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Religious relics, defined as “either portions of or objects connected with the body of a saint or other holy person,” are among the most revered items in the world. Christian relics such as the Holy Grail, the True Cross, and the Lance of Longinus are also the source of limitless controversy. Such items have incited people to bloodshed and, some say, have been a source of miracles. Relics inspire fear and hope among the faithful and yet are a perennial target for skeptics, both secular and Christian. To research the authenticity of numerous Christian relics, Joe Nickell takes a scientific approach to a field of study all too often tainted by premature conclusions. In this volume, Nickell investigates such renowned relics as the Shroud of Turin, the multiple heads of John the Baptist, and the supposedly incorruptible corpses of saints, first examining the available evidence and documented history of each item. From accounts of true believers to the testimony of the relics’ alleged fabricators, Nickell then presents all sides of each story, allowing the evidence to speak for itself. For each relic, Nickell evaluates both the corroborating and contradictory bodies of evidence and explores whether the relic and attributed miracles can be reconstructed. In addition to his own experiments, Nickell presents findings from the world’s top scientists and historians regarding these controversial objects of reverence and ire, explaining the circumstances under which each case was examined. Radiocarbon dating and tests to determine the validity of substances such as blood or patina indicate a variety of possible origins. Nickell even reveals some of the techniques used to create archaeological forgeries and explains how investigators have exposed them. Each relic is a mystery to be solved; guided by the maxim, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof,” Nickell seeks only the truth.
Religion and the Rise of Modern Culture describes and analyzes changing attitudes toward religion during three stages of modern European culture: the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Romantic period. Louis Dupré is an expert guide to the complex historical and intellectual relation between religion and modern culture. Dupré begins by tracing the weakening of the Christian synthesis. At the end of the Middle Ages intellectual attitudes toward religion began to change. Theology, once the dominant science that had integrated all others, lost its commanding position. After the French Revolution, religion once again played a role in intellectual life, but not as the dominant force. Religion became transformed by intellectual and moral principles conceived independently of faith. Dupré explores this new situation in three areas: the literature of Romanticism (illustrated by Goethe, Schiller, and Hölderlin); idealist philosophy (Schelling); and theology itself (Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard). Dupré argues that contemporary religion has not yet met the challenge presented by Romantic thought. Dupré’s elegant and incisive book, based on the Erasmus Lectures he delivered at the University of Notre Dame in 2005, will challenge anyone interested in religion and the philosophy of culture.
An Anthology of Primary Sources
This collection of primary sources from Early Stuart England, compiled by the acclaimed Debora Shuger, reflects the varieties of religious expression, theological conviction, and spiritual experience of the fascinating and turbulent period in English religious history from 1603-1638. With selections ranging from sermons, devotional bestsellers, and sacred lyrics to ecclesio-political satires and doctrinal controversies, Religion in Early Stuart England, 1603-1638 offers scholars and students key primary sources that will stimulate research and discussion.
This volume, one in a series of books examining religious rivalries, focuses in detail on the religious dimension of life in two particular Roman cities: Sardis and Smyrna. The essays explore the relationships and rivalries among Jews, Christians, and various Greco-Roman religious groups from the second century bce to the fourth century ce.
The thirteen contributors, including seasoned scholars and promising newcomers, bring fresh perspectives on religious life in antiquity. They draw upon a wide range of archaeological, epigraphic, and literary data to investigate the complex web of relationships that existed among the religious groups of these two cities—from coexistence and cooperation to competition and conflict. To the extent that the essays investigate how religious groups are shaped by their urban settings, the book also offers insights into the material urban realities of the Roman Empire.
Investigating two cities together in one volume highlights similarities and differences in the interaction of religious groups in each location. The specific focus on Sardis and Smyrna is broadened through an investigation of methodological issues involved in the study of the interaction of urban-based religious groups in antiquity. The volume will be of particular interest to scholars and advanced students in Biblical Studies, Classical Studies, and Archaeology.
