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This selection of writings from the most important moments in the
history of Christianity has become established as a classic
reference work, providing insights into 2000 years of Christian
theological and political debate.
The firstChristian communities were established among the population of Hindi- and Urdu-speaking North India during the middle of the nineteenth century. The evangelical North American Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries who arrived in what were considered the Hindu heartlands discovered a social and religious landscape far more diverse than expected. With its Hindu majority and significant Muslim minority, the region also proved home to reform and renewal movements both within and beyond Hinduism. These movements had already carved out niches for religious difference, niches where Christianity took root. In Missionary Christianity and Local Religion Arun Jones documents the story of how preexisting indigenous bhakti movements and western missionary evangelicalism met to form the cornerstone for the foundational communities of North Indian Christianity. Moreover, while newly arrived missionaries may have reported their exploits as totally fresh encounters with the local population, they built their work on the existing fledgling gatherings of Christians such as European colonial officials, merchants, and soldiers, and their Indian and Eurasian family members. Jones demonstrates how foreign missionaries, Indian church leaders, and converts alike all had to negotiate the complex parameters of historic Indian religious and social institutions and cultures, as well as navigatethe realities of the newly established British Empire. Missionary Christianity and Local Religion provides portrayals and analyses of the ideas, motivations, and activities of the diverse individuals who formed and nurtured a flourishing North Indian Christian movement that was both evangelical and rooted in local religious and social realities. This exploration of new Christian communities created by the confluences and divergences between American evangelical and Indian bhakti religious traditions reveals the birth and early growth of one of the many incarnations of Christianity.
The parish churches of Lincolnshire are justly celebrated. The spires of Grantham and Louth, and the famous Boston Stump, provide a focal point from the surrounding landscape of fen, wold and marsh. The charms of remote country churches along the byways of the county have been extolled in prose and verse by writers such as Henry Thorold and Sir John Betjeman. Their architecture, their stained glass and sculpture, furniture and fabric, have all been carefully recorded. Yet little is known of the people who served these churches, the rectors and vicars who, in word and sacrament, taught the Christian faith to successive generations of parishioners. This volume forms the first part of a much-needed survey of Lincolnshire parish clergy. The starting point is 1214, when Bishop Hugh of Wells introduced the earliest system of episcopal registration in Western Europe. The magnificent series of Lincoln bishop's registers provides a framework for the parish lists, setting out the succession of rectors or vicars for each church. Brief biographical sketches demonstrate the rich variety of the county's parsons - pastors, scholars, travellers and writers, soldiers and schoolmasters; while some, like John Wycliffe, achieved a wider fame. This biographical register gives to each of them their place in the history of Lincolnshire. Dr Nicholas Bennett is General Editor of the Lincoln Record Society. Prior to retirement, he was Vice-Chancellor and Librarian of Lincoln Cathedral, where he was responsible for the historic collections of books and manuscripts.
How the Light Gets In: Ethical Life I presents a systematic account of the teachings of the Christian faith to offer a vision, from a human, created, and limited perspective, of the ways all things might be understood from the divine perspective. It explores how Christian doctrine is lived, and the way in which beliefs are not simply cognitive sets of ideas but embodied cultural practices. Christians learn how to understand the contents of their faith, learn the language of the faith, through engagements that are simultaneously somatic, affective, imaginative, and intellectual. In the first of four volumes, Graham Ward examines the complex levels of these engagements through three historical developments in the systematic organization of doctrine: the Creeds, the Summa, and Protestant dogmatics. He outlines a methodology for exploring and practicing systematic theology that captures how the faith is lived in cultural, social, and embodied engagements. Ward then unpicks several fundamental theological concepts and how they are to be understood from the point of view of an engaged systematics: truth, revelation, judgement, discernment, proclamation, faith seeking understanding, and believing as it relates to and grounds the possibilities for faith. This groundbreaking work offers an interdisciplinary investigation through poetry, art, film, the Bible and theological discourse, analysing the human condition and theology as the deep dream for salvation. The final part relates theology as a lived and ongoing pedagogy concerned with individual and corporate formation to biological life, social life, and life in Christ. Here an approach to living theologically is sketched that is the primary focus for all four volumes: ethical life.
Between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries, the west central African kingdom of Kongo practiced Christianity and actively participated in the Atlantic world as an independent, cosmopolitan realm. Drawing on an expansive and largely unpublished set of objects, images, and documents, Cecile Fromont examines the advent of Kongo Christian visual culture and traces its development across four centuries marked by war, the Atlantic slave trade, and, finally, the rise of nineteenth-century European colonialism. By offering an extensive analysis of the religious, political, and artistic innovations through which the Kongo embraced Christianity, Fromont approaches the country's conversion as a dynamic process that unfolded across centuries. The African kingdom's elite independently and gradually intertwined old and new, local and foreign religious thought, political concepts, and visual forms to mold a novel and constantly evolving Kongo Christian worldview. Fromont sheds light on the cross-cultural exchanges between Africa, Europe, and Latin America that shaped the early modern world, and she outlines the religious, artistic, and social background of the countless men and women displaced by the slave trade from central Africa to all corners of the Atlantic world.
