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Culture, Inculturation, and Theologians

A Postmodern Critique

Gerald A. Arbuckle, SM

The split between the Gospel and culture is without doubt the drama of our time," wrote Paul VI in 1975. Since that time there has been an increasingly urgent awareness that inculturation is an indispensable task of the church. But inculturation, the dialogue between church and cultures, demands first of al that we who would enter into the dialogue understand what "culture" itself means and what dialogue entails. To that end, cultural anthropologist Father Gerald Arbuckle gives us this important volume. He traces the history of the development of the concept of culture, and the too-often negative, rarely positive effects of encounters between church and culture. He explores how Jesus Christ approached the cultures of his time, and outlines the current treatment of culture and inculturation in church documents and in Catholic theology. He shows that modest progress in understanding has recently staled, and there are even forces working to turn that progress into regress. He concludes with a description of inculturation as it needs to happen 'and a sharp critique of those who resist. With a sense of prophetic hope, Arbuckle seeks to help us bridge the lamentable split between Gospel and culture, the drama that continues to unfold in our time.Gerald A. Arbuckle, SM, PhD, is codirector of Refounding and Pastoral Development, a research ministry, in Sydney, Australia. He is internationally known for his expertise in helping church leaders minister effectively in a postmodern world. Arbuckle's most recent books include: Laughing with God: Humor, Culture, and Transformation; Confronting the Demon: A Gospel Response to Adult Bullying; Violence, Society, and the Church: A Cultural Approach; and Healthcare Ministry: Refounding the Mission in Tumultuous Times (2001 Catholic Press Association Award), al published by Liturgical Press."

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A Culture of Engagement

Law, Religion, and Morality

Cathleen Kaveny

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The Cursillo Movement in America

Catholics, Protestants, and Fourth-Day Spirituality

Kristy Nabhan-Warren

The internationally growing Cursillo movement, or "short course in Christianity," founded in 1944 by Spanish Catholic lay practitioners, has become popular among American Catholics and Protestants alike. This lay-led weekend experience helps participants recommit to and live their faith. Emphasizing how American Christians have privileged the individual religious experience and downplayed denominational and theological differences in favor of a common identity as renewed people of faith, Kristy Nabhan-Warren focuses on cursillistas--those who have completed a Cursillo weekend--to show how their experiences are a touchstone for understanding these trends in post-1960s American Christianity.

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Daily Labor of the Early Franciscans

David Flood

In his early studies Flood focused on the history of the brotherhood with special emphasis on the development of the Early Rule. Eventually, the social structures of early Franciscan life led to the economics of the early Franciscan movement and the importance of work in the life of Francis and his companions. Told from the vantage point of a historian, Flood leads the reader through his analysis of the early movement

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Dark Passages of the Bible

Following the lead of Pope Benedict XVI, in Dark Passages of the Bible Matthew Ramage weds the historical-critical approach with a theological reading of Scripture based in the patristic-medieval tradition. Whereas these two approaches are often viewed as mutually exclusive or even contradictory, Ramage insists that the two are mutually enriching and necessary for doing justice to the Bible’s most challenging texts

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Defending Probabilism

The Moral Theology of Juan Caramuel

Through the centuries, at the heart of Catholic moral theology is a fundamental question: How do we behave responsibly in the face of moral uncertainty? Attempts to resolve problems of everyday life led to the growth of a variety of moral systems, one of which emerged in the early 17th century and was known as "probabilism." This method of solving difficult moral cases allowed the believer to rely upon a view that was judged defensible in terms of its arguments or the authorities behind it, even if the opposite opinion was supported by stronger arguments or more authorities. The theologian Juan Caramuel, a Spanish Cistercian monk whom Alphonso Liguori famously characterized as "the prince of laxists," has been regarded as one of the more extreme—and notorious—proponents of probabilism. As the only full-length English study of Caramuel's theological method, Defending Probabilism seeks to reappraise Caramuel's legacy, claiming that his model of moral thinking, if better understood, can actually be of help to the Church today. Considered one of the most erudite theologians of his age, a scientist and scholar who published works on everything from astronomy and architecture to printing and Gregorian chant, Caramuel strove throughout his life to understand probabilism's theological and philosophical foundations as part of his broader analysis of the nature of human knowledge. In applying Caramuel's legacy to our own time, Defending Probabilism calls for a reconsideration of the value of provisional moral knowledge. Fleming's study shows that history matters, and that to attain any position on moral certitude is a difficult and painstaking process.

