professor-emeritus of the Pontifical Oriental Institute at Rome, Tomas Spidlík dedicated his scholarly life to studying and teaching the theology and spirituality of the Christian East in the hope of reconciling Eastern and Western Christian traditions. In this encyclopaedic overview of Eastern spiritual teaching he has created a bridge by which Western Christians may pass over centuries of misunderstanding and obliviousness. This second volume on Eastern Christian spirituality amplifies in depth the final two chapters of the earlier The Spirituality of the Christian East: A Systematic Handbook. Like Cassian in writing his Conferences, Cardinal Spidlík does not advocate any particular pattern of prayer, but sets out faithfully to collect and share the teachings of generations of eastern monks and spiritual writers. More
Asian Christian Theologies: A Research Guide to Authors, Movements, Sources by John C. England et al (Orbis Books) Co-sponsored by the Christian Conference of Asia, the Asian Pacific Missiology and Research Programme, Missio (Aachen) and The Council for World Mission, London, this ecumenical reference work provides information essential to every serious scholar and library of world Christianity, mission and religion in Asia. Each volume opens with an historical survey of its region then focuses on individul areas, generally by present-day nations. Along with extensive bibliographies and indexes, each volume includes brief biographies of area theologians. More
Christians As A Religious Minority In A Multicultural City: Modes Of Interaction And Identity Formation In Early Imperial Rome edited by Jurgen Zangenberg, Michael Labahn (Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series: T. & T. Clark Publishers) Early Imperial Rome truly was one of the most `multicultural' cities in antiquity. Juvenal even dubbed it `Greek Rome' and complained that `the waters of the Syrian Orontes flow into the Tiber' (Sat. 3,61f). Syrians, Africans, Gauls, Egyptians, Jews and other groups flocked into the city and formed their communities – as well as Christians. How did these ethnic and religious minority groups maintain and develop their identity? How did the `cultural majority' react towards these sometimes exotic groups? It turns out that early Imperial Rome did not simply function as a giant `melting pot' that levelled off all individuality, the city rather provided a big stage on which these groups were able to interact with each other or disassociate from each other and, by that, express and develop their own identity. The early Christian group(s) in Rome are no exception here. More
A Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians edited by Patrick Carey, Joseph Lienhard (Hendrickson) (hardcover) The last 20 centuries of Christian history have witnessed the emergence of numerous theological traditions. This reference provides alphabetically arranged entries for more than 450 Christian theologians. Included are entries for those individuals whose work was primarily in systematic and spiritual theology, or who were church historians chiefly concerned with theological matters. Whenever possible, each entry provides basic biographical information, a brief account of the theologian's education and career, and a summary of the person's most important contributions to theology. The entries end with bibliographies of primary and secondary sources, while the volume concludes with a selected, general bibliography. More
The Conservative Revolutionaries: The Protestant and Catholic Churches in Germany after Radical Political Change in the 1990s by Barbara Theriault (Monographs in German History: Berghahn Books) During the forty years of division, the Protestant and Catholic churches in Germany were the only organizations to retain strong ties and organizational structures: they embodied continuity in a country marked by discontinuity. As such, the churches were both expected to undergo smooth and rapid institutional consolidation and undertake an active role in the public realm of the new eastern German states in the 1990s. Yet critical voices were heard over the West German system of church-state relations and the public role it confers on religious organizations, and critics often expressed the idea that despite all their difficulties, something precious was lost in the collapse of the German democratic republic. Against this backdrop, the author delineates the conflicting conceptions of the Protestant and Catholic churches' public role and pays special attention to the East German model, or what is generally termed the "positive experiences of the GDR and the Wende." More
Constructive Theology: A Contemporary Approach to Classic Themes: A Project of The Workgroup On Constructive Christian Theology includes A CD-ROM by Serene Jones, Paul Lakeland (Augsburg Fortress Publishers) Coordinated by Serene Jones of Yale Divinity School and Paul Lakeland of Fairfield University, fifty of North America's top teaching theologians (members of the Workgroup on Constructive Christian Theology) have devised a text that allows students to experience the deeper point of theological questions, to delve into the fractures and disagreements that figured in the development of traditional Christian doctrines, and to sample the diverse and conflicting theological voices that vie for allegiance today. The accompanying CD-ROM not only contains the fully searchable text but also includes chapter summaries, discussion questions, a glossary, weblinks, and a guide to writing research papers in theology. More
Understanding Christian Theology: A Clear, Comprehensive Introduction to Basic Biblical Doctrines by Charles R. Swindoll, Roy B. Zuck (Thomas Nelson Reference) Experts in their respective fields provide an authoritative perspective on the fundamentals of theology as derived from the traditional readings of scripture from an evangelical standpoint. Extensive treatment of all the classic areas of theological concern—God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, man, sin, salvation, sanctification, the Scriptures, the church, and more is offered in easy to follow prose. Makes a good introduction to normative evangelical theology. Contributing authors include: Robert Gromacki, Earl Radmacher, John Witmer, Robert Saucy, John Walvoord, Robert Lightner, J. Carl Laney, Robert Pyne, Ed Hayes, Henry Holloman. More
Foundations of Christian Faith by Karl Rahner (Herder & Herder) This challenging, original, helpful, and rich volume is a work of rare intellectual power and profound religious sensitivity. Karl Rahner's Foundations of Christian Faith has been described as a "summa" of Catholic theology for the twentieth century. Rahner said the book has a "more comprehensive and systematic character" than his other writings. This paraphrase, now published, outlines the Foundations from the view point of the pastoral minister. More
The Spirit of Jesus in Scripture and Prayer by James W. Kinn (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers) (Paperback) The Holy Spirit has frequently been called "the unknown God." Western theology has largely neglected the study of the Spirit of God: "Perhaps the most neglected area of theology in the West is that of the Holy Spirit." 2 Several popes have urged a renewed devotion to and study of the Holy Spirit. Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, deplores that the "Christians have only a very poor knowledge of the Holy Spirit. They often use his name . . . but their faith is encompassed with great darkness." In 1973, Pope Paul VI asked the question: "What is the greatest need of the church today?" His own succinct response was, "The Holy Spirit." Then, Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, urged: "the ecclesiology of the [Second Vatican] Council must be succeeded by a new study of and devotion to the Holy Spirit, precisely as the indispensable complement of the teaching of the Council." More
