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Diaspora Conversions Cover

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Diaspora Conversions

Black Carib Religion and the Recovery of Africa

Paul Christopher Johnson

By joining a diaspora, a society may begin to change its religious, ethnic, and even racial identifications by rethinking its "pasts." This pioneering multisite ethnography explores how this phenomenon is affecting the remarkable religion of the Garifuna, historically known as the Black Caribs, from the Central American coast of the Caribbean. It is estimated that one-third of the Garifuna have migrated to New York City over the past fifty years. Paul Christopher Johnson compares Garifuna spirit possession rituals performed in Honduran villages with those conducted in New York, and what emerges is a compelling picture of how the Garifuna engage ancestral spirits across multiple diasporic horizons. His study sheds new light on the ways diasporic religions around the world creatively plot itineraries of spatial memory that at once recover and remold their histories.

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Discipline, Devotion, and Dissent

Jewish, Catholic, and Islamic Schooling in Canada

The education provided by Canada’s faith-based schools is a subject of public, political, and scholarly controversy. As the population becomes more religiously diverse, the continued establishment and support of faith-based schools has reignited debates about whether they should be funded publicly and to what extent they threaten social cohesion.

These discussions tend to occur without considering a fundamental question: How do faith-based schools envision and enact their educational missions? Discipline, Devotion, and Dissent offers responses to that question by examining a selection of Canada’s Jewish, Catholic, and Islamic schools. The daily reality of these schools is illuminated through essays that address the aims and practices that characterize these schools, how they prepare their students to become citizens of a multicultural Canada, and how they respond to dissent in the classroom.

The essays in this book reveal that Canada’s faith-based schools sometimes succeed and sometimes struggle in bridging the demands of the faith and the need to create participating citizens of a multicultural society. Discussion surrounding faith-based schools in Canada would be enriched by a better understanding of the aims and practices of these schools, and this book provides a gateway to the subject.

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Divine Multiplicity

Trinities, Diversities, and the Nature of Relation

Chris Boesel

The essays in this volume ask if and how trinitarian and pluralist discourses can enter into fruitful conversation with one another. Can trinitarian conceptions of divine multiplicity open the Christian tradition to more creative and affirming visions of creaturely identities, difference, and relationality including the specific difference of religious plurality? Where might the triadic patterning evident in the Christian theological tradition have always exceeded the boundaries of Christian thought and experience? Can this help us to inhabit other religious traditions' conceptions of divine and/or creaturely reality? The volume also interrogates the possibilities of various discourses on pluralism by putting them in a concrete pluralist context and asking to what extent pluralist discourse can collect within itself a convergent diversity of orthodox, heterodox, postcolonial, process, poststructuralist, liberationist, and feminist sensibilities while avoiding irruptions of conflict, competition, or the logic of mutual exclusion.

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The Emergence of Islam

Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective

by Bariel Said Reynolds

Gabriel Said Reynolds tells the story of Islam in this brief illustrated survey, beginning with Muhammad's early life and rise to power, then tracing the origins and development of the Qur’an juxtaposed with biblical literature, and concluding with an overview of modern and fundamentalist narratives of the origin of Islam. Reynolds offers a fascinating look at the structure and meaning of the Qur'an, revealing the ways in which biblical language is used to advance the Qur'an's religious meaning. Reynolds' analysis identifies the motives that shaped each narrative—Islamic, Jewish, and Christian. The book’s conclusion yields a rich understanding of diverse interpretations of Islam’s emergence, suggesting that its emergence is itself ever-developing.

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Encounters of the Spirit

Native Americans and European Colonial Religion

Richard W. Pointer

Historians have long been aware that the encounter with Europeans affected all aspects of Native American life. But were Indians the only ones changed by these cross-cultural meetings? Might the newcomers' ways, including their religious beliefs and practices, have also been altered amid their myriad contacts with native peoples? In Encounters of the Spirit, Richard W. Pointer takes up these intriguing questions in an innovative study of the religious encounter between Indians and Euro-Americans in early America. Exploring a series of episodes across the three centuries of the colonial era and stretching from New Spain to New France and the English settlements, he finds that the flow of cultural influence was more often reciprocal than unidirectional.