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The Development of Moral Theology

Five Strands

Charles E. Curran

Charles Curran in his newest book The Development of Moral Theology: Five Strands, brings a unique historical and critical analysis to the five strands that differentiate Catholic moral theology from other approaches to Christian ethics -- sin and the manuals of moral theology, the teaching of Thomas Aquinas and later Thomists, natural law, the role of authoritative church teaching in moral areas, and Vatican II. Significant changes have occurred over the course of these historical developments. In addition, pluralism and diversity exist even today, as illustrated, for example, in the theory of natural law proposed by Cardinal Ratzinger.

In light of these realities, Curran proposes his understanding of how the strands should influence moral theology today. A concluding chapter highlights the need for a truly theological approach and calls for a significant change in the way that the papal teaching office functions today and its understanding of natural law.

In a work useful to anyone who studies Catholic moral theology, The Development of Moral Theology underscores, in the light of the historical development of these strands, the importance of a truly theological and critical approach to moral theology that has significant ramifications for the life of the Catholic church.

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The Didache

Text, Translation, Analysis, and Commentary

Aaron Milavec

Most Christians believe that everything about Jesus and the early church can be found in their New Testament. In recent years, however, the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas and the reconstruction of the Q-Gospel have led scholars to recognize that some very early materials were left out. Now, due to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Aaron Milavec, the most decisive document of them al, namely, the Didache (Did-ah-Kay"), has come to light. Milavec has decoded the Didache and enabled it to reveal its hidden secrets regarding those years when Christianity was little more than a faction within the restless Judaisms of the mid-first-century.The Didache reveals a tantalizingly detailed description of the prophetic faith and day-to-day routines that shaped the Jesus movement some twenty years after the death of Jesus. The focus of the movement then was not upon proclaiming the exalted titles and deeds of Jesus - aspects that come to the fore in the letters of Paul and in the Gospel narratives. In contrast to these familiar forms of Christianity, the focus of the Didache was upon "the life and the knowledge" of Jesus himself. Thus, the Didache details the step-by-step process whereby non-Jews were empowered by assimilating the prophetic faith and the way of life associated with Jesus of Nazareth.Milavec's clear, concise, and inspiring commentaries are not only of essential importance to scholars, pastors, and students but also very useful for ordinary people who wish to unlock the secrets of the Didache. Milavec's analytic, Greek-English side-by-side, gender-inclusive translation is included as well as a description of how this document, after being fashioned and used 50-70 C.E., was mysteriously lost for over eighteen hundred years before being found in an obscure library in Istanbul. The study questions, bibliography, and flowcharts enable even first-time users to grasp the functional and pastoral genius that characterized the earliest Christian communities."

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Divided Friends

William L. Portier

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Divine Worship and Human Healing

Liturgical Theology at the Margins of Life and Death

Bruce T. Morrill, SJ

Would many believers consider a wake or funeral an act of worship? What does it mean to say that in anointing the sick or administering Viaticum to the dying humans are healed? Such questions plumb the biblical and traditional depths of the paschal mystery. Just as Jesus' ministry at the social-religious margins revealed the center of his faith in God'??s reign, so also the church's ministry to sickness and death reveals much about the baptismal and Eucharistic worship so central to its entire life.In Divine Worship and Human Healing Bruce Morrill turns to the rites serving the sick, dying, deceased, and grieving to show why sacramental liturgy is so fundamental to the life of faith. Readers will appreciate both his compelling narratives from actual pastoral experience and his engagement with biblical, theological, historical, and social-scientific resources. Morrill invites readers to discover how the liturgical ministry of healing discloses God's merciful love amid communities of faith.Jesuit Father Bruce Morrill discusses new book on Liturgical Theology from Jesuit Conference USA on Vimeo.Bruce T. Morrill, SJ, holds the Edward A. Maloy Chair of Catholic Studies in the divinity school at Vanderbilt University where he is also Professor of Theological Studies. In addition to numerous journal articles, book chapters, and reviews, he has published several books, most recently Encountering Christ in the Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery in People, Word, and Sacrament (Paulist Press, 2012). His most recent book with liturgical Press is Divine Worship and Human Healing: Liturgical Theology at the Margins of Life and Death Pueblo/Liturgical Press, 2009)."

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