Loving Jesus by Mark Allan Powell (Augsburg Fortress Publishers) In this biblical spirituality for today, Powell's earnest plea is for Christians to revisit their faith not by blazing in religious enthusiasm but by harboring a steadier flame and deeper commitment. Living at the poetic heart of faith, he argues, entails seeing the coordinates of religious life—love, under-standing, truth, hope, and especially devotion—in a new way. Powell espouses the old-fashioned idea of piety. Drawing on his wide knowledge of the Bible and Christian tradition, as well as insights from his own journey, he shows how simple religious practices move us beyond the old certitudes of a naïve and youthful faith into the less certain but more bracing terrain of a second naïveté, a closer walk with Jesus. More
Theologia Deutsch--Theologia Germanica: The Book of the Perfect Life. Edited, translated with introduction and notes by David Blamires. (Sacred Literature Series: Altamira Press) (Hardcover). Reviewed for H-German by R. Emmet McLaughlin, Department of History, Villanova University. The Theologia Deutsch (or Theologia Germanica) is known by name to most historians of early modern Europe, though few have actually read it. An anonymous fourteenth-century mystical tract, it owes its notoriety to Martin Luther's publication of it in 1516 and 1518. 190 editions in German, English, Dutch, Latin, Swedish, Danish, Russian, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese followed by 1961. It was a staple of the Radical Reformation and Pietism. In the sixteenth century, Ludwig Haetzer republished it in 1528 along with interpretive "Propositions" by Hans Denck that were often found in later editions. Sebastian Franck produced a Latin paraphrase of the Haetzer version at the end of his life (1541-42). In the wake of his clash with Calvin over the execution of Michael Servetus (1553), Sebastian Castellio published Latin (1557) and French (1558) translations. A little more than a decade later, Valentin Weigel, long under the influence of medieval mysticism, provided a "Short Account and Introduction to the German Theology" (1571). Johannes Arndt published an edition and Philip Jakob Spener recommended it. Given a cloud of such witnesses, Luther may have come to regret making the book available to a larger public. Nonetheless, his 1518 edition remained the standard version until the nineteenth century. More
Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church by Barbara A. Holmes (Augsburg Fortress Publishers) This book focuses on the aspects of the black church that point beyond particular congregational gatherings toward a mystical and communal spirituality not within the exclusive domain of any denomination. This mystical aspect of the black church is deeply implicated in the well-being of African American people but is not the focus of their intentional reflection. Moreover, its traditions are deeply ensconced within the historical memory of the wider society and can be found in Coltrane's riffs and Malcolm's exhortations, in the Step Brothers' dance routines and the fortitude of Thurgood Marshall. More
The Word Made Flesh: towards an Incarnational Missiology by Ross Langmead (University Press of America) (Paperback) is thorough, well researched and readable. Langmead has provided a critical sweep of historical research engaging with writers from Catholic, Anabaptist, Liberal and Evangelical traditions. The book also looks forward with prophetic challenge and points to the contours Christians must follow in order to flesh out and continue the radical example of Jesus. More
Perspectives on Church Government: Five Views of Chruch Polity by Daniel Akin (Broadman & Holman Publishers) presents in counterpoint form the basic models of church government which have developed over the course of church history with a view toward determining which is most faithful to Scripture. Each chapter is written by a prominent person from within each tradition—with specific guidelines dealing with the biblical, historical, and theological issues within each governance tradition. In addition, each writer provides a brief response to the other traditions. More
Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints Revised by Matthew Bunson, Margaret
Bunson, Stephen Bunson, Timothy M. Dolan (Our Sunday Visitor)
Encyclopedia of Saints by Rosemary Ellen Guiley (Facts on File) compete as
comprehensive, single-volume reference to the fascinating lives of holy men and
women of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Drawing on extensive research, they each offer detailed accounts of the lives and experiences of more than 400 principal saints, from early martyrs such as Lucy of Syracuse to recently canonized saints such as Katherine Drexel. Entries provide a biographical overview, a record of the saint's religious journeys and mystical experiences, a discussion of personal philosophies and important theological influences, as well as his or her patronage, feast days and popular role within the Church. Entries include extensive appendices include information on patron saints by topic, a calendar of feast days, beatified and canonized popes, an explanation of the canonization process, a glossary of terms and a glossary of heresies. The Encyclopedia of Saints brings to light both the religious heroism and colorful, little-known facts of the lives of saints for a comprehensive, in-depth exploration of sainthood. More Guiley
Gnostic Revisions of Genesis Stories And Early Jesus Traditions by Gerard P. Luttikhuizen (Nag Hammadi & Manichaean Studies: Brill Academic) argues that the intellectuals behind early Gnostic revisions of Genesis stories were second-century Christians with an ideological background in Greek-Hellenistic philosophy, who adopted and reinterpreted biblical narrative materials with a view to exposing the inferiority of the creator-God of Genesis and the ignorance of those Christians who continued to worship this God. It also discusses controversies between Gnostic and early orthodox Christians about the person and the mission of Jesus Christ. More
The Gospel Of Mary: Beyond A Gnostic And A Biblical Mary Magdalene by Esther A. De Boer (Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series: T. & T. Clark Publishers) Two basic viewpoints are usually distinguished in recent scholarly work on the Biblical and Gnostic Mary Magdalene: (1) Gnostic authors have constructed a Gnostic Mary Magdalene using the biblical portrait of her as a vehicle for Gnostic teaching, and, (2) biblical authors neglected the important role of Mary Magdalene, of which Gnostic authors preserved evidence. In addition, on the one hand the Gnostic Mary Magdalene is valued as a female apostolic leader, as an advocate of women and of egalitarian discipleship, and as a revealer of Gnostic insights. On the other hand, scholars point to the specific dualism, and the subsequently negative female imagery in Gnostic writings, and reject a positive evaluation of the Gnostic Mary Magdalene. More
