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Awakening Vocation

A Theology of Christian Call

Edward P. Hahnenberg

Does God have a specific plan for each of us, or is it more like general guidelines for al of us? How do my gifts and abilities, my personality and particular circumstances, impact my vocation? What is the role of the church in this process? What are the needs of the world that call us to respond?Awakening Vocation explores these questions and breathes new life into an ancient idea - rousing vocation from a centuries-long slumber. Inspired by the broad and inclusive Vision of the Second Vatican Council, the book traces the history of Catholic reflection on vocation and offers a constructive proposal for the present. In plain language, Edward Hahnenberg argues that Catholic thinking on vocation has been frustrated by a deficient theology of grace and that the key to reclaiming the notion of God's call today lies in a Vision of God's self-gift reaching across al of human history and into every human heart. Rethinking vocation in light of a revitalized theology of grace helps move beyond earlier dead ends, opening up new ways of imagining discipleship and discernment within our wonderfully diverse and yet deeply divided world.Edward P. Hahnenberg, PhD, is associate professor of theology at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and author of Ministries: A Relational Approach and A Concise Guide to the Documents of Vatican II.

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The Beginning of Heaven and Earth

The Sacred Book of Japan's Hidden Christians

Edited and translated by Christal Whelan

In 1865 a French priest was visited by a small group of Japanese at his newly built church in Nagasaki. They were descendants of Japan's first Christians, the survivors of brutal religious persecution under the Tokugawa government. The Kakure Kirishitan, or "hidden Christians," had practiced their religion in secret for several hundred years. Sometime after their visit the priest received a copy of the Kakure bible, the Tenchi Hajimari no Koto, "Beginning of Heaven and Earth," an intriguing amalgam of Bible stories, Japanese fables, and Roman Catholic doctrine. Whelan offers a complete translation of this unique work accompanied by an illuminating commentary that provides the first theory of origin and evolution of the Tenchi. Today, the few Kakure Kirishitan communities still in existence view the Tenchi as strange and flawed, expressing a distorted form of Christianity. It is, however, the only text produced by the Kakure Kirishitan that depicts their highly syncretistic tradition and provides a colorful window through which to examine the dynamics of religious acculturation.

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Being about Borders

A Christian Anthropology of Difference

Michele Saracino

In an age of globalization, where borders seem to be disappearing everywhere 'between nations, religions, and even within families 'it is easy to believe our reactions to difference are vanishing as well. Bringing together the latest insights from constructive theology, contemporary continental theory, and trauma studies, Michele Saracino shows how deceiving and even deadly this assumption can be. She argues that, in the post '9/11 era, Christians are obligated now more than ever to be vigilant about difference, to be attentive to the emotional dissonance that encountering others incites, and to acknowledge it before border disputes escalate into violence. We are neither so different that we have nothing to talk about nor so similar that we have everything to celebrate. Instead, for Saracino, we are caught in the middle at porous borders, at in-between spaces, which cause consternation, fear, anger, and even rage. By embracing these conflicting emotions that accompany border life, Saracino claims that Christians can honor the person and work of Jesus Christ and the mystery of the incarnation, and perhaps become living memorials to those who have suffered trauma al in the name of their being different.Michele Saracino is an associate professor of religious studies at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. She is the author of On Being Human: A Conversation with Lonergan and Levinas and researches and teaches on the intersections between theology and culture.

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Believing in a Revealing God

The Basis of the Christian Life

Gabriel Moran

What is faith? Is it a thing one has or a human activity? What is revelation? Is it a deposit of truths in the past or God's action in the present?These questions are addressed by renowned religious educator Gabriel Moran, who draws upon biblical and theological traditions set within today's interreligious dialogue. A church of moral and liturgical activity in relation to a revealing God is the needed response to both a dismissal of religion and apocalyptic violence in its name. The future role of Christianity in the world and in individual lives may well hang in the balance: The Christian ideas of faith and revelation will either be the chief obstacle to dialogue with the contemporary world or else the main foundation to a Christian spiritual life that can give substance and direction to religious searching.Gabriel Moran is a professor in the Department of Humanities and the Social Sciences at New York University. He is widely credited with reshaping the field of religious education in the United States and beyond. Moran is author of twenty books on religion and education, including Religious Education as a Second Language; Both Sides: The Story of Revelation and, most recently, Speaking of Teaching: Lessons from History.

