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Cleansed Lepers, Cleansed Hearts Cover

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Cleansed Lepers, Cleansed Hearts

Purity and Healing in Luke-Acts

by Pamela Shellberg

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.

Clothing Cover

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Clothing

by Michele Saracino; edited by David H. Jensen

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.

The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Cover

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The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer; edited by Isabel Best

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.

Comparative Religious Ethics Cover

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Comparative Religious Ethics

Everyday Decisions for Our Everyday Lives

by Christine E. Gudorf

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.

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Comprehending Christian Zionism

Perspectives in Comparison

edited by Goran Gunner and Robert O. Smith

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.

Consider Leviathan Cover

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Consider Leviathan

Narratives of Nature and the Self in Job

by Brian R. Doak

Theologians and philosophers are turning again to questions of the meaning, or non-meaning, of the natural world for human self-understanding. Brian R. Doak observes that the book of Job, more than any other book in the Bible, uses metaphors drawn from the natural world, especially of plants and animals, as raw material for thinking about human suffering. Doak argues that Job should be viewed as an anthropological “ground zero” for the traumatic definition of the post-exilic human self in ancient Israel. Furthermore, the battered shape of the Joban experience should provide a starting point for reconfiguring our thinking about “natural theology” as a category of intellectual history in the ancient world. Doak examines how the development of the human subject is portrayed in the biblical text in either radical continuity or discontinuity with plants and animals. Consider Leviathan explores the text at the intersection of anthropology, theology, and ecology, opening up new possibilities for charting the view of nature in the Hebrew Bible.

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Contemporary Christologies

A Fortress Introduction

By Don Schweitzer

While many know of the signal contributions of such twentieth-century giants as Paul Tillich or Karl Barth or Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the important work since their time often goes unremarked until some major controversy erupts. Here is a smart and helpful survey of the chief approaches and thinkers in today's understanding of the person, significance, and work of Jesus Christ.

Schweitzer offers an insightful introduction to the contemporary context of Christology, in which basic questions in the discipline (and soteriology) are being rethought in light of globalization, postmodernity, and the contemporary experience of evil.

Schweitzer's volume concludes with a reflection on the recent past and present imperatives of a discipline that virtually defines what Christianity has to offer the present age.

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Contours of Old Testament Theology

By Bernhard W. Anderson

In this masterwork, one of America's leading biblical scholars takes a fresh look at the theology of the Old Testament. Anderson cuts his own path and provides us with creative new insights on all the major sections of the Old Testament. He illuminates the nuances of the various covenants and theological shifts in a highly readable style. His conversation partners include the formative contributors from both the Christian community (Eichrodt, von Rad, Childs) and the Jewish community (Heschel, Herberg, Levenson) while interacting with the most recent developments in the field, especially Walter Brueggemann's Theology of the Old Testament.

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The Courage of Faith

Martin Luther and the Theonomous Self

By Mary Gaebler

The steep challenge of personal change is no less keen today than in Martin Luther’s day, and this book takes a new look at his important work. Luther’s notorious denial of personal agency apart from the grace of God, and his scoffing at any but the most spontaneous works of Christian life, have recently rankled both critics of classic Lutheran theology and ecumenical dialogue partners. In this book, theologian and ethicist Mary Gaebler offers a critical corrective to the historical record and theological assumptions about human being and human agency. She not only shows how Luther’s thinking on the will and effective agency evolved, she shows a deeper coherence in his thinking that guided him through successive vocations as a monk, a public figure, a spouse and father, and pastor. In addition, she shows Luther’s anthropology became increasingly open, with a growing affirmation of the created order and the recognition of faith’s role in the transformation of the world, leading to Luther’s exhortation to take courage in God’s transforming presence for the good of all.

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Creativity as Sacrifice

Toward a Theological Model for Creativity in the Arts

by James M. Watkins

Theological interest in art is at a premium. However, theological engagement with art is often enacted without a clear sense of method. This text argues for a theological methodology in engaging the arts, and, specifically, the author puts forward a theological model for understanding human creativity in the light of Jesus’ sacrificial redemption. In dialogue with theology, philosophy, psychology, and art theory, the author establishes the relevance and applicability of an incarnational and sacrificial model of human creativity. Theological models also do more than provide a conceptual framework for theological inquiries. They engage the imagination. A theological model for human creativity is like an invitation to join in the creative vision God has for the world, and to embody this vision in one’s own creative work. Therefore, Creativity as Sacrifice does not merely articulate a conceptual framework for human creativity; it also casts a vision for human life as a creative response to the gracious gifts of a creative God.

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