Sex And Salvation: Virginity As A Soteriological Paradigm In Ancient Christianity by Roger Steven Evans (University Press of America) explores the growth and development of virginity in the cultural context of the ancient church. An examination of Greek, Roman, and Jewish literature, which speaks to the issue of virginity, reveals that the Christian understanding of life-long virginity was a foreign concept to the peoples and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world. In a time when families and authorities demanded that women follow the ancient tradition of marriage and motherhood, a growing number of important Christian authors were calling for a life free from the "dangerous" sexual passions that beset all women. More
Coptica—Gnostica—Manichaica: mélanges offerts A Wolf-Peter Funk edited by Louis Painchaud, Paul-Hubert Poirier (Peeters) Summary: Volume is mostly written in French, then English and German. On December 5, 2001, we launched the project of the publication of a “Festschrift” intended to honour our colleague and friendly Wolf-Peter Funk. The publication of this volume was then announced for December 30, 2003, date of the 60e birthday of the dedicatee. But various reasons, the first of which figure the generosity with which one answered our invitation, made that these mixtures appear with two years of delay. But with something misfortune is good: the readers will appreciate the richness, the high scientific behaviour and the diversity of these forty seven contributions which, written in French, English or German by fifty authors coming from thirteen countries, testify eloquently to the regard and of the friendship which Wolf-Peter Funk enjoys. The editors of this volume wanted to open it with the fields to which particularly Wolf-Peter Funk devoted himself: Gnostic philology and linguistics Copts, studies and Manicheans. The contributions which make this homage in addition illustrate rather well what was the scientific and university activity of Wolf-Peter Funk since his arrival at the Laval University at the summer 1986. If it continued the work undertaken in Berlin there, it engaged more and more, as from this moment, in the edition and the interpretation of the texts of Nag Hammadi at the same time as he opened a vast building site Manichean while becoming the editor of the manuscripts Manicheans of the Museums of State of Berlin and while joining the Australian team in charge of the publication of the excavations of the oasis of Dakhleh (Kellis). More
Perspectives on the Rule of St. Benedict: Expanding Our Hearts In Christ by Aquinata Bockmann (Liturgical Press) Written by Sister Aquinata Bockmann, a member of the Benedictine Missionary Sisters of Tutzing, Germany and experienced professor of spirituality and theology, Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict: Expanding Our Hearts in Christ is a blend of scholarly scrutiny and Benedictine love in examining the Rule of Saint Benedict, specifically vv. 1-4, 45-50 of the prologue and chapters 72, 73, 58, and 53. Line by line, the ancient text is scrutinized from both past and contemporary viewpoints, while never losing sight of the christological nature of the Rule itself. Researched in depth and heavily annotated, Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict is methodical in its dissection of intent word by word as it is passionate about the needs of the spirit. A deeply theological and worshipful treatise. More
Reading the Bible in Wesleyan Ways: Some Constructive Proposals by Barry L. Callen, Richard P. Thompson (Beacon Hill Press) Reading the Bible in Wesleyan Ways is comprised of significant essays by outstanding scholars. They represent and address the Wesleyan theological tradition and convey insights vital for today's Bible readers regardless of their denomination or tradition. The twelve essays of this collection are grouped under two categories, "Foundations for Interpretation" and "Frontiers for Interpretation." More
The Constant Dialogue: Reinhold Niebuhr and American Intellectual Culture by Martin Halliwell (American Intellectual Culture: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers) In this important new work, Martin Halliwell focuses on the tensions between the two dimensions of Reinhold Niebuhr's thought: his political role as a radical social critic and his conservative and largely private belief in the values of neo-orthodox Christianity. In order to better examine Niebuhr's philosophy, Halliwell positions him in a series of debates on political, religious, ethical, and cultural themes with other eminent intellectuals. In doing so, Halliwell reassesses the important contributions that Reinhold Niebuhr made to 20th century American culture. More
Practices of Dialogue in the Roman Catholic Church: Aims and Obstacles, Lessons and Laments by Bradford E. Hinze (Continuum International Publishing) is a substantively informative, academically rigorous, thought-provoking study of the history of the various practices of dialogue and their effectiveness at every level of the Roman Catholic Church around the globe in the past forty years. Descriptively analyzing variations and themes of modern church history's often controversial developments in ritual and theology, dogma and doctrine, Practices Of Dialogue In The Roman Catholic Church offers readers documentation drawn from the premise of the influence of American and western European influences on papacy and the cardinals, particularly, the dialogical and democratic processes in decision making and the institutional, hierarchical structure of the church. Practices of Dialogue in The Roman Catholic Church is particularly recommended reading for seminarians, clergy, theologians, and the laity in their study of the practices and specifics of the Catholic Church during the last half of the twentieth century and the opening decade of the twenty-first. More
One with God: Salvation As Deification and Justification by Veli-Matti Karkkainen (Liturgical Press) Veli-Matti Karkkainen represents the Finnish school of Lutherian interpretation of the doctrine of justification, a movement which began in ecumenical conversations between Lutherans and Russian Orthodox that are the two main Christian denominations in Finland.
The great service of the slim volume by Veli-Matti Karkkainen, professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, is to introduce the work of the Finnish school of theology and to propose that "salvation as deification and justification" is a crucial contribution to ecumenical discussions not only between Lutherans and Orthodox but also between Eastern and Western theologies. The belief that people are absolved from all sin if they believe in Jesus Christ is balanced with living a life of Christian virtue as an approach and expression of divine presence. In fact, Kairkkainen suggests that a fuller appreciation of the idea of deification is also an important theme in the Anabaptist, Methodist and evangelical traditions, somewhat under appreciated in recent times. Whether or not that assertion is convincing, Kairkkainen fills in some valuable pieces of the justification-as-deification puzzle by providing a very helpful chapter on the doctrine of deification in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, that offers to enrich the pietistic strains of Protestant prayer and justification. Kairkkainen point of view also opens up the doctrine of justification to a more universal anthropology of human-divine interaction, the implication holding hope for interreligious as well as ecumenical dialogue. “All major religions agree on one thing: the deepest desire of the human person is to get in contact and to live in union with his or her God,” Kairkkainen asserts.
