Elizabeth Clark begins with a survey of scholarship concerning early Christian asceticism that is designed to orient the nonspecialist. Section Two is organized around potentially troubling issues posed by Old Testament texts that demanded skillful handling by ascetically inclined Christian exegetes. The third section, "Reading Paul," focuses on the hermeneutical problems raised by I Corinthians 7, and the Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles.
Elizabeth Clark's remarkable work will be of interest to scholars of late antiquity, religion, literary theory, and history.
Cronus liked to eat babies.
Narcissus probably should have just learned to masturbate.
Odin got construction discounts with bestiality.
Isis had bad taste in jewelry.
Ganesh was the very definition of an unplanned pregnancy.
And Abraham was totally cool about stabbing his kid in the face.
All our lives, we’ve been fed watered-down, PC versions of the classic myths. In reality, mythology is more screwed up than a schizophrenic shaman doing hits of unidentified…wait, it all makes sense now. In Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes, Cory O’Brien, creator of Myths RETOLD!, sets the stories straight. These are rude, crude, totally sacred texts told the way they were meant to be told: loudly, and with lots of four-letter words.
Skeptical? Here are a few more gems to consider:
• Zeus once stuffed an unborn fetus inside his thigh to save its life after he exploded its mother by being too good in bed.
• The entire Egyptian universe was saved because Sekhmet just got too hammered to keep murdering everyone.
• The Hindu universe is run by a married couple who only stop murdering in order to throw sweet dance parties…on the corpses of their enemies.
• The Norse goddess Freyja once consented to a four-dwarf gangbang in exchange for one shiny necklace.
And there’s more dysfunctional goodness where that came from.
Based on voluminous archival materials, the book charts how American theologians traveled to Europe to study in Germany and confronted intellectual currents that were invigorating but potentially threatening to their faith. The Union and Yale professors in particular struggled to tame German biblical and philosophical criticism to fit American evangelical convictions. German models that encouraged a positive view of early and medieval Christianity collided with Protestant assumptions that the church had declined grievously between the Apostolic and Reformation eras. Trying to reconcile these views, the Americans came to offer some counterbalance to traditional Protestant hostility both to contemporary Roman Catholicism and to those historical periods that had been perceived as Catholic, especially the patristic era.
FINALIST FOR THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD
In No god but God, internationally acclaimed scholar Reza Aslan explains Islam—the origins and evolution of the faith—in all its beauty and complexity. This updated edition addresses the events of the past decade, analyzing how they have influenced Islam’s position in modern culture. Aslan explores what the popular demonstrations pushing for democracy in the Middle East mean for the future of Islam in the region, how the Internet and social media have affected Islam’s evolution, and how the war on terror has altered the geopolitical balance of power in the Middle East. He also provides an update on the contemporary Muslim women’s movement, a discussion of the controversy over veiling in Europe, an in-depth history of Jihadism, and a look at how Muslims living in North America and Europe are changing the face of Islam. Timely and persuasive, No god but God is an elegantly written account that explains this magnificent yet misunderstood faith.
Praise for No god but God
“Grippingly narrated and thoughtfully examined . . . a literate, accessible introduction to Islam.”—The New York Times
“[Reza] Aslan offers an invaluable introduction to the forces that have shaped Islam [in this] eloquent, erudite paean to Islam in all of its complicated glory.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Wise and passionate . . . an incisive, scholarly primer in Muslim history and an engaging personal exploration.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Acutely perceptive . . . For many troubled Muslims, this book will feel like a revelation, an opening up of knowledge too long buried.”—The Independent (U.K.)
“Thoroughly engaging and excellently written . . . While [Aslan] might claim to be a mere scholar of the Islamic Reformation, he is also one of its most articulate advocates.”—The Oregonian
A product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill, Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity goes back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and encompasses the globe. It captures the major turning points in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox history and fills in often neglected accounts of conversion and confrontation in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. MacCulloch introduces us to monks and crusaders, heretics and reformers, popes and abolitionists, and discover Christianity's essential role in shaping human history and the intimate lives of men and women. And he uncovers the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the surprising beliefs of the founding fathers, the rise of the Evangelical movement and of Pentecostalism, and the recent crises within the Catholic Church. Bursting with original insights and a great pleasure to read, this monumental religious history will not soon be surpassed.