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Believing Scholars

Ten Catholic Intellectuals

James L. Heft

How do Catholic intellectuals draw on faith in their work? And how does their work as scholars influence their lives as people of faith?For more than a generation, the University of Dayton has invited a prominent Catholic intellectual to present the annual Marianist Award Lecture on the general theme of the encounter of faith and profession. Over the years, the lectures have become central to the Catholic conversation about church, culture, and society.In this book, ten leading figures explore the connections in their own lives between the private realms of faith and their public calling as teachers, scholars, and intellectuals.This last decade of Marianist Lectures brings together theologians and philosophers, historians, anthropologists, academic scholars, and lay intellectuals and critics.Here are Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., on the tensions between faith and theology in his career; Jill Ker Conway on the spiritual dimensions of memory and personal narrative; Mary Ann Glendon on the roots of human rights in Catholic social teaching; Mary Douglas on the fruitful dialogue between religion and anthropology in her own life; Peter Steinfels on what it really means to be a liberal Catholic; and Margaret O'Brien Steinfels on the complicated history of women in today's church. From Charles Taylor and David Tracy on the fractured relationship between Catholicism and modernity to Gustavo Gutirrez on the enduring call of the poor and Marcia Colish on the historic links between the church and intellectual freedom, these essays track a decade of provocative, illuminating, and essential thought. James L. Heft, S.M., is President and Founding Director of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies and University Professor of Faith and Culture and Chancellor, University of Dayton. He has edited Beyond Violence: Religious Sources for Social Transformation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Fordham).

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Benedict's Rule

A Translation and Commentary

Terrence G. Kardong, OSB

Benedict's Rule: A Translation and Commentary is the first line-by-line exegesis of the entire Rule of Benedict written originally in English. This full commentary - predominately a literary and historical criticism - is based on and includes a new translation, and is accompanied by essays on Benedict's spiritual doctrine.A monk who has striven to live according to the Rule of Benedict for thirty-five years, Father Kardong relates it to modern monastic life while examining the sources (Cassian, Augustine, and Basil) Benedict used to establish his Rule. Overviews - summaries of notes, source criticism, or structural criticism - follow some chapters, and a large bibliography of the current scholarship and source references are also included. Benedict's Rule: A Translation and Commentary also includes the Latin text of the Regula Benedicti.This reference work is invaluable to libraries and to those who are called to interpret the Rule. It will be opened again and again. Indexed.

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Berit Olam: Genesis

David W. Cotter, OSB

The central thesis underlying this study of Genesis is that the God who is revealed as a character in Genesis is always a savior. In Genesis, David Cotter, OSB, helps readers discern a structure in the book whereby the least and the weakest are the object of God's saving help.Genesis begins with an introduction to the methodology that is used throughout the book. The introductory essay deals with the theory of Hebrew narrative and the challenges posed to biblical exegesis by contemporary literary theory.The theme of the commentary itself is that the God who is revealed as a character in Genesis is always a savior. This is true in the Stories About Beginnings (Genesis 1-11) and the Stories About the Troubled Family Chosen for Blessing (Genesis 12-50). The Egyptian slave Hagar, not Abraham, is read as the central figure of the family's first generation and Tamar, the cast-off daughter-in-law as the moral center of the fourth generation. God is savior above al for those whose need is greatest.Chapters in Part One - Stories About Beginnings: Genesis 1-11 are The Story of the Creation of al That Is: Genesis1:1-2:3," *The Story of the Creation of Man and Woman, the Paradise in Which They Lived and Which They Chose to Lose. And the Sin That Ensued: Genesis 2-3:4, - *The Story of the Great Flood and the Covenant that Ensued: Genesis 6-9, - and *The Story about Babel: Genesis 11:1-9. -Chapters in Part Two - Stories About the Troubled Family Chosen for Blessing: Genesis 12-50 are *In the Time of the First Generation: Genesis 12-25, - *In the Time of the Second Generation: Genesis 25-28, - *In the Time of the Third Generation: Genesis 28-36, - and *In the Time of the Fourth Generation: Genesis 37-50. -David W. Cotter, OSB, STD, is general editor of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, published by The Liturgical Press."

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Berit Olam: Judges

Tammi J. Schneider

The biblical book of Judges contains culturally familiar stories such as that of Samson and Delilah and Deborah and Baraq. But despite the popularity of these stories, other important stories in Judges such as that of Achsah, the raped pilegesh, and the final civil war are virtually unknown to the average reader.Approaching Judges as a unified literary document, Tammi Schneider shows that the unity of the narrative reveals that when the Israelites adhere to the covenant established with their deity they prosper, but when they stray from it disaster follows. This is true not only in the Deuteronomistic refrains, as is recognized by many scholars, but in the whole book, and is reflected in Israel's worsening situation throughout its narrative time.Schneider also highlights the unifying themes in Judges. She emphasizes the role of gender, family relations, and theology expressed in the biblical narrative, and uses intertextuality to better understand the text of Judges and its context in the Deuteronomistic history and the Hebrew Bible.Tammi J. Schneider is assistant professor in the religion department at Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California. She received her BA in Hebrew language and literature from the University of Minnesota, and a PhD in ancient history from the University of Pennsylvania. She has excavated at a number of archaeological sites in Israel and is co-director of the excavation of Tel el-Fara' South in Israel. She is project director at the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity in Claremont and area editor for Ancient Near East for Religious Studies Review. Her publications cover topics in Assyriology, ancient Near Eastern history, archaeology, and biblical studies.

