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A Reader in Christian Social Ethics from the Bible to the Present
No question has been as persistently nettling as the proper relationship of Christians and the Christian church to political power, and the results have often been calamitous. This classic collection of Christian statements on social ethics, now fully revised and augmented, provides a panoramic view of the 2000-year development of Christian concerns for political justice, peace, civil rights, family law, civil liberties, and other "worldly" issues. In readings that range from the Bible to church fathers to Bonhoeffer and Pope Benedict XVI, these substantial excerpts enable the student to see the flow of Christian thought and the deeper religious context for addressing today's most pressing problems.
A Brief History
In Christian Thought in America: A Brief History, Daniel Ott and Hannah Schell offer a short, accessible overview of the history of Christian thought in America, from the Puritans and other colonials to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Moving chronologically, each chapter addresses a historical segment, focusing on key movements and figures and tracing general trends and developments. While many texts offer a detailed history of Christianity in the American context, few focus on the philosophical and theological issues, which form an important yet often neglected part of our history.
The narrative aims to underscore the diversity of Christian thought in America by addressing issues in their historical contexts and by examining across a range of traditions. At the same time, it conveys a sense of the vibrancy of Christian thought, as well as the liveliness and creativity of the ongoing theological debates. The book explores several recurring themes that mark the trajectory of Christian thought in America, including the idea of a divine mission, the tendency to privilege the individual, and the influence of the spirit of reform and revival.
Each chapter concludes with a short bibliograpy of recent scholarship for further reading.
A Practical Theology of the Cross
So argues Andrew Root, who in Christopraxis seeks to reset the entire edifice of practical theology on a new foundation. While not minimizing practical theology’s commitment to the lived and concrete, Root argues that practical theology has neglected deeper theological underpinnings, and seeks to create a practical theology that seeks to be fully post-postmodern, post-Aristotelian, and that in seeking to attend to doctrines such as divine action and justification, is properly and fully theological.
Lutheran Liturgical Theology in Ecumencial Conversation
The Church in Act explores the dynamics of ecclesial and liturgical theology, examining the body of Christ in action. Maxwell E. Johnson, one of the premier liturgical specialists in the field, provides in this volume historical and doctrinal thinking on a diversity of liturgical subjects under the umbrella of Lutheran liturgical theology and in ecumenical conversation. The topics under consideration range from baptismal spirituality to Eucharistic concerns, including real presence, pneumatology, and reservation; discussions on what constitutes liturgical normativity, the diverse hermeneutical approaches to the Revised Common Lectionary, and the place of Mary in ecumenical dialogue and culture (especially Latino-Hispanic); issues of full communion based on a liturgical reading of the Augsburg Confession VII; and specific questions related to liturgy and ecumenism today in light of recent translation changes in Roman Catholic practice. Together, the volume offers a robust account of the liturgical, sacramental, and spiritual practices of the church for scholars, students, pastors, and others who seek to minister in an ecumenical context with increased understanding and insight.
Documents from the German Christian Faith Movement, 1932-1940
Decades after the Holocaust, many assume that the churches in Germany resisted the Nazi regime. In fact, resistance was exceptional. Almost all Germans were Christians, and almost all Christians in Germany stood by, becoming intentionally or unintentionally complicit in Nazi policies and practices.
In the early 1930s, a movement emerged within German Protestantism with the aim of fully integrating Nazi ideology, German national identity, and Christian faith. The Deutsche Christen or, “German Christians,” as they were called, interpreted the Christian faith and the role of the church in society in service of the Nazi revolution. They married centuries-old Christian anti-Judaism to the Nazis’ racial antisemitism and sought to eradicate all traces of Judaism from Christianity. The “German Christian” publication program, designed to advance their ideology, included books and pamphlets, radio talks and speeches, as well as liturgies and retranslations of Scripture.
For the first time in English, Mary M. Solberg presents a selection of representative documents of the “German Christians.” Her introduction to the volume sets the historical context of the movement and offers short introductions to each of the specific readings. The collection includes key responses critical of the German Christians by Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, among others.