My Fundamentalist Education by Christine Rosen (PublicAffairs) A touching, funny memoir of growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida, in a household, school, and town of flourishing Biblical literalism More
Theological Milton: Deity, Discourse And Heresy in the Miltonic Canon by Michael Lieb (Medieval & Renaissance Literary Studies Duquesne University Press) In lively, forceful, and at times witty language, Michael Lieb has written an illuminating study of the figure of God as a literary character in the writings of John Milton. Milton's God has always been a provocative and controversial figure, and Lieb offers a fresh way to look at the relationship between the language of theology and the language of poetry in Milton's works. He draws into the discussion previous authors on the subjectPatrides, Hunter, Kelley, Empson, Danielson, Rumrich and others—resulting in a dynamic debate about Milton's multifarious God. By stressing God's multivalent qualities, Theological Milton offers an innovative perspective on the darker side of the divinity. Lieb allows us to see a Miltonic God of hate as well as a God of love, a God who is a destroyer as well as a creator. Lieb directly confronts the more troubling faces of God in a manner richly informed by Milton's own theology. Against the theoretical framework for the idea of addressing God as a distinctly literary figure, Lieb presents Milton in the historical milieu prior to and contemporaneous with his works. More
Reading the Bible in Wesleyan Ways: Some Constructive Proposals by Barry L. Callen, Richard P. Thompson (Beacon Hill Press) Reading the Bible in Wesleyan Ways is comprised of significant essays by outstanding scholars. They represent and address the Wesleyan theological tradition and convey insights vital for today's Bible readers regardless of their denomination or tradition. The twelve essays of this collection are grouped under two categories, "Foundations for Interpretation" and "Frontiers for Interpretation." More
Gregory of Nyssa and the Grasp of Faith: Union, Knowledge, and Divine Presence by Martin Laird (Oxford Early Christian Studies: Oxford University Press) The first in-depth study of Gregory of Nyssa, this book shows how for Gregory the darkness of faith is what unites the believer with God. Through this union by faith alone, God yet speaks through the deeds and discourse of the believer. While the believer is immersed in the darkness of unknowing, they are also transformed in light. Laird alters the way in which we understand Gregory's mystical theology. More
The Harvest of Mysticism in Medieval Germany: Volume IV in the Presence of God Series by Bernard McGinn (Herder & Herder) The most eagerly awaited book in Catholic publishing! Bernard McGinn, the greatest scholar of Western Christian mysticism, offers the fourth volume of his Presence of God series, covering the greatest mystics of Germany, including Jan van Ruusbroeck, Meister Eckhart, and John Tauler. More
A Contemporary Anabaptist Theology: Biblical, Historical, Constructive`by Thomas N. Finger (InterVarsity Press) In this comprehensive volume Thomas N. Finger takes on the formidable task of making explicit the often implicit theology of the Anabaptist movement and then presenting, for the sake of the welfare of the whole contemporary Christian church, his own constructive theology. In the first part Finger tells the story of the development of Anabaptist thought, helping the reader grasp both the unifying and diverse elements in that theological tradition. In the second and third parts Finger considers in more detail the major themes essential to Anabaptist theology, first considering the historic views and then presenting his own constructive effort. Within the Anabaptist perspective Finger offers a theology that highlights the three dimensions of its salvific center: the communal, the personal and the missional. The themes taken up in the final part form what Finger identifies as the convictional framework of that center; namely, Christology, anthropology and eschatology. A landmark contribution of Anabaptist theology for the whole church in biblical, historical and contemporary context. More
History, Theology & Faith: Dissolving The Modern Problematic by Terrence W. Tilley (Orbis Books) Theologians have long tried to solve the problem of faith and history with little success. This book argues that the time has come to dissolve the problem—"Both yield fictions; both seek to tell or reveal what is true." After laying out the "problematic," Tilley analyzes current approaches to the relationship between history and theology and then shows how they affect faith. He argues that there is no single pattern of relation-ships between the two disciplines and that multiple patterns should be recognized. When accurately understood and properly used, historical investigations, so often construed as undermining faith, do no such thing; indeed, they can actually increase or strengthen faith. More
La Lucha Continues: Mujerista Theology by Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz (Orbis Books) Mujerista theology begins with personal experience and moves toward a theology that advances the dignity and liberation of all Hispanic/Latina women. This collection of essays combining personal narratives and theological discourse brings together important insights into the concerns of Hispanic women, the ways in which they can shape theology, and the roles they can take on in the church. More
The World Calling: The Church's Witness in Politics and Society by Thomas W. Ogletree (Westminster John Knox Press) Thomas Ogletree has devoted much of his career to exploring the significance of Ernst Troeltsch's seminal work, "The Social Teaching of the Christian Church." The articles in "The World Calling" use a Troeltschian lens to explore fundamental issues underlying any Christian social witness in the context of American democratic institutions. More
Dona Maria Vela Y Cueto, Cistercian Mystic of Spain's Golden Age by Margaret Ann Rees (Edwin Mellen Press) In our modern times, since scholars internationally have developed a major interest in the study of women — their gender-affected historical circumstances and social relationships, their perceptions of self and other — the lives and works of many previously neglected women authors have become the subjects of detailed attention in numerous research articles and monographs. As a result, in Hispanic Studies, the works of many almost forgotten nuns — near contemporaries, in Spain or the New World, of Saint Teresa of Avila or of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, who habitually had written down their life-histories and their interior religious experiences — have been rediscovered, in manuscripts or rare early editions, and have been critically edited and discussed. More
Of Divine Economy: Refinancing Redemption by Marion Grau (T. & T. Clark Publishers, Ltd.) (Hardcover) is an interdisciplinary theological text that engages a variety of postmodern discourses in a dialogue across time and place. In rereading ancient Christian texts along with poststructuralist, feminist, and postcolonial works, I employ these critical theories not as a trendy plot to discredit tradition but as a valuable tool for the critical investigation of material that rarely has been critically engaged. As we will see, rereading Christian texts in this manner reveals the potential of imagining a trickster-like "God the economist": a gambler and a courageous, hopeful investor in unpredictabilities, involved in subversive divine economic deals. Thus, divine economy emerges as less predictable, as it renegotiates "the dominant oikonomia—the economics, the ecology, the ecumenism of order." It deconstructs simplistic characterizations of God as "capitalist" or "communist" and instead delights in uncovering multiplicities of economic relationality that resist tyranny, stasis, and oppression by envisioning strategies of flexible, miraculous exchanges. Aware that "theology has not outgrown the subjection of the oikos to the dominus," it points toward the redemption and release of those women and slaves expropriated by the domination of the profit-driven deified economies of late, or extreme, capitalism. More
