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To go beyond is to move into a higher state of consciousness, to a place of bliss, greater understanding, love, and deep connectedness, a realm where we finally find life's meaning - experiences for which all spiritual seekers seek. Dr Rupert Sheldrake, writing as both a scientist and a spiritual explorer, looks at seven spiritual practices that are personally transformative and have scientifically measurable effects. He combines the latest scientific research with his extensive knowledge of mystical traditions around the world to show how we may tune into more-than-human realms of consciousness through psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, and by taking cannabis. He also shows how everyday activities can have mystical dimensions, including sports and learning from animals. He discusses traditional religious practices such as fasting, prayer, and the celebration of festivals and holy days. Why do these practices work? Are their effects all inside brains and essentially illusory? Or can we really make contact with forms of consciousness greater than our own? We are in the midst of a spiritual revival. This book is an essential guide.
A compelling interpretation of a foundational concept of Jewish religious life The love of God is arguably 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 and wonder how an emotion can be commanded. 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. In origin, the love of God is, instead, thoroughly relational in nature, inseparable from the 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 and continuing faithfulness to him in the face of temptations to abandon the relationship.
At the beginning of the third millenium, concepts of spirituality are undergoing rapid transformation. While still closely connected to Christian values and beliefs, they are now also applied cross-culturally and used in interfaith and secular contexts. Around the globe there is an urgent need for greater spiritual well-being, yet it is not clear how this can best be achieved or even what it means. The development of a wholesome spirituality relating to profound personal and social transformations may well be the most urgent task humanity has to address today.;In this text leading scholars of theology and religion explore the complex dynamics of different spiritual beliefs and practices and their effects on contemporary society. The editor's introductory essay examines the many understandings of spirituality in a postmodern intellectual and social context, but also looks at spirituality as both a personal quest and a new academic field. The essays which follow, from a range of international contributors, present a rich tapestry of reflections on different aspects of spirituality.
"Multiculturalism has run its course, and it is time to move on." So begins Jonathan Sacks' new book on the future of British society and the dangers facing liberal democracy.
Arguing that global communications have fragmented national cultures and that multiculturalism, intended to reduce social frictions, is today reinforcing them, Sacks argues for a new approach to national identity. We cannot stay with current policies that are producing a society of conflicting ghettoes and non-intersecting lives, turning religious bodies into pressure groups rather than society-building forces. Britain, he argues, will have to construct a national narrative as a basis for identity, reinvigorate the concept of the common good, and identify shared interests among currently conflicting groups. It must restore a culture of civility, protect "neutral spaces" from politicization, and find ways of moving beyond an adversarial culture in which the loudest voice wins. He argues for a responsibility- rather than rights-based model of citizenship that connects the ideas of giving and belonging.Offering a new paradigm to replace previous models of assimilation on the one hand, multiculturalism on the other, he argues that we should see society as "the home we build together," bringing the distinctive gifts of different groups to the common good. Sacks warns of the hazards free and open societies face in the twenty-first century, and offers an unusual religious defence of liberal democracy and the nation state.
For generations the discoveries of science tended to challenge the very existence of God. Sir John Templeton makes a striking argument for just the opposite point of view and goes to the writings of many of the world's leading scientific thinkers and discovers them in awe of the universe, perceiving the hand of Divine mystery at work.
Was Christ's human nature fallen, even sinful? From the 18th century to the present, this view has become increasingly prominent in Reformed theological circles and beyond, despite vigorous opposition. Both sides on the issue see it as vital for understanding the nature of salvation. Each side's advocates appeal to or critique the Church Fathers. This book reviews the history and present state of the debate, then surveys the connections, distinctions, and patristic interpretations of five of the modern fallenness view's proponents (Edward Irving, Karl Barth, T. F. Torrance, Colin Gunton, and Thomas Weinandy) and five of its opponents (Marcus Dods the Elder, A. B. Bruce, H. R. Mackintosh, Philip Hughes, and Donald Macleod). The book verifies the views of the ten most-cited Fathers: five Greek (Irenaeus, Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory Nyssen, and Cyril of Alexandria) and five Latin (Tertullian, Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose, Augustine, and Leo the Great). The study concludes by sketching the implications of its findings for the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception, sin, sanctification, and Scripture.
