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Chosen among Women: Mary and Fatima in Medieval Christianity and Shi`ite Islam combines historical analysis with the tools of gender studies and religious studies to compare the roles of the Virgin Mary in medieval Christianity with those of Fatima, daughter of the prophet Muhammad, in Shi`ite Islam. The book explores the proliferation of Marian imagery in Late Antiquity through the Church fathers and popular hagiography. It examines how Merovingian authors assimilated powerful queens and abbesses to a Marian prototype to articulate their political significance and, at the same time, censure holy women's public charisma. Mary Thurlkill focuses as well on the importance of Fatima in the evolution of Shi`ite identity throughout the Middle East. She examines how scholars such as Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi advertised Fatima as a symbol of the Shi`ite holy family and its glorified status in paradise, while simultaneously binding her as a mother to the domestic sphere and patriarchal authority.
The contributors to Divine Love cover a broad spectrum of world religions, comparing and contrasting approaches to the topic among Christians of several denominations, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and adherents of traditional African religion. Each chapter focuses on the definition and conceptual boundaries of divine love; on its expression and experience; on its instrumentality and salience; and both on how it can become distorted and on how it has been made manifest or restored by great historic exemplars of altruism, compassion, and unlimited love.The ultimate aim for many of the world’s major faith traditions is to love and be loved by God—to live in connection with the Divine, in union with the Beloved, in reconciliation with the Ultimate. Religious scholars Jeff Levin and Stephen G. Post have termed this connection “divine love.” In their new collection of the same name, they have invited eight of the world’s preeminent religious scholars to share their perspectives on the what, how, and why of divine love.
From this diverse gathering of perspectives emerges evidence that to love and to be loved by God, to enter into a mutual and covenantal relationship with the Divine, may well offer solutions to many of the current crises around the world. Only a loving relationship with the Source of being within the context of the great faith and wisdom traditions of the world can fully inform and motivate the acts of love, unity, justice, compassion, kindness, and mercy for all beings that are so desperately required to counter the toxic influences in the world.
Contributors: William C. Chittick, Vigen Guroian, Ruben L. F. Habito, William K. Mahony, John S. Mbiti, Jacob Neusner, Clark H. Pinnock, and David Tracy.
Philosophers and theologians have long engaged in intense debate and introspection over the representation of the deity, its possibilities and its proscriptions. The Forbidden Image traces the dual strains of “iconophilia” and iconoclasm, the privileging and prohibition of religious images, over a span of two and a half millennia in the West.
Alain Besançon’s work begins with a comprehensive examination of the status of the image in Greek, Judaic, Islamic, and Christian thought. The author then addresses arguments regarding the moral authority of the image in European Christianity from the medieval through the early modern periods. Besançon completes The Forbidden Image with an examination of how iconophilia and iconoclasm have been debated in the modern period.
“Even the reader who has heard something of the Byzantine quarrels about images and their theological background will be surprised by a learned and convincing interpretation of the works of Mondrian, Kandinsky, and Malevich in terms of religiously inspired iconoclasm. . . . This is an immensely rich and powerful masterpiece.”—Leszek Kolakowski, Times Literary Supplement
Gathering thinkers from ten countries and from a variety of scientific and spiritual backgrounds, Global Perspectives on Science and Spirituality leads readers on a fascinating tour of distinctly non-Western approaches to topics in these two fields. These voices add fresh and invigorating input to a dialogue that has thus far been predominantly guided by scholars from the United States or Western Europe.
The award-winning researchers represented in this volume were selected from a pool of over one hundred and fifty applications, and they offer the very best scholarship from underrepresented regions around the globe. The essays cover a wide spectrum of scientific fields, spanning mathematical physics, robotics, biosemiotics and other new schools of theoretical biology, embryonic stem cells, cognitive science, and the concept of opening the human mind to broader ideas of reality. Hailing from some of the top research institutions in India, Japan, Russia, Korea, China, and a variety of Eastern European nations, contributors offer unique insights into the spiritual and philosophical traditions of their cultures. At the same time, they also deftly engage concepts from the ongoing Western dialogue in its own terms, delving deeply, at times, into schools of thought like phenomenology or process thought.
Scholars, students, researchers, and anyone seeking new ways of understanding the interplay of spirituality and science will discover in these truly interdisciplinary essays a multitude of windows into previously underexplored areas of research. Indeed, any one of these pieces could serve as the basis for entirely new programs of long-term study.