This first English translation of Leontius of Neapolis's Life of Symeon the Fool brings alive one of the most colorful of early Christian saints. In this study of a major hagiographer at work, Krueger fleshes out a broad picture of the religious, intellectual, and social environment in which the Life was created and opens a window onto the Christian religious imagination at the end of Late Antiquity. He explores the concept of holy folly by relating Symeon's life to the gospels, to earlier hagiography, and to anecdotes about Diogenes the Cynic. The Life is one of the strangest works of the Late Antique hagiography. Symeon seemed a bizarre choice for sanctification, since it was through very peculiar antics that he converted heretics and reformed sinners. Symeon acted like a fool, walked about naked, ate enormous quantities of beans, and defecated in the streets. When he arrived in Emesa, Symeon tied a dead dog he found on a dunghill to his belt and entered the city gate, dragging the dog behind him. Krueger presents a provocative interpretation of how these bizarre antics came to be instructive examples to everyday Christians. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1996.
The Riveting Story of the Reformation and Its Significance Today The Reformation unfolded in the cathedrals and town squares of Europe--in Wittenberg, Worms, Rome, Geneva, and Zurich--and it is a stirring story of courage and cowardice, of betrayal and faith. The story begins with the Catholic Church and its desperate need for reform. The dramatic events that followed are traced from John Wycliffe in England, to the burning of John Hus at the stake in Prague, to the rampant sale of indulgences in the cities and towns of Germany, to Martin Luther nailing the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in 1517, to John Calvin's reform of Geneva. Erwin Lutzer captures the people, places, and big ideas that fueled the Reformation and explains its lasting influence on the church and Western Civilization.
When Cecil B. DeMille's epic, The Ten Commandments, came out in 1956, lines of people crowded into theaters across America to admire the movie's spectacular special effects. Thanks to DeMille, the commandments now had fans as well as adherents. But the country's fascination with the Ten Commandments goes well beyond the colossal scenes of this Hollywood classic. In this vividly rendered narrative, Jenna Weissman Joselit situates the Ten Commandments within the fabric of American history. Her subjects range from the 1860 tale of the amateur who claimed to have discovered ancient holy stones inside a burial mound in Ohio to the San Francisco congregation of Sherith Israel, which commissioned a luminous piece of stained glass depicting Moses in Yosemite for its sanctuary; from the Kansas politician Charles Walter, who in the late nineteenth century proposed codifying each commandment into state law, to the radio commentator Laura Schlessinger, who popularized the Ten Commandments as a psychotherapeutic tool in the 1990s. At once text and object, celestial and earthbound, Judaic and Christian, the Ten Commandments were not just a theological imperative in the New World; they also provoked heated discussions around key issues such as national identity, inclusion, and pluralism. In a country as diverse and heterogeneous as the United States, the Ten Commandments offered common ground and held out the promise of order and stability, becoming the lodestar of American identity. While archaeologists, theologians, and devotees across the world still wonder what became of the tablets that Moses received on Mount Sinai, Weissman Joselit offers a surprising answer: they landed in the United States.
Hagiography was one of the most prolific narrative genres in the Middle Ages. Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend (c. 1260), the most popular compendium, was translated into every language in Western Europe. In the medieval Iberian peninsula, the number of conserved hagiographic documents dwarfs those belonging to other narrative genres. This book examines one collection of saints' lives, or sanctorals, and the twenty-five female saints witnessed therein. Their lives furnished exemplary models for women inside and outside the Church, and tell stories of maidens tortured by pagan sovereigns, prostitutes, mothers who see their sons martyred, and women who dress as men in order to avoid being married off to the nearest suitor. This study challenges an understanding of these women as passive recipients of social and spiritual influence by re-situating female authority within the context of vision, language, and performativity. Included in the study are transcriptions of twenty-two previously unedited lives. Emma Gatland is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Cambridge.
The story of Japan's hidden Christians is the subject of a major new film directed by Martin Scorsese (due for release in spring 2016), based on Shusaku Endo's famous novel, Silence.In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians is a remarkable story of suppression, secrecy and survival in the face of human cruelty and God's apparent silence. Part history, part travelogue, it explores and seeks to explain a clash of civilizations-of East and West-that resonates to this day.For seven generations, Japan's 'Hidden Christians' preserved a faith that was forbidden on pain of death. Just as remarkably, descendants of the Hidden Christians continue to practise their beliefs today, refusing to rejoin the Catholic Church. Why? And what is it about Japanese culture that makes it so resistant to Western Christianity?
