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21 books about Controversial literature [sort by author]      

Against the Inveterate Obduracy of the Jews
Peter the Venerable
Catholic University of America Press, 2013

With this translation, Irven M. Resnick makes the complete work available for the first time in English
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The Case Against Christianity
Michael Martin
Temple University Press, 1993

In this systematic philosophical critique of the major tenets of Christianity, Michael Martin examines the semantic and epistemological bases of religious claims and beliefs. Beginning with a comparison and evaluation of the Apostles’ Creed, the Niceno-Chalcedonian Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, Martin discusses the principal theological, historical, and eschatological assumptions of Christianity. These include the historicity of Jesus, the Incarnation, the Second Coming, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, Salvation through faith in Jesus, and Jesus as a model of ethical behavior.

Until now, an adequately convincing criticism of Christianity did not exist. Martin’s use of historical evidence, textual analysis, and interpretations by philosophers and theologians provides the strongest case made to date against the rational justification of Christian doctrines.

 
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Christian Polemic against the Jews in the Middle Ages
Gilbert Dahan
University of Notre Dame Press, 1998

The Curse of Cain: The Violent Legacy of Monotheism
Regina M. Schwartz
University of Chicago Press, 1997

The Curse of Cain confronts the inherent ambiguities of biblical stories on many levels and, in the end, offers an alternative, inspiring reading of the Bible that is attentive to visions of plenitude rather than scarcity, and to an ethics based on generosity rather than violence.

"[A] provocative and timely examination of the interrelationship of monotheism and violence. . . . This is a refreshing alternative to criticism-biblical and otherwise-that so often confuses interpretation with closure; it is an invitation to an ethic of possibility, plenitude, and generosity, a welcome antidote to violence, as important for its insights into memory, identity, and place as for its criticism of monotheism's violent legacy."—Booklist

"Brilliant and provocative, this is a work demanding close attention from critics, theologians, and all those interested in the imaginative roots of common life."—Rowan Williams, Bishop of Monmouth

"A stunningly important book."—Walter Brueggemann, Theology Today

"Artfully rendered, endlessly provocative."—Lawrence Weschler, New Yorker
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Dialogue against the Jews
Petrus Alfonsi
Catholic University of America Press, 2006

Never before translated into English, this work presents to the reader perhaps the most important source for an intensifying medieval Christian-Jewish debate.
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Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins
Robert Spencer
Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2012

Everything you thought you knew about Islam is about to change
 
This stunning book uncovers provocative evidence that forces us to ask: Did Muhammad, Islam’s founding prophet, even exist?
 
It is a question that few have thought—or dared—to ask. But the widely accepted story of Islam’s origins begins to crumble on close examination.
 
InDid Muhammad Exist? bestselling author Robert Spencer brings to early Islam the same level of probing historical criticism scholars have long applied to Christianity and Judaism. Meticulously examining historical records, archaeological findings, and pioneering new scholarship, Spencer challenges the most fundamental assumptions about Islam’s origins—raising questions with profound implications for our world today.
 

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Discourses against Judaizing Christians (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 68)
Saint John Chrysostom
Catholic University of America Press, 1979

No description available
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Epistle to Marguerite de Navarre and Preface to a Sermon by John Calvin
Marie Dentière
University of Chicago Press, 2004

Born to a noble family in Tournai, Marie Dentière (1495-1561) left her convent in the 1520s to work for religious reform. She married a former priest and with her husband went to Switzerland, where she was active in the Reformation's takeover of Geneva.

Dentière's Very Useful Epistle (1539) is the first explicit statement of reformed theology by a woman to appear in French. Addressed to Queen Marguerite of Navarre, sister of the French king Francis I, the Epistle asks the queen to help those persecuted for their religious beliefs. Dentière offers a stirring defense of women and asserts their right to teach the word of God in public. She defends John Calvin against his enemies and attacks the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Her Preface (1561) to one of Calvin's sermons criticizes immodesty and extravagance in clothing and warns the faithful to be vigilant. Undaunted in the face of suppression and ridicule, this outspoken woman persisted as an active voice in the Reformation.
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Exposé of Polygamy: A Lady's Life Among the Mormons
Fanny Stenhouse
Utah State University Press, 2008

After the 1872 publication of Expose',Fanny Stenhouse became a celebrity in the cultural wars between Mormons and much of America. An English convert, she had grown disillusioned with the Mormon Church and polygamy, which her husband practiced before associating with a circle of dissident Utah intellectuals and merchants. Stenhouse’s critique of plural marriage, Brigham Young, and Mormonism was also a sympathetic look at Utah’s people and honest recounting of her life. Before long, she created a new edition, titled "Tell It All," which ensured her notoriety in Utah and popularity elsewhere but turned her thoughtful memoir into a more polemical, true expose' of Polygamy. Since 1874, it has stayed in print, in multiple, varying editions. The original book, meanwhile, is less known, though more readable. Tracing the literary history of Stenhouse’s important piece of Americana, Linda DeSimone rescues an important autobiographical and historical record from the baggage notoriety brought to it.

