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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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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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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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