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Congregationalism, Politics, and Empire, 1790-1850
Drawing upon extensive archival research and a wide range of secondary sources, The British Zion traces congregationalist missionaries’ involvement in domestic and colonial politics in early nineteenth-century Britain. As Michael A. Rutz ably demonstrates, evangelical nonconformists actively campaigned from both the Empire’s metropolitan centers and its periphery to extend religious liberty and civil equality in Britain, open colonial territories to evangelization, abolish slavery, and secure civil rights for indigenous peoples. Moving beyond the dichotomizing pictures of evangelical missionaries as either the advance forces of colonial domination or innocuous humanitarians and educators, Rutz carefully examines the humanitarian and theological impulses of the missionary movement while critically examining its political, social, and cultural impact within the larger development of the British Empire.
The Spiritual Politics of the Christian Church
To describe the Church as "united" is a factual misnomer—even at its conception centuries ago. Ephraim Radner provides a robust rethinking of the doctrine of the church in light of Christianity's often violent and at times morally suspect history. He holds in tension the strange and transcendent oneness of God with the necessarily temporal and political function of the Church, and, in so doing, shows how the goals and failures of the liberal democratic state provide revelatory experiences that greatly enhance one's understanding of the nature of Christian unity.
Theology, Ethics, and Economics
Calculated Futures examines the ethical and theological underpinnings of the free-market economy, investigating not only the morality of corporations and exchange rates, but also how the politics of economics shape people as moral agents. It does this less by insisting on the unfavorable effects of capitalism, and more by drawing on theological virtues, Christian doctrines, and liturgical practices to discover what they might show us about economic exchanges. Calculated Futures seeks a way forward by engaging economics as a social scientific discipline without subordinating theology to it.
How Congregations Respond to the Sick
Skilled pastoral caregiving, Susan Dunlap argues, requires an understanding of the culture of the local congregation where it is practiced. An engaging example par excellence, Caring Cultures looks closely at three very different congregations’ responses to the body in times of illness: an African American congregation in the Apostolic Holiness tradition; a Euro-American mainstream Protestant church; and the Latino members in a Roman Catholic parish.
With vivid examples drawn from the author’s interviews and observations, this beautifully written book shows how each congregation has developed divergent ways of thinking about the body, habits of responding to it, and understandings of God’s response to the body’s pain or peril. The author offers unusually rich descriptions of care-giving as it is displayed in these three congregations, integrating both well-explained theory and moving personal stories.
A New Perspective on James and Jude
The Catholic Epistles and Apostolic Tradition asks two questions: Can the Catholic Epistles from James to Jude be fruitfully examined in relation to each other, without contrasting them with the Pauline Epistles? And, if so, will we learn something new about them and early Christianity? The essayists here answer “yes” and “yes,” offering provocative perspectives on James, the Johannine epistles, the Petrine epistles, and Jude.
Additional contributors are Ernst Baasland (Church of Norway), Lutz Doering (University of London—King’s College), Reinhard Felmeier (University of Göttingen), Jörg Frey (University of Munich), Scott J. Hafemann (Gordon-Conwell Seminary), Patrick J. Hartin (Gonzaga University), John S. Kloppenborg (University of Toronto), Matthias Konradt (University of Berne), David R. Nienhuis (Seattle Pacific University), and John Painter (Charles Sturt University).
Owning a Scandalous Past and an Uncertain Future
The largest Protestant denomination in the United States is in the midst of a serious identity crisis; many Baptists are revisiting or turning away from the tradition, leaving others to become increasingly uncertain that the denomination can remain viable. Here, however, noted Baptist historian Bill Leonard wades through the murky waters of the Baptist past and explores the historic commitments of this unique people—all in an effort to shed light on its contemporary dilemmas and evaluate the prospects for a Baptist future. While encouraging members of the faith to thoroughly and fairly evaluate their heritage—and its many blunders along the way—Leonard ultimately argues that the Baptists’ contentious “audacious witness” shown throughout its history still has a worthy role to play in the twenty-first century.
The Nightmare Goodness of God
The literary giant G. K. Chesterton is often praised as the"Great Optimist"—God's rotund jester. In this fresh and daring endeavor, Ralph Wood turns a critical eye on Chesterton's corpus to reveal the beef-and-ale believer's darker vision of the world and those who live in it. During an age when the words grace, love, and gospel, sound more hackneyed than genuine, Wood argues for a recovery of Chesterton's primary contentions: First, that the incarnation of Jesus was necessary reveals a world full not of a righteous creation but of tragedy, terror, and nightmare, and second, that the problem of evil is only compounded by a Christianity that seeks progress, political control, and cultural triumph.
Wood’s sharp literary critique moves beyond formulaic or overly pious readings to show that, rather than fleeing from the ghoulish horrors of his time, Chesterton located God's mysterious goodness within the existence of evil. Chesterton seeks to reclaim the keen theological voice of this literary authority who wrestled often with the counterclaims of paganism. In doing so, it argues that Christians may have more to learn from the unbelieving world than is often supposed.
A Cultural History of Afro-Atlantic Identity, 1774-1903
During the 18th century, American Puritans introduced migrant and enslaved Africans to the Exodus story. In contrast to the ways white Americans appropriated the texts to defend the practice of slavery, African migrants and slaves would recast the Exodus in defense of freedom and equality, creating narratives that would ultimately propel abolition and result in a wellspring of powerful writing. Drawing on a broad collection of Afro-Atlantic authors, Rhondda Robinson Thomas shows how writers such as Absalom Jones, Daniel Coker, and W.E.B. Du Bois employed the Exodus metanarrative to ask profound, difficult questions of the African experience. These writers employed it as a literary muse, warranting, Thomas contends, that they be classified and studied as a unique literary genre. Through an arresting reading of works renowned to the largely unknown, Claiming Exodus uncovers in these writings a robust foundation for enacting political change and a stimulating picture of Africans constructing their own identity in a new and unfamiliar land.
From George Washington to George W. Bush
Although most prevalent and obvious during the early decades of the Republic, the influence of classical antiquity on American politics persists even into the 21st century. This study tracks the movement of classicism throughout U.S. history and illustrates how the ancient Greeks and Romans continue to influence political theory and determine policy in the United States, from the education of the Founders to the War in Iraq.
Mary and the Politics of Seventeenth-Century Spanish Theater
Few characters were as ubiquitous in the collective consciousness of early modern Spain as the Virgin Mary. By the 1600s, the cult of the Immaculate Conception had become so popularized that the Hapsburg monarchy issued a decree in defense of the Virgin's purity. In a climate of political disharmony, however, this revered icon—often pictured as the passive, chaste, and pious mother of God—would become an archetype of paradox within the Spanish imagination. In The Comedia of Virginity, Mirzam Perez underscores how the character of the Virgin Mary was represented on the theater stage. Following a concise account of the historical, academic, and political forces operating within Hapsburg Spain, Perez dissects three comedias—three-act productions featuring both drama and comedy—and draws out their multivalent interpretations of Mary. In their own ways, these secular comedias reproduced an uncommonly empowering feminine vision while making light of the Virgin's purity. The Mary of the stage was an active, sinuous, even sensual force whom playwrights would ultimately use to support a fracturing monarchy.