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The Hebrew Old Testament, which contains some of the world s most ancient religious texts, was written and repeatedly re-edited over the course of several centuries from about 1000 BCE. It reached its final form at the hands of editors who were monotheists. They believed that their god Yahweh was the only true God, and that he had been worshipped exclusively by their ancestors from the time of Abraham. They edited their sources to reflect this belief. However we can strip away this veneer of later monotheism to view the ancient stories themselves. These bear witness to Israelite religion as practised before 600 BCE. Far from being monotheistic, this religion was a fascinating polytheistic paganism, close to the religion of the surrounding Canaanites. In this religion Yahweh, far from being God as understood by modern western monotheism, was a distinctive tribal deity. This book will be of particular interest to the large numbers of western people who come from a broadly Christian or Jewish background but have left those faiths behind to explore paganism or New Age spirituality.
The Song of Songs with English translation ( hebrew), illustrated by renowned painter Ze'ev Raban.
In 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the International Declaration of Human Rights, a document designed to hold both individuals and nations accountable for their treatment of fellow human beings, regardless of religious or cultural affiliations. Since then, the compatibility of Islam and human rights has emerged as a particularly thorny issue of international concern, and has been addressed by Muslim rulers, conservatives, and extremists, as well as Western analysts and policymakers; all have commonly agreed that Islamic theology and human rights cannot coexist. Abdulaziz Sachedina rejects this informal consensus, arguing instead for the essential compatibility of Islam and human rights. He offers a balanced and incisive critique of Western experts who have ignored or underplayed the importance of religion to the development of human rights, contending that any theory of universal rights necessarily emerges out of particular cultural contexts. At the same time, he re-examines the juridical and theological traditions that form the basis of conservative Muslim objections to human rights, arguing that Islam, like any culture, is open to development and change. Finally, and most importantly, Sachedina articulates a fresh position that argues for a correspondence between Islam and secular notions of human rights.
What should be the place of Shari a Islamic religious law in predominantly Muslim societies of the world? In this ambitious and topical book, a Muslim scholar and human rights activist envisions a positive and sustainable role for Shari a, based on a profound rethinking of the relationship between religion and the secular state in all societies.
An-Na im argues that the coercive enforcement of Shari a by the state betrays the Qur an s insistence on voluntary acceptance of Islam. Just as the state should be secure from the misuse of religious authority, Shari a should be freed from the control of the state. State policies or legislation must be based on civic reasons accessible to citizens of all religions. Showing that throughout the history of Islam, Islam and the state have normally been separate, An-Na im maintains that ideas of human rights and citizenship are more consistent with Islamic principles than with claims of a supposedly Islamic state to enforce Shari a. In fact, he suggests, the very idea of an Islamic state is based on European ideas of state and law, and not Shari a or the Islamic tradition.
Bold, pragmatic, and deeply rooted in Islamic history and theology, "Islam" and the Secular State offers a workable future for the place of Shari a in Muslim societies.
The relationship between secularism, democracy, religion, and gender equality has been a complex one across Western democracies and still remains contested. When we turn to Muslim countries, the situation is even more multifaceted. In the views of many western commentators, the question of Women Rights is the litmus test for Muslim societies in the age of democracy and liberalism. Especially since the Arab Awakening, the issue is usually framed as the opposition between liberal advocates of secular democracy and religious opponents of women's full equality. Islam, Gender, and Democracy in Comparative Perspective critically re-engages this too simple binary opposition by reframing the debate around Islam and women's rights within a broader comparative literature. Bringing together leading scholars from a range of disciplines, it examines the complex and contingent historical relationships between religion, secularism, democracy, law, and gender equality. Part One addresses the nexus of religion, law, gender, and democracy through different disciplinary perspectives (sociology, anthropology, political science, law). Part Two localizes the implementation of this nexus between law, gender, and democracy and provides contextualized responses to questions raised in Part One. The contributors explore the situation of Muslim women's rights in minority conditions to shed light on the gender politics in the modernization of the nation and to ponder on the role of Islam in gender inequality across different Muslim countries.
...you have not only collected a great deal of very important material but have also organized them wonderfully well and this from a carefully worked out sociological approach. This has given us a really fine study in comparative religion, which you have brought a modern mind to work upon. Niharranjan Ray, renowned Indologist, on the first edition. Encouraged by the reception the first edition received, the author expanded its scope and coverage and the second edition included the following chapters: Introduction; The Mothers: Forms of the Cult; Mother Goddesses in Literary and Mythological Records; Mother Goddesses in Archaeology; and Mother Goddesses and the Advanced Religious Systems. In addition, there were three appendices, viz., Regional Distribution of the Goddess Cult; The Female-Dominated Societies; and Fertility Rites as the Basis of Tantricism. To further enrich the work two more appendices, viz., The Realm of Kamakhya, and Important Puranic Goddesses, along with an updated bibliography have been added in the present (Third) edition. The study, a standard work on the subject, correlates the cult of Indian Mother Goddess with similar cults found in different parts of the world. It reveals interesting historical processes working behind the origin and development of the cult. It further highlights its popularity among the masses, specially among the lower order, its functional role in space and time and its entry into the so called higher forms of religious systems of India and abroad. The study is marked by the authors accent on comparative treatment and on the social basis of religious ideas and deft handling of a bewildering variety of sources.
