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An Essay on William Langland's Piers Plowman and the End of Constantinian Christianity
In Beyond Reformation? An Essay on William Langland’s Piers Plowman and the End of Constantinian Christianity, David Aers presents a sustained and profound close reading of the final version of William Langland’s Piers Plowman, the most searching Christian poem of the Middle Ages in English. His reading, most unusually, seeks to explore the relations of Langland's poem to both medieval and early modern reformations together with the ending of Constantinian Christianity. Aers concentrates on Langland’s extraordinarily rich ecclesiastic politics and on his account of Christian virtues and the struggles of Conscience to discern how to go on in his often baffling culture. The poem’s complex allegory engages with most institutions and forms of life. In doing so, it explores moral languages and their relations to current practices and social tendencies. Langland’s vision conveys a strange sense that in his historical moment some moral concepts were being transformed and some traditions the author cherished were becoming unintelligible. Beyond Reformation? seeks to show how Langland grasped subtle shifts that were difficult to discern in the fourteenth century but were to become forces with a powerful future in shaping Western Christianity. The essay form that Aers has chosen for his book contributes to the effectiveness of the argument he develops in tandem with the structure of Langland’s poem: he sustains and tests his argument in a series of steps or “passus,” a Langlandian mode of proceeding. His essay unfolds an argument about medieval and early modern forms of Constantinian Christianity and reformation, and the way in which Langland's own vision of a secularizing, de-Christianizing late medieval church draws him toward the idea of a church of “fools,” beyond papacy, priesthood, hierarchy, and institutions. For Aers, Langland opens up serious diachronic issues concerning Christianity and culture. His essay includes a brief summary of the poem and modern translations alongside the original medieval English. It will challenge specialists on Langland's poem and supply valuable resources of thought for anyone who continues to struggle with the church of today.
Latinos in the 2004 Elections
Beyond the Barrio: Latinos in the 2004 Elections analyzes the mobilization of Latino voters at the state and national levels during the 2004 campaign and the efforts of Latino communities to influence electoral outcomes. The volume is the most recent installment in the quadrennial analyses of Latinos and national elections begun in 1988 by Rodolfo de la Garza and Louis DeSipio. This ongoing project is the only scholarly effort to track the emergence of Latino influence in U.S. politics over the last two decades. The volume examines how and when Latinos were the focus of candidate/campaign mobilization, how Latinos themselves organized to influence electoral outcomes, and where and under what circumstances they succeeded. In addition to state-level analyses, Beyond the Barrio presents an analytical overview of the national presidential campaign that includes measures of Latino influence and a review of state and local contests that led to the election of Latino officials. It also extends the analysis to states with small Latino populations that are just beginning to organize. The editors consider 2004 as a "signpost" election, in which both major parties began a transition from symbolic gestures toward Latino voters to more serious, issue-related efforts to court the Latino vote. The expertise of the contributors ensures that Beyond the Barrio avoids simple generalizations about the "Latino vote" and illustrates its complexity, as well as the opportunities and challenges faced by Latino voters and Latino leaders.
The Danish theologian-philosopher K. E. Løgstrup is second in reputation in his homeland only to Søren Kierkegaard. He is best known outside Europe for his The Ethical Demand, first published in Danish in 1956 and published in an expanded English translation in 1997. Beyond the Ethical Demand contains excerpts, translated into English for the first time, from the numerous books and essays Løgstrup continued to write throughout his life. In the first essay, he engages the critical response to The Ethical Demand, clarifying, elaborating, or defending his original positions. In the next three essays, he extends his contention that human ethics “demands” that we are concerned for the other by introducing the crucial concept of “sovereign expressions of life.” Like Levinas, Løgstrup saw in the phenomenon of “the other” the ground for his ethics. In his later works he developed this concept of “the sovereign expressions of life,” spontaneous phenomena such as trust, mercy, and sincerity that are inherently other-regarding. The last two essays connect his ethics with political life. Interest in Løgstrup in the English-speaking academic community continues to grow, and these important original sources will be essential tools for scholars exploring the further implications of his ethics and phenomenology.
