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When young children first begin to ask 'why?' they embark on a journey with no final destination. The need to make sense of the world as a whole is an ultimate curiosity that lies at the root of all human religions. It has, in many cultures, shaped and motivated a more down to earth scientific interest in the physical world, which could therefore be described as penultimate curiosity. These two manifestations of curiosity have a history of connection that goes back deep into the human past. Tracing that history all the way from cave painting to quantum physics, this book (a collaboration between a painter and a physical scientist that uses illustrations throughout the narrative) sets out to explain the nature of the long entanglement between religion and science: the ultimate and the penultimate curiosity.
This volume focuses on the differences between the Covenant and Dispensational systems of theology and examines their diverse approaches to such issues as:
-- God's Ultimate Purpose for History
-- God's Program for the Nation of Israel
-- The Significance of Several Key Biblical Covenants
-- The Nature and Beginning of the Church
-- The Christian's Relationship to the Mosaic Law and Grace
The book is written in easy-to-understand, non-technical language and has received favorable response from lay people, pastors, students, and reviewers.
Is original sin compatible with evolution? Many today believe the answer is 'No'. Engaging Aquinas's revolutionary account of the doctrine, Daniel W. Houck argues that there is not necessarily a conflict between this Christian teaching and mainstream biology. He draws on neglected texts outside the Summa Theologiae to show that Aquinas focused on humanity's loss of friendship with God - not the corruption of nature (or personal guilt). Aquinas's account is theologically attractive in its own right. Houck proposes, moreover, a new Thomist view of original sin that is consonant with evolution. This account is developed in dialogue with biblical scholarship on Jewish hamartiology and salient modern thinkers (including Kant, Schleiermacher, Barth, and Schoonenberg), and it is systematically connected to debates over nature, grace, the desire for God, and justification. In addition, the book canvasses a number of neglected premodern approaches to original sin, including those of Anselm, Abelard, and Lombard.
How much does ethics demand of us? On what authority does it demand it? How does what ethics demand relate to other requirements, such as those of prudence, law, and social convention? Does ethics really demand anything at all? Questions of this sort lie at the heart of the work of the Danish philosopher and theologian K. E. Logstrup (1905-1981), and in particular his key text The Ethical Demand (1956). In The Radical Demand in Logstrup's Ethics, Robert Stern offers a full account of that text, and situates Logstrup's distinctive position in relation to Kant, Kierkegaard, Levinas, Darwall and Luther. For Logstrup, the ethical situation is primarily one in which the fate of the other person is placed in your hands, where it is then your responsibility to do what is best for them. The demand therefore does not come from the other person as such, as what they ask you to do may be different from what you should do. It is also not laid down by social rules, nor by God or by any formal principle of practical reason, such as Kant's principle of universalizability. Rather, it comes from what is required to care for the other, and the directive power of their needs in the situation. Logstrup therefore rejects accounts of ethical obligation based on the commands of God, or on abstract principles governing practical reason, or on social norms; instead he develops a different picture, at the basis of which is our interdependence, which he argues gives his ethics a grounding in the nature of life itself.
This collection of essays by leading international philosophers considers central themes in the ethics of Danish philosopher Knud Ejler Logstrup (1905-1981). Logstrup was a Lutheran theologian much influenced by phenomenology and by strong currents in Danish culture, to which he himself made important contributions. The essays in What Is Ethically Demanded? K. E. Logstrup's Philosophy of Moral Life are divided into four sections. The first section deals predominantly with Logstrup's relation to Kant and, through Kant, the system of morality in general. The second section focuses on how Logstrup stands in connection with Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Levinas. The third section considers issues in the development of Logstrup's ethics and how it relates to other aspects of his thought. The final section covers certain central themes in Logstrup's position, particularly his claims about trust and the unfulfillability of the ethical demand. The volume includes a previously untranslated early essay by Logstrup, "The Anthropology of Kant's Ethics," which defines some of his basic ethical ideas in opposition to Kant's. The book will appeal to philosophers and theologians with an interest in ethics and the history of philosophy. Contributors: K. E. Logstrup, Svend Andersen, David Bugge, Svein Aage Christoffersen, Stephen Darwall, Peter Dews, Paul Faulkner, Hans Fink, Arne Gron, Alasdair MacIntyre, Wayne Martin, Kees van Kooten Niekerk, George Pattison, Robert Stern, and Patrick Stokes.