What is Catholicism? A 2,000-year-old living tradition? A worldview? A way of life? A relationship? A mystery? In Catholicism Father Robert Barron examines all these questions and more, seeking to capture the body, heart and mind of the Catholic faith.
Starting from the essential foundation of Jesus Christ’s incarnation, life, and teaching, Father Barron moves through the defining elements of Catholicism--from sacraments, worship, and prayer, to Mary, the Apostles, and Saints, to grace, salvation, heaven, and hell--using his distinct and dynamic grasp of art, literature, architecture, personal stories, Scripture, theology, philosophy, and history to present the Church to the world.
Paired with his documentary film series of the same title, Catholicism is an intimate journey, capturing “The Catholic Thing” in all its depth and beauty. Eclectic, unique, and inspiring, Father Barron brings the faith to life for a new generation, in a style that is both faithful to timeless truths, while simultaneously speaking in the language of contemporary life.
Tim Reiterman’s Raven provides the seminal history of the Rev. Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and the murderous ordeal at Jonestown in 1978.
This PEN Award–winning work explores the ideals-gone-wrong, the intrigue, and the grim realities behind the Peoples Temple and its implosion in the jungle of South America. Reiterman’s reportage clarifies enduring misperceptions of the character and motives of Jim Jones, the reasons why people followed him, and the important truth that many of those who perished at Jonestown were victims of mass murder rather than suicide.
This widely sought work is restored to print after many years with a new preface by the author, as well as the more than sixty-five rare photographs from the original volume.
The epic story begins with the Jews' gradual transformation of pagan idol worship in Babylon into true monotheism—a concept previously unknown in the world. Christianity and Islam both rose on the foundation of this revolutionary idea, but these religions refashioned 'the One God' to suit the social and political needs of their followers. From classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic.
Praise for History of God
“An admirable and impressive work of synthesis that will give insight and satisfaction to thousands of lay readers.”—The Washington Post Book World
“A brilliantly lucid, spendidly readable book. [Karen] Armstrong has a dazzling ability: she can take a long and complex subject and reduce it to the fundamentals, without oversimplifying.”—The Sunday Times (London)
“Absorbing . . . A lode of learning.”—Time
“The most fascinating and learned study of the biggest wild goose chase in history—the quest for God. Karen Armstrong is a genius.”—A.N. Wilson, author of Jesus: A Life
"They put him to death by hanging him on a tree." Acts 10:39
The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning. While the lynching tree symbolized white power and "black death," the cross symbolizes divine power and "black life" God overcoming the power of sin and death. For African Americans, the image of Jesus, hung on a tree to die, powerfully grounded their faith that God was with them, even in the suffering of the lynching era.
In a work that spans social history, theology, and cultural studies, Cone explores the message of the spirituals and the power of the blues; the passion and of Emmet Till and the engaged vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.; he invokes the spirits of Billie Holliday and Langston Hughes, Fannie Lou Hamer and Ida B. Well, and the witness of black artists, writers, preachers, and fighters for justice. And he remembers the victims, especially the 5,000 who perished during the lynching period. Through their witness he contemplates the greatest challenge of any Christian theology to explain how life can be made meaningful in the face of death and injustice.
In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large.
In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship, Aslan narrates the history of religion as a remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions. According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, “Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we’re believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves.”
But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature—our compassion, our thirst for justice—but all that is bad in it: our greed, our bigotry, our penchant for violence. All these qualities inform our religions, cultures, and governments.
More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality. Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will challenge the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.
Praise for God
“Timely, riveting, enlightening and necessary.”—HuffPost
“Tantalizing . . . Driven by [Reza] Aslan’s grace and curiosity, God . . . helps us pan out from our troubled times, while asking us to consider a more expansive view of the divine in contemporary life.”—The Seattle Times
“A fascinating exploration of the interaction of our humanity and God.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“[Aslan’s] slim, yet ambitious book [is] the story of how humans have created God with a capital G, and it’s thoroughly mind-blowing.”—Los Angeles Review of Books
“Aslan is a born storyteller, and there is much to enjoy in this intelligent survey.”—San Francisco Chronicle
At a time when our country seems divided by extremism, American Gospel draws on the past to offer a new perspective. Meacham re-creates the fascinating history of a nation grappling with religion and politics–from John Winthrop’s “city on a hill” sermon to Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence; from the Revolution to the Civil War; from a proposed nineteenth-century Christian Amendment to the Constitution to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call for civil rights; from George Washington to Ronald Reagan.
