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Chosen among Women

Mary and Fatima in Medieval Christianity and Shi`ite Islam

Mary F. Thurlkill

Chosen among Women: Mary and Fatima in Medieval Christianity and Shi`ite Islam combines historical analysis with the tools of gender studies and religious studies to compare the roles of the Virgin Mary in medieval Christianity with those of Fatima, daughter of the prophet Muhammad, in Shi`ite Islam. The book explores the proliferation of Marian imagery in Late Antiquity through the Church fathers and popular hagiography. It examines how Merovingian authors assimilated powerful queens and abbesses to a Marian prototype to articulate their political significance and, at the same time, censure holy women's public charisma. Mary Thurlkill focuses as well on the importance of Fatima in the evolution of Shi`ite identity throughout the Middle East. She examines how scholars such as Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi advertised Fatima as a symbol of the Shi`ite holy family and its glorified status in paradise, while simultaneously binding her as a mother to the domestic sphere and patriarchal authority. This important comparative look at feminine ideals in both Shi`ite Islam and medieval Christianity is of relevance and value in the modern world. It will be welcomed by scholars and students of Islam, comparative religion, medieval Christianity, and gender studies.

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Christian Lives Given to the Study of Islam

Christian W. Troll

This book captures the autobiographical reflections of twenty-eight Christian men and women who, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, committed their lives to the study of Islam and to practical Christian-Muslim relations in new and irenic ways. Their contributions come from across the spectrum of the Western church and record what drew them into the study of Islam. Their accounts take us to twenty-five countries and into all the branches of Islamic studies: Qur'an, Hadith, Shari'a, Sufism, philology, theology, and philosophy. They give fascinating insights into personal encounters with Islam and Muslims, speak of the ways in which their Christian traditions of spiritual training formed and nourished them, and deal with some of the misunderstandings and opposition they have faced along the way.

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Comparative Perspectives on Judaisms and Jewish Identities

Stephen Sharot

In Comparative Perspectives on Judaisms and Jewish Identities author Stephen Sharot uses his work published in journals and collected volumes over the past thirty-five years to examine a range of Jewish communities across both time and geography. Sharot’s sociological analyses consider religious developments and identities in diverse Jewish communities from Imperial China and Renaissance Italy to contemporary Israel and the United States. As Sharot examines these groups, other religions enter into the discussion as well, not only as major elements in the environments of Jewish communities but also with respect to certain religious phenomena that too have been present in Judaism. The book is divided into four parts: the first compares religious developments in pre-modern and early modern Jewish communities; the second focuses on Jewish religious movements, especially messianic-millennial and antinomian, in the pre-modern and early modern period; the third examines Jewish religious and ethnic identities in the modern period; and the fourth relates developments in Judaism in the modern period to theoretical debates on secularization, fundamentalism, and public religion in the sociology of religion. The afterword sums up the findings of the previous sections and compares the boundaries and boundary shifts among Jewish communities. As the plural “Judaisms” in the title indicates, Sharot discusses extensive differences in the religious characteristics between Jewish communities. Scholars of religion and sociology will appreciate this informative and fascinating volume.

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Comparative Religious Ethics

Everyday Decisions for Our Everyday Lives

by Christine E. Gudorf

The study of comparative religious ethics is at a critical juncture, given the growing awareness of non-Christian ethical beliefs and practices and their bearing on social change. Christine Gudorf is at the forefront of rendering comparative—and competing—religious beliefs meaningful for students, especially in the area of ethics.

Unlike other texts, Gudorf's work focuses on common, everyday issues—including food and diet, work, sex and marriage, proper dress, anger and violence, charity, family, and infirmity and the elderly—while drawing out ethical implications of each and demonstrating how different religious traditions prescribe rules for action. An introductory chapter reviews standard ethical theory and core elements of comparative religious analysis. Each chapter opens with a riveting real-life case and shows how religious ethics can shed light on how to handle the larger issues, without determining for the reader what a proper ethical response might be.

