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Documents from the German Christian Faith Movement, 1932-1940
Decades after the Holocaust, many assume that the churches in Germany resisted the Nazi regime. In fact, resistance was exceptional. Almost all Germans were Christians, and almost all Christians in Germany stood by, becoming intentionally or unintentionally complicit in Nazi policies and practices.
In the early 1930s, a movement emerged within German Protestantism with the aim of fully integrating Nazi ideology, German national identity, and Christian faith. The Deutsche Christen or, “German Christians,” as they were called, interpreted the Christian faith and the role of the church in society in service of the Nazi revolution. They married centuries-old Christian anti-Judaism to the Nazis’ racial antisemitism and sought to eradicate all traces of Judaism from Christianity. The “German Christian” publication program, designed to advance their ideology, included books and pamphlets, radio talks and speeches, as well as liturgies and retranslations of Scripture.
For the first time in English, Mary M. Solberg presents a selection of representative documents of the “German Christians.” Her introduction to the volume sets the historical context of the movement and offers short introductions to each of the specific readings. The collection includes key responses critical of the German Christians by Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, among others.
The Dynamics of Religious Reform in Northern Europe, 1780-1920
Developments in church-state relationships in north-western Europe between 1780 and 1920 had a substantial impact on reformist ideas, projects and movements within the churches. Conversely, the dynamics of ecclesiastical reform prompted the state itself to react in various ways, through direct intervention or by adapting its policies and/or promulgating laws. To which extent did church and state mutually influence each other in matters concerning ecclesiastical reform? How and why did they do so? These are the central questions posed in The Churches, the second volume in the series ‘Dynamics of Religious Reform'. The volume concentrates on the reforms generated by the churches themselves and on their response to the political and legal reforms initiated by the state. It shows how processes of church reform evolved differently in different countries. The position and role of organised religion in the modern state is a matter of continual debate. This volume offers historical insight into the enduring but sometimes uneasy relationship between church and secular authority.
Learning and Holiness
Colette of Corbie (1381-1447): Learning and Holiness, by Elisabeth Lopez, translated by Joanna Walter will be released for the first time in English. Lopez’s book, originally published in French in 1994, is a serious study of Colette and her reform movement of the Poor Clare Sisters. “Lopez’s book is necessary reading for anyone who wants to understand the many faceted aspects of the history of the Poor Clares,” says Pacelli Millane, O.S.C. Clarisses de Valleyfield. Colette of Corbie is one of the few texts written depicting the historical context and spiritual depth of the reform which offered women of the Second Order the opportunity to return to the observance of the Rule of St. Clare. “It is really wonderful that Elisabeth Lopez’s book has now been translated into English, especially because it fills a gap in the history of Franciscan women during the Late Medieval period and specifically of the Poor Clares, whose diversity, spiritual creativity and influence have been emphasized by recent European scholarship,” states André Vauchez.
Preaching, according to Bonhoeffer, is like offering an apple to a child. The gospel is proclaimed, but for it to be received as gift depends on whether or not the hearer is in a position to do so. Offered here are thirty-one of Pastor Bonhoeffer's sermons, in new English translations, which he preached at various times of the year and in a variety of different settings. Each is introduced by Bonhoeffer translator Isabel Best who also provides a brief biography of Bonhoeffer. The foreword is by Victoria J. Barnett, general editor of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, English edition, published by Fortress Press, from which these sermons are selected.
In his preaching, Bonhoeffer's strong, personal faith—the foundation for everything he did—shines in the darkness of Hitler's Third Reich and in the church struggle against it. Though not overtly political, Bonhoeffer's deep concern for the developments in his world is revealed in his sermons as he seeks to draw the listener into conversation with the promises and claims of the gospel—a conversation readers today are invited to join.
The Chester-le-Street Additions to Durham Cathedral Library A.IV.19
The Community of St. Cuthbert in the Late Tenth Century: The Chester-le-Street Additions to Durham Cathedral Library A.IV.19 reveals the dynamic role a seemingly marginalized community played during a defining period for the emergence of English religious identity. Based on her new critical edition of additions made to Durham Cathedral Library A.IV.19 and by questioning the purpose of those late tenth-century additions, Karen Louise Jolly is able to uncover much about the Chester-le-Street scribes and their tumultuous time, rife as it was with various political tensions, from Vikings and local Northumbrian nobles to an increasingly dominant West Saxon monarchy. Why, for instance, would a priest laboriously insert an Old English gloss above every Latin word in a collection of prayers intended to be performed in Latin? What motivated the same English scribe to include Irish-derived Christian materials in the manuscript, including prayers invoking the archangel Panchiel to clear birds from a field? Jolly’s extensive contextual analysis includes a biography of Aldred, the priest and provost of the community primarily responsible for adding these unusual texts. Besides reinterpreting the manuscript's paleography and codicology, she investigates both the drive for reform evidenced by the added liturgical materials and the new importance of Irish-derived encyclopedic and educational materials.