Debates about religion and politics are often more divisive than illuminating. Secularists point to a “wall of separation between church and state,” while many conservatives act as though the Founding Fathers were apostles in knee britches. As Meacham shows in this brisk narrative, neither extreme has it right. At the heart of the American experiment lies the God of what Benjamin Franklin called “public religion,” a God who invests all human beings with inalienable rights while protecting private religion from government interference. It is a great American balancing act, and it has served us well.
Meacham has written and spoken extensively about religion and politics, and he brings historical authority and a sense of hope to the issue. American Gospel makes it compellingly clear that the nation’s best chance of summoning what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature” lies in recovering the spirit and sense of the Founding. In looking back, we may find the light to lead us forward.
Praise for American Gospel
“In his American Gospel, Jon Meacham provides a refreshingly clear, balanced, and wise historical portrait of religion and American politics at exactly the moment when such fairness and understanding are much needed. Anyone who doubts the relevance of history to our own time has only to read this exceptional book.”—David McCullough, author of 1776
“Jon Meacham has given us an insightful and eloquent account of the spiritual foundation of the early days of the American republic. It is especially instructive reading at a time when the nation is at once engaged in and deeply divided on the question of religion and its place in public life.”—Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation
Using easy-to-follow graphics and artworks, succinct quotations, and thoroughly accessible text, The Religions Book explores the beliefs that underpin religious traditions around the globe and how they developed.
From primal beliefs to the world's great faiths and the continuing quest for spiritual meaning in our complex world, The Religions Book gets to the heart of what it means to believe in God and religion's place in society.
The Religions Book includes:
- A dedicated section for each of the world's five major faiths - Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism
- Primal beliefs, ancient and classical mythology, and new religions
- Brief biographies and context boxes to give the full historical context of selected religions
The clear and concise summaries, graphics, and quotations in The Religions Book will help even the complete novice understand the ideas behind faiths and the place of religion in the world.
Jerusalem is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, fanaticism, bloodshed, and coexistence, from King David to the 21st century, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the “center of the world” and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life. Jerusalem’s biography is told through the wars, love affairs, and revelations of the men and women who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem. As well as the many ordinary Jerusalemites who have left their mark on the city, its cast varies from Solomon, Saladin and Suleiman the Magnificent to Cleopatra, Caligula and Churchill; from Abraham to Jesus and Muhammad; from the ancient world of Jezebel, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod and Nero to the modern times of the Kaiser, Disraeli, Mark Twain, Lincoln, Rasputin, Lawrence of Arabia and Moshe Dayan.
In this masterful narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore brings the holy city to life and draws on the latest scholarship, his own family history, and a lifetime of study to show that the story of Jerusalem is truly the story of the world.
A New York Times Notable Book
Jewish Book Council Book of the Year
“As a scholar and storyteller extraordinaire, Deepak Chopra portrays a morally courageous yet highly human messenger of God.” —Irshad Manji, Director, Moral Courage Project, New York University
From the New York Times bestselling author of Buddha and Jesus comes the page-turning and soul-stirring story of Muhammad. Deepak Chopra—easily one of the most influential spiritual leaders in the world today—delivers this stunning, sincere, and highly accessible portrait of the Prophet of Islam. Chopra’s Muhammad is an outstanding resource for everyone who thinks they should know more about the man who inspired the world's fastest-growing religion.
Nearly a decade in the making, The Evolution of God is a breathtaking re-examination of the past, and a visionary look forward.
“One of the more controversial books of the 20th century.” –UPI
“Enough to seriously challenge many traditional beliefs, if not alter them.” –Los Angeles Book Times Review
Explosive, thought-provoking, fiercely compelling, Holy Blood, Holy Grail breaks bold new ground with its shocking conclusions about the lineage of Christ and the legacy of the Holy Grail. Now this lavishly illustrated
collector’s edition features exclusive new material plus dozens of full-color photographs, drawings, symbols, architecture, and artwork, making it a dazzling feast for the eyes as well as the mind. Based on decades
of research, filled with eye-opening new
evidence and stunning scholarship, this authoritative work uncovers an alternate history as shocking as it is believable–as it dares to ask:
Is the traditional, accepted view of the life of Christ in some way incomplete?