Bruce Lincoln is one of the most prominent advocates within religious studies for an uncompromisingly critical approach to the phenomenon of religion—historians of religions, he believes, should resist the preferred narratives and self-understanding of religions themselves, especially when their stories are endowed with sacred origins and authority. In Gods and Demons, Priests and Scholars, Lincoln assembles a collection of essays that both illustrates and reveals the benefits of his methodology, making a case for a critical religious studies that starts with skepticism but is neither cynical nor crude.
Representations of Muslims have never been more common in the Western imagination than they are today. Building on Orientalist stereotypes constructed over centuries, the figure of the wily Arab has given rise, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, to the "Islamist" terrorist. In Idols in the East, Suzanne Conklin Akbari explores the premodern background of some of the Orientalist types still pervasive in present-day depictions of Muslims-the irascible and irrational Arab, the religiously deviant Islamist-and about how these stereotypes developed over time.
Idols in the East contributes to the recent surge of interest in European encounters with Islam and the Orient in the premodern world. Focusing on the medieval period, Akbari examines a broad range of texts including encyclopedias, maps, medical and astronomical treatises, chansons de geste, romances, and allegories to paint an unusually diverse portrait of medieval culture. Among the texts she considers are The Book of John Mandeville, The Song of Roland, Parzival, and Dante's Divine Comedy. From them she reveals how medieval writers and readers understood and explained the differences they saw between themselves and the Muslim other.
Looking forward, Akbari also comes to terms with how these medieval conceptions fit with modern discussions of Orientalism, thus providing an important theoretical link to postcolonial and postimperial scholarship on later periods. Far reaching in its implications and balanced in its judgments, Idols in the East will be of great interest to not only scholars and students of the Middle Ages but also anyone interested in the roots of Orientalism and its tangled relationship to modern racism and anti-Semitism.
Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and other practitioners come together here, speaking in terms both familiar and surprising. Whether discussing an Episcopalian deacon, a former Zen Buddhist who is now a rabbi, a Chicano monastic, an immigrant Muslim woman, a Japanese American Tibetan Buddhist, or a gay African American practicing in the Hindu tradition, Frankenberg illuminates the most intimate, local, and singular aspects of individual lives while situating them within the broad, dynamic canvas of the U.S. religious landscape.
Modern Occultism in Late Imperial Russia traces the history of occult thought and practice from its origins in private salons to its popularity in turn-of-the-century mass culture. In lucid prose, Julia Mannherz examines the ferocious public debates of the 1870s on higher dimensional mathematics and the workings of séance phenomena, discusses the world of cheap instruction manuals and popular occult journals, and looks at haunted houses, which brought together the rural settings and the urban masses that obsessed over them. In addition, Mannherz looks at reactions of Russian Orthodox theologians to the occult.
Why has religion persisted across the course of human history? Secularists have predicted the end of faith for a long time, but religions continue to attract followers. Meanwhile, scholars of religion have expanded their field to such an extent that we lack a basic framework for making sense of the chaos of religious phenomena. To remedy this state of affairs, Martin Riesebrodt here undertakes a task that is at once simple and monumental: to define, understand, and explain religion as a universal concept.
Instead of propounding abstract theories, Riesebrodt concentrates on the concrete realities of worship, examining religious holidays, conversion stories, prophetic visions, and life-cycle events. In analyzing these practices, his scope is appropriately broad, taking into consideration traditions in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Daoism, and Shinto. Ultimately, Riesebrodt argues, all religions promise to avert misfortune, help their followers manage crises, and bring both temporary blessings and eternal salvation. And, as The Promise of Salvation makes clear through abundant empirical evidence, religion will not disappear as long as these promises continue to help people cope with life.
As they conducted research, the contributors not only visited churches and temples but also single-room-occupancy hotels, brothels, tattoo-removal clinics, and the streets of San Francisco, El Salvador, Mexico, and Vietnam. Their essays include an exploration of how faith-based organizations can help LGBT migrants surmount legal and social complexities, an examination of transgendered sex workers’ relationship with the unofficial saint Santisima Muerte, a comparison of how a Presbyterian mission and a Buddhist temple in San Francisco help Chinese immigrants to acculturate, and an analysis of the transformation of baptismal rites performed by Mayan migrants. The voices of gang members, Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhist nuns, members of Pentecostal churches, and many others animate this collection. In the process of giving voice to these communities, the contributors interrogate theories about acculturation, class, political and social capital, gender and sexuality, the sociology of religion, transnationalism, and globalization. The collection includes twenty-one photographs by Jerry Berndt.