Philomathestatos: Studies in Greek and Byzantine Texts Presented to Jacques Noret for his Sixty-Fifth Birthday/Etudes de Patristique Grecque et Textes byzantins Offerts a Jacques Noret a l’occasion de ses soixante-cinq ans edited by B. Janssens, B Roosen, P. Van Deun(Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta: Peeters) (Studies in English/ French) On May 18, 2004 Jacques Noret will reach the age of 65, a milestone both on the personal and professional level marked by his retirement from our Institute, and an excellent opportunity to celebrate this renowned scholar with a Festschrift. Generally speaking, it is not an easy task to find an appropriate as well as appealing title for such a collection of studies. But in the case of Jacques Noret a solution presented itself quite quickly. Ten years ago we prepared a collection of essays to honour and thank another eminent scholar of our Leuven Institute, Carl Laga, for many years the director of the Series Graeca of the Corpus Christianorum. That honorary volume was entitled "Philohistôr", "one fond of (literary) research". Among the very rare attestations of this epithet in Greek literature, one in particular caught our eye: in his Contra Iulianum (Book I, chapter 40, lines 17-20), Cyril of Alexandria calls both Pythagoras and Plato, "extremely eager to gather knοwledge and very fond of (literary) research." Both qualifications being particularly appropriate to characterise our colleague Jacques Noret, we sincerely hope he will feel flattered and honoured by the title "Philomathestatos". More
Ancient Coptic Churches Of Egypt 2 volumes Volume One, Volume Two by Alfred. J. Butler, Karel Innemée (Introduction) (Gorgias Press) (Paperback 2 volumes) This two-volume work is the result of a seven-month field work in Egypt, during which Alfred Butler was a private tutor to Prince Tawfik from 1880 to 1881. Butler visited most of the old churches and monasteries in and around Cairo and traveled to the Wadi al-Natrun, the monasteries of the Red Sea and a number of churches in Upper Egypt. His descriptions are invaluable and sometimes are the only record of what we know about a certain object or church. More
Keeping God's Silence: Towards A Theological Ethics of Communication by Rachel Muers (Challenges in Contemporary Theology: Blackwell Publishers) (Paperback) This ground-breaking book provides a new perspective on Christian practices of silence. Rachel Muers, a significant Quaker theologian, develops a theological understanding of communication to which a "responsible silence" is central. In doing so, she engages with the key issues raised for Christian theology by feminist thought, and develops an original reading of significant aspects of the theology and ethics of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. She also presents a challenge, from the perspective of Christian theology and practice, to a communicative environment dominated by wars of words. The central theological claim explored in the book is that God listens, and that God's listening is integral to who God is. More
The Heart Renewed--Assurance Of Salvation In New England Spiritual Life by Norman Pettit (Studies in American Religion: Edwin Mellen Press) Excerpt: From the earliest days of settlement the quest for assurance of salvation set the tone for New England spiritual life. From the founding of the Bay through the time of the Great Awakening, the doctrine of assurance gave rise to two specific questions: How can one know whether or not the heart has been renewed? Is assurance to be required for full standing in the Church? The dilemma over whether to extend church membership to the descendants of full church members, or restrict it to those who could demonstrate assurance of saving faith, also gave rise to the question of how New England should be defined. To some the Halfway Covenant of 1662 was a sign of weakness, in that it allowed a form of membership to those who could not claim full assurance. To others the Halfway Covenant had strengthened the churches of New England in that it kept under "church discipline" the descendants of "visible saints." Halfway members, in external covenant, could still be accepted into full church membership upon declaring themselves to be assured of saving faith. But by the end of the seventeenth century it was clear that the churches would soon be emptied of visible saints, mainly because halfway members lacked the assurance required for full standing in the church.' More
Jesus and His Death: Historiography, the Historical Jesus, and Atonement Theory by Scot McKnight (Baylor University Press) Recent scholarship on the historical Jesus has rightly focused upon how Jesus understood his own mission. But no scholarly effort to understand the mission of Jesus can rest content without exploring the historical possibility that Jesus envisioned his own death. In Jesus and His Death, Scot McKnight contends that Jesus did in fact anticipate his own death. McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University, and author or editor of twelve books, including The Historical Jesus, Turning to Jesus, and Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, says that Jesus understood his death as an atoning sacrifice, and that his death as an atoning sacrifice stood at the heart of his mission to protect his followers from the judgment of God. More
Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the Virgin Mother by Lesley Hazleton (Bloomsbury USA) Arguably the most influential of all women throughout history, Mary, the Virgin Mother is also, paradoxically, the least known. In this unprecedented brilliantly wrought biography, Mary comes believably to life. More
Women In Early Christianity: Translations From Greek Texts edited by Patricia Cox Miller (Catholic University of America Press) From the fictional Thecla in the second century to the very real Olympias in the early fifth century, the history of women in early Christianity was as varied as the religion itself. Even though, as one scholar has remarked, "the presence of women is almost always perceived indirectly, nonetheless to investigate the history of early Christian women is to immerse oneself in the tangle of competing theologies and religious convictions that characterized Christianity as it developed during its first five centuries. Contemporary historians do not have much direct access to women's own perspectives oil their lives and roles as Christians be-cause so few documents written by women have been preserved. However, there are many kinds of texts that can be used both to reconstruct the history of actual women in Christianity as well as to analyze the ideologies of gender that affected how women were perceived in social and religious terms in Graeco-Roman culture. More
Christophany: The Fullness of Man by Raimon Panikkar, Foreword by Alfred DiLascia (Faith Meets Faith Series: Orbis Books) Definitely an astounding “Christology,” one that envisions a truly universal encompassing the spirit of the Christ as the completion of humanity, outside the dogmas and orthodoxies, denominations and traditions of history and sect, to embrace all people of all religions or none. Here is a Christology that Atheist, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Daoist, Animinist and Pagan could embrace without abandoning the distinctive mythos of their own tradition. Panikkar’s excursions into world religions offers some saving theological insights that should be deeply considered because his ideas easily and definitely subvert the polarities of symbol and concept to reground the religious vision in the human condition. More
The Cambridge Companion to Karl Rahner (Cambridge Companions to Religion) by Declan Marmion (Cambridge University Press) useful passages on such Rahnerian topics as the supernatural existential, Jesus Christ as the entelechy of human existence, and the controversial anonymous Christian. Karl Rahner (1904-1984) was one of the most significant theological voices of the twentieth century. For many his theology symbolizes the Catholic Church's entry into modernity. Part of his enduring appeal lies in his ability to reflect on a variety of issues in theology and spirituality and direct this plurality into a few basic convictions. In addition to the main themes of Rahner's work, this Companion assesses his significance for contemporary theology through dialogues with many current concerns including: religious pluralism, spirituality, postmodernism, ecumenism, ethics and developments in political and feminist theologies. succinct, up to date, yet comprehensive introduction to Rahner’s extensive theological writings; Accessibly presented by a team of internationally recognised scholars; Brings Rahner’s theology into dialogue with current theological concerns including religious pluralism, postmodernism and ethics More
The Foundations of Karl Rahner: A Paraphrase of the Foundations of Christian Faith, with Introduction and Indices by Mark F. Fischer (Herder & Herder) The goal of the Foundations, says Rahner, is less religious edification than intellectual reflection. It asks about the idea of Christianity and about what makes faith possible. At the same time, however, it is no merely neutral history of religion, for it presupposes faith. What does it mean to ask about the possibility of faith? More
Jewish Law in Gentile Churches: Halakhah and the Beginning of Christan Public
Ethics by Markus Bockmuehl (Baker Academic) is an
outstanding study of a neglected topic. Bockmuehl encourages his readers to
consider from new perspectives major ethical issues and familiar New Testament
passages. This lively book will spark keen discussion among a wide readership.