Is it possible Christ did not die on the
Is it possible Jesus was married, a father,
and that his bloodline still exists?
Is it possible that parchments found in the
South of France a century ago reveal one
of the best-kept secrets in Christendom?
Is it possible that these parchments contain
the very heart of the mystery of the Holy
According to the authors of this extraordinarily provocative, meticulously researched book, not only are these things possible–they are probably true. So revolutionary, so original, so convincing, the most faithful Christians will be moved; here is the book that has sparked worldwide controversy, now newly updated and beautifully illustrated for the collector’s shelf.
“Like Chariots of the Gods...The plot has all the elements of an international thriller.” –Newsweek
“Compelling.” –Philadelphia Inquirer
“An astonishing hypothesis.”
From the Hardcover edition.
The history of the United States displays an uncanny pattern: At moments of crisis, when the odds against success seem overwhelming and disaster looks imminent, fate intervenes to provide deliverance and progress. Historians may categorize these incidents as happy accidents, callous crimes, or the product of brilliant leadership, but the most notable leaders of the past four hundred years have identified this good fortune as something else—a reflection of divine providence.
In The American Miracle, bestselling author and radio host Michael Medved recounts some of the most significant events in America’s rise to prosperity and power, from the writing of the Constitution to the Civil War. He reveals a record of improbabilities and amazements that demonstrate what the Founders always believed: that events unfolded according to a master plan, with destiny playing an unmistakable role in lifting the nation to greatness.
Among the stirring, illogical episodes described here:
• A band of desperate religious refugees find themselves blown hopelessly off course, only to be deposited at the one spot on a wild continent best suited for their survival
• George Washington’s beaten army, surrounded by a ruthless foe and on the verge of annihilation, manages an impossible escape due to a freakish change in the weather
• A famous conqueror known for seizing territory, frustrated by a slave rebellion and a frozen harbor, impulsively hands Thomas Jefferson a tract of land that doubles the size of the United States
• A weary soldier picks up three cigars left behind in an open field and notices the stogies have been wrapped in a handwritten description of the enemy’s secret battle plans—a revelation that gives Lincoln the supernatural sign he’s awaited in order to free the slaves
When millions worry over the nation losing its way, Medved’s sweeping narrative, bursting with dramatic events and lively portraits of unforgettable, occasionally little-known characters, affirms America as “fortune’s favorite,” shaped by a distinctive destiny from our beginnings to the present day.
According to Mormon belief, The Book of Mormon was inscribed on golden plates by generations of prophets, quoted and abridged by the prophet-historian Mormon, and buried in the ground by Mormon’s son, Moroni. Fourteen centuries later, in 1823, the angel Moroni led Joseph Smith to the plates hidden in a hillside in upstate New York. Smith translated the ancient language into English through divine revelation.
The Book of Mormon narrates the historical, religious, political, and military events that shaped and continue to inform the Church’s teachings. The publication of this edition offers the opportunity to explore one of the largest denominations in America today.
King drafted a furious rebuttal that emerged as the "Letter from Birmingham Jail"-a work that would take its place among the masterpieces of American moral argument alongside those of Thoreau and Lincoln. His insistence on the urgency of "Freedom Now" would inspire not just the marchers of Birmingham and Selma, but peaceful insurgents from Tiananmen to Tahrir Squares.
Scholar Jonathan Rieder delves deeper than anyone before into the Letter-illuminating both its timeless message and its crucial position in the history of civil rights. Rieder has interviewed King's surviving colleagues, and located rare audiotapes of King speaking in the mass meetings of 1963. Gospel of Freedom gives us a startling perspective on the Letter and the man who wrote it: an angry prophet who chastised American whites, found solace in the faith and resilience of the slaves, and knew that moral appeal without struggle never brings justice.
The Lost History of Christianity by Philip Jenkins offers a revolutionary view of the history of the Christian church. Subtitled “The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died,” it explores the extinction of the earliest, most influential Christian churches of China, India, and the Middle East, which held the closest historical links to Jesus and were the dominant expression of Christianity throughout its first millennium. The remarkable true story of the demise of the institution that shaped both Asia and Christianity as we know them today, The Lost History of Christianity is a controversial and important work of religious scholarship that sounds a warning that must be heeded.