Learning Socratic Lessons of Disillusion and Renewal
Thomas Eisele explores the premise that the Socratic method of inquiry need not teach only negative lessons (showing us what we do not know, but not what we do know). Instead, Eisele contends, the Socratic method is cyclical: we start negatively by recognizing our illusions, but end positively through a process of recollection performed in response to our disillusionment, which ultimately leads to renewal. Thus, a positive lesson about our resources as philosophical investigators, as students and teachers, becomes available to participants in Socrates’ robust conversational inquiry. Bitter Knowledge includes Eisele’s detailed readings of Socrates’ teaching techniques in three fundamental Platonic dialogues, Protagoras, Meno, and Theaetetus, as well as his engagement with contemporary authorities such as Gregory Vlastos, Martha Nussbaum, and Stanley Cavell. Written in a highly engaging and accessible style, this book will appeal to students and scholars in philosophy, classics, law, rhetoric, and education.
Texts Relating to the Cult of Saint Louis of France
Louis IX, king of France from 1226 to 1270 and twice crusader, was canonized in 1297. He was the last king canonized during the medieval period, and was both one of the most important saints and one of the most important kings of the later Middle Ages. In Blessed Louis, the Most Glorious of Kings: Texts Relating to the Cult of Saint Louis of France, M. Cecilia Gaposchkin presents six previously untranslated texts that informed medieval views of St. Louis IX: two little-known but early and important vitae of Saint Louis; two unedited sermons by the Parisian preacher Jacob of Lausanne (d. 1322); and a liturgical office and proper mass in his honor—the most commonly used liturgical texts composed for Louis’ feast day—which were widely copied, read, and disseminated in the Middle Ages. Gaposchkin’s aim is to present to a diverse readership the Louis as he was known and experienced in the Middle Ages: a saint celebrated by the faithful for his virtue and his deeds. She offers for the first time to English readers a typical hagiographical view of Saint Louis, one in counterbalance to that set forth in Jean of Joinville’s Life of Saint Louis. Although Joinville’s Life has dominated our views of Louis, Joinville’s famous account was virtually unknown beyond the French royal court in the Middle Ages and was not printed until the sixteenth century. His portrayal of Louis as an individual and deeply charismatic personality is remarkable, but it is fundamentally unrepresentative of the medieval understanding of Louis. The texts that Gaposchkin translates give immediate access to the reasons why medieval Christians took Louis to be a saint; the texts, and the image of Saint Louis presented in them, she argues, must be understood within the context of the developing history of sanctity and sainthood at the end of the Middle Ages.
Its Purpose and Inner Logic
The Liber Regularum, written by Tyconius in the Fourth Century A.D., was the first system of biblical interpretation proposed by a Latin theologian. Augustine was very interested in this work and included an extraordinary summation of it in his De doctrina christiana. Although this treatment insured the preservation of the work and its lasting fame, Augustine's summary became better known than the original. Pamela Bright's The Book of Rules of Tyconius: Its Purpose and Inner Logic reintroduces this neglected classic of early church literature. Bright asserts that although Augustine was greatly influenced by the Liber Regularum, his philosophical differences caused him to misunderstand its meaning. Bright reexamines the meaning of “prophecy” and “rule” from Tyconius's perspective and reveals that the purpose of the book was not to provide a general guide to scriptural interpretation, but rather a way to interpret apocalyptic texts. She cites Tyconius's intense concern with evil in the church as the genesis of his interest in the apocalypse and subsequently the meaning of the scripture concerning it. Tyconius speaks of the “seven mystical rules” of scripture that with the grace of the Holy Spirit reveal the true meaning of prophecy. If an interpreter follows the “logic” of these rules, the nature of the church as composed by both good and evil membership is revealed. Bright argues that Tyconius was not illogical or incompetent in the work's composition as many critics have claimed but rather that he organized his material in a concentric pattern so that Rule Four, the center of the seven rules, is also the central development of his theory.