Two subjects have especially captured Bockmuehl’s attention in the course of
recent research. The first is the prominent role of Jewish law and legal
tradition in the ethics of Jesus and the early church, while the second concerns
the principles and criteria by which Christians moved from this highly
particular Jewish moral discourse to the problem of formulating an ethic for
Gentiles. The guiding question shaping the present book is that of the early
Christian reception and articulation of normative criteria for ethics. There has
long been a popular antinomian point of view in mainstream Protestant thought,
which denies that New Testament faith could involve binding moral norms of any
kind. On this view, aside from the general exhortation to `love', any
`imposition' of substantive and non-negotiable moral warrants must be a
legalistic distortion of the gospel of grace.
We are so used to the legendary image of the Madonna that the very idea of her as a real person sets the eyes alight. Starting with the dark-skinned, hard-muscled girl barely out of adolescence when she gave birth, Lesley Hazleton weaves together the many facets of Mary's existence: peasant villager, wise woman and healer, activist, mother, teacher, and yes, virgin, though in a sense we have long forgotten. She follows her through the worst any mother can experience-the excruciating death of her child-and then looks at how she transforms grief into wisdom, disaster into renewal. Strong and courageous, the source of her son's powers of healing and wisdom, the Mary we see here did not merely assent to her role in history, but actively chose it, and lived it to the fullest.
A History of Women and Ordination: The Priestly Office of Women: God's Gift to a Renewed Church by Ida Raming Bernard Cooke, Gary Macy (Scarecrow Press) Raming was one of two women who drew up a published submission to the Second Vatican Council in 1963 challenging the exclusion of women from the priesthood. In June 2002, she was one of seven women who were ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood; the ordination was subsequently rejected by the Roman Catholic hierarchy for some reason. Her doctoral dissertation was translated from German into English and published by Scarecrow Press in 1976 as The Exclusion of Women From the Priesthood: Divine Law or Sex Discrimination. Cooke, a venerable peripatetic American theologian, and Macy (theology and religious studies, U. of San Diego) here translate and edit her second edition. The first volume covers the medieval context. More
A History of Women and Ordination: The Ordination of Women in Medieval Context by Bernard Cooke, Gary Macy (Scarecrow Press) the purpose of these volumes is to provide the non-specialist reader with the best scholarly research on the role of women in Christian ministry and on the changing shape of ministry in Christian history. This first volume contains two such papers. The first, by Dr. Gary Macy one of the editors of this series, presents the evidence for the ordination of women in the early Middle Ages. This evidence, however, is set in the larger context of the changing definition of ordination that took place in the twelfth-century. More
Christianity: A Global History by David Chidester (Paperback) one of the world's foremost scholars of religion, traces Christianity's growth and development from the time of Jesus to the dawn of the third millennium, revealing its rich diversity through the deeds and beliefs of heretics and saints, witches and healers, preachers and inquisitors. Chidester explores the emergence of the major streams of Christian thought and practice, distilling the cultural history of the Church and its impact on the world into this superbly readable book. Alongside this broad panorama is a richly human story that the author brilliantly encapsulates in incisive character sketches and historical vignettes.
Christianity, in all its many facets, has been and continues to be one of the most influential forces in history. Chidester shows that this religion, with its roots deep in the ancient world, has always been in a constant state of evolution, affecting and affected by the religions and societies around it. At times Christianity has coexisted peacefully with other forms of belief, exchanging ideas and practices with them. At other times profound, even violent, conflict has arisen. In this book David Chidester intelligently and objectively portrays Christians in different times and places, as a minority and as the majority group, a religion both absorbing and resisting the world around it. Christianity reveals the religion as it was and is lived in the life of everyday people rather than focusing on the dry dogmas and beliefs that fill most histories. Chidester's accomplishment is to capture the complexity and grand sweep of this story in one remarkable volume that is destined to take its place as a classic of religious history.
David Chidester is an American academic who teaches in South Africa. He is modest enough to use an old joke against himself. When Chidester told Archbishop Tutu he taught comparative religion, Tutu twinkled, "Ah, comparative religion--that is the religion for those who are comparatively religious." The objectivity and modesty that allows Chidester to poke fun at his own profession enlightens his monumental history of the Christian Church on every page.
Chidester tells the Christian story from its beginnings as a persecuted sect in the Roman Empire up to its present day international diversity. It is a rich and complex tapestry, and Chidester handles his huge subject with rigorous scholarship, copious but unobtrusive notes, and a clear and readable style. He keeps track of the big historical trends while focusing on the fascinating personalities who have dragged the Christian Church into scandal and schism as well as lifted it to the heights of inspiration and holiness.
Chidester splits the Christian era into three chunks: the opening 10 chapters deal with the first 500 years, the next 10 deal with the middle millennium, and the last section covers the world wide expansion of Christianity since the Reformation. Those who like their church history to be a disguised religious pep talk won't like this book because Chidester is expert at not taking sides.