Religious Rivalries in the Early Roman Empire and the Rise of Christianity discusses the diverse cultural destinies of early Christianity, early Judaism, and other ancient religious groups as a question of social rivalry.
The book is divided into three main sections. The first section debates the degree to which the category of rivalry adequately names the issue(s) that must be addressed when comparing and contrasting the social “success” of different religious groups in antiquity. The second is a critical assessment of the common modern category of “mission” to describe the inner dynamic of such a process; it discusses the early Christian apostle Paul, the early Jewish historian Josephus, and ancient Mithraism. The third section of the book is devoted to “the rise of Christianity,” primarily in response to the similarly titled work of the American sociologist of religion Rodney Stark.
While it is not clear that any of these groups imagined its own success necessarily entailing the elimination of others, it does seem that early Christianity had certain habits, both of speech and practice, which made it particularly apt to succeed (in) the Roman Empire.
Christian Imagination and the Dream of an African Democracy
This work assembles the best of Todd's (available) speeches and provides an analysis of their rhetorical and political significance. Sir Garfield Todd's (1908-2002) lifelong support of African rights earned him initial political success, subsequent imprisonment, and, finally, rightful recognition. Often labeled a liberal in the British political tradition, a closer study of Todd's rhetoric demonstrates that his politics flow directly from his religious heritage, and not from political liberalism.
Victor Joseph Reed and Oklahoma Catholicism, 1905-1971
Historical Perspective, Lived Realities
This volume makes available the results of a unique conference held at the Franciscan Institute in April 2009 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Order of Friars Minor through the confirmation of the propositum vitae of the early friars by Pope Innocent III on April 16, 1209. This conference brought together for a brief but intense period of time two groups of people who do not often dialogue with each other: scholars of the Rule and practitioners of the Rule–those who study the Rule in an academic manner and those given the responsibility by their provinces of teaching and modeling the practice of the Rule in daily life. To that end, this volume presents six scholarly essays and nine interventions offered by friars from nine different areas of the globe who shared the challenges of living the Rule in diverse cultural, national and religious contexts.
The Multicentering of American Religion
This study of the religious landscape of Indianapolis -- the summative volume of the Lilly Endowment's Project on Religion and Urban Culture conducted by the Polis Center at IUPUI -- aims to understand religion's changing role in public life. The book examines the shaping of religious traditions by the changing city. It sheds light on issues such as social capital and faith-based welfare reform and explores the countervailing pressures of "decentering" -- the creation of multiple (sub)urban centers -- and civil religion's role in binding these centers into one metropolis.
Polis Center Series on Religion and Urban Culture -- David J. Bodenhamer and Arthur E. Farnsley II, editors
Augustine, Langland, and Fourteenth-Century Theology
In Salvation and Sin, David Aers continues his study of Christian theology in the later Middle Ages. Working at the nexus of theology and literature, he combines formidable theological learning with finely detailed and insightful close readings to explore a cluster of central issues in Christianity as addressed by Saint Augustine and by four fourteenth-century writers of exceptional power. Salvation and Sin explores various modes of displaying the mysterious relations between divine and human agency, together with different accounts of sin and its consequences. Theologies of grace and versions of Christian identity and community are its pervasive concerns. Augustine becomes a major interlocutor in this book: his vocabulary and grammar of divine and human agency are central to Aers' exploration of later writers and their works. After the opening chapter on Augustine, Aers turns to the exploration of these concerns in the work of two major theologians of fourteenth-century England, William of Ockham and Thomas Bradwardine. From their work, Aers moves to his central text, William Langland's Piers Plowman, a long multigeneric poem contributing profoundly to late medieval conversations concerning theology and ecclesiology. In Langland's poem, Aers finds a theology and ethics shaped by Christology where the poem's modes of writing are intrinsic to its doctrine. His thesis will revise the way in which this canonical text is read. Salvation and Sin concludes with a reading of Julian of Norwich's profound, compassionate, and widely admired theology, a reading which brings her Showings into conversation both with Langland and Augustine.