Helpful pedagogy, including summaries, questions, and list of readings, along with special chapter features, charts and photographs and a glossary, combine to make this new text most suitable for the wide array of courses in comparative religious ethics.

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A Comparative Sociology of World Religions

Virtuosi, Priests, and Popular Religion

Stephen Sharot

A Sociology of World Religions presents a comparative analysis of the world's religions, focusing on the differences and interrelationships between religious elites and lay masses. In each case the volume contextualizes how the relationships between these two religious forms fit within, and are influenced by, the wider socio-political environment.

After introducing the book's major themes, the volume introduces and builds upon an analysis of Weber's model of religious action, drawing on Durkheim, Marxist scholars, and the work of contemporary sociologists and anthropolgists. The following chapters each focus on major religious cultures, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, and the religions of China and Japan. This ambitious project is the first to offer a comparison of the popular, or folk, forms of religion around the world.

Sharot's accessible introductions to each of the world religions, synthesizing a vast literature on popular religion from sociology, anthropology, and historians of religion, make the project ideal for course use. His comparative approach and original analyses will prove rewarding even for experts on each of the world religions.

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A Comparative Study of Religions

Second Edition

J.N.K. Mugambi

This books is the result of concerted teamwork among the academia staff of the Department of Religious Studies, University of Nairobi between 1986 and 1990. The Project was prompted by the necessity to produce relevant and comprehensive textbooks for the undergraduate degree programme. The book has remained in demand, confirming the relevance and quality of its content covering the whole range of major religions of the world with extensive geographical and historical acope. It includes a specific section on African Religion, thus placing the African Religious Heritage within the mainstream of the comparative study of the world�s religions.

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Competition in Religious Life

Jay Newman

In his latest work on the social consequences of religious commitment, Jay Newman reveals in clear and concise fashion the extent to which competitiveness is an essential feature of religious life. His assessment charts various classical strategies that have been proposed for either eliminating such competitiveness or directing it into appropriate channels. After a detailed philosophical analysis of the nature and value of competition, the author examines competition between denominations and within denominations, and considers religious competition in some of its less obvious forms.

In the process of evaluating the methods for curbing religious competition advocated by such thinkers as Spinoza and Lessing, as well as by modern ecumenists, the author points the way to a general approach to religious competition that minimizes destructive religious conflicts without ignoring the positive value of religious competition.

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Confucianism and Christianity

The First Encounter

John D. Young

The book centres around a major theme: the first 'confrontation' between the Supreme Ultimate (or T'ien) of the Confucian cosmological order and the Christian anthropomorphic God as conveyed to the Chinese literati by the Western missionaries.

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Constructing Civility

The Human Good in Christian and Islamic Political Theologies

Richard S. Park

In Constructing Civility, Richard Park bridges Christian and Islamic political theologies on the basis of an Aristotelian ethics. He argues that modern secularism entails ideological commitments that can work against the promotion of public civility in pluralistic societies. A corrective outlook on public life and the public sphere is necessary, an outlook that aligns with and recovers the notion of the human good. Park develops a framework for a universally applicable public civility in multifaith and multicultural contexts by engaging the central concepts of the "image of God" (imago Dei) and "human nature" (fitra) in Roman Catholicism and Islam.
The study begins with a critique of the social fragmentation and decline of public life found in modernity. Park's central contention is that the construction of public civility within Christian and Islamic political theologies is more promising and sustainable if it is reframed in terms of the human good rather than the common good. The book offers an illustration of the proposed framework of public civility in Mindanao, Philippines, an area that represents one of the longest-standing conflicts between Christian and Muslim communities. Park's sophisticated treatment brings together theology, philosophy, religious studies, intellectual history, and political theory, and will appeal to scholars in all of those fields.

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Daring to Embrace the Other:

Franciscans and Muslims in Dialogue

This volume contains presentations by Michael F. Cusato, Michael D. Calabria, Robert Lentz, Irfan A. Omar and Madge Karecki originally given at the 7th Franciscan Forum held at Colorado Springs, June 2007.

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