The first comprehensive history of the pietistic movement that shaped modern Judaism This is the first comprehensive history of the pietistic movement that shaped modern Judaism. The book's unique blend of intellectual, religious, and social history offers perspectives on the movement's leaders as well as its followers, and demonstrates that, far from being a throwback to the Middle Ages, Hasidism is a product of modernity that forged its identity as a radical alternative to the secular world. Hasidism originated in southeastern Poland, in mystical circles centered on the figure of Israel Baal Shem Tov, but it was only after his death in 1760 that a movement began to spread. Challenging the notion that Hasidism ceased to be a creative movement after the eighteenth century, this book argues that its first golden age was in the nineteenth century, when it conquered new territory, won a mass following, and became a mainstay of Jewish Orthodoxy. World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the Holocaust decimated eastern European Hasidism. But following World War II, the movement enjoyed a second golden age, growing exponentially. Today, it is witnessing a remarkable renaissance in Israel, the United States, and other countries around the world. Written by an international team of scholars, Hasidism is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand this vibrant and influential modern Jewish movement.
A must-read book for understanding this vibrant and influential modern Jewish movement Hasidism originated in southeastern Poland, in mystical circles centered on the figure of Israel Ba'al Shem Tov, but it was only after his death in 1760 that a movement began to spread. Today, Hasidism is witnessing a remarkable renaissance around the world. This book provides the first comprehensive history of the pietistic movement that shaped modern Judaism. Written by an international team of scholars, its unique blend of intellectual, religious, and social history demonstrates that, far from being a throwback to the Middle Ages, Hasidism is a product of modernity that forged its identity as a radical alternative to the secular world.
The love of God is perhaps the most essential element in Judaism--but also one of the most confounding. In biblical and rabbinic literature, the obligation to love God appears as a formal commandment. Yet most people today think of love as a feeling. How can an emotion be commanded? How could one ever fulfill such a requirement? The Love of God places these scholarly and existential questions in a new light. Jon Levenson traces the origins of the concept to the ancient institution of covenant, showing how covenantal love is a matter neither of sentiment nor of dry legalism. The love of God is instead a deeply personal two-way relationship that finds expression in God's mysterious love for the people of Israel, who in turn observe God's laws out of profound gratitude for his acts of deliverance. Levenson explores how this bond has survived episodes in which God's love appears to be painfully absent--as in the brutal persecutions of Talmudic times--and describes the intensely erotic portrayals of the relationship by biblical prophets and rabbinic interpreters of the Song of Songs. He examines the love of God as a spiritual discipline in the Middle Ages as well as efforts by two influential modern Jewish thinkers--Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig--to recover this vital but endangered aspect of their tradition. A breathtaking work of scholarship and spirituality alike that is certain to provoke debate, The Love of God develops fascinating insights into the foundations of religious life in the classical Jewish tradition.
How the rabbis of the Talmud transformed everything into a legal question-and Jewish law into a way of thinking and talking about everything Though typically translated as "Jewish law," the term halakhah is not an easy match for what is usually thought of as law. This is because the rabbinic legal system has rarely wielded the political power to enforce its many detailed rules, nor has it ever been the law of any state. Even more idiosyncratically, the talmudic rabbis claim that the study of halakhah is a holy endeavor that brings a person closer to God-a claim no country makes of its law. In this panoramic book, Chaim Saiman traces how generations of rabbis have used concepts forged in talmudic disputation to do the work that other societies assign not only to philosophy, political theory, theology, and ethics but also to art, drama, and literature. In the multifaceted world of halakhah where everything is law, law is also everything, and even laws that serve no practical purpose can, when properly studied, provide surprising insights into timeless questions about the very nature of human existence. What does it mean for legal analysis to connect humans to God? Can spiritual teachings remain meaningful and at the same time rigidly codified? Can a modern state be governed by such law? Guiding readers across two millennia of richly illuminating perspectives, this book shows how halakhah is not just "law" but an entire way of thinking, being, and knowing.