Purity and Healing in Luke-Acts
Illnesses are perceived and understood differently across cultures and over time. Traditional interpretations of New Testament texts frame the affliction lepra (“leprosy”) as addressed either by ritual cleansing or miraculous healing. But as Pamela Shellberg shows, these interpretations are limited because they shift modern ideas of “leprosy” to a first-century context without regard for how the ancients themselves thought about lepra. Reading ancient medical texts, Shellberg describes how Luke might have perceived lepra,/I> and used the language of “clean” and “unclean” and demonstrates how Luke’s first-century understandings shaped his report of Peter’s dream in Acts 10 as a warrant for Gentile inclusion.
Shellberg illuminates Luke’s understanding of “cleansing” as one of his primary expressions of the means of God’s salvation and favor, breaking down and breaking through the distinctions between Jew and Gentile. Shellberg’s conclusions take up the value of Luke’s emphasis on the divine prerogative to declare things “clean” for discussions of inclusion and social distinction today.
Reinhold Niebuhr argued that one of the fundamental challenges to human existence is the anxiety caused by our desire to be perfect and godlike while knowing we are limited and mortal. This book explores how human adornment practices negotiate anxieties about our finitude. Through our clothing, we often shield ourselves from feeling our human frailty and from having others detect our emotional, physical, and spiritual vulnerabilities. Looking at the incarnation as a form of "dress," Saracino claims that getting naked with Jesus or embracing our vulnerability is our only hope at creating life-giving relationships with God and others in the global world.
Preaching, according to Bonhoeffer, is like offering an apple to a child. The gospel is proclaimed, but for it to be received as gift depends on whether or not the hearer is in a position to do so. Offered here are thirty-one of Pastor Bonhoeffer's sermons, in new English translations, which he preached at various times of the year and in a variety of different settings. Each is introduced by Bonhoeffer translator Isabel Best who also provides a brief biography of Bonhoeffer. The foreword is by Victoria J. Barnett, general editor of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, English edition, published by Fortress Press, from which these sermons are selected.
In his preaching, Bonhoeffer's strong, personal faith—the foundation for everything he did—shines in the darkness of Hitler's Third Reich and in the church struggle against it. Though not overtly political, Bonhoeffer's deep concern for the developments in his world is revealed in his sermons as he seeks to draw the listener into conversation with the promises and claims of the gospel—a conversation readers today are invited to join.
Everyday Decisions for Our Everyday Lives
The study of comparative religious ethics is at a critical juncture, given the growing awareness of non-Christian ethical beliefs and practices and their bearing on social change. Christine Gudorf is at the forefront of rendering comparative—and competing—religious beliefs meaningful for students, especially in the area of ethics.
Unlike other texts, Gudorf's work focuses on common, everyday issues—including food and diet, work, sex and marriage, proper dress, anger and violence, charity, family, and infirmity and the elderly—while drawing out ethical implications of each and demonstrating how different religious traditions prescribe rules for action. An introductory chapter reviews standard ethical theory and core elements of comparative religious analysis. Each chapter opens with a riveting real-life case and shows how religious ethics can shed light on how to handle the larger issues, without determining for the reader what a proper ethical response might be.
Helpful pedagogy, including summaries, questions, and list of readings, along with special chapter features, charts and photographs and a glossary, combine to make this new text most suitable for the wide array of courses in comparative religious ethics.
Perspectives in Comparison
The question of the Christian Zionism—the religious and political support of the state of Israel—is fiercely debated within theology and the church, as well as in the wider political and social arenas. Examination of the issue is, however, highly relevant and crucial, as it cuts across a wide array of constitutive features and beliefs of Christian life, from interpretation of scripture to religious and political ethics.
Comprehending Christian Zionism brings together an international consortium of scholars and researchers to reflect on the network of issues and topics surrounding this critical subject; these essays are the fruit of several years of collaboration by the special working group on Christian Zionism. The volume includes essays from Christian scholars around the globe, as well as Jewish and Palestinian contributors to provide interfaith contextual dialogue. Taken together, the volume provides a lens on the history of Zionism within Christian theology from a variety of locations and perspectives and offers a constructive, multidimensional path for assessment and introspection around the meaning of Zionism to Christian faith and practice.