During his 2009 inaugural speech, President Obama described the United States as a nation of "Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus-and nonbelievers." It was the first time an American president had acknowledged the existence of this rapidly growing segment of the population in such a public forum. And yet the reasons why more and more people are turning away from religion are still poorly understood. In Faith No More, Phil Zuckerman draws on in-depth interviews with people who have left religion to find out what's really behind the process of losing one's faith. According to a 2008 study, so many Americans claim no religion (15%, up from 8% in 1990) that this category now outranks every other religious group except Catholics and Baptists. Exploring the deeper stories within such survey data, Zuckerman shows that leaving one's faith is a highly personal, complex, and drawn-out process. And he finds that, rather than the cliche of the angry, nihilistic atheist, apostates are life-affirming, courageous, highly intelligent and inquisitive, and deeply moral. Zuckerman predicts that this trend toward nonbelief will likely continue and argues that the sooner we recognize that religion is frequently and freely rejected by all sorts of men and women, the sooner our understanding of the human condition will improve. The first book of its kind, Faith No More will appeal to anyone interested in the "New Atheism" and indeed to anyone wishing to more fully understand our changing relationship to religious faith.
Lesslie Newbigin, one of the twentieth century's most important church leaders, offered insights on the church in a pluralistic world that are arguably more relevant now than when first written. This volume presents his ecclesiology to a new generation. Michael Goheen clearly articulates Newbigin's missionary understanding of the church and places it in the context of Newbigin's core theological convictions. Suitable for students as well as church leaders, this book offers readers a better understanding of the mission of the church in the world today. Foreword by N. T. Wright.
How and why did the early church grow in the first four hundred years despite disincentives, harassment, and occasional persecution? In this unique historical study, veteran scholar Alan Kreider delivers the fruit of a lifetime of study as he tells the amazing story of the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Challenging traditional understandings, Kreider contends the church grew because the virtue of patience was of central importance in the life and witness of the early Christians. They wrote about patience, not evangelism, and reflected on prayer, catechesis, and worship, yet the church grew--not by specific strategies but by patient ferment.
A vivid, concise and balanced history of the world's largest religion, written for readers of all religious backgrounds. Christianity has played a central role in world history, for better or worse, but beyond the life of Jesus many people know little of this story. Geoffrey Blainey takes the reader on a journey from the very beginnings of Christianity through to the present day. Looking at the development of the religion itself, as well as the social and economic forces that have influenced it, the book focuses on the stories of the key players in Christianity's rise and fall through the ages, as well as how these players shaped the faith of believers.
The Augsburg Confession is the single most-important confession of faith among Lutherans today. However, it is often taught either from a historical perspective or from a dogmatic one. Yet the context out of which it arose was far more practical and lively: marked from the outset as confessions of faith in the face of fierce opposition and threats. The original princely signers, while clearly outlining the teaching of their churches, were also staking their lives on the witness to the gospel that had been emanating from Wittenberg since 1517, when Martin Luther first published his Ninety-Five Theses. By situating both the history and the theology of this document within the practice and life of faith, Timothy J. Wengert shows just how relevant the Confession's witness is for today's Lutheran parishes and their leaders by unlocking how its articles can shape and strengthen the church's witness today.
In A Jewish Jesuit in the Eastern Mediterranean, Robert Clines retraces the conversion and missionary career of Giovanni Battista Eliano, the only Jewish-born member of the Society of Jesus. He highlights the lived experience of conversion, and how converts dealt with others' skepticism of their motives. Clines uses primary sources, including Eliano's personal letters, missionary reports, and autobiography, together with scholarship on conversion in the early modern Mediterranean world to illustrate how false and sincere conversion often mirrored each other in outward performance. Devout converts were not readily taken at face value and needed to prove themselves in the moment and over the course of their lifetimes. Consequently, Eliano's story underscores that the mystical, introspective nature of religious belief and the formulation of new spiritual selves came into direct confrontation with the ways in which converts needed to present themselves to others in an age of political and religious turmoil.
Baron Rosen's Babi/Baha'i archives presents private letters and diplomatic correspondence from the nineteenth century, preserved among the prominent Russian scholar Baron Victor Rosen's materials in the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg branch. The materials cast light on the first studies of the Babi and Baha'i Faiths, new religious phenomena which, in Baron Rosen's time, were emerging in Persia. Iran has always been a strategic concern of Russia's geopolitical interests and the traditional importance which has been given to Persia has manifested itself in hundreds of documents and writings collected by the pre-revolutionary Russian diplomats and scholars. These documents, large parts of which have never been published before, reveal new information on the attitude of the Russian government towards religious and ethnic minorities as well as towards related issues within the Russian Empire and abroad. Bringing together materials in Russian, English, Persian, Arabic and French related to the Babi and Baha'i Faiths from Rosen's archive in the original languages with an English translation, this book will be of great interest to students and researchers in the fields of Iranian Studies, Religion and Middle East Studies amongst others.