Drawing together all the evidence, this timely book explores:The discovery and dating of the scrolls Their relationship to the Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, and New Testament Their messianic and apocalyptic messages The identity, nature, and theology of the Qumran community The nonbiblical scrolls Controversies surrounding the scrolls
This comprehensive, up-to-date guide is the definitive introduction to all aspects of the scrolls, including their teachings, the community that created them, the world of Judaism, the origins of Christianity, our understanding of Jesus and the New Testament. Featuring photos of the original texts, the sites, and the scholars who deciphered them, and including illustrative passages from the scrolls, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls presents the most complete and accurate scholarship on the Dead Sea Scrolls available today.
The story captured the attention of broadcast and print media inthe United States and around the world. By Tuesday morning somefifty television crews had clogged the small village of NickelMines, staying for five days until the killer and the killed wereburied. The blood was barely dry on the schoolhouse floor whenAmish parents brought words of forgiveness to the family of the onewho had slain their children.
The outside world was incredulous that such forgiveness could beoffered so quickly for such a heinous crime. Of the hundreds ofmedia queries that the authors received about the shooting,questions about forgiveness rose to the top. Forgiveness, in fact,eclipsed the tragic story, trumping the violence and arresting theworld's attention.
Within a week of the murders, Amish forgiveness was a centraltheme in more than 2,400 news stories around the world. TheWashington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, NBCNightly News, CBS Morning News, Larry King Live, Fox News, Oprah,and dozens of other media outlets heralded the forgiving Amish.From the Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates) to Australiantelevision, international media were opining on Amish forgiveness.Three weeks after the shooting, "Amish forgiveness" had appeared in2,900 news stories worldwide and on 534,000 web sites.
Fresh from the funerals where they had buried their ownchildren, grieving Amish families accounted for half of theseventy-five people who attended the killer's burial. Roberts'widow was deeply moved by their presence as Amish families greetedher and her three children. The forgiveness went beyond talk andgraveside presence: the Amish also supported a fund for theshooter's family.
AMISH GRACE explores the many questions this story raises aboutthe religious beliefs and habits that led the Amish to forgive soquickly. It looks at the ties between forgiveness and membership ina cloistered communal society and ask if Amish practices parallelor diverge from other religious and secular notions of forgiveness.It will also address the matter of why forgiveness became news."All the religions teach it," mused an observer, "but no one doesit like the Amish." Regardless of the cultural seedbed thatnourished this story, the surprising act of Amish forgiveness begsfor a deeper exploration. How could the Amish do this? What didthis act mean to them? And how might their witness prove useful tothe rest of us?
To drive home this controversial point, Bauckham draws on internal literary evidence, the use of personal names in first-century Jewish Palestine, and recent developments in the understanding of oral tradition. "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" also taps into the rich resources of modern study of memory, especially in cognitive psychology, refuting the conclusions of the form critics and calling New Testament scholarship to make a clean break with this long-dominant tradition. Finally, Bauckham challenges readers to end the classic division between the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith, proposing instead the Jesus of testimony as presented by the Gospels.
Sure to ignite heated debate on the precise character of the testimony about Jesus, "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" is a groundbreaking work that will be valued by scholars, students, and all who seek to understand the origins of the Gospels.
Religions of Mesoamerica comes at a turning point in the study of the
Americas and the religious and cultural histories of the New World. To
that end, esteemed scholar Davíd Carrasco integrates past and current
research, developments, and excavations to vividly synthesize the
history of Mesoamerican cultures—their religious forms, ceremonial
centers, complex social structures, view of time and space, myths, and
rituals. Carrasco’s deep yet concise overview takes readers on an
absorbing journey where they experience the dynamics and complexities of
Aztec and Maya cultures, the Spanish conquest, and cultural
combinations of European and indigenous ideas and practices. He
skillfully demonstrates how the religious imagination was and continues
to be crucial to the survival and creativity of Mesoamerica and its
The Church’s failure to protest the Holocaust — the infamous “silence” of Pius XII — is only part of the story: the death camps, Carroll shows, are the culmination of a long, entrenched tradition of anti-Judaism. From Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus on the cross, to Constantine’s transformation of the cross into a sword, to the rise of blood libels, scapegoating, and modern anti-Semitism, Carroll reconstructs the dramatic story of the Church’s conflict not only with Jews but with itself. Yet in tracing the arc of this narrative, he implicitly affirms that it did not necessarily have to be so. There were roads not taken, heroes forgotten; new roads can be taken yet. Demanding that the Church finally face this past in full, Carroll calls for a fundamental rethinking of the deepest questions of Christian faith. Only then can Christians, Jews, and all who carry the burden of this history begin to forge a new future.
