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Citizenship in Heaven and on Earth

Karl Barth's Ethics

by Alexander Massmann

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Conspiracy and Imprisonment, 1940-1945

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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.

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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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