This book is about the emergence of a new activist Sufism in the Muslim world from the sixteenth century onwards, which emphasized personal responsibility for putting Godas guidance into practice. It focuses specifically on developments at the centre of the Ottoman Empire, but also considers both how they might have been influenced by the wider connections and engagements of learned and holy men and how their influence might have been spread from the Ottoman Empire to South Asia in particular. The immediate focus is on the Qadizadeli movement which flourished in Istanbul from the 1620s to the 1680s and which inveighed against corrupt scholars and heterodox Sufis. The book aims by studying the relationship between Ahmad al-Rumi al-Aqhisarias magisterial Majalis al-abrar and Qadizadeli beliefs to place both author and the movement in an Ottoman, Hanafi, and Sufi milieu. In so doing, it breaks new ground, both in bringing to light al-Aqhisarias writings, and methodologically, in Ottoman studies at least, in employing line-by-line textual comparisons to ascertain the borrowings and influences linking al-Aqhisari to medieval Islamic thinkers such as Ahmad b. Taymiyya and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, as well as to several near-contemporaries. Most significantly, the book finally puts to rest the strict dichotomy between Qadizadeli reformism and Sufism, a dichotomy that with too few exceptions continues to be the mainstay of the existing literature.
In these messages, Machen expounds the greatness and the glory of God, the wonder and power of the gospel and the exhilaration of serving Christ in the front line of spiritual warfare.
The feminine dimension of the Divine is omnipresent, vivant and alive in Hinduism. Many scholars, particularly women, have undertaken research into the nature and worship of Hindu goddesses and thus have augmented our knowledge of previously little-known, yet complex scared figures. This work pays great attention to local details and differences between individual Indian goddesses, details relating to their diverse locations, their rich phenomenology, here documented by visual evidence, their presence and power in people's lives, and the joyous celebration of their existence and influence through numerous rituals and festivities. Many of the book's nuanced observations and conclusions raise questions about earlier goddess research and invite the reader to a new evaluation of the significance of dynamic goddess beliefs and practices in Indian culture.
Where does our conscience come from? How reliable is it? In the West conscience has been relied upon for two thousand years as a judgement that distinguishes right from wrong. It has effortlessly moved through every period division and timeline between the ancient, medieval, and modern. The Romans identified it, the early Christians appropriated it, and Reformation Protestants and loyal Catholics relied upon its advice and admonition. Today it is embraced with equal conviction by non-religious and religious alike. Considering its deep historical roots and exploring what it has meant to successive generations, Paul Strohm highlights why this particularly European concept deserves its reputation as 'one of the prouder Western contributions to human rights and human dignity throughout the world.' Using examples from popular culture including the Disney classic Pinocchio, as well as examples from contemporary politics, he explores the work of thinkers such as Nietzsche, Freud, and Aquinas, to show how and why conscience remains a motivating and important principle in the contemporary world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
"Do Morals Matter?" is an accessible and informed guide to
contemporary ethical issues that reflects upon the intersection of
religion and morality.
Help Your Teen Catch the Lifelong Reading Bug. Honey for a Teen's Heart spells out how good books can help you and your teenager communicate heart-to-heart about ideas, values, and the various issues of a Christian worldview. Sharing the adventure of a book lets both of you know the same people, see the same sights, face the same choices, and feel the same emotions. Life spills out of books--giving you plenty to talk about! But Honey for a Teen's Heart will do more than strengthen the bonds between you and your son or daughter. You'll also learn how to help your teen catch the reading habit and become a lover of good books. Gladys Hunt's insights on how to read a book, what to look for in a book, and how to question what you read will challenge you and your teenager alike. It's training for life! And it's fabulous preparation for teens entering college. Including an annotated list of over four hundred books, Honey for a Teen's Heart gives you expert guidance on the very best books for teens.
