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Feeling Like Saints Cover

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Feeling Like Saints

Lollard Writings after Wyclif

by Fiona Somerset

“Lollard” is the name given to followers of John Wyclif, the English dissident theologian who was dismissed from Oxford University in 1381 for his arguments regarding the eucharist. A forceful and influential critic of the ecclesiastical status quo in the late fourteeth century, Wyclif’s thought was condemned at the Council of Constance in 1415. While lollardy has attracted much attention in recent years, much of what we think we know about this English religious movement is based on records of heresy trials and anti-lollard chroniclers. In Feeling Like Saints, Fiona Somerset demonstrates that this approach has limitations. A better basis is the five hundred or so manuscript books from the period (1375–1530) containing materials translated, composed, or adapted by lollard writers themselves.

These writings provide rich evidence for how lollard writers collaborated with one another and with their readers to produce a distinctive religious identity based around structures of feeling. Lollards wanted to feel like saints. From Wyclif they drew an extraordinarily rigorous ethic of mutual responsibility that disregarded both social status and personal risk. They recalled their commitment to this ethic by reading narratives of physical suffering and vindication, metaphorically martyring themselves by inviting scorn for their zeal, and enclosing themselves in the virtues rather than the religious cloister. Yet in many ways they were not that different from their contemporaries, especially those with similar impulses to exceptional holiness.

Francis of Assisi Heritage and Heirs Cover

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Francis of Assisi Heritage and Heirs

Eight Centuries Later

Thaddee Matura, translated by Paul Lachance

In this thought-provoking book Thaddée Matura offers a new way of lookingIn this thought-provoking book Thaddée Matura offers a new way of looking at how the Franciscan tradition was adapted and contemporized during the centuries. In a clear and accessible style he shows how the Franciscan Family has gotten to the stage it now enjoys and shows how liberating history can be and is. In 2004 Franciscan Institute Publications reprinted Matura’s Francis of Assisi: The Message in His Writings.

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The French School of Spirituality

An Introduction and Reader

by Raymond Deville

The French School of Spirituality of the seventeenth century made vital contributions to a significant movement of spiritual renewal at a critical time in Catholic church history. Since Vatican II, interest in this tradition of spirituality has been rekindled. This tradition has even been called “the foundation of modern Catholic spirituality.” Raymond Deville’s work is a contemporary introduction to this school of spirituality. Deville’s work locates the French School of Spirituality within the context of seventeenth century France and its art, literature, and political science. He identifies the founder of this school, Cardinal de Bérulle, and his associates, Condren, Olier, John Eudes, John-Baptist de la Salle and Grignion de Montfort. Deville also identifies the key moments leading up to the “foundation” of the French School and describes its four major themes: a theocentric spirit of religion; mystical Christocentrism; the sovereignty of the Mother of God; and the meaning of the priesthood. The work also contains a collection of texts from other authors, which forms a framework for Deville’s reflections and comments. In addition, Deville gives a bibliography for further study including sections from the spiritual leaders of the French School themselves.

From a Far Country Cover

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From a Far Country

Camisards and Huguenots in the Atlantic World

Catharine Randall

In From a Far Country Catharine Randall examines Huguenots and their less-known cousins the Camisards, offering a fresh perspective on the important role these French Protestants played in settling the New World.

The Camisard religion was marked by more ecstatic expression than that of the Huguenots, not unlike differences between Pentecostals and Protestants. Both groups were persecuted and emigrated in large numbers, becoming participants in the broad circulation of ideas that characterized the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Randall vividly portrays this French Protestant diaspora through the lives of three figures: Gabriel Bernon, who led a Huguenot exodus to Massachusetts and moved among the commercial elite; Ezéchiel Carré, a Camisard who influenced Cotton Mather’s theology; and Elie Neau, a Camisard-influenced writer and escaped galley slave who established North America’s first school for blacks.

Like other French Protestants, these men were adaptable in their religious views, a quality Randall points out as quintessentially American. In anthropological terms they acted as code shifters who manipulated multiple cultures. While this malleability ensured that French Protestant culture would not survive in externally recognizable terms in the Americas, Randall shows that the culture’s impact was nonetheless considerable.

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Gender and Christianity in Modern Europe

Beyond the Feminization Thesis

Patrick Pasture; Jan Art (eds)

Since the 1970s the feminization thesis has become a powerful trope in the rewriting of the social history of Christendom. However, this ‘thesis' has triggered some vehement debates, given that men have continued to dominate the churches, and the churches themselves have reacted to the association of religion and femininity, often formulated by their critics, by explicitly focusing their appeal to men. In this book the authors critically reflect upon the use of concepts like feminization and masculinization in relation to Christianity. By presenting case studies that adopt different gendered approaches with regard to Christian, mainly Catholic discourses and practices, the authors capture multiple ‘feminizations' and ‘masculinizations' in Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. In particular, it becomes clear that the idea that Christianity took on ‘charicteristically feminine' values and practices cannot withstand the conclusion that what is considered ‘manly' or ‘feminine' depends on time, place, and context, and on the reasons why gendered metaphors are used.