Drawing on his well-known talents as a storyteller and memoirist, and weaving historical research through an intensely personal examination of conscience, Carroll has created a work of singular power and urgency. CONSTANTINE'S SWORD is a brave and affecting reckoning with difficult truths that will touch every reader.
Volumes in the Library of Ancient Israel draw on multiple disciplines--such as archaeology, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, and literary criticism--to illuminate the everyday realities and social subtleties these ancient cultures experienced. This series employs sophisticated methods resulting in original contributions that depict the reality of the people behind the Hebrew Bible and interprets these insights for a wide variety of readers.
The purpose of this book is to expose the historical, cultural, sociological, religious and theological lies of the Europeans and the Arabs. This book reveals the truth of the origination of The Bible, as There Is No Religion Higher Than The Truth. Join me in an intellectual odyssey through time. Here, I feel like a Lone Warrior standing before a mighty army. Come with me on this perilous pilgrimage as we travel through a parallel universe.
I dedicate this book to my mother and father who gave me life. To the rest of my Native Afrikan family for supporting me and encouraging me on this publishing venture. To the Heavenly Father, without whom none of this would be possible. There are others I would also like to thank for being a part of helping me through this journey called Life, such as my professors at the Alabama State University where many a great scholars paths I have crossed. To my American family and friends in Mobile, Alabama who nurtured and taught me from childhood to adulthood. The many friends and colleagues I met in my travels all across America in my intellectual journey, and last but certainly not least, to my publisher for granting me the opportunity to speak to many all around the world in this forum. I am eternally indebted to you all-Thank you.
Shinto, the indigenous faith of the Japanese people, continues to fascinate and mystify both the casual visitor to Japan and the long-time resident. Relatively unknown among the religions of the world, Shinto: The Kami Way provides an enlightening window into this Japanese faith.
In its general aspects, Shinto is more than a religious faith. It is an amalgam of attitudes, ideas, and ways of doing things that through two millennia and more have become an integral part of the way of the Japanese people. Shinto is both a personal faith in the kami—objects of worship in Shinto and an honorific for noble, sacred spirits—and a communal way of life according to the mind of the kami. This introduction unveils Shinto's spiritual characteristics and discusses the architecture and function of Shinto shrines. Further examination of Shinto's lively festivals, worship, music, and sacred regalia illustrates Shinto's influence on all levels of Japanese life.
Fifteen photographs, numerous drawings and Dr. Ono's text introduce the reader to two millennia of indigenous Japanese belief in the kami and in communal life.
Chapters include:The Kami WayShrinesWorship and FestivalsPolitical and Social CharacteristicsSome Spiritual Characteristics
Paul was a Hellenistic Jew, originally named Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, who made a living from tent making or leatherworking. He called himself the “Apostle to the Gentiles” and was the most important of the early Christian evangelists.
Paul is not easy to understand. The Greeks and Romans themselves probably misunderstood him or skimmed the surface of his arguments when he used terms such as “law” (referring to the complex system of Jewish religious law in which he himself was trained). But they did share a language—Greek—and a cosmopolitan urban culture, that of the Roman Empire. Paul considered evangelizing the Greeks and Romans to be his special mission.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
The idea of love as the only rule was current among Jewish thinkers of his time, but the idea of freedom being available to anyone was revolutionary.
Paul, regarded by Christians as the greatest interpreter of Jesus’ mission, was the first person to explain how Christ’s life and death fit into the larger scheme of salvation, from the creation of Adam to the end of time. Preaching spiritual equality and God’s infinite love, he crusaded for the Jewish Messiah to be accepted as the friend and deliverer of all humankind.
In Paul Among the People, Sarah Ruden explores the meanings of his words and shows how they might have affected readers in his own time and culture. She describes as well how his writings represented the new church as an alternative to old ways of thinking, feeling, and living.
