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Religion > Mystical and Esoteric Traditions

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God after Metaphysics Cover

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God after Metaphysics

A Theological Aesthetic

John Panteleimon Manoussakis

While philosophy believes it is impossible to have an experience of God without the senses, theology claims that such an experience is possible, though potentially idolatrous. In this engagingly creative book, John Panteleimon Manoussakis ends the impasse by proposing an aesthetic allowing for a sensuous experience of God that is not subordinated to imposed categories or concepts. Manoussakis draws upon the theological traditions of the Eastern Church, including patristic and liturgical resources, to build a theological aesthetic founded on the inverted gaze of icons, the augmented language of hymns, and the reciprocity of touch. Manoussakis explores how a relational interpretation of being develops a fuller and more meaningful view of the phenomenology of religious experience beyond metaphysics and onto-theology.

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The Golden Cord

A Short Book on the Secular and the Sacred

Charles Taliaferro

The title of Charles Taliaferro’s book is derived from poems and stories in which a person in peril or on a quest must follow a cord or string in order to find the way to happiness, safety, or home. In one of the most famous of such tales, the ancient Greek hero Theseus follows the string given him by Ariadne to mark his way in and out of the Minotaur’s labyrinth. William Blake's poem “Jerusalem” uses the metaphor of a golden string, which, if followed, will lead one to heaven itself. Taliaferro extends Blake’s metaphor to illustrate the ways we can link what we see, feel, and do with deep spiritual realities. Taliaferro offers a foundational case for the recognition of the experience of the eternal God of Christianity, in which God is understood as the fount of all goodness and the subject and object of our best love, revealed through scripture, tradition, philosophical reflection, and encountered in everyday events. He addresses philosophical obstacles to the recognition of such experiences, especially objections from the “new atheists,” and explores the values involved in thinking and experiencing God as eternal. These include the belief that the eternal goodness of God subordinates temporal goods, such as the pursuit of fame and earthly glory; that God is the essence of life; and that the eternal God hallows domestic goods, blessing the everyday goods of ordinary life. An exploration of the moral and spiritual riches of the Christian tradition as an alternative to materialism and naturalism, The Golden Cord brings an originality and depth to the debate in accessible and engaging prose.

Haunted Houses and Family Ghosts of Kentucky Cover

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Haunted Houses and Family Ghosts of Kentucky

William Montell

" An all-new collection of amazing ghost stories from the author of the bestselling Ghosts across Kentucky . Kentucky has a rich legacy of ghostly visitations. Lynwood Montell has harvested dozens of tales of haunted houses and family ghosts from all over the Bluegrass state. Many of the stories were collected from elders by young people and are recounted exactly as they were gathered. Haunted Houses and Family Ghosts of Kentucky includes chilling tales such as that of the Tan Man of Pike County, who trudges invisibly through a house accompanied by the smell of roses, and the famed Gray Lady of Liberty Hall in Frankfort, a houseguest who never left. Montell tells the story of a stormy night, shortly before Henry Clay’s death, when the ghost of the statesman’s old friend Daniel Boone calls upon him, and then recounts the more modern story of the ghouls that haunt the rehearsal house of the band The Kentucky Headhunters. Included are accounts of haunted libraries, mansions, bedrooms, log cabins, bathrooms, college campuses, apartments, furniture, hotels, and distilleries, as well as reports of eerie visitations from ghostly grandmothers, husbands, daughters, uncles, cousins, babies, slaves, Civil War soldiers, dogs, sheep, and even wildcats. Almost all of Kentucky’s 120 counties are represented. Though the book emphasizes the stories themselves, Montell offers an introduction discussing how local history, local character, and local flavor are communicated across the generations in these colorful stories. William Lynwood Montell, emeritus professor of folk studies at Western Kentucky University, is the author of several books, including Ghosts across Kentucky, Killings, Kentucky Ghosts, Singing the Glory Down , Kentucky Folk Architecture, and Tales from Kentucky Lawyers . He lives in Oakland, Kentucky.

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In Solitude and Dialogue

Contemporary Franciscans Theologize

Anthony M. Carrozzo, OFM

Seven articles explore different aspects of the contemplative experience of contemporary Franciscan theology. The foundation for the essays is Francis’s Rule for Hermitages; the texts emerged from the desire of mature Franciscans to describe the call to pray in community and share their own intellectual journeys. Contributors include R. Duffy, OFM.; J. Mueller, OSF; J. Burkhard, OFM Conv.; and G. Ühlein, OSF.