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Gettysburg Religion

Refinement, Diversity, and Race in the Antebellum and Civil War Border North

Steve Longenecker

In the borderland between freedom and slavery, Gettysburg remains among the most legendary Civil War landmarks. A century and a half after the great battle, Cemetery Hill, the Seminary and its ridge, and the Peach Orchard remain powerful memories for their embodiment of the small-town North and their ability to touch themes vital to nineteenth-century religion. During this period, three patterns became particularly prominent: refinement, diversity, and war. In Gettysburg Religion, author Steve Longenecker explores the religious history of antebellum and Civil War Sera Gettysburg, shedding light on the remarkable diversity of American religion and the intricate ways it interacted with the broader culture. Longenecker argues that Gettysburg religion revealed much about larger American society and about how trends in the Border North mirrored national developments. In many ways, Gettysburg and its surrounding Border North religion belonged to the future and signaled a coming pattern for modern America.

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Gloria Patri

The History and Theology of the Lesser Doxology

Nicholas Ayo, C.S.C.

The Gloria Patri has been prayed from the beginnings of Christianity. In this one-sentence prayer, time and eternity are combined in a compressed expression of doxology, praise of God. In this brief but comprehensive book, Father Ayo examines the riches in this prayer: the philological, historical, and theological origins of Christian prayer itself, and the profound spiritual implications of the Gloria Patri. At the heart of Christian prayer and at the heart of Christian liturgy we always find worship, honor, and praise of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. In Gloria Patri, Father Ayo examines the lesser doxology word by word, in both its various translations and the history of their combination and controversies. He adds to that an exploration of the boundless meanings of praise of the Triune God it encompasses. After reading Gloria Patri, no one can again take for granted this humble sentence.

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Gods of the Mississippi

Edited by Michael Pasquier

From the colonial period to the present, the Mississippi River has impacted religious communities from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Exploring the religious landscape along the 2,530 miles of the largest river system in North America, the essays in Gods of the Mississippi make a compelling case for American religion in motion--not just from east to west, but also from north to south. With discussion of topics such as the religions of the Black Atlantic, religion and empire, antebellum religious movements, the Mormons at Nauvoo, black religion in the delta, Catholicism in the Deep South, and Johnny Cash and religion, this volume contributes to a richer understanding of this diverse, dynamic, and fluid religious world.

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Grammar and Christianity in the Late Roman World

By Catherine M. Chin

Between the years 350 and 500 a large body of Latin artes grammaticae emerged, educational texts outlining the study of Latin grammar and attempting a systematic discussion of correct Latin usage. These texts—the most complete of which are attributed to Donatus, Charisius, Servius, Diomedes, Pompeius, and Priscian—have long been studied as documents in the history of linguistic theory and literary scholarship. In Grammar and Christianity in the Late Roman World, Catherine Chin instead finds within them an opportunity to probe the connections between religious ideology and literary culture in the later Roman Empire.

To Chin, the production and use of these texts played a decisive role both in the construction of a pre-Christian classical culture and in the construction of Christianity as a religious entity bound to a religious text. In exploring themes of utopian writing, pedagogical violence, and the narration of the self, the book describes the multiple ways literary education contributed to the idea that the Roman Empire and its inhabitants were capable of converting from one culture to another, from classical to Christian. The study thus reexamines the tensions between these two idealized cultures in antiquity by suggesting that, on a literary level, they were produced simultaneously through reading and writing techniques that were common across the empire.

In bringing together and reevaluating fundamental topics from the fields of religious studies, classics, education, and literary criticism, Grammar and Christianity in the Late Roman World offers readers from these disciplines the opportunity to reconsider the basic conditions under which religions and cultures interact.

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The Harp of Prophecy

Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms

Brian E. Daley, S.J.

The Psalms generated more biblical commentary from early Christians than any other book of the Hebrew and Christian canon. While advances have been made in our understanding of the early Christian preoccupation with this book and the traditions employed to interpret it, no study on the Psalms traditions exists that can serve as a solid academic point of entry into the field. This collection of essays by distinguished patristic and biblical scholars fills this lacuna. It not only introduces readers to the main primary sources but also addresses the unavoidable interpretive issues present in the secondary literature. The essays in The Harp of Prophecy represent some of the very best scholarly approaches to the study of early Christian exegesis, bringing new interpretations to bear on the work of influential early Christian authorities such as Athanasius, Augustine, and Basil of Caesarea. Subjects that receive detailed study include the dynamics of early Christian political power, gender expressions, and the ancient conversation between Christian, Jewish, and Greek philosophical traditions. The essays and bibliographic materials enable readers to locate and read the early Christian sources for themselves and also serve to introduce the various interdisciplinary methods and perspectives that are currently brought to bear on early Christian psalm exegesis. Students and scholars of theology and biblical studies will be led in new directions of thought and interpretation by these innovative studies.

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