Contributors. Luis Enrique Bazan, Kevin M. Chun, Hien Duc Do, Patricia Fortuny Loret de Mola, Joaquin Jay Gonzalez III, Sarah Horton, Cymene Howe, Mimi Khúc, Jonathan H. X. Lee, Lois Ann Lorentzen, Andrea Maison, Dennis Marzan, Rosalina Mira, Claudine del Rosario, Susanna Zaraysky
Contributors. David Batstone, Berit Bretthauer, Enrique Dussel, Dwight N. Hopkins, Mark Juergensmeyer, Lois Ann Lorentzen, Eduardo Mendieta, Vijaya Rettakudi Nagarajan, Kathryn Poethig, Lamin Sanneh, Linda E. Thomas
Today, and historically, religions often seem to be intolerant, narrow-minded, and zealous. But the record is not so one-sided. In Religious Tolerance in World Religions, numerous scholars offer perspectives on the "what" and "why" traditions of tolerance in world religions, beginning with the pre-Christian West, Greco-Roman paganism, and ancient Israelite Monotheism and moving into modern religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. By tolerance the authors mean "the capacity to live with religious difference, and by toleration, the theory that permits a majority religion to accommodate the presence of a minority religion."
The volume is introduced with a summary of a recent survey that sought to identify the capacity of religions to tolerate one another in theory and in practice. Eleven religious communities in seven nations were polled on questions that ranged from equality of religious practitioners to consequences of disobedience. The essays frame the provocative analysis of how a religious system in its political statement produces categories of tolerance that can be explained in that system’s logical context. Past and present beliefs, practices, and definitions of social order are examined in terms of how they support tolerance for other religious groups as a matter of public policy.
Religious Tolerance in World Religions focuses attention on the attitude "that the ’infidel’ or non-believer may be accorded an honorable position within the social order defined by Islam or Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism, and so on." It is a timely reference for colleges and universities and for makers of public policy.
This volume makes two essays by Henry Corbin, the eminent French scholar of Islam, available in English for the first time. Although his primary interest was the esoteric tradition of Islam, Corbin was also a lifelong student of the theological works of Emanuel Swedenborg. The first essay, "Mundus Imaginalis, or The Imaginary and the Imaginal," clarifies Corbin's use of the term he coined, mundus imaginalis, or "the imaginal world." This important concept appears in both Swedenborgian and esoteric Islamic spirituality. The second piece, "Comparative Spiritual Hermeneutics," compares the revelation of the internal sense of the sacred boks of two distinct religions, Christianity and Islam.
"…important for anyone who is concerned with inter-religious dialogue and the meaning of… visionary mysticism."
--The Reader's Review
This first complete English translation of two works by Zen scholar D.T. Suzuki introduces Emanuel Swedenborg and compares Swedenborgian thought to Buddhism. The first work stresses Swedenborg's message that true spirituality demands an engagement in this world; the second compares Swedenborg's description of heaven to the paradise of Pure Land Buddhism.
Working from a realist Thomistic epistemology, Ashley asserts that we must begin our search for wisdom in the natural sciences; only then, he believes, can we ensure that our claims about immaterial and invisible things are rooted in reliable experience of the material. Any attempt to share wisdom, he insists, must derive from a context that is both interdisciplinary and intercultural.
Ashley offers an ambitious analysis and synthesis of major historical contributions to the unification of knowledge, including non-Western traditions. Beginning with the question "Metaphysics: Nonsense or Wisdom?" Ashley moves from a critical examination of the foundations of modern science to quantum physics and the Big Bang; from Aristotle's theory of being and change, through Aquinas's five ways, to a critical analysis of modern and postmodern thought. Ashley is able to interweave the approaches of the great philosophers by demonstrating their contributions to philosophical thought in a concrete, specific manner. In the process, he accounts for a contemporary culture overwhelmed by the fragmentation of data and thirsting for an utterly transcendent yet personal God.
"This is an impressive, well-researched book, of great value. It offers the wider philosophical community a point of entrance, by a proponent of a certain type of Thomism, into a domain that all philosophers think they already understand. The result is the creation of a 'big picture' of human knowledge." -- Mark Johnson, Marquette University
For over one hundred years, Navajos have gone to work in significant numbers on Southwestern railroads. As they took on the arduous work of laying and anchoring tracks, they turned to traditional religion to anchor their lives.
Jay Youngdahl, an attorney who has represented Navajo workers in claims with their railroad employers since 1992 and who more recently earned a master's in divinity from Harvard, has used oral history and archival research to write a cultural history of Navajos' work on the railroad and the roles their religious traditions play in their lives of hard labor away from home.