Each year on Yom Kippur, fast days, and the days leading up to the High Holidays, Jews around the world recite the Thirteen Midot:
"HaShem, HaShem, El Rahum veHanun, Erekh Apayim, veRav Hesed veEmet, Notzer Hesed laAlafim, Noseh Avon vaFesha veHata'a veNakeh."
In His Mercy examines the Thirteen Midot and their philosophical underpinnings through the lenses of the Talmud, the Midrash and major commentaries. It offers an insightful introduction, and concise, illuminating essays on each Mida. Based on a series of lectures given over twenty years by Rabbi Ezra Bick, a leading scholar at Israel's Yeshivat Har Etzion, In His Mercy is the first English edition of this special work.
THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE IS NOT OPTIONAL. IT IS ESSENTIAL.
This volume collects an international body of voices, as a timely response to a rapidly advancing field of the natural sciences. The contributors explore how the disciplines of theology, earth and space sciences contribute to the debate on constantly expanding ethical challenges, and the prospect of humanity's future. The discussions offered in this volume see the 'community' as central to a sustainable and ethical approach to earth and space sciences, examining the role of theology in this communal approach, but also recognizing theology itself as part of a community of humanity disciplines. Examining the necessity for interaction between disciplines, this collection draws on voices from biodiversity studies, geology, aesthetics, literature, astrophysics, and others, to illustrate precisely why a constructive and sustainable dialogue is needed within the current scientific climate.
Throughout history, the image of the non-Jew in Judaism has profoundly influenced the way in which Jews interact with non-Jews. It has also shaped the understanding that Jews have of their own identity, as it determines just what distinguishes them from the non-Jews around them. A crucial element in this is the concept of Noahide law, understood by the ancient rabbis and subsequent Jewish thinkers as incumbent upon all humankind, unlike the full 613 divine commandments of the Torah, which are incumbent on Jews alone. The approach adopted in this now classic study is to consider the history of the idea of Noahide law, and to show how the concept is relevant to practical discussions of the halakhah pertaining to non-Jews and to relations between Jews and non-Jews. The seven chapters that make up the first part of this study examine each of the Noahide laws in turn, with a view to showing their halakhic development in the rabbinic sources, in the codes, and in the responsa literature. The discussion draws primarily on classical texts by traditional commentators as they attempt to deal with living issues from the rabbinic world as equally vital concerns in their own time. The second part of the book deals with the theory of Noahide law, concluding with a consideration of why it is an appropriate starting point for Jewish philosophy today. 'Any reader interested in understanding how the non-Jew has been perceived throughout Jewish history should certainly turn to The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism for an authoritative discussion . . . scholarly . . . provides insight, not only into the classical Jewish perceptions of non-Jews and their place in the world, but also into Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Muslim relations and a more sophisticated understanding of Jewish law vis- -vis the Gentile.' David Tesler, AJL Reviews.
In our post-Christian, pluralistic society, responding to the perception that Christians are prejudiced, anti-intellectual, and bigoted has become a greater challenge than ever before. The result is often intimidation, withdrawal, and even doubts among God's people about what we really believe. Bestselling author and teaching pastor at Living on the Edge, Chip Ingram, wants to change that. In Why I Believe, he gives compelling answers to questions about - the resurrection of Christ - the evidence of an afterlife -the accuracy and intellectual feasibility of the Bible - the debate between creation and evolution - the historicity of Jesus - and more The solid, biblical, logical answers he shares will satisfy the honest doubts that every believer experiences now and then, and will provide practical, thoughtful answers that can be shared with family and friends. This is the perfect resource for churches, small groups, and individuals who long not only to really know what and why they believe, but also to be equipped to explain the intellectual justification for their faith in everyday language.
A feminist critique of Judaism as a patriarchal tradition and an exploration of the increasing involvement of women in naming and shaping Jewish tradition.
The Laws and Concepts of Niddah is a comprehensive presentation of Hilkhot Niddah as well as the thinking and processes behind the laws. Raising modern-day applications and new issues, the author offers the opinions of the most respected haloakhic decisors of our generation.