Free from the constraints of denominational or geographic bias, he works on the full canvas of the world experience of Christianity. His richly detailed reading shows the (often surprising) movements of the faith in various social and cultural environments, while also drawing out the way in which economic pressures provide a kind of unifying focus on the whole. His approach offers a much-needed corrective that more accurately portrays the true scope and nature of the tradition, especially in its often neglected and misunderstood "third-world" expressions.
Faithful Generations: Race and New Asian American Churches by Russell Jeung (Rutgers University Press) (Hardcover) Religion-both personal faith and institutional tradition-plays a central role in the lives of the 12.5 million Asians in the United States. It provides comfort and meaning, shapes ethical and political beliefs, and influences culture and arts. Faithful Generations details the significance of religion in the construction of Asian American identity. As an institutional base for the movement toward Asian American panethnicity, churches provide a space for theological and political reflection and ethnic reinvention.
With rich description and insightful interviews, Russell Jeung uncovers why and how Chinese and Japanese American Christians are building new, pan-Asian organizations. Detailed surveys of over fifty Chinese and Japanese American congregations in the San Francisco Bay area show how symbolic racial identities structure Asian American congregations. Evangelical ministers differ from mainline Christian ministers in their construction of Asian American identity. Mobilizing around these distinct identities, evangelicals and mainline Christians have developed unique pan-Asian styles of worship, ministries, and church activities. Portraits of two churches further illustrate how symbolic racial identities affect congregational life and ministries. The book concludes with a look at Asian American-led multiethnic churches.
This engaging study of the shifting relationship between religion and ethnicity is an ideal text for classes in ethnicity, religion, and Asian American studies.
Excerpt: If Asian American communities invest in the explorations of their heritage, interpret their experiences through scriptures with both the eyes of the privileged and the marginalized, and share their resources and talents in the promotion of justice, then they do have something to offer that is distinct and authentic. Rather than organizing around a difference based solely on identity, they can develop a different cultural viewpoint that is to be shared with others. But will racism and racialization prove to be insurmountable so that Americans remain divided by faith? Asian American ministers explain that true multiculturalism involves sharing gifts and burdens, as well as racial reconciliation and empowerment.
As Asian Americans lead Pan-Asian and multiethnic congregations, they want to avoid tokenizing other ethnic groups and instead actively include those on the "niche edges." As minorities in broader society, Asian Americans are sensitive to patronizing multiculturalism. One minister describes her desire for true partnership:
[The denomination] always does this stupid stuff about, "Oh, let's make the Chinese pastor pray in Chinese!" and we'll all get a sense of our oneness.
But you know, it wasn't real and I feel all this stuff happens on the surface and there's not real partnership. It's the same people who lead and the same people who run the economics and the same people who are up front.
Instead of patronizing others, Asian American ministers of multiethnic congregations recognize they must share their power to shape their corporate culture. They are therefore conscious of identifying the people on the margins as members of their own extended family:
If you're trying to move into multiethnicity, those who are in power to shape and name the corporate identity and corporate culture have to have an awakening to the presence of people that we're marginalizing. I try to bring them and their culture into the mix. So that they can see that they're more than tolerated. They're welcomed and invited to make this evolving culture reflect some of who they are.
I'd be reading the LA Times and reading this article on WW II Filipino war veterans who are trying to take action against the U.S. government because they never gave them the veterans benefits. Before I would never read the story. Now I think, there are Filipinos in my own extended family, Filipino people in my church. I need to feel this pain, I need to understand this issue.
Just as racial identity may marginalize people, embracing the racial identities of church members can build a congregation's unity and strengthen its worship of God.
Racial reconciliation, then, involves the bearing of minority group bur-dens, the development and sharing of group gifts, and the use of power to serve others. The pastors recognize that this type of multiculturalism that includes Asian Americans requires divine grace:
The idea out there is that there is no racism outside of black/white relations. But what does reconciliation look like when it's not black and white?
It's a pain, it's a hassle to do multiethnicity. You have the power dynamics, you have racism issues, and you have the spiritual dynamic. We're going up against the strongest demonic force in America—slavery. Our battle isn't against flesh and blood. It's a challenge, but the church can do something that the world can't.
These ministers acknowledge that without God's grace, both personal sins, damaged group relations, and structural racism cannot be overcome.
"The church can do something the world can't." It has brought together Chinese and Japanese American Christians, along with other Asian groups despite their traditional enmity and their American acculturation. As they come together in sacred spaces, they can develop new eyes to see and new ears to hear. Asian American panethnicity is still emerging so that its subculture is as of yet inchoate. But new generations of Asian American churches offer the opportunity to establish affirming and redemptive identities. It provides the space for grace-filled modes of worship, authentic cultural expression, and liberated community. And as Asian American churches develop just patterns of lifestyle and action, they can offer the racial reconciliation our society desperately needs. These can be Asian American offerings of faith to America's table of multiculturalism…
Finally, the Asian American church also can be the home for a creative, liberating community as it looks eschatologically into the future. In forging new worship styles and liturgies, ministry programs, and small groups, Asian American church members can look to their past and present to imagine a new, beloved community. In their heritages and traditions, in their talents and experiences, Asian Americans are rich with resources to theologize, critique, and express new ways of relating in this world. For example, the anthology Realizing the America of Our Hearts: Theological Voices of Asian Americans, edited by Fumitaka Matsuoka and Eleazar Fernandez (Chalice Press 2003), offers numerous, creative essays that elaborate on concepts such as han (frustrated hope), the tao (the way), and tam tai (three elements of reality) to provide hermeneutic lenses that are both Asian and American. These insights not only build Asian American communities but also can contribute to the broader church's understanding of God and the sacred.
Melting the Venusberg: A Feminist Theology of Music by Heidi Epstein (Continuum International Publishing Group) reconstructs music's theological significance by implicating it in the "politics of representation," by delineating the very concrete processes through which are ascribed music symbolic or metaphorical value, in short by treating it as a discursive practice, one socializing force among many. Such "radical" theological critiques and rearticulations of extramusical meanings may seem problematic only to those for whom music provides a transcendent oasis, who need music to remain hermetically sealed, unstained by the mundane—virginal.