Jacopo da Varagine (c. 1228-1298) is remembered today primarily for his immensely popular work The Golden Legend, a massive collection of stories about the saints. Compiled over the years 1260-67, The Golden Legend quickly eclipsed earlier collections of saints' lives. One indication of its popularity is the fact that so many manuscript copies of the work have survived-more than one thousand according to some estimates. Despite the enduring influence of The Golden Legend, Jacopo remains an elusive figure because he left behind so little information about himself. In The Talents of Jacopo da Varagine, Steven A. Epstein sets out to remedy this situation through a careful study of all Jacopo's works, including many hundreds of sermons and his innovative chronicle of Genoese history. In Epstein's sure hands, Jacopo emerges as one of the most active and talented minds of his day. Indeed, Epstein argues that one needs to read all of Jacopo's books, in a Genoese context, in order to understand the original scope of his thinking, which greatly influenced the ways generations of people across Europe experienced their Christianity. The rich sources for Jacopo's sermons, saints' lives, and history illuminate the traditions that inspired him and shaped his imaginative and artistic powers. Jacopo was also one of the inventors of social history, and his writings reveal complex and new perspectives on family life as well as the histories of gay people, slaves, Jews, and the medieval economy. Filled with impressive insights into the intellectual life of the thirteenth century, The Talents of Jacopo da Varagine will be of interest to a wide range of medieval scholars and students of religious history, church history, and hagiography as well as intellectual history and Italian history.
Rituals combining healing with spirit possession and court-like proceedings are found around the world and throughout history. A person suffers from an illness that cannot be cured, for example, and in order to be healed performs a ritual involving a prosecution and a defense, a judge and witnesses. Divine beings then speak through oracles, spirits possess the victim and are exorcized, and local gods intervene to provide healing and justice. Such practices seem to be the very antithesis of modernity, and many modern, secular states have systematically attempted to eliminate them. What is the relationship between healing, spirit possession, and the law, and why are they so often combined? Why are such rituals largely absent from modern societies, and what happens to them when the state attempts to expunge them from their health and justice systems, or even to criminalize them? Despite the prevalence of rituals involving some or all of these elements, this volume represents the first attempt to compare and analyze them systematically. The Law of Possession brings together historical and contemporary case studies from East Asia, South Asia, and Africa, and argues that despite consistent attempts by modern, secular states to discourage, eliminate, and criminalize them, these types of rituals persist and even thrive because they meet widespread human needs.
The general councils of the fifteenth century constituted a remarkable political experiment, which used collective decision-making to tackle important problems facing the church. Such problems had hitherto received rigid top-down management from Rome. However, at Constance and Basle, they were debated by delegates of different ranks from across Europe and resolved through majority voting. Fusing the history of political thought with the study of institutional practices, this innovative study relates the procedural innovations of the general councils and their anti-heretical activities to wider trends in corporate politics, intellectual culture and pastoral reform. Alexander Russell argues that the acceptance of collective decision-making at the councils was predicated upon the prevalence of group participation and deliberation in small-scale corporate culture. Conciliarism and Heresy in Fifteenth-Century England offers a fundamental reassessment of England's relationship with the general councils, revealing how political thought, heresy, and collective politics were connected.
Set within the dramatic tableau of the medieval Crusades, this story of initiation, adventure, and romance follows members of the Knights Templar and Assassins as they discover a mystical tradition with the potential to unify, protect, and liberate humankind--the very heresy for which the Knights Templar were later condemned. The tale begins with a young Persian student, Sinan, as he witnesses his teacher deliver the heretical Qiyama proclamation, seeking to abolish Islamic religious law in favor of a more mystical approach to spirituality. After completing his initiation into the revolutionary doctrines and practices of the Assassins - also known as the Nizari Ismailis or Hashishim - Sinan is appointed head of the Nizaris in Syria. Years later, after Sinan has become a wise and respected leader, he encounters Roland de Provence, a young member of the Knights Templar. Impressed by his courage and intelligence, Sinan selects him for initiation into the Nizari tradition. As readers follow Sinan and Roland through the process, they experience firsthand the transmission of these secret teachings and the paranormal, even magical powers of the Assassin adepts. Bringing to life the historical truths of his expertly researched bestseller The Templars and the Assassins, James Wasserman artfully traces the evolution of the Western Esoteric Tradition during the fertile cultural interactions of the Crusades.
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