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One cannot think of Judaism without taking some stance relating to Israel's special status, its election. The present collection highlights the challenges that Judaism faces, as it continues to uphold a sense of chosenness and as it seeks to engage the world beyond it-nations, as well as religions. The challenge is captured by the dual implication of election: divine love on the one hand and enmity with others on the other. Israel's election, mission and vocation are played out within this tension of love, grounded in God and extending to humanity, and the opposite of love, as this finds expression in Israel's relations with others. Israel must work out the purpose of its election and its realization in history in the tension between these two extremes. This challenge takes on great urgency in the context of advances in interfaith relations. These lead us to reflect on the meaning of Israel's election as part of developing a contemporary Jewish theology of world religions.
Given recent work in quantum physics suggesting that our world is just one world in a series of many, Leland Royce Harper calls for a shift in our concept of the monotheistic God of Judeo-Christian tradition. In Multiverse Deism: Shifting Perspectives of God and the World, Harper argues that those who wish to maintain that the Judeo-Christian God exists ought to revise how they define this God and what they expect of Him so as to maintain consistency between modern theism and the growing body of scientific knowledge. While this revision entails several concessions by the theist, the overall result is a stronger and more coherent account of who God really is. By removing the expectation that God will act in the natural world, Harper argues that we are left with a concept of God that maintains all of the traditional divine attributes, is consistent with current scientific advances, remains compatible with contemporary and historical arguments for the existence of God, and better refutes contemporary and historical arguments for atheism than the traditional, active God.
A stunning reexamination of one of the essential tenets of Christian belief from one of the most provocative and admired writers on religion today "A scathing, vigorous, eloquent attack on those who hold that that there is such a thing as eternal damnation."-Karen Kilby, Commonweal The great fourth-century church father Basil of Caesarea once observed that, in his time, most Christians believed that hell was not everlasting, and that all would eventually attain salvation. But today, this view is no longer prevalent within Christian communities. In this momentous book, David Bentley Hart makes the case that nearly two millennia of dogmatic tradition have misled readers on the crucial matter of universal salvation. On the basis of the earliest Christian writings, theological tradition, scripture, and logic, Hart argues that if God is the good creator of all, he is the savior of all, without fail. And if he is not the savior of all, the Kingdom is only a dream, and creation something considerably worse than a nightmare. But it is not so. There is no such thing as eternal damnation; all will be saved. With great rhetorical power, wit, and emotional range, Hart offers a new perspective on one of Christianity's most important themes.
This book offers a discussion of the kalam cosmological argument, and presents a defence of a version of that argument after critically evaluating three of the most important versions of the argument. It argues that, since the versions of the kalam cosmological argument defended by Philoponus (c. 490-c. 570), al-Ghazali (1058- 1111), and the contemporary philosopher, William Lane Craig, all deny the possibility of the existence of an actual infinite, these arguments are incompatible with Platonism and the view that God foreknows an endless future. This conclusion, however, is not a problem for the proponents of the kalam cosmological argument, for the book shows how the argument can be defended without denying the possibility of the actual infinite. In order to offer a comprehensive analysis of Philoponus and al-Ghazali's cosmological arguments, the book draws on recent English translations of some of their works. Next, the book advances a detailed argument against the popular argument based on the impossibility of an actual infinite. Finally, the book offers a unique defence of the kalam cosmological argument by defending philosophical arguments for a beginning of time that do not deny the actual infinite, evaluating which hypothesis best explains the discoveries of modern cosmology, and offering an argument in support of the premise that, if the universe came into existence, then God brought it into existence.
The emergence of spirituality in contemporary culture in holistic forms suggests that organised religions have failed. This thesis is explored and disputed in this book in ways that mark important critical divisions. This is the first collection of essays to assess the significance of spirituality in the sociology of religion. The authors explore the relationship of spirituality to the visual, individualism, gender, identity politics, education and cultural capital. The relationship between secularisation and spirituality is examined and consideration is given to the significance of Simmel in relation to a sociology of spirituality. Problems of defining spirituality are debated with reference to its expression in the UK, the USA, France and Holland. This timely, original and well structured volume provides undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers with a scholarly appraisal of a phenomenon that can only increase in sociological significance.
Thomas J. J. Altizer is the leading radical theologian of our time. His creative lifework-a steady output of some seventeen books and tens of articles-spans from the late 1950s to the present. In the past few decades, Altizer has written letters on religious, theological, political, and philosophical matters to an international virtual community of scholars and friends who work in a number of disciplines, ranging from British literary theorist David Jasper, to well-known contemporary philosophers such as Richard Kearney, John D. Caputo, and Edward S. Casey. Like the seventeenth century philosopher Marin Mersenne, who was renowned in the age of Descartes for gathering around him a network of brilliant philosophers and scientists through exchanges of written correspondence, so Altizer in his own domain of philosophical theology has acted as a hub for networking talented thinkers and scholars. In these brilliant letters, which take the form of meditative mini-essays, Altizer writes in an accessible, personal, and occasionally confessional manner. They are an intellectual tour de force and provide another entry into engagement with Altizer's thought.
