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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.
Karl Barth's Ethics
While Karl Barth is one of the most significant theologians of the twentieth century, his contribution to ethics is less well known and subject to controversy among interpreters. Barth combined his commitment to the church and its particular task in faith and theology with a concern for ethics and politics in wider society. By examining the historical development of Barth’s ethics, this study traces the vital influences and considerable shifts in Barth’s understanding of the ethical task, situating him within his political context. Alexander Massmann provides a comprehensive explication and assessment of the full scope of Barth’s ethics, from the first edition of the Romans commentary to the final volume of the Church Dogmatics. General questions of Barth’s methodology in ethics and case studies in applied ethics are both analyzed in their intricate connection to his dogmatic thought. The study highlights how an ethical approach emerged in which the freedom of the gospel allows for considerable openness to empirical insights from other disciplines. The author reevaluates Barth’s ethics in a constructive vision of the role of the church in the quest for a just society.
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.
Narratives of Nature and the Self in Job
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.
This volume, published in the year of the one hundredth anniversary of Bonhoeffer's birth, documents Bonhoeffer's life under the increasing restraints and fateful events of World War II Germany.
In hundreds of letters, including ten never-before-published letters to his fiancee, Maria von Wedemeyer, as well as official documents, short original pieces, and a few final sermons, the volume sheds light on Bonhoeffer's active resistance to and increasing involvement in the conspiracy against the Hitler regime, his arrest, and his long imprisonment. Finally, Bonhoeffer's many exchanges with his family, fiancee, and closest friends, demonstrate the affection and solidarity that accompanied Bonhoeffer to his prison cell, concentration camp, and eventual death.