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The Footsteps of Israel: Understanding Jews in Anglo-Saxon England
Andrew P. Scheil
University of Michigan Press, 2004

"This innovative, well-researched study looks at anti-Judaic rhetoric in the Old English and Latin texts of Anglo-Saxon England-a land lacking real Jews. The author isolates a common pool of inherited images for portraying the Jew, and teaches us to hear, especially in the vernacular, their increasingly dark and disturbing inflections."
---Roberta Frank, Yale University

"The Footsteps of Israel is a fascinating study of a pervasive stereotype. Scheil's analysis of how Jews, with no real physical presence in Anglo-Saxon England, captured the imagination of writers of the period, is a superb achievement."
---Louise Mirrer, President and CEO, New-York Historical Society

"The elegance of Scheil's prose weaves a unifying thread through the vast literary and historical tapestry he presents, moving with grace from Latin to Old English, from Bede to later authors, from Wordsworth and Blake to modern writers. He speaks elegantly of these texts' conversations with the past, and the Jews emerge as both enemies and spiritual antecedents of the 'New Israel' of Anglo-Saxon England."
---Stephen Spector, State University of New York, Stonybrook


Jews are the omnipresent border-dwellers of medieval culture, a source of powerful metaphors active in the margins of medieval Christianity. This book outlines an important prehistory to later persecutions in England and beyond, yet it also provides a new understanding of the previously unrecognized roles Jews and Judaism played in the construction of social identity in early England.

Andrew P. Scheil approaches the Anglo-Saxon understanding of Jews from a variety of directions, including a survey of the lengthy history of the ideology of England as the New Israel, its sources in late antique texts and its manifestation in both Old English and Latin texts from Anglo-Saxon England. In tandem with this perhaps more sympathetic understanding of the Jews is a darker vision of anti-Judaism, associating the Jews in an emotional fashion with the materiality of the body.

In exploring the complex ramifications of this history, the author is the first to assemble and study references to Jews in Anglo-Saxon culture. For this reason, The Footsteps of Israel will be an important source for Anglo-Saxonists, scholars of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, scholars of medieval antisemitism in general, students of Jewish history, and medievalists interested in cultural studies.
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The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology
Mark D. Jordan
University of Chicago Press, 1997

In this startling original work of historical detection, Mark D. Jordan explores the invention of Sodomy by medieval Christendom, examining its conceptual foundations in theology and gauging its impact on Christian sexual ethics both then and now. This book is for everyone involved in the ongoing debate within organized religions and society in general over moral judgments of same-sex eroticism.

"A crucial contribution to our understanding of the tortured and tortuous relationship between men who love men, and the Christian religion—indeed, between our kind and Western society as a whole. . . . The true power of Jordan's study is that it gives back to gay and lesbian people our place in history and that it places before modern theologians and church leaders a detailed history of fear, inconsistency, hatred and oppression that must be faced both intellectually and pastorally."—Michael B. Kelly, Screaming Hyena

"[A] detailed and disturbing tour through the back roads of medieval Christian thought."—Dennis O'Brien, Commonweal

"Being gay and being Catholic are not necessarily incompatible modes of life, Jordan argues. . . . Compelling and deeply learned."—Virginia Quarterly Review
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Jews Against Zionism: The American Council for Judaism, 1942-1948
Thomas A. Kolsky
Temple University Press, 1992

This is the first full-scale history of the only organized American Jewish opposition to Zionism during the 1940s. Despite extensive literature on the Zionist movement, the Jewish opposition to Zionism has received only marginal and usually negative attention. In this impartial study, Thomas A. Kolsky examines the neglected phenomenon of Jewish anti-Zionism, its roots, and its results.

In 1942, a number of dissident Reform rabbis founded the American Council for Judaism, the first and only Jewish organization created to fight against Zionism and the establishment of a Jewish state. Emphasizing the purely religious nature of Judaism and unequivocally rejecting Jewish nationalism, the Council supported free Jewish immigration and equal rights for Jews throughout the world. For Palestine, specifically, it advocated establishment of a democratic state wherein all citizens, regardless of their religion, would enjoy equal political rights.

Summarizing both the history of Zionism and the history of American Jews, Kolsky traces the effects of the Holocaust on the Zionist movement and the personalities that shaped the leadership of the Council. Its position toward Zionism has particular contemporary relevance in understanding the historical relationship between Israel and the Palestinians.