Soliciting a range of feminist theorists as muses, Epstein treats music not as an ideologically immune, self-contained system, but as a "social barometer," a "product" of struggles over cultural meaning. Music's theological meaning emerges from its implication within specific historical struggles; more precisely, certain musical ethics and taboos are reread as sites where Christians individually and collectively negotiate distinctive, gendered identities within antagonistic contexts. These symptomatic readings respond more appositely to the "timeless" reality that music is a powerful social and political practice that causes listeners to experience, or, if musical censorship abounds, not to experience their bodies in new ways.
Part One constitutes a critical survey of extant theologies of music, their classical sources and norms, and the polemical Christian rhetoric about music that these more traditional approaches have not interrogated. At times, the tone in part one is sharp as recurring patterns of sexist thought in musico-theological discourse, as well as contemporary blindness toward the same, impair some of the finest theologians' discussions of music's meaning. The sharpness intensifies as desire mounts for "corrections" of these aporia. In part One, Epstein first attends to the now almost unconscious assumptions that have directed the "creative metaphor-making" processes in traditional and contemporary articulations of music's theological meaning. While a wide range of theologies of music is always justifiable, the main objective in part one is to carefully anatomize the theological readings of music that have gradually taken shape, and then assess their persuasiveness for a feminist religious context. To these ends, this critical overview of antecedent sources for Christian theologies of music (chapter 1), Christian rhetoric about musical decorum (chapter 2), and twentieth-century masculinist musico-theological discourse (chapter 3) reveals a tacitly sexist subtext in extant theologies of music, one that has buried a goldmine of musico-theological riches. Such trenchant critique is also used to unsettle the most deeply entrenched biases. As one possible alternative to such classical models, part two offers a very modest, gender-sensitive rearticulation of music's theological import. Like other feminist theological reappraisals, it represents a relatively novel approach, given that feminism has altered academic theory and social practices only in the last century. The present book's contribution to this discursive forum, therefore, is situated as tentative and partial, yet constructively critical. By exhuming the musico-theological riches in part two, Epstein retrieves materials by which to construct a new model, namely, a neglected trope from the tradition, and insights derived from the musical activities of women-musician/composers: Hildegard of Bingen, Lucrezia Vizzana, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Diamanda Galas.
Both parts are broadly chronological in form and content. Consequently, given that Epstein’s search for reconstructive raw materials spans several millennia, serious omissions are bound to occur. But this theological project is selective, not an exhaustive survey and critique of theologians’, church leaders’; and composers’ discussions of music; rather, the Epstein's historical and contemporary samplings seem to be chosen as building blocks for constructing an alternative theology of music. Mining both center and margins of the Christian tradition, Epstein consults those thinkers whose methods of inquiry and ideas about music have become normative for understanding music's religious significance, and also those whose astute insights have been overlooked.
In order to reformulate music's symbolic content and shift its locus within divine–human relations, Epstein converses with a number of other feminist theorists to illustrate the valuable yet neglected contributions that theological discussions of music can make to a wider range of other feminist discourses, but also to construct a more genuinely dialogical theology of music. By its very nature, this topic mandates a rigorous interdisciplinarity.
This book contributes to the ongoing conversation among religionists and theologians about music's sacred uses and meanings. Given this discursive scope, the project does not directly address musicologists, yet it is hoped that they might also learn from the nascent interconnections that this essay makes between Christian musical ethics and aesthetics, on the one hand, and New Musicology's multivalent studies of gender "in" music, on the other.
It should be emphasized that Epstein’s project here is theological, not a historical. The historical sources that are engaged are in no way construed as proto-feminist. Rather, reflection upon previously neglected insights from the past guides the construction of a conceptual framework that responds more compellingly to our current musical (and theological) contexts. In other words, alternative readings of particular moments within past tradition unearth lost themes and concepts that stimulate and redirect contemporary theological reflection. Through this recuperative synthesis of lost tradition and revisionist music history, this feminist initiative may set a precedent that will inspire other politicized, hence more ingenuous, theologies of music.
Reformed Worship by Howard L. Rice and James C. Huffstutler (Geneva Press) is written in the hope that it will help pastors and congregational leaders appreciate the Reformed tradition in which they find themselves and find values in that tradition that enable them to make appropriate changes and meet contemporary needs, but still be faithful to the core ideas that make them a unique part of the Christian community. We believe that the Reformed tradition of worship has an important contribution to make toward the whole church and should have a significant voice in ecumenical discussions. This contribution can happen only if its pastors and people have a healthy pride in who they are. Self-deprecating titles such as "the frozen chosen" reflect a low self image, as do the frequent efforts to abandon nearly all elements of the tradition by copying the methods of others. More
Catechism of the Catholic Church: Revised in Accordance With the Official
Latin Text Promulgated by Pope John Paul II by Catholic Church (United States
Catholic Conference) Four centuries in the making, a monumental
undertaking and a magnificent achievement, the first definitive Catholic
Catechism since the Council of Trent in 1566 details the doctrine, dogma, and
the basic tenets of the Church. "A sure and certain standard for the teaching of
the faith." -- Pope John Paul II,
Catechism means "instruction," and this text will remain the standard reference for Catholics for many future generations. It is the authoritative summary of Catholic belief regarding the Church creeds, sacraments, commandments, and prayers. To get some idea of the level of detail with which the Catechism engages Catholic doctrine, consider that 17 pages of explanation accompany the opening words of the Apostle's Creed ("I Believe in God the Father"). The book is exceptionally well organized, with line-by-line explanations of every conceivable aspect of orthodox Catholic belief. Extensive cross-referencing, indexing, footnotes, and "In Brief" summaries of each section further ease the project of finding the precise answers to any questions a reader might have. Even the layout of information on the page is easy on the eyes, with wide margins for readers who wish to make notes. Furthermore, the back cover features a true rarity in the annals of world literature: a blurb by`the Pope.
When those questions come up for Catholics about just why do we do
thus-and-so on Sunday, what do we believe, etc., there is no other source for
modern readers that you need turn to. Every Catholic household should have one.
In addition, if anyone wants or needs to know exactly what the Catholic Church
teaches on something, this is the place to turn.
Just as you would not read the encyclopedia from cover-to-cover, neither will you read this book straight through. However, it is very easy to look up any individual question you have, and get the straight story. More
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