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Judaism in Christian Painting, Poetry, and Politics
Throughout most of Western European history, Jews have been a numerically tiny or entirely absent minority, but across that history Europeans have nonetheless worried a great deal about Judaism. Why should that be so? This short but powerfully argued book suggests that Christian anxieties about their own transcendent ideals made Judaism an important tool for Christianity, as an apocalyptic religion—characterized by prizing soul over flesh, the spiritual over the literal, the heavenly over the physical world—came to terms with the inescapable importance of body, language, and material things in this world.
Nirenberg shows how turning the Jew into a personification of worldly over spiritual concerns, surface over inner meaning, allowed cultures inclined toward transcendence to understand even their most materialistic practices as spiritual. Focusing on art, poetry, and politics—three activities especially condemned as worldly in early Christian culture—he reveals how, over the past two thousand years, these activities nevertheless expanded the potential for their own existence within Christian culture because they were used to represent Judaism. Nirenberg draws on an astonishingly diverse collection of poets, painters, preachers, philosophers, and politicians to reconstruct the roles played by representations of Jewish “enemies” in the creation of Western art, culture, and politics, from the ancient world to the present day.
This erudite and tightly argued survey of the ways in which Christian cultures have created themselves by thinking about Judaism will appeal to the broadest range of scholars of religion, art, literature, political theory, media theory, and the history of Western civilization more generally.
Confronting an Identity Problem
This is a timely book on the contemporary African priesthood. Just as in other parts of the globe, the African priesthood currently faces a serious crisis of identity. The unfolding crisis puts stress on the clerics and augments the tension with lay people. The model of the Church-as-Family of God opted for by the Church in Africa is a new milestone that puts pressure on Catholic priests to define their role in the new context. The identity and image of priests need to be specified as lay ministries render the Church active from the grassroots. Reflection about the ministry of the clergy in Africa is urgent, and indeed it is an important aspect of enculturation. Nyenyembe demonstrates an admirable capacity to situate his rich theological reflections in an African context.
The Stranger Within
ëWhat makes African Christianity Christian?í, ëwhat is the mission of the African church?í, ëWhat is the theology of the African church?í and, ëWhat is the future of the Church in Africa or more precisely of African Christianity?í Professor Galgalo gives a critical analysis of Christianity in Africa from historical, theological and sociological perspectives.
Black Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in History and Culture
In 2006, the contemporary American Pentecostal movement celebrated its 100th birthday. Over that time, its African American sector has been markedly influential, not only vis-à-vis other branches of Pentecostalism but also throughout the Christian church. Black Christians have been integrally involved in every aspect of the Pentecostal movement since its inception and have made significant contributions to its founding as well as the evolution of Pentecostal/charismatic styles of worship, preaching, music, engagement of social issues, and theology. Yet despite its being one of the fastest growing segments of the Black Church, Afro-Pentecostalism has not received the kind of critical attention it deserves.
Afro-Pentecostalism brings together fourteen interdisciplinary scholars to examine different facets of the movement, including its early history, issues of gender, relations with other black denominations, intersections with popular culture, and missionary activities, as well as the movement’s distinctive theology. Bolstered by editorial introductions to each section, the chapters reflect on the state of the movement, chart its trajectories, discuss pertinent issues, and anticipate future developments.
Contributors: Estrelda Y. Alexander, Valerie C. Cooper, David D. Daniels III, Louis B. Gallien, Jr., Clarence E. Hardy III, Dale T. Irvin, Ogbu U. Kalu, Leonard Lovett, Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., Cheryl J. Sanders, Craig Scandrett-Leatherman, William C. Turner, Jr., Frederick L. Ware, and Amos Yong
Mennonite Writing in North America
For decades, the field of Mennonite literature has been dominated by the question of Mennonite identity. After Identity interrogates this prolonged preoccupation and explores the potential to move beyond it to a truly post-identity Mennonite literature.
The twelve essays collected here view Mennonite writing as transitioning beyond a tradition concerned primarily with defining itself and its cultural milieu. What this means for the future of Mennonite literature and its attendant criticism is the question at the heart of this volume. Contributors explore the histories and contexts—as well as the gaps—that have informed and diverted the perennial focus on identity in Mennonite literature, even as that identity is reread, reframed, and expanded.
