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Truth, Individualism, and the Limits of Belief
Questions of belief, and agency over personal belief, abound as individuals claim to have the right to believe whatever they so choose. In a carefully constructed argument, Bruce Reichenbach contends that while individuals have direct control over belief, they are obligated to believe—and purposely seek—the truth. Though the nature of truth and belief is an oft-debated topic, Reichenbach moves beyond surface-level persuasions to address the very core of what constitutes a human right. These epistemic obligations are critical, as the influence of belief is evident throughout society, from law and education to religion and daily decision-making. Grounding his argument in practical case studies, Reichenbach deftly demonstrates the necessity of moral accountability and belief.
Cultural Pessimism and Its Religious Dimension in Contemporary American Popular Culture
Escape into the Future analyzes the power of pessimism, showing links between present-day religious pessimism and the nihilism of popular culture. Stroup and Shuck rummage through an interesting and eclectic body of pop culture, from Fight Club to X-Files to the Left Behind series, pointing out the presence of pessimistic themes throughout. This volume identifies and illuminates the religious language used in these works to articulate America's need to escape from its present cultural path and, ultimately, provide hope that it might do so.
The Challenges of Global Governance
Managing the challenges of governance is more than merely managing people and resources; it is about managing the values that intersecting cultures attach to people and resources. The Ethics of Public Administration: The Challenges of Global Governance provides an exploratory introduction to the history and trends of major ethical cultures around the globe. Featuring chapters that explore national and ideological forms of ethics—including those of India, Russia, and Africa as well as Marxism, Leninism, Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—The Ethics of Public Administration is an indispensable guide for all those working in international affairs and government.
Resistance and Resilience
In this sweeping history, Tibebe Eshete presents a new view of Ethiopian Christianity. Synthesizing existing scholarship with original interviews and archival research, he demonstrates that the vernacular nature of the Ethiopian church played a critical role in the development of a state church. He also traces the effects of the political on the religious: the growth of other “counter-cultural” movements in 1960s Ethiopia, such as renewal movements, youth discontentment, and the Marxist regime (under which the church still flourished). This strikingly authentic work refutes the thesis that evangelicalism was imported. Instead, Eshete shows, it was a genuine indigenous response to cultural pressures.
Edgar Allan Poe and the Mystery of the Universe
The popular Poe—The Raven, Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat—has inspired a generation of readers long disenchanted with the normative tradition of American literature. But is the popular Poe—incessantly drinking, drug-addicted, and entranced by the terror of death—the real Poe? Harry Lee Poe contends that, for more than two centuries, the great myth of Edgar Allan Poe has damaged both the popular reader's understanding of Poe's corpus and the historian's depiction of Poe's life. Through reviewing his poems and short stories, literary criticism and science fiction, Evermore reveals a Poe who is deeply confounded by the existence of evil, the truth of justice, and even the problems of love, beauty, and God. Here Poe aficionados and casual appreciators of literature alike are invited into a greater understanding of Poe’s most persistent questions and offered a novel approach to reading the American literary icon.
Millennialism in Social and Historical Context
Jesus' promise that the end draws near has spawned an expectation of that grand event across various religious groups. This volume examines the abiding social issues that surround the continued presence of apocalyptic anticipation by setting them in historical, present-day, and future manifestations. Approaching this fervent expectation from a broad perspective, Gribben and Newport explore the contemporary movements with insightful analysis that provokes discussion and even self-reflection.
Madame Guyon, Fénelon, and Their Readers
In this study of Madame Guyon and, her defender, Francois de Fénelon, the Archbishop of Cambray, Patricia Ward demonstrates how the ideas of these seventeenth-century Catholics were transmitted into an ongoing tradition of Protestant devotional literature—one that continues to influence American evangelicals and charismatic Christians today. Down a winding (and fascinating) historical path, Ward traces how the lives and writings of these two somewhat obscure Catholic believers in Quietism came to such prominence in American spirituality—offering, in part, a fascinating glance at the role of women in the history of devotional writing.
The African Church and the Crisis of Aids
Facing a Pandemic traces the history and spread of the HIV/AIDS virus in Africa and its impact on African society and public policy before considering new priorities needed to combat the pandemic. The central argument is that the theological motif of the image of God invites a prophetic critique of the social environment in which HIV/AIDS thrives and calls for a praxis of love and compassion.
The Ecumenical Trio of Virtues
Faith, hope, and love: these words recall one of the most familiar passages in the entirety of the Christian Scriptures and represent three uniquely Christian virtues given by God to the Church. Geoffrey Wainwright explores the contemporary ecumenical potential of these historic Christian virtues. Faith, hope, and love are given to each Christian and are intended to be incorporated in the nature and life of every gathered Christian body. Wainwright pairs each virtue with a practice instituted by Christ himself. Holy baptism teaches faith as an enacted confession. The Lord’s Prayer invites petition as an address of hope. The Lord’s Supper offers bread and wine as an embodiment of love. These historic practices orient all Christians backward in faith to the formative events of the cross of resurrection, forward in hope of the final consummation, and toward all others gathered around the shared meal. Wainwright insists that faith, hope, and love pave a path to unity for a historically divided Church.
Popular Christian Media and Gendered Civic Identities
For decades, American popular media have instructed audiences about their roles and significance in the public sphere. In The Faithful Citizen, rhetorical critic Kristy Maddux argues that popular Christian media not only communicate avenues for civic engagement but do so in profoundly gendered terms. Her detailed interrogation of popular Christian movies, books, and television shows—the Left Behind series, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, Amazing Grace, 7th Heaven, and the blockbuster The Da Vinci Code—exposes five competing models of how Christians should behave in the civic sphere as their gendered selves. What emerges is a typology that insightfully reveals how these varying faith-based models of engagement uniquely shape public discourse and influence the larger picture of contemporary politics.