The Holy Spirit, once forgotten, has been "rediscovered" in the twentieth century--or has he? Sinclair Ferguson believes we should rephrase this common assertion: "While his work has been recognized, the Spirit himself remains to many Christians an anonymous, faceless aspect of the divine being." In order to redress this balance, Ferguson seeks to recover the who of the Spirit fully as much as the what and how. Ferguson's study is rooted and driven by the scriptural story of the Spirit in creation and redemption. Throughout he shows himself fully at home in the church's historical theology of the Spirit and conversant with the wide variety of contemporary Christians who have explored the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Foundational issues are surveyed and clarified. Hard questions are explored and answered. Clarity and insight radiate from every page. Here is the mature reflection of a Reformed theologian who will summon respect and charity from those who disagree.
Saints are more than distant figures from legends and wall paintings. Their lives and cults have been rewritten over and over again to suit changing cultural preconceptions and social and political agendas. The obscure Cambro-Breton saint Armel became a badge of loyalty to the Tudor dynasty; Eastern European countries have competed to lay claim to Cyril and Methodius, founding fathers of eastern Christianity; the Indian mystic and poet Kabir came from a Muslim background but was appropriated by both Hindus and Sikhs. And perhaps most bizarrely, right-wing groups in England march under the badge of the Middle Eastern saint George. While these ideas are familiar to historians of "popular" religion (that slippery term) in western Europe, they have a clear relevance to the study of religion in other continents and other faith traditions. Ranging from Ireland to India and from the first to the third millennium, this collection brings together essays written from the perspective of gender, politics and national and cultural identities as well as the sociology of religion. The main thrust is medieval and Christian but it also considers more recent developments in Sikh, Hindu and Muslim cults and in the heritagisation of religion. A substantial introduction offers an overview of the literature, sets out theoretical frameworks and suggests further avenues for exploration. Madeleine Gray is Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of South Wales. Contributors: Diane Auslander, Slavia Barlieva, Karen Casebier, Adam Coward, James M. Hegarty, Kate Helsen, Andrew Hughes, John R. Black, Madeleine Gray, Svitlana Kobets, Samantha Riches, Anne Schuchman, Jayita Sinha,
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya on Divine Wisdom and the Problem of Evil is a translation of selections from two of Ibn Qayyim's books Key to the Blissful Abode and Remedy for Those who Question on Matters Concerning Divine Decree, Predestination, Wisdom and Causality. As with all his other writings, Ibn al-Qayyim's foremost goal is to establish the wisdom of God, the primacy of the Qur'an and Sunna, and the congruity between reason and revelation. In the present selections, Ibn al-Qayyim focuses on the application of the wisdom of God to the existence of evil.Ibn al-Qayyim first discusses twenty-six wise purposes behind God creating humanity and settling them on Earth. His perspective is that whatever exists in this world is either purely or preponderantly good, or indirectly leads to a greater good. Ibn Qayyim then explores how the presence of evil allows the manifestation of many of God's Beautiful Names, glorious attributes and compassionate actions. While for humanity, the existence of the evil provides the righteous with opportunities to strive against it; for Paradise can only be reached by 'traversing a bridge of hardships and tribulations'.The discussions of the existence of evil is followed by thirty wise purposes and secrets in God allowing people to sin. Prominent among them are that God loves repentance and loves to manifest His Attributes of forgiveness and mercy. Here, Ibn al-Qayyim also debates at length whether the punishment of Hellfire will be eternal or whether it will come to an end. He favours the the latter position in accordance with the Qur'anic verse 107 of the Chapter Hud and because of God's mercy.
When skeptics ask tough questions, believers can turn to this helpful, user-friendly guide for thoughtful, up-to-date answers. Readers will also learn to identify and respond to the misuse of Scripture by nonbelievers and help detractors see the fullness, beauty, and truth of Christianity.