What is God if he's not perfect, all-knowing, and ever-present? How could Time exist before 'spacetime' did? Why did God stay entirely "on the sidelines" after the Big Bang? What is God learning from us that has transformed him? How will a coming nuclear war bring about the end of organised religion? How will a neuroelectronic "information chip" revolutionise education? And why is the afterlife open equally to saints and sinners alike? These and many other questions are answered by God in a hypothetical dialogue with three 21st century humans, a clergyman, a philosopher, and a scientist, set in the far-distant future. He also talks about his design of the Universe, our own immediate future, and a totally unrecognisable afterlife. Preceding the dialogue is a short essay that explains why we must look beyond faith to our known reality to find the reasons for a vast Universe with intelligent life. This book ends with another short essay contending that this unorthodox picture of a hands-off but synergistic God is much more plausible than the alternatives of either revelation religion or absolute atheism. As a former trial lawyer, the author spent 30 years analysing evidence, drawing logical conclusions, and presenting cogent arguments, which he put to good use in writing this book. A "believer" who cannot find a plausible God among the traditional choices, he has long pondered an alternative God and the other issues addressed here. In addition to spending time with his family and working on two other books, he is now engaged in pursuing his lifelong interest in history and various outdoor activities.
1 and 2 Kings unfolds an epic narrative that concludes the long story of Israel's experience with institutional monarchy, a sequence of events that begins with the accession of Solomon and the establishment of the Jerusalem temple, moves through the partition into north and south, and leads inexorably toward the nation's destruction and the passage to exile in Babylon. Keith Bodner's The Theology of the Book of Kings provides a reading of the narrative attentive to its literary sophistication and theological subtleties, as the cast of characters - from the royal courts to the rural fields - are variously challenged to resist the tempting pathway of political and spiritual accommodations and instead maintain allegiance to their covenant with God. In dialogue with a range of contemporary interpreters, this study is a preliminary exploration of some theological questions that arise from the Kings narrative, while inviting contemporary communities of faith into deeper engagement with this enduring account of divine reliability amidst human scheming and rapaciousness.
A concise and illuminating portrait of Allah from one of the world's leading Qur'anic scholars The central figure of the Qur'an is not Muhammad but Allah. The Qur'an, Islam's sacred scripture, is marked above all by its call to worship Allah, and Allah alone. Yet who is the God of the Qur'an? What distinguishes the qur'anic presentation of God from that of the Bible? In this illuminating study, Gabriel Said Reynolds depicts a god of both mercy and vengeance, one who transcends simple classification. He is personal and mysterious; no limits can be placed on his mercy. Remarkably, the Qur'an is open to God's salvation of both sinners and unbelievers. At the same time, Allah can lead humans astray, so all are called to a disposition of piety and fear. Allah, in other words, is a dynamic and personal God. This eye-opening book provides a unique portrait of the God of the Qur'an.
Lee Barrett discusses the uniqueness and challenges of Kierkegaard's approach to theology. He examines Kierkegaard's explicit reflections on the appropriate way to engage in the theological task, as well as shows how the theme of God's "otherness" is held in dialectical tension with the theme of God's intimate love. Barrett discusses Kierkegaard's key reflections of the nature and purpose of human life as a paradoxical journey toward self-fulfilment through a self-emptying in which the self more intensively reflects God's self-giving love. He examines the works that describe sin as both a condition in which the individual is trapped and as a culpable act for which the individual must assume responsibility. Barrett explores Kierkegaard's thoughts on sin, his descriptions of Jesus Christ as the enactment in time of God's eternal self-giving compassion, his view of faith and his critique of culturally established Christianity as a form of fatal religious anaesthesia. This volume includes the following pedagogical features: - Each chapter contains its own introduction, explanatory notes, discussion questions and recommendation for further reading in both the primary and secondary literature - Includes links to Kierkegaardian texts provided by the Kierkegaard Research Center of the University of Copenhagen, the Howard and Edna Hong Kierkegaard Library of St Olaf College, as well as the resources of the Soren Kierkegaard Society
The Bible can be Provenis a culmination of nearly thirty years of research from the very best scholarly references that proves the Bible is not only historically reliable and trustworthy, but it is beyond mere humanity to compose, proving itself to be divinely inspired. Readers will gain a sense of confidence in the Bible by learning the historical, mathematical and logic-driven evidence to support its authenticity. The Bible Can Be Provenis a tremendous resource for believers and seekers alike, and will provide confidence for those who yearn to strengthen their faith and share it boldly with others."