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Little X: Growing Up In The Nation Of Islam
Sonsyrea Tate
University of Tennessee Press, 2004

"Instead of writing a bitter condemnation of the Nation of Islam, Tate has adroitly described its purpose as well as its shortcomings." —USA Today

"A temperate and sympathetic treatment of an African-American family's religious evolution." —Publishers Weekly

"A compelling story. It provides an honest, inside view of one of America's most controversial religious movements and perceptively points to social tensions of race, gender and religious identity." —Kirkus Reviews

"Extremely valuable. Recent literature is interested almost exclusively in male leaders. Tate's book provides a new perspective. I have used the book in a number of teaching contexts to very good results." —Judith Weisenfeld, Vassar College

In Little X, Sonsyrea Tate reveals, through the acute vision and engaging voice of a curious child, the practices and policies of the mysterious organization most know only through media portrayals of its controversial leaders Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan. First published in 1997, Little X chronicles the multigenerational experience of Tate's family, who broke from the traditional black church in the 1950s to join the radical Nation of Islam, then struggled to remain intact through disillusionment, shifting loyalties, and forays into Orthodox Islam.

Little X is also an absorbing story of a little girl whose strict Muslim education filled her with pride, confidence, and a longing for freedom, of a teenager in an ankle-length dress and headwrap struggling to fit in with non-Muslim peers, and of a young woman whose growing disillusionment with the Nation finally led to her break with the Muslim religion. Little X offers a rare glimpse into the everyday experience of the Nation of Islam, and into a little-understood part of America's history and heritage.

Sonsyrea Tate-Montgomery has been a staff writer for the Virginian Pilot, Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post. The recipient of four coveted Echoes of Excellence awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, Tate has also worked as assistant to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. She currently works as a political reporter for The Gazette, a Post-Newsweek publication.
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The Lord
EMANUEL SWEDENBORG
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2014

Since the dawn of Christianity, there has been debate about the true nature of Jesus Christ. Was he a divinely inspired person or the incarnation of God on earth?
     In his short work The Lord, Swedenborg presents an answer to the time-honored question of how Jesus and God are related: he argues that they became in every way one and the same. Throughout his works Swedenborg uses the term “Lord” to refer to Jesus as the embodiment of God. In this work he emphasizes that the traditional trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit should be thought of not as three separate divine Persons that have always coexisted but as three aspects now present within one divine Person—Jesus in his resurrection.
     The Lord also touches upon key themes in Swedenborg’s theology: the spiritual reasons why the Lord came to earth; the significance of the death and resurrection of his human form; and the ways in which his coming was foretold in the Old Testament. Throughout the book, Swedenborg provides extensive biblical references to support his arguments. He concludes with a brief chapter describing the New Jerusalem, a reference to both the city described in the book of Revelation and the new spiritual age that is now unfolding.
     The Lord is part of the New Century Edition of the Works of Emanuel Swedenborg (NCE), an ongoing translation series. The NCE series incorporates the latest scholarship and translation standards for a more accurate and accessible rendering of Swedenborg’s works. Traditionally titled The Doctrine of the Lord, this short work is often published together with three other short works—Life, Faith, and Sacred Scripture—under the title The Four Doctrines. The Swedenborg Foundation will publish these four titles together in the forthcoming NCE hardcover annotated volume The Shorter Works of 1763.
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Machiavelli's Three Romes: Religion, Human Liberty, and Politics Reformed
Vickie B. Sullivan
Northern Illinois University Press, 1996

Marx On Religion
John Raines
Temple University Press, 2002

"Religious suffering is at one and the same time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions."Few people would ever expect that Karl Marx is the writer of the above statement. He not only wrote it, but he did so in the same breath of his more famous dictum that "religion is the opiate of the masses." How can one reconcile such different perspectives on the power and ubiquity of religion?In this compact reader of Marx's essential thought on religion, John Raines offers the full range of Marx's thoughts on religion and its relationship to the world of social relations. Through a careful selection of essays, articles, pamphlets, and letters, Raines shows that Marx had a far more complex understanding of religious belief. Equally important is how Marx's ideas on religion were intimately tied to his inquiries into political economy, revolution, social change, and the philosophical questions of the self.Raines offers an introduction that shows the continuing importance of the Marxist perspective on religion and its implications for the way religion continues to act in and respond to the momentous changes going on in our social and environmental worlds. Marx on Religion also includes a study guide to help professors and students—as well as the general reader—continue to understand the significance of this often under-examined component of Marx.
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Moral Absolutes: Tradition, Revision, and Truth (Michael J. McGivney Lectures of the John Paul II Institute)
John Finnis
Catholic University of America Press, 1991