Karen Kilby explores the doctrine of the Trinity and issues of evil, suffering and sin. She offers a critique of the lack of respect for mystery found in the most popular Trinitarian thinking of our time. Kilby gives an apophatic reading of Aquinas on the Trinity and offers a distinct next step in the sequence on the Trinity - the appeal of social doctrines of the Trinity lies principally in their ecclesial and political relevance. She engages with Miroslav Volf's famous 'The Trinity is our social program' essay and addresses the question of what an alternative politics of an apophatic theology of the Trinity might look like. The essays explore the question of theodicy and argue that evil poses a question to Christians and Christian's theology which can neither be answered nor dismissed. Kilby argues that Christians must live with this mystery, this lack of resolution, rather than trying to diminish the gravity of evil, or allowing evil to dictate their conception of God's goodness or power. By offering a critical reading of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Julian of Norwich she explores the question of whether Christianity can avoid giving a positive valuation to suffering, and concludes the two represent two different strands within the Christian tradition in relation to thought on suffering.
Launched in 2002 by the Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Building Bridges Seminar has been under the stewardship of Georgetown University since 2012. The seminar gathers distinguished scholar-practitioners of Islam and Christianity for deep study and discussion of selected texts pertaining to an overarching theme. Sin, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation: Christian and Muslim Perspectives is a collection of essays and scripture passages studied at the 2014 Building Bridges seminar. Thoughtful and provocative, the book begins with the complete texts of the opening lectures by Veli-Matti Karkkainen and Jonathan A. C. Brown and contains essays by Christoph Schwobel, Ayman Shabana, Susan Eastman, Mohammad Hassan Khalil, Philip Sheldrake, and Asma Afsaruddin. Peppered throughout with relevant scripture passages and commentary, the text concludes with an extensive account of the informal conversations at the seminar that conveys the lively and respectful dialogue that is the hallmark of this meeting.
The SCM Studyguide Christian Doctrine engages readers by developing theological conversations between his or her own 'ordinary theology', on the one hand, and the theological resources of ecclesiastical and academic theology, on the other. Students get a clear view of the wide canvas of Christian doctrine, including a range of different theological positions. This study of doctrine helps those who are seeking a form of Christian thinking and spirituality - and possibly ministry - that is true to their own lives, and takes their own hesitations and doubts seriously. Each chapter is broken up into sections and interspersed with boxes which introduce pertinent extracts from classical and contemporary theologians, together with short exercises or aids to reading these texts, or provide explanations of technical theological terms. Each chapter has questions for reflection and/or discussion, together with suggestions for further reading.
The subject of this book is the relationship and the difference between the temporal everlasting and the atemporal eternal. This book treats the difference between a temporal postmortem life and eternal life. It identifies the conceptual tension in the religious idea of eternal life and offers a resolution of that tension.
One of the world's leading specialists in Indo-European
In recent years, the doctrine of God has once again become a central focus of theological discussion and debate. In this ecumenical, international, and contextual introduction, internationally respected scholar Veli-Matti Karkkainen offers a global survey of understandings of God in Scripture, Christian history, and contemporary theology. This new edition incorporates developments in theological research over the past decade and has been substantially updated throughout.
Does rationality, the intellectual bedrock of all science, apply to the study of religion? Religion, arguably the most subjective area of human behaviour, has particular challenges associated with its study. Attracting crowd-healers, conjurers, the pious and the prophetic alongside comparativists and sceptics, it excites opinions and generalisations whilst seldom explicitly staking out the territory for the discussions in which it partakes. Increasingly, scholars argue that religious study needs to define and critique its own field, and to distinguish itself from theology and other non-objective disciplines. Yet how can rational techniques be applied to beliefs and states of mind regarded by some as beyond the scope of human reason? Can these be made empirically testable, or comparable and replicable within academic communities? Can science explicate religion without reducing it to mere superstition, or redefine its truth in some empirical but meaningful way?;Featuring contributions from leading international experts including Donald Wiebe, Roger Trigg and Michael Pye, "Rationality and the Study of Religion" gets under the surface of the religious studies discipline to expose the ideologies beneath. Reopening debate in a neglected yet philosophically significant field, it questions the role of rationality in religious anthropology, natural history and anti-scientific theologies, with implications not only for supposedly objective disciplines but for our deepest attitudes to personal experience. It is 'interesting and important.