God Hanuman has an important place in India and is worshipped by millions of people. He is a god who is the archetype of honesty, loyalty and courage. More than any other folk god, Hanuman is endowed with human qualities so much cherished in the Indian tradition. There is no scholarly work in English on Hanuman that utilises Sanskrit literature to delineate his importance as a god and as confidant of Rama. Although Hanuman is a popular folk god in India, he has not received attention commensurate with his popularity from scholars of religion and mythology. This study seeks to fill this gap and explores the human and superhuman role of Hanuman in Sanskrit texts. With the Ramayana as the basic source, Sanskrit plays and Puranas have also been studied to unravel the complexity of Hanumans personality and its development as a character in flesh and blood. Hanuman is also analysed in the context of religious tradition centred on Ramayana. The study focuses on the evolution and change in the theology of Hanuman. He appears as an incarnation of Siva, a god in his own right, a tribal deity and a hero god with power and virility who destroys evil. At a mundane level Hanuman is an ideal human, an upright man, a trusted friend of Rama, a statesman and a brave warrior. In the bhakti tradition, he is the lord, the object of bhakti.
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was one of the twentieth century's most influential Jewish thinkers, a respected theologian and enthusiastic civil rights activist who marched to Selma with Martin Luther King, Jr. His theology emphasized the immediacy of wonder and awe, yet his writing was studded with signs of his vast knowledge of traditional scholarship. No other Jewish thinker of note in the twentieth century used such a wide range of texts so extensively. Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Sources of Wonder is the first book to demonstrate how Heschel's political, intellectual, and spiritual commitments were embedded in his reading of Jewish tradition. By shedding new light on how Heschel's theological project reconciled the demands of tradition and the modern world, Michael Marmur offers an inspirational lesson in how contemporary Jewish thought can embrace both the texts of the past and the challenges of the present.
What can we know about God by reason alone? Philosophical theology is the attempt to obtain such knowledge. An ancient tradition, which is perhaps more influential now than ever, tries to derive the attributes of God from the principle that God is the greatest possible being. Jeff Speaks argues that that constructive project is a failure. He also argues that the related view that the concept of God is the concept of a greatest possible being is a mistake. In the last chapter, he sketches an alternative path forward.
The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human. In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings of Jesus and his apostles, and they all possessed writings that bore out their claims, books reputedly produced by Jesus's own followers. Modern archaeological work has recovered a number of key texts, and as Ehrman shows, these spectacular discoveries reveal religious diversity that says much about the ways in which history gets written by the winners. Ehrman's discussion ranges from considerations of various "lost scriptures"-including forged gospels supposedly written by Simon Peter, Jesus's closest disciple, and Judas Thomas, Jesus's alleged twin brother-to the disparate beliefs of such groups as the Jewish-Christian Ebionites, the anti-Jewish Marcionites, and various "Gnostic" sects. Ehrman examines in depth the battles that raged between "proto-orthodox Christians"- those who eventually compiled the canonical books of the New Testament and standardized Christian belief-and the groups they denounced as heretics and ultimately overcame. Scrupulously researched and lucidly written, Lost Christianities is an eye-opening account of politics, power, and the clash of ideas among Christians in the decades before one group came to see its views prevail.
This book explores one of the great questions of our time: How can we preserve our sense of what it means to be a person while at the same time accepting what science tells us to be true--namely, that human nature is continuous with the rest of nature? What, in other words, does it mean to be a person in a world of things? Alan Mittleman shows how the Jewish tradition provides rich ways of understanding human nature and personhood that preserve human dignity and distinction in a world of neuroscience, evolutionary biology, biotechnology, and pervasive scientism. These ancient resources can speak to Jewish, non-Jewish, and secular readers alike. Science may tell us what we are, Mittleman says, but it cannot tell us who we are, how we should live, or why we matter. Traditional Jewish thought, in open-minded dialogue with contemporary scientific perspectives, can help us answer these questions. Mittleman shows how, using sources ranging across the Jewish tradition, from the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud to more than a millennium of Jewish philosophy. Among the many subjects the book addresses are sexuality, birth and death, violence and evil, moral agency, and politics and economics. Throughout, Mittleman demonstrates how Jewish tradition brings new perspectives to--and challenges many current assumptions about--these central aspects of human nature. A study of human nature in Jewish thought and an original contribution to Jewish philosophy, this is a book for anyone interested in what it means to be human in a scientific age.
The year 2009 is the Anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th publication of his book on "The Origin of Species". The ideas which Darwin stimulated lie at the heart of our understanding of the natural world. They offer and elegant scientific account which elicits a positive response from and gives much to theology. Yet in recent years the Intelligent Design movement amongst creationists in the United States in opposition, not only to Darwinism, but also and consistently, to contemporary Western values and to mainstream liberal theology. It is now infiltrating the United Kingdom. In this book a group of scientists and theologians unite to honour Charles Darwin, expressing their common conviction that Darwinian evolution marks a very great advance in human understanding of the world and that Intelligent Design is an unproductive dead end. "Intelligent Faith" will be of interest not only to thinking people with an interest in theology and science but also to sixth formers, school discussion groups and university societies.
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