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The Journey of the Soul into God

Itinerarium Mentis in Deum

Edited by Philotheus Boehner, OFM and Zachary Hayes, OFM

This new translation of The Journey of the Soul into God - Itinerarium Mentis in Deum - signals a milestone in Bonaventurian scholarship in North America. Based on the famed 1956 Boehner edition, this volume presents the text with a new inclusive-language translation, authoritative notes by Boehner with a new translation of their Latin content, plus the Latin text of the critical edition interfaced with the English text.

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Julian of Norwich and the Mystical Body Politic of Christ

Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt

In May 1373, the English mystic Julian of Norwich was healed of a serious illness after experiencing a series of visions of the Blessed Virgin and of Christ’s suffering. Her account, A Revelation of Love, is considered one of the most remarkable documents of medieval religious experience. In Julian of Norwich and the Mystical Body Politic of Christ, Frederick Bauerschmidt provides a close and historically sensitive reading of Julian’s Revelation of Love that addresses the relationship between our understanding of God and our vision of human community. By locating Julian’s images of Christ’s body within the context of late medieval debates over the nature and extent of divine power, Bauerschmidt argues that Julian presents an alternative account of divine power in which the crucified body of Christ becomes the locus and shape of divine omnipotence. For Julian, divine power serves as the norm of all human exercise of power, rendering the possibility of the “mystical body politic of Christ” as the exemplary form of human community. In this reading, the theological is irreducibly political and the political is irreducibly theological. As such, Bauerschmidt shows Julian to be both a theologian of the first rank and one who “imagines the political.”

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Kentucky Hauntings

Homespun Ghost Stories and Unexplained History

Roberta Simpson Brown and Lonnie E. Brown

More than evoking chills down the spine and cautious glances over one's shoulder, spooky stories create lasting bonds and memories between friends and family. The tradition of storytelling ties generations together with exciting new tales and familiar folklore that has sparked superstitions and legends.

In Kentucky Hauntings: Homespun Ghost Stories and Unexplained History, beloved storytellers Roberta Simpson Brown and Lonnie E. Brown present a thrilling collection of paranormal tales that will appeal to anyone looking for a friendly scare. Weaving together factual accounts of unexplained events, peculiar headlines, and local legends passed down from a time when most homes lacked electricity, Kentucky Hauntings combines stories with commentary on historic customs. From "telling the bees" about a death in the family, to a friendly "fool's errand" practical joke gone horribly wrong, and from terrifying haunted houses to the lifesaving "Bathtub Ghost," readers are transported to a world of age-old superstitions and paranormal experiences. Whether shared around the fire on a crisp autumn night or whispered in a huddle of close friends at a summer sleepover, these eerie stories will thrill and excite anyone who loves a good scare.

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A Kingdom of Stargazers

Astrology and Authority in the Late Medieval Crown of Aragon

Astrology in the Middle Ages was considered a branch of the magical arts, one informed by Jewish and Muslim scientific knowledge in Muslim Spain. As such it was deeply troubling to some Church authorities. Using the stars and planets to divine the future ran counter to the orthodox Christian notion that human beings have free will, and some clerical authorities argued that it almost certainly entailed the summoning of spiritual forces considered diabolical. We know that occult beliefs and practices became widespread in the later Middle Ages, but there is much about the phenomenon that we do not understand. For instance, how deeply did occult beliefs penetrate courtly culture and what exactly did those in positions of power hope to gain by interacting with the occult? In A Kingdom of Stargazers, Michael A. Ryan examines the interest in astrology in the Iberian kingdom of Aragon, where ideas about magic and the occult were deeply intertwined with notions of power, authority, and providence.

Ryan focuses on the reigns of Pere III (1336-1387) and his sons Joan I (1387-1395) and Martí I (1395-1410). Pere and Joan spent lavish amounts of money on astrological writings, and astrologers held great sway within their courts. When Martí I took the throne, however, he was determined to purge Joan's courtiers and return to religious orthodoxy. As Ryan shows, the appeal of astrology to those in power was clear: predicting the future through divination was a valuable tool for addressing the extraordinary problems-political, religious, demographic-plaguing Europe in the fourteenth century. Meanwhile, the kings' contemporaries within the noble, ecclesiastical, and mercantile elite had their own reasons for wanting to know what the future held, but their engagement with the occult was directly related to the amount of power and authority the monarch exhibited and applied. A Kingdom of Stargazers joins a growing body of scholarship that explores the mixing of religious and magical ideas in the late Middle Ages.

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Laboratories of Faith

Mesmerism, Spiritism, and Occultism in Modern France

At a fascinating moment in French intellectual history, an interest in matters occult was not equivalent to a rejection of scientific thought; participants in séances and magic rituals were seekers after experimental data as well as spiritual truth. A young astronomy student wrote of his quest: "I am not in the presence or under the influence of any evil spirit: I study Spiritism as I study mathematics." He did not see himself as an ecstatic visionary but