Writings on Jews and Judaism
Vladimir Solovyov, one of nineteenth-century Russia's greatest Christian philosophers, was renowned as the leading defender of Jewish civil rights in tsarist Russia in the 1880s. The Burning Bush: Writings on Jews and Judaism presents an annotated translation of Solovyov's complete oeuvre on the Jewish question, elucidating his terminology and identifying his references to persons, places, and texts, especially from biblical and rabbinic writings. Many texts are provided in English translation by Gregory Yuri Glazov for the first time, including Solovyov's obituary for Joseph Rabinovitch, a pioneer of modern Messianic Judaism, and his letter in the London Times of 1890 advocating for greater Jewish civil rights in Russia, printed alongside a similar petition by Cardinal Manning. Glazov's introduction presents a summary of Solovyov's life, explains how the texts in this collection were chosen, and provides a survey of Russian Jewish history to help the reader understand the context and evaluate the significance of Solovyov's work. In his extensive commentary in Part II, which draws on key memoirs from family and friends, Glazov paints a rich portrait of Solovyov's encounters with Jews and Judaism and of the religious-philosophical ideas that he both brought to and derived from those encounters. The Burning Bush explains why Jews posthumously accorded Solovyov the accolade of a "righteous gentile," and why his ecumenical hopes and struggles to reconcile Judaism and Christianity and persuade secular authorities to respect conscience and religious freedom still bear prophetic vitality.
Essays on the Election of Israel in Honor of Jon D. Levenson
The topic of the election of Israel is one of the most controversial and difficult subjects in the entire Bible. Modern readers wonder why God would favor one specific people and why Israel in particular was chosen. One of the most important and theologically incisive voices on this topic has been that of Jon D. Levenson. His careful, wide-ranging scholarship on the Hebrew Bible and its theological reuse in later Judaic and Christian sources has influenced a generation of Jewish and Christian thinkers. This focused volume seeks to bring to a wide audience the ongoing rich theological dialogue on the election of Israel. Writing from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, the authors—Jews, Catholics, and Protestants—contribute thought-provoking essays spanning fields including the Hebrew Bible, apocryphal and pseudepigraphic literature, New Testament, rabbinics, the history of Christian exegesis, and modern theology. The resulting book not only engages the lifelong work of Jon D. Levenson but also sheds new light on a topic of great import to Judaism and Christianity and to the ongoing dialogue between these faith traditions.
Reginald Pecock's Books and Textual Communities
The Call to Read is the first full-length study to situate the surviving oeuvre of Reginald Pecock in the context of current scholarship on English vernacular theology of the late medieval period. Kirsty Campbell examines the important and innovative contribution Pecock made to late medieval debates about the roles of the Bible, the Church, the faculty of reason, and practices of devotion in fostering a vital, productive, and stable Christian community. Campbell argues that Pecock’s fascinating attempt to educate the laity is more than an effort to supply religious reading material: it is an attempt to establish and unite a community of readers around his books, to influence and thus change the ways they understand their faith, the world, and their place in it. The aim of Pecock’s educational project is to harness the power of texts to effect religious change. Combining traditional approaches with innovative thinking on moral philosophy, devotional exercises, and theological doctrine, Pecock’s works of religious instruction are his attempt to reform a Christian community threatened by heresy through reshaping meaningful Christian practices and forms of belief. Campbell’s book will be of interest to scholars and students of medieval literature and culture, especially those interested in fifteenth-century religious history and culture.
Why is the Catholic Church against the death penalty? This second edition of Brugger’s classic work Capital Punishment and Roman Catholic Moral Tradition traces the doctrinal path the Church has taken over the centuries to its present position as the world’s largest and most outspoken opponent of capital punishment. The pontificate of John Paul II marked a watershed in Catholic thinking. The pope taught that the death penalty is and can only be rightly assessed as a form of self-defense. But what does this mean? What are its implications for the Church’s traditional retribution-based model of lethal punishment? How does it square with what the Church has historically taught? Brugger argues that the implications of this historic turn have yet to be fully understood. In his new preface, Brugger examines the contribution of the great Polish pope’s closest collaborator and successor in the Chair of Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, to Catholic thinking on the death penalty. He argues that Pope Benedict maintained the doctrinal status quo of his predecessor’s teaching on capital punishment as self-defense, with detectable points of reluctance to draw attention to nontraditional implications of that teaching.