Ruden translates passages from ancient Greek and Roman literature, from Aristophanes to Seneca, setting them beside famous and controversial passages of Paul and their key modern interpretations. She writes about Augustine; about George Bernard Shaw’s misguided notion of Paul as “the eternal enemy of Women”; and about the misuse of Paul in the English Puritan Richard Baxter’s strictures against “flesh-pleasing.” Ruden makes clear that Paul’s ethics, in contrast to later distortions, were humane, open, and responsible.
Paul Among the People is a remarkable work of scholarship, synthesis, and understanding; a revelation of the founder of Christianity.
From the Hardcover edition.
In the late twentieth century, fundamentalism has emerged as one of the most powerful forces at work in the world, contesting the dominance of modern secular values and threatening peace and harmony around the globe. Yet it remains incomprehensible to a large number of people. In The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong brilliantly and sympathetically shows us how and why fundamentalist groups came into existence and what they yearn to accomplish.
We see the West in the sixteenth century beginning to create an entirely new kind of civilization, which brought in its wake change in every aspect of life -- often painful and violent, even if liberating. Armstrong argues that one of the things that changed most was religion. People could no longer think about or experience the divine in the same way; they had to develop new forms of faith to fit their new circumstances.
Armstrong characterizes fundamentalism as one of these new ways of being religious that have emerged in every major faith tradition. Focusing on Protestant fundamentalism in the United States, Jewish fundamentalism in Israel, and Muslim fundamentalism in Egypt and Iran, she examines the ways in which these movements, while not monolithic, have each sprung from a dread of modernity -- often in response to assault (sometimes unwitting, sometimes intentional) by the mainstream society.
Armstrong sees fundamentalist groups as complex, innovative, and modern -- rather than as throwbacks to the past -- but contends that they have failed in religious terms. Maintaining that fundamentalism often exists in symbiotic relationship with an aggressive modernity, each impelling the other on to greater excess, she suggests compassion as a way to defuse what is now an intensifying conflict.
Dean Radin, Director of Research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and bestselling author of The Conscious Universe, presents persuasive new experimental evidence for the existence of such phenomena. He takes us on a thrilling scientific journey and challenges outdated assumptions that these abilities are mere superstition. Focusing on Patanjali's mysterious Yoga Sutras -- 2,000 year-old meditation practices believed to release our extraordinary powers -- Radin offers powerful evidence confirming that sometimes fact is much stranger, spookier, and more wonderful than the wildest fiction.
The intriguing story is peppered with colorful characters. Over the centuries, this well-researched and written book argues, crusaders saw - and participated in - the evolution of warfare and the transformation of society from feudal fiefdoms to nations and empires. The story of the Crusades is a reminder, too, of the horrors wrought in the name of religion. The Crusades are seen by many Christians today as an exercise in fanaticism, an episode in which the teachings of Christ were used to justify the horrors perpetrated on innocents. That judgment is accurate, but not the whole story. The whole story is in these pages.
But with the death of his beloved mother when he was only fourteen years old, the young Sundar grew increasingly despairing and aggressive. His hatred of the local missionaries and Christians culminated in the public burning of a bible, which he tore apart page by page and threw, into the flames.
Yet before long Sundar was intent on taking his own life. Sundar had arrived at a point of desperation: he had decided to throw himself under the Ludhiana express if God did not reveal to him the true way of peace.
At three in the morning he rose from his bed and went out into the moonlit courtyard for the ceremonial bath observed by devout Hindus and Sikhs before worship. He then returned to his room and knelt down, bowed his head to the ground and pleaded that God would reveal himself. Yet, nothing happened.
He had not known what to expect: a voice, a vision, and a trance? Still nothing happened. And it was fast approaching the time for the Lothian express.
He lifted his head and opened his eyes, and was rather surprised to see a faint cloud of light in the room. It was too early for the dawn. He opened the door and peered out to the courtyard. Darkness. Turning back into the room, he saw that the light in the room was getting brighter. To his sheer amazement, he saw not the face of any of his traditional gods, but of Jesus the Christ. . . .
From here on the life of Sundar Singh became most Christ-like. Being unwilling to denounce his Master, it was not long before his family had rejected him. Sundar took the saffron robes of the sadhu and began a life of spreading the simple message of love and peace and rebirth through Jesus. He carried no money or other possessions, only a New Testament.