Philosophical theology is aimed primarily at theoretical
understanding of the nature and attributes of God and of God's
relationship to the world and its inhabitants. During the twentieth
century, much of the philosophical community (both in the
Anglo-American analytic tradition and in Continental circles) had
grave doubts about our ability to attain any such understanding. In
recent years the analytic tradition in particular has moved beyond
the biases that placed obstacles in the way of the pursuing
questions located on the interface of philosophy and religion. The
result has been a rebirth of serious, widely-discussed work in
The Pentateuch (or the Torah) consists of the first five books of the Bible and is a foundational scripture for millions of people, both Jews and Christians. In this book Paula Gooder and Brad Anderson provide a clear and accessible introduction for those beginning Bible study. Key themes such as creation and the flood, exodus and liberation, as well as covenant and law are presented and analyzed. These themes are explored in their ancient context and from the standpoint of contemporary concerns such as liberation theology, gender issues and ecology. For this new edition introductory sections on the five books of the Pentateuch have been expanded and supplemented, while recent developments in the quest for the origins of the Pentateuch have also been updated. A new chapter on academic approaches to the study of the Pentateuch has been added, along with a section on the 'afterlife' of the Pentateuch which focuses on its place in the history of interpretation, as well as in the arts and culture. Reading lists and references have been updated throughout to take account of the most recent scholarship.
We are told modernity's end will destabilize familiar ways of knowing, doing, and being, but are these changes we should dread-or celebrate? Four significant events (and the iconic images that represent them) catalyze this question: the consecration of openly gay Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson, the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, the politicization of the death of Terri Schiavo, and the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. Framed by an original appropriation of Michel Foucault, and drawing on resources in visual culture theory and the history of photography, Ellen T. Armour explores the anxieties, passions, and power dynamics bound up in the photographic representation and public reception of these events. Together, these phenomena expose modernity's benevolent and malevolent disruptions and reveal the systemic fractures and fissures that herald its end, for better and for worse. In response to these signs and wonders, Armour lays the groundwork for a theology and philosophy of life better suited to our (post)modern moment: one that owns up to the vulnerabilities that modernity sought to disavow and better enables us to navigate the ethical issues we now confront.
Every work on Jewish thought and law since the twelfth century bears the imprint of Maimonides. A. N. Whitehead's famous dictum that the entire European philosophical tradition 'consists of a series of footnotes to Plato' could equally characterize Maimonides' place in the Jewish tradition. The critical studies in this volume explore how Orthodox rabbis of different orientations-Shlomo Aviner, Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin (Netziv), Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, Joseph Kafih, Abraham Isaac Kook, Aaron Kotler, Joseph Soloveitchik, and Elhanan Wasserman-have read and provided footnotes to Maimonides in the long twentieth century. How well did they really understand Maimonides? And where do their arguments fit in the mainstream debates about him and his works? Each of the seven core chapters examines a particular approach. Some rabbis have tried to liberate themselves from the influence of his ideas. Others have sought to build on those ideas or expand them in ways which Maimonides himself did not pursue, and which he may well not have agreed with. Still others advance patently non-Maimonidean positions, while attributing them to none other than Maimonides. Above all, the essays published here demonstrate that his legacy remains vibrantly alive today.
A groundbreaking account of how the Book of Exodus shaped fundamental aspects of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam The Book of Exodus may be the most consequential story ever told. But its spectacular moments of heaven-sent plagues and parting seas overshadow its true significance, says Jan Assmann, a leading historian of ancient religion. The story of Moses guiding the enslaved children of Israel out of captivity to become God's chosen people is the foundation of an entirely new idea of religion, one that lives on today in many of the world's faiths. First introduced in Exodus, new ideas of faith, revelation, and above all covenant transformed basic assumptions about humankind's relationship to the divine and became the bedrock of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
"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 churches.
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.
Studies in Jewish Theology invites the reader into the 'laboratory' of a Jewish theologian as he confronts visceral issues that have confronted classical Jewish theology and that continue to challenge contemporary Jewish theological inquiry. After offering an exposition of the nature of Jewish theology and demonstrating why and how it is crucial and relevant for understanding the nature and meaning of Judaism as a religious faith, the author proposes a creative and compelling methodology for 'doing' Jewish theology. This methodology is then applied to various perennial issues of Jewish theological concern, including: the problem of evil, the nature of God, love and awe of God, God's love and law, theological foundations of the Jewish holydays, philosophies of Jewish law, and the application of Jewish theology to matters of social ethics and spirituality. Attention then turns to a consideration of Jewish-Christian theological dialogue, where a Jewish theology of Christianity, an explic
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