Moral Absolutes sets forth a vigorous but careful critique of much recent work in moral theology. It is illustrated with examples from the most controversial aspects of Christian moral doctrine, and a frank account is given of the roots of the upheaval in Roman Catholic moral theology in and after the 1960s.
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Nahmanides in Medieval Catalonia: History, Community, and Messianism
Nina Caputo
University of Notre Dame Press, 2007

In this detailed study, Nina Caputo examines conceptions of history and messianic redemption in the writings of the Catalonian rabbi and brilliant Talmudic scholar Nahmanides (1195–1270). An early exponent of kabbalah, Nahmanides was also a shrewd intermediary between the Jewish communities and the royal administration of Aragon. Most intellectual histories focus on Nahmanides in the fairly insular context of Jewish community dynamics, but this volume explores the largely unexamined history of encounters between Jewish and Christian interpretations of history and redemption, as well as the significant role played by Jews in the expansion of the Crown of Aragon during the thirteenth century. Caputo explains Nahmanides' distinctive understanding of the shape and meaning of historical time and change and reveals how his discourse frequently confronted Christian views of history and scripture, sometimes embracing Christians forms, but at other times directly refuting them.

Nina Caputo's book is the first to situate Nahmanides in the full intellectual and religious context of thirteenth-century Catalonia. It makes an important contribution to the fields of Jewish studies as well as medieval and early modern history. 
 
Nahmanides in Medieval Catalonia is a compelling illustration of meticulous scholarly attention, of subtle historical consciousness, rigorous rhetorical and literary sensibility, and true, wide-ranging synthetic ability—it uniquely draws from the entire corpus of Nahmanides' work in order to reframe conflicts and disputes, once again, as fertile and positive exchanges.” —Gil Anidjar, Columbia University
 
“Caputo has written a brilliant monograph on one of the most fascinating minds of the High Middle Ages. By aligning the intellectual and communal activities of Nahmanides within the context of both Jewish and medieval Spanish vernacular texts she brings academic rigor and interdisciplinary scholarship to throw new light on both communities at a critical moment in their development. Each chapter reveals the subtle ways that Nahmanides constructed intellectual and social frameworks for Jews to preserve their unique identity while sharing cultural and aesthetic norms of the Christian society that surrounded them.” —Michael A. Signer, Abrams Professor of Jewish Thought and Culture, University of Notre Dame
 
“This book offers a meticulous and thoughtful reading of the themes of history, prophecy, and progress in Nahmanides' exegetical, theological, and polemical works. It joins a growing body of scholarship that emphasizes the extent to which even tense and hostile Jewish-Christian confrontations were predicated upon shared cultural and intellectual approaches. It is sure to interest and engage scholars in the fields of Judaic studies, Iberian history, and biblical studies.” —Sara Lipton, Stony Brook University
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On Genesis: Two Books on Genesis against the Manichees and On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis: An Unfinished Book (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 84)
Saint Augustine
Catholic University of America Press, 1991

No description available
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Religion and Economic Justice
edited by Michael Zweig
Temple University Press, 1992

As Eastern European economies move to capitalism, many people there hope for a better life. But capitalism is no guarantee of prosperity. Economic deprivation, war, social marginalization, and powerlessness mark the lives of millions and spark social movements for economic justice aimed at correcting these conditions. Often these movements are based in religious communities, their activists motivated by religious commitment to human dignity and the need for personal empowerment. Although the new theology contains an economic critique, little dialogue has taken place between the religious and economic communities on matters of economic analysis. Religion and Economic Justice seeks to develop this exchange.

This book contains original essays by distinguished contributors from economics, religious ethics, and biblical studies. The authors provide a powerful critique of the individualism which underlies mainstream economic analysis and which fragments our communities, a critique that extends to the values implicit in the market system. The authors also show how social marginalization and economic deprivation are the consequences of economic organization, not simply the failings of individuals.

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Spinoza's Critique of Religion
Leo Strauss
University of Chicago Press, 1996

Leo Strauss articulates the conflict between reason and revelation as he explores Spinoza's scientific, comparative, and textual treatment of the Bible. Strauss compares Spinoza's Theologico-political Treatise and the Epistles, showing their relation to critical controversy on religion from Epicurus and Lucretius through Uriel da Costa and Isaac Peyrere to Thomas Hobbes.

Strauss's autobiographical Preface, traces his dilemmas as a young liberal intellectual in Germany during the Weimar Republic, as a scholar in exile, and as a leader of American philosophical thought.

"[For] those interested in Strauss the political philosopher, and also those who doubt whether we have achieved the 'final solution' in respect to either the character of political science or the problem of the relation of religion to the state." —Journal of Politics

"A substantial contribution to the thinking of all those interested in the ageless problems of faith, revelation, and reason." —Kirkus Reviews

Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago. His contributions to political science include The Political Philosophy of Hobbes, The City and the Man, What is Political Philosophy?, and Liberalism Ancient and Modern.
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