Baptist Prophetesses in Seventeenth-Century England
When the Baptist movement began four centuries ago, revolutionary forces had destabilized the centers of social control that had long kept women in their place. In the early seventeenth century, Baptist women began to speak their minds. Through their prophetic writings, these women came to exercise considerable influence and authority among the early churches. When Baptists became more institutionalized later in the century, the egalitarian distinction dissipated and women’s voices again, for a long history, were silenced. However, long ago, in early Baptist life in England, women did preach—well and often. In A Company of Women Preachers, Curtis Freeman collects and presents a critical edition of these prophetic women’s texts, retrieving their voices so that their messages and contributions to the tradition may once again be recognized.
Perspectives in Comparison
The question of the Christian Zionism—the religious and political support of the state of Israel—is fiercely debated within theology and the church, as well as in the wider political and social arenas. Examination of the issue is, however, highly relevant and crucial, as it cuts across a wide array of constitutive features and beliefs of Christian life, from interpretation of scripture to religious and political ethics.
Comprehending Christian Zionism brings together an international consortium of scholars and researchers to reflect on the network of issues and topics surrounding this critical subject; these essays are the fruit of several years of collaboration by the special working group on Christian Zionism. The volume includes essays from Christian scholars around the globe, as well as Jewish and Palestinian contributors to provide interfaith contextual dialogue. Taken together, the volume provides a lens on the history of Zionism within Christian theology from a variety of locations and perspectives and offers a constructive, multidimensional path for assessment and introspection around the meaning of Zionism to Christian faith and practice.
Signifying the Holy in Late Ancient Christianity
With few exceptions, the scholarship on religion in late antiquity has emphasized its tendencies toward transcendence, abstraction, and spirit at the expense of matter. In The Corporeal Imagination, Patricia Cox Miller argues instead that ancient Christianity took a material turn between the fourth and seventh centuries. During this period, Miller contends, there occurred a major shift in the ways in which the human being was oriented in relation to the divine, a shift that reconfigured the relationship between materiality and meaning in a positive direction.
The Corporeal Imagination is a groundbreaking investigation into the theological poetics of material substance in late ancient Christian texts. From hagiographies to literary descriptions of sacred paintings to treatises on relics and theurgy, Miller examines a wide variety of ancient texts to reveal how Christian writers increasingly described the matter of the world as invested with divine power. By appealing to the reader's sensory imagination, Christian texts endowed phenomena like relics, saints' bodies in hagiography, and saints' presence in icons with a visual and tactile presence. The book draws on a variety of contemporary theoretical models to elucidate the significance of all these materials in ancient religious life and imagination.
Martin Luther and the Theonomous Self
The steep challenge of personal change is no less keen today than in Martin Luther’s day, and this book takes a new look at his important work. Luther’s notorious denial of personal agency apart from the grace of God, and his scoffing at any but the most spontaneous works of Christian life, have recently rankled both critics of classic Lutheran theology and ecumenical dialogue partners. In this book, theologian and ethicist Mary Gaebler offers a critical corrective to the historical record and theological assumptions about human being and human agency. She not only shows how Luther’s thinking on the will and effective agency evolved, she shows a deeper coherence in his thinking that guided him through successive vocations as a monk, a public figure, a spouse and father, and pastor. In addition, she shows Luther’s anthropology became increasingly open, with a growing affirmation of the created order and the recognition of faith’s role in the transformation of the world, leading to Luther’s exhortation to take courage in God’s transforming presence for the good of all.
Society and Religious Culture in an Old-World Frontier City, 1492–1600
Creating Christian Granada provides a richly detailed examination of a critical and transitional episode in Spain's march to global empire. The city of Granada-Islam's final bastion on the Iberian peninsula-surrendered to the control of Spain's "Catholic Monarchs" Isabella and Ferdinand on January 2, 1492. Over the following century, Spanish state and Church officials, along with tens of thousands of Christian immigrant settlers, transformed the formerly Muslim city into a Christian one.
With constant attention to situating the Granada case in the broader comparative contexts of the medieval reconquista tradition on the one hand and sixteenth-century Spanish imperialism in the Americas on the other, Coleman carefully charts the changes in the conquered city's social, political, religious, and physical landscapes. In the process, he sheds light on the local factors contributing to the emergence of tensions between the conquerors and Granada's formerly Muslim, "native" morisco community in the decades leading up to the crown-mandated expulsion of most of the city's moriscos in 1569-1570.
Despite the failure to assimilate the moriscos, Granada's status as a frontier Christian community under construction fostered among much of the immigrant community innovative religious reform ideas and programs that shaped in direct ways a variety of church-wide reform movements in the era of the ecumenical Council of Trent (1545-1563). Coleman concludes that the process by which reforms of largely Granadan origin contributed significantly to transformations in the Church as a whole forces a reconsideration of traditional "top-down" conceptions of sixteenth-century Catholic reform.