What is the essence of the gospel as Jesus Himself proclaimed it? How people answer that question is crucial to their understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Only Jesus explores what the Bible says about who Jesus is, what is saving grace, and what it means for Jesus to be both Savior and Lord of a person's life. Based on his classic bestseller, The Gospel According to Jesus, John MacArthur answers the age-old question: What did Jesus mean when He said, "Follow me"? In Only Jesus, author and teacher John MacArthur makes it clear that the gospel Jesus preached was a call to self-denial, radical changes, and serving Him. Difficult demands? Impossible in human terms? Yes, but attainable when we understand that the gospel is a call to faith, and genuine faith produces a heart that voluntarily responds to the ever-awakening reality of Christ's lordship. Only Jesus examines the gospel that Jesus himself preached-with an eye toward gaining a thorough and proper understanding of the true way of salvation. He is the only One to whom we must turn for words of eternal life. This book is compulsory reading for Christians who want a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and seekers who want to know who Jesus is and what he taught.
'God is dead,' Nietzsche famously declared in The Gay Science; but this book will investigate God's surprising persistence and resurrection in the works of even the most seemingly atheistic of writers, who continue to deploy Judaic and Christian narratives and tropes even as they radically rewrite them in the face of new cultural, political and scientific imperatives. Contributors explore the range, power and implication of Christian and Jewish heresies in canonical Anglo-American writers -- including Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, T S Eliot, John Steinbeck and Jim Crace -- as well as in some less familiar texts: the Mormon Scriptures of Joseph Smith and various Victorian rewritings of the Book of Esther. A polemical essay by Michelene Wandor reflects on conceptions of Jewishness, which she finds in need of heretical renewal. Valentine Cunningham's provocative introduction argues that the acts of literary writing and reading are necessarily heretical. A coda to the book, 'Between Heresy and Superstition', takes as its motto Thomas Huxley's observation in 1881 that 'It is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions.';Contributions offer readers a rare opportunity of witnessing an extended academic exchange -- exploring the process by which former heresies may indeed risk ossification as new kinds of doctrinal conformity. Bryan Cheyette's critique of the 'Christian Albums' of Bob Dylan is answered by Kevin Mills's essay which uncovers heretical possibility even in this most seemingly orthodox part of Dylan's work. The revitalisation of heresy in literary interpretations, as well as in our religious thinking, forms the guiding objective of this exciting critical book.
Religious and ethnic diversity have become crucial and pressing concerns in Europe: in particular, the presence of Muslims, their integration, citizenship, and how to deal with the influx of refugees. Can we draw on the resources of religions and their leaders for models of peaceful coexistence or do religious identities constitute obstacles to cooperation and unity? This volume treats "Islam, Religions, and Pluralism in Europe" based on a 2014 conference in Montenegro. Experts analyze Islam and Muslim issues as well as Christian perspectives and state social policies. Case studies drawn from Western and Eastern Europe including the Balkans, constructively review and interrogate diverse theological, philosophical, pedagogical, legal, and political models and strategies that deal with pluralism.
The word Islam means surrender to God. In our secular Western culture, it is difficult to imagine what that means. Among other things, it indicates dependence and predestination. But is this really the case? Isn't this a superficial presumption? Allah calls on human beings to surrender in freedom to their God (Sura 96). Allah is merciful and forgiving. At the same time, however, Allah is the all-seeing one and the one who humbles. In Islam, free will and predestination have an uneasy relationship with each other-but isn't this true for every religion? In this collection of essays, three authors discuss various aspects of the tension between freedom and predestination in Islam from the perspective of Rudolf Steiner's works. This background enables them to throw sometimes surprising light on the freedom impulse of Islam. It is the authors' hope that this book may contribute to a more balanced view of Islam today. This timely book offers interested non-Muslims a rare opportunity to examine a frequently misunderstood aspect of one of the world's fastest growing religions.
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