In this study of Madame Guyon and, her defender, Francois de FA (c)nelon, the Archbishop of Cambray, Patricia Ward demonstrates how the ideas of these seventeenth-century Catholics were transmitted into an ongoing tradition of Protestant devotional literature--one that continues to influence American evangelicals and charismatic Christians today. Down a winding (and fascinating) historical path, Ward traces how the lives and writings of these two somewhat obscure Catholic believers in Quietism came to such prominence in American spirituality--offering, in part, a fascinating glance at the role of women in the history of devotional writing.
What happens after death? Who are Munkar and Nakir? What will Heaven and Hell be like? What signs should we expect before the Day of Judgement? When will the Mahdi appear? These and many other questions are answered, on the basis of the Qur'an and Hadith, in this volume. Imam al-Haddad explains that every human being passes through the lives: before conception, life in the world, life in the grave, the resurrection, and, finally, the Garden of the Fire. A Muslim must be aware of each of these if he or she is to be sufficiently prepared for eternal life.
The ideas of heaven and hell have sparked some of the most powerful writings of all time. In this creative coupling of literature and Scripture, classic writers such as T.S. Eliot, William Butler Yeats, Charles Dickens and Emily Dickenson share their own inspiring visions of immortality.
This book provides a sustained, critical and theological engagement
with arguably the most crucial aspect of contemporary society - its
This book gives a beautifully simple and spiritual portrayal of the process of meditation, addressing the many doubts and questions that often come up as we practice, and offering many guided meditations whose simplicity and directness will delight your heart. A brief run through the table of contents will whet your appetite: there are chapters on finding a teacher and following the heart, controlling our emotions, tests on the path, angels and guardians, the use of aromatherapy and crystals as aids to meditation, inner communion, and sounding our true note. The book is illustrated throughout with lovely, delicate line drawings, also by Hanne Jahr.
This exploration of Iberian, Latin American, and US-Hispanic representations of Christ focuses on outliers in art, literature, and theology: Spanish painter Salvador Dali, Mexican muralist Jose Clemente Orozco, Argentine writer Jorge Borges, Spanish existentialist Miguel de Unamuno, Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff, and Mexican philosopher Jose Vasconcelos. Their work, and that of others, stands out from the conventional, stretching our imagination by probing the limits of our sensibilities.
The latest in the series based on the popular History of Philosophy podcast, this volume presents the first full history of philosophy in the Islamic world for a broad readership. It takes an approach unprecedented among introductions to this subject, by providing full coverage of Jewish and Christian thinkers as well as Muslims, and by taking the story of philosophy from its beginnings in the world of early Islam all the way through to the twentieth century. Major figures like Avicenna, Averroes, and Maimonides are covered in great detail, but the book also looks at less familiar thinkers, including women philosophers. Attention is also given to the philosophical relevance of Islamic theology (kalam) and mysticism-the Sufi tradition within Islam, and Kabbalah among Jews-and to science, with chapters on disciplines like optics and astronomy. The book is divided into three sections, with the first looking at the first blossoming of Islamic theology and responses to the Greek philosophical tradition in the world of Arabic learning. This 'formative period' culminates with the work of Avicenna, the pivotal figure to whom most later thinkers feel they must respond. The second part of the book discusses philosophy in Muslim Spain (Andalusia), where Jewish philosophers come to the fore, though this is also the setting for such thinkers as Averroes and Ibn Arabi. Finally, a third section looks in unusual detail at later developments, touching on philosophy in the Ottoman, Mughal, and Safavid empires and showing how thinkers in the nineteenth to the twentieth century were still concerned to respond to the ideas that had animated philosophy in the Islamic world for centuries, while also responding to political and intellectual challenges from the European colonial powers.
In this study of new atheism and religious fundamentalism, this book advances two provocative - and surprising - arguments. Liam Jerrold Fraser argues that atheism and Protestant fundamentalism in Britain and America share a common historical origin in the English Reformation, and the crisis of authority inaugurated by the Reformers. This common origin generated two presuppositions crucial for both movements: a literalist understanding of scripture, and a disruptive understanding of divine activity in nature. Through an analysis of contemporary new atheist and Protestant fundamentalist texts, Fraser shows that these presuppositions continue to structure both groups, and support a range of shared biblical, scientific, and theological beliefs. Their common historical and intellectual structure ensures that new atheism and Protestant fundamentalism - while on the surface irreconcilably opposed - share a secret sympathy with one another, yet one which leaves them unstable, inconsistent, and unsustainable.
This book analyzes the distinguished modern Muslim scholar Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and the methodology of Qur'anic exegesis in his Risale-i Nur Collection, with special reference to the views of the early Muslim modernist intellectuals such as Muhammad 'Abduh. It seeks to locate Nursi within modern Qur'anic scholarship, exploring the difference between Nursi's reading of the Qur'an and that of his counterparts, and examines how Nursi relates the Qur'anic text to concerns of the modern period.
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