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Fighting Words

Religion, Violence, and the Interpretation of Sacred Texts

John Renard

One of the critical issues in interreligious relations today is the connection, both actual and perceived, between sacred sources and the justification of violent acts as divinely mandated. Fighting Words makes solid text-based scholarship accessible to the general public, beginning with the premise that a balanced approach to religious pluralism in our world must build on a measured, well-informed response to the increasingly publicized and sensationalized association of terrorism and large-scale violence with religion.

In his introduction, Renard provides background on the major scriptures of seven religious traditions—Jewish, Christian (including both the Old and New Testaments), Islamic, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, Hindu, and Sikh. Eight chapters then explore the interpretation of select facets of these scriptures, focusing on those texts so often claimed, both historically and more recently, as inspiration and justification for every kind of violence, from individual assassination to mass murder. With its nuanced consideration of a complex topic, this book is not merely about the religious sanctioning of violence but also about diverse ways of reading sacred textual sources.

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Finding Faith, Losing Faith

Stories of Conversion and Apostasy

Scot McKnight and Hauna Ondrey

This book examines conversion stories as told by people who have actually undergone a conversion experience, including experiences of apostasy. The stories reveal that there is not just one"conversion story."Scot McKnight and Hauna Ondrey show that"conversion theory"helps explain why some people walk away from one religion, often to another, very different religion. The book confirms the usefulness-particularly for pastors, rabbis, and priests, and university and college teachers-of applying conversion theory to specific groups. However, the book's sensitive detailing of the stories themselves makes conversion more than a theoretical occurrence; it makes the immediacy, and often the difficulty, of conversion both real and moving.

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Finding God among Our Neighbors

An Interfaith Systematic Theology

By Kristin Johnson Largen

For too many students, Christian theology is learned in isolation from other religious traditions.

With this creative book, Kristin Johnston Largen places the work of Christian theology soundly within the interreligious dialogue that is the defining feature of our time. This supplemental theology text prepares students for the real task of understanding and articulating their Christian beliefs in a religiously and culturally diverse world.

Concentrating on the anchoring subjects of God, creation, and humanity, she explores these loci in the broader context of interreligious dialogue with Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam to better understand the Christian tradition. The result is a fascinating lens through which to view the essential teachings of theology, and an essential supplementary textbook for the theology classroom.

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Frithjof Schuon

Life and Teachings

The first book in English devoted to the religious philosopher Frithjof Schuon (1907–1998) to appear since his death, this biography also provides an analysis of his work and spiritual teachings. Relying on Schuon’s published works as well as unpublished correspondence and other documents, the authors highlight the originality of Schuon’s life and teachings in terms of his consistent focus on esoterism, defined as the inner penetration of sacred forms and spiritual practices vis-à-vis the religio perennis, the eternal wisdom that lies at the core of all sacred paths. Schuon’s life, they argue, is a quest for the inner meaning of religious experience, as is indicated by his connections to Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Native American Shamanism. Spiritual seekers from all backgrounds will appreciate this comprehensive study of this towering figure of comparative religion.

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The Hope of Liberation in World Religions

Miguel A. De La Torre, editor

Liberation theology emphasizes the Christian mission to bring justice to the poor and oppressed. As a part of Christian theology, liberation theology has been most frequently associated with the Catholic Church in Latin America. This groundbreaking work seeks to identify how the theological concepts of liberation theology might be manifested within other world faith traditions.





This is thus the first book that attempts to find a “common ground” for liberation theology across religions. All of the contributors are scholars who share the religion or belief system they describe. Throughout, they endeavor to articulate liberationist concepts from the perspective of those who have been marginalized.

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