He traveled India and Tibet, as well as the rest of the world, with the message that the modern interpretation of Jesus was sadly watered down. He visited the West twice, traveling to Britain, the United States, and Australia in 1920, and Europe again in 1922.
With the large number of "spiritual paths" and "techniques", facing the world of today it is of special value to consider the life and insights of one who truly embraced the simplicity, love and freedom offered through devotion to Christ.
"I am not worthy to follow in the steps of my Lord," he said, "but like Him, I want no home, no possessions. Like Him I will belong to the road, sharing the suffering of my people, eating with those who will give me shelter, and telling all people of the love of God."
Man Can Never be Destroyed
What Happens at Death?
The World of Spirits
Sons of Light
Sons of Darkness
Death of a Child
Death of a Philosopher
The Correction of Error
The Manifestation of Christ
A Labourer and a Doubter
The Judgment of Sinners
A Good Man and a Thief
A Wicked Man Permitted to Enter Heaven
The Spirit of a Murderer
And The Spirit of the Man Murdered
The Spirit of a Liar
The Spirit of an Adulterer
The Soul of a Robber
The State of The Righteous and Their Glorious End
The Death of a Righteous Man
Comforting His Dear Ones
The Mansions of Heaven
A Proud Minister and a Humble Workman
The Aim and Purpose of Creation
Names in Heaven
Distance in Heaven
The Withered Fig Tree
Is Man a Free Agent?
The Manifestation of God''s Love
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Freemasons have been connected to the all-seeing eye on the dollar bill, the French Revolution, the Knights Templar, and the pyramids of Egypt. They have been rumored to be everything from a cabal of elite power brokers ruling the world to a covert network of occultists and pagans intent on creating a new world order, to a millennia-old brotherhood perpetuating ancient wisdom through esoteric teachings. Their secret symbols, rituals, and organization have remained shrouded for centuries and spawned theory after theory. The Masonic Myth sets the record straight about the Freemasons and reveals a truth that is far more compelling than the myths.
• Includes more than 100 myths, stories, and histories about the odu and the orishas
• Reassembles the oral fragments from the African diaspora into coherent stories
• Demonstrates that the African peoples, specifically the Yoruba, were deeply spiritual
At the core of the diloggún--the sacred divination system of Santería--are the sacred stories known as the patakís, narratives whose themes are as powerful and relevant today as they were in the minds of the ancient Yoruba who safeguarded them. Each patakí is connected to one or more of the 16 odu, the principal creative forces of Santería. Some recount the lives of orishas on earth, others the lives of individuals in heaven, and some tell of the odu themselves, for even they once walked the earth as mortals.
The first book to explore these ancient African stories in English, Teachings of the Santería Gods recounts more than 100 of these sacred parables, including many stories reassembled from the oral tradition of the African diaspora. Ranging from creation myths to what happens when a love potion works far too well, these stories share the wisdom and spirituality of the Yoruba people of ancient Africa and form the living, oral bible of one of the world’s fastest-growing faiths.
In March of 1848, Kate and Maggie Fox – sisters aged 11 and 14 – anxiously reported to a neighbor that they had been hearing strange, unidentified sounds in their house. From a sequence of knocks and rattles translated by the young girls as a "voice from beyond," the Modern Spiritualism movement was born.
Talking to the Dead follows the fascinating story of the two girls who were catapulted into an odd limelight after communicating with spirits that March night. Within a few years, tens of thousands of Americans were flocking to seances. An international movement followed. Yet thirty years after those first knocks, the sisters shocked the country by denying they had ever contacted spirits. Shortly after, the sisters once again changed their story and reaffirmed their belief in the spirit world. Weisberg traces not only the lives of the Fox sisters and their family (including their mysterious Svengali–like sister Leah) but also the social, religious, economic and political climates that provided the breeding ground for the movement. While this is a thorough, compelling overview of a potent time in US history, it is also an incredible ghost story.
An entertaining read – a story of spirits and conjurors, skeptics and converts – Talking to the Dead is full of emotion and surprise. Yet it will also provoke questions that were being asked in the 19th century, and are still being asked today – how do we know what we know, and how secure are we in our knowledge?