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Berit Olam: Psalms

Konrad Schaefer, OSB

The psalms are masterful poems that echo the tenors of community life and worship as they project the scope of the human drama from lament to praise. They chart a profound and vital relationship with God, with al the ups and downs that this relationship implies. Konrad Schaefer's concise commentary on the psalms relates their poetic elements while respecting their historical context and traditional use in the liturgy and, more importantly, their ultimate value as a springboard to private and communal prayer.In Psalms, Schaefer focuses on the structure of each psalm, its dramatic plot, the modes of discourse, the rhetorical features, and the effective use of imagery to portray theology and the spiritual life. Schaefer portrays each poem's inner dynamic to acquaint readers with the poet and the community which prayed and preserved the composition, allowing the believer to transpose it in the contemporary situation.Psalms is for those who would like to pray the psalms with more intensity of meaning; for those willing to touch the biblical world and taste of its fruit in the Word of God; and for devoted readers of the Bible to become more expert as it helps experts become more devoted.Chapters are Introduction," "Book One (Psalms 1-41)," "Book Two (Psalms 42-72)," "Book Three (Psalms 73-89)," "Book Four (Psalms 90-106)," and "Book Five (Psalms 107-150)."Konrad Schaefer, OSB, SSD, is a monk of Mount Angel Abbey, Oregon. He currently teaches at Our Lady of Angels in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

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Berit Olam: Ruth and Esther

Tod Linafelt and Timothy K. Beal

Some ancient works of literature survive in fragments that appear so simple and complete it's hard to imagine them as being part of a larger narrative. Such is the case with Ruth and Esther. On first reading they appear so simple, so whole, and their meanings so completely self-evident. Yet the closer you look, the more perplexing they become. Ruth and Esther offers that close look, enabling readers to discover the uncertainties of the texts and demonstrating how these uncertainties are not problems to be solved, but rather are integral to the narrative art of these texts.In Ruth, the first part of this volume, Tod Linafelt highlights the most unresolved and perplexing aspects of Ruth. In doing so he offers an interpretation he calls "unsettling." Linafelt states that it is unsettling in the sense that he often refuses to ?settle? on a single, unequivocal meaning of a particular word, phrase, or theme. Rather he prefers to underscore the dual or even multiple meanings that the narrative so often has. Another way Ruth differs from other interpretations is that Linafelt entertains the possibility that there might be complexity or ambiguity with regard to the various characters? motivations, the presentation of God, or the book?s purpose. In this commentary, Linafelt explores the ambiguities of meaning built into the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary of the story to discover how these ambiguities carry over to the larger interpretive issues of characterization, theology, and purpose. He also lays forth an argument that the book of Ruth is intended to be read as an interlude between Judges and Samuel.The second part of this volume focuses on Esther, a story of anti-Judaism that raises strikingly contemporary questions concerning relations between sexism, ethnocentrism, and national identity. In Esther Timothy Beal guides readers into the meaning of the story using rhetorical criticism. He asks questions without assuming that there must be answers and allows for complexity, perplexity, and the importance of accidents in the text. In essence, Beal emphasizes the particular over the general and the tentative over the continuous; however, he does not altogether dismiss the importance of broader interpretations of Esther, especially those focusing on narrative structure.Chapters in Ruth are ?The Bond between Ruth and Naomi,? ?Finding Favor in Boaz?s Field,? ?An Ambiguous Encounter in the Night,? and ?Making It All Legal.?Chapters in Esther are ?Beginning with the End of Vashti: Esther 1:1-22,? ?Remembering to Forget: Esther 2:1-4,? ?New Family Dynamics: Esther 2:5-18,? ?Coup: Esther 2:19-23,? ?Politics of Anti-Judaism: Esther 3:1-15,? ?Another Quarter: Esther 4:1-17,? ?Face to Face: Esther 5:1-8,? ?Fifty Cubits for Mordecai: Esther 5:9-14,? ?Sleep Deserts: Esther 6:1-14,? ?Coming Out Party: Esther 7:1- 10,? ?Overwriting: Esther 8:1-17,? and ?Aftermath: Esther 9:1?10:3.?

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