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China, Christianity, and the Question of Culture

Huilin Yang

Christian missionaries in China have been viewed as agents of Western imperialist values. Yang Huilin, leading scholar of Sino-Christian studies, has dedicated himself to re-evaluating the history of Christianity in China and sifting through intellectual and religious results of missionary efforts in China. Yang focuses upon local histories of Christianity to chronicle its enduring good. China, Christianity, and the Question of Culture illuminates the unexplored links between Christianity and Chinese culture, from Christianity and higher education in China to the rural acculturation of Christian ideology by indigenous communities. In a distinctly Chinese voice, Yang presents the legacy of Western missionaries in a new light, contributing greatly to now vigorous Sino-Christian theology.

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Christ's First Theologian

The Shape of Paul’s Thought

Leander E. Keck

For half a century Leander Keck thought, taught, and wrote about the New Testament. He first served as a Professor of New Testament at Vanderbilt Divinity School and Emory University’s Candler School of Theology before becoming Dean and Professor of Biblical Theology at Yale Divinity School. Keck’s lifelong work on Jesus and Paul was a catalyst for the emerging discussions of New Testament Christology and Pauline theology in the Society of Biblical Literature and the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas. Keck wrote a staggering number of now industry-standard articles on the New Testament. Here, they are all collected for the first time. In Why Christ Matters and Christ's First Theologian, readers will discover how Keck gave new answers to old questions even as he carefully reframed old answers into new questions. Keck’s work is a treasure trove of historical, exegetical, and theological interpretation.

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Christian Theology and Its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire

Prolegomena to a History of Early Christian Theology

Christoph Markschies

Investigates the history of early Christian theology and the relationship between Christian theology and Christian institutions.

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Origins, Developments, Debates

Gerald O'Collins, SJ

The study of Jesus remains central to Christianity. “Who was and is Jesus?” and “What has he done for us and for our world?” are crucial questions that demand careful consideration and perennial answers. These Christological questions reach to the heart of Christian identity—both in its understanding of itself and in its relation to other world religions. In Christology: Origins, Developments, Debates Gerald O’Collins continues his groundbreaking work in Christology by first tracing its major developments over the last fifty years. He next turns to a theology of resurrection—Christology’ s central event—and the foundational roles played by its two great witnesses, Peter and Paul. O’Collins then masterfully constructs a "theology of religions" that explores the relationship of Christianity to other living faiths precisely in light of the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Christology engages the riches of the tradition and the challenges of the present to aid scholars and students alike who wish to grasp the centrality of the second person of the Trinity to the Christian faith.

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Megachurches and the Iconography of Environment

Susan Power Bratton

Buildings and landscapes are as much a part of the Christian church as its creeds—reflecting the faith and proclaiming God. The architecture of the church’s structures and the curating of its grounds are unique windows into the church’s history and the shape of its theological commitments.
Birthed in the iconoclastic spirit of the Reformation, the scapes of Protestant churches have experienced massive shifts in design and scope. From humble beginnings—small buildings and cemeteries—churches today can occupy thousands of square feet across hundreds of acres. The modern megachurch, with its extensive campuses, parking lots, and sprawling lawns, has changed how we think about the church and its spaces. Form follows function, and theology is in both. The shifts in scale, style, and symbol within the church’s common spaces reflect changes in ecclesial priorities, even as they form the theological imagination in new ways.
In ChurchScape, Susan Bratton chronicles the story of the Protestant church’s transformation of landscape and building. Citing the influence of college campuses on megachurch architecture, Bratton examines the features that are a part of many megachurch complexes, including waterscapes, iconography, and outdoor art. Taking readers on a cross-country journey to over two hundred churches, Bratton traces the movement from the small parish building of the nineteenth century to the extensive complexes that form today’s churchscapes. As she moves from church to church, Bratton describes how all the church’s spaces—buildings, greens, gardens, and gateways—together shape its practices, name its beliefs, and form its life together.
Bratton’s work offers the first historical and theological analysis for the megachurch and its physical planners and planters. She demands that all of us look with new eyes at the ways the church may be an innovator without being disruptive, a place of community without becoming exclusive, and a site of abundance without decadence. The church-in-place must consider how its scapes and spaces reflect its sacred life.

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Civilized Piety

The Rhetoric of Pietas in the Pastoral Epistles and the Roman Empire

by T. Christopher Hoklotubbe

Early Christians in Asia Minor had to navigate the troubled waters of Roman social, political, and economic life while also preserving their faith. The church faced a double threat: Greeks and Romans viewed Christianity as a barbaric and potentially seditious superstition and, at the same moment, wealthy Christian benefactors, and their client teachers, were both perceived to threaten the integrity of the Christian community.

Christopher Hoklotubbe investigates how the author of the Pastoral Epistles (1, 2 Timothy and Titus) strategically appealed to the Greek and Roman virtues of piety (eusebia, pietas) to ease these external and internal sociocultural threats. The Pastoral Epistles’ rhetoric of piety—a term not found in the genuine Pauline epistles—becomes pointed when read alongside ancient discourses on piety from Roman imperial propaganda, civic benefaction/patronage, and moral philosophy. As Hoklotubbe demonstrates, piety was rhetorically potent in the efforts of the Pastoral Epistles to present the fledgling Christian communities in a compelling cultural light, as well as efforts to unite communities around a socially conservative vision of the household of God.
Civilized Piety reveals the value of pietas within an ideological marketplace of emperors, benefactors, and philosophers, all of whom contend with one another to monopolize cultural prestige. The Pastoral Epistles, by employing a virtue so highly esteemed by forces hostile to Christianity, manifest a deep desire to establish good order within the church as well as to foster goodwill with the church’s non-Christian neighbors.

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Claiming Exodus

A Cultural History of Afro-Atlantic Identity, 1774-1903

Rhondda Robinson Thomas

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.

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Classical Antiquity and the Politics of America

From George Washington to George W. Bush

Edited by Michael Meckler

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.

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Clearly Invisible

Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity

By Marcia Alesan Dawkins

Everybody passes. Not just racial minorities. As Marcia Dawkins explains, passing has been occurring for millennia, since intercultural and interracial contact began. And with this profound new study, she explores its old limits and new possibilities: from women passing as men and able-bodied persons passing as disabled to black classics professors passing as Jewish and white supremacists passing as white.

Clearly Invisible journeys to sometimes uncomfortable but unfailingly enlightening places as Dawkins retells the contemporary expressions and historical experiences of individuals called passers. Along the way these passers become people—people whose stories sound familiar but take subtle turns to reveal racial and other tensions lurking beneath the surface, people who ultimately expose as much about our culture and society as they conceal about themselves.

Both an updated take on the history of passing and a practical account of passing’s effects on the rhetoric of multiracial identities, Clearly Invisible traces passing’s legal, political, and literary manifestations, questioning whether passing can be a form of empowerment (even while implying secrecy) and suggesting that passing could be one of the first expressions of multiracial identity in the U.S. as it seeks its own social standing.

Certain to be hailed as a pioneering work in the study of race and culture, Clearly Invisible offers powerful testimony to the fact that individual identities are never fully self-determined—and that race is far more a matter of sociology than of biology.

For more, including photos, author interviews, news, and author appearances, visit

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The Collected Works of James Wm. McClendon, Jr.

Volume 1

by James Wm. McClendon, Jr., with introduction by Nancey Murphy

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