After Identity is a timely reappraisal of the Mennonite literature of Canada and the United States at the very moment when that literature seems ready to progress into a new era.
In addition to the editor, the contributors are Ervin Beck, Di Brandt, Daniel Shank Cruz, Jeff Gundy, Ann Hostetler, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Royden Loewen, Jesse Nathan, Magdalene Redekop, Hildi Froese Tiessen, and Paul Tiessen.
How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion
Much has been written about the profound impact the post-World War II baby boomers had on American religion. But the lifestyles and beliefs of the generation that has followed--and the influence these younger Americans in their twenties and thirties are having on the face of religion--are not so well understood. It is this next wave of post-boomers that Robert Wuthnow examines in this illuminating book.
What are their churchgoing habits and spiritual interests and needs? How does their faith affect their families, their communities, and their politics? Interpreting new evidence from scores of in-depth interviews and surveys, Wuthnow reveals a generation of younger adults who, unlike the baby boomers that preceded them, are taking their time establishing themselves in careers, getting married, starting families of their own, and settling down--resulting in an estimated six million fewer regular churchgoers. He shows how the recent growth in evangelicalism is tapering off, and traces how biblical literalism, while still popular, is becoming less dogmatic and more preoccupied with practical guidance. At the same time, Wuthnow explains how conflicts between religious liberals and conservatives continue--including among new immigrant groups such as Hispanics and Asians--and how in the absence of institutional support many post-boomers have taken a more individualistic, improvised approach to spirituality. Wuthnow's fascinating analysis also explores the impacts of the Internet and so-called virtual churches, and the appeal of megachurches.
After the Baby Boomers offers us a tantalizing look at the future of American religion for decades to come.
Theology, Philosophy, and the Question of Life After Death
In After We Die, philosopher Stephen T. Davis subjects one of Christianity’s key beliefs—that Christians not only will survive death but also will enjoy bodily resurrection—to searching philosophical analysis. Facing each critique squarely, Davis contends that traditional, historic belief about the eschatological future is philosophically defensible. Davis examines personal extinction, reincarnation, and immortality of the soul. By juxtaposing two systems of salvation—reincarnation/karma and resurrection/grace—Davis explores the Christian claim that humans will be raised from the dead, as well as the radical Christian assertions of Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and long-anticipated return. Davis finally addresses Christian thinking about heaven, hell, and purgatory. The philosophical defense of Christianity’s core beliefs enables Davis to render a reasonable answer to the eternal question of what happens to us after we die. After We Die is essential reading for teachers and students of philosophy, theology, and Bible, as well as anyone interested in a reasoned analysis of historic Christian faith, particularly as it pertains to the inevitable end of each and every human being.
The Return of the Dead in the Middle Ages
Simultaneously real and unreal, the dead are people, yet they are not. The society of medieval Europe developed a rich set of imaginative traditions about death and the afterlife, using the dead as a point of entry for thinking about the self, regeneration, and loss. These macabre preoccupations are evident in the widespread popularity of stories about the returned dead, who interacted with the living both as disembodied spirits and as living corpses or revenants. In Afterlives, Nancy Mandeville Caciola explores this extraordinary phenomenon of the living's relationship with the dead in Europe during the five hundred years after the year 1000.
Caciola considers both Christian and pagan beliefs, showing how certain traditions survived and evolved over time, and how attitudes both diverged and overlapped through different contexts and social strata. As she shows, the intersection of Christian eschatology with various pagan afterlife imaginings—from the classical paganisms of the Mediterranean to the Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, and Scandinavian paganisms indigenous to northern Europe—brought new cultural values about the dead into the Christian fold as Christianity spread across Europe. Indeed, the Church proved surprisingly open to these influences, absorbing new images of death and afterlife in unpredictable fashion. Over time, however, the persistence of regional cultures and beliefs would be counterbalanced by the effects of an increasingly centralized Church hierarchy. Through it all, one thing remained constant: the deep desire in medieval people to bring together the living and the dead into a single community enduring across the generations.
In Against Julian Augustine stresses in the first two books the traditional teachings of the Church found in the Fathers and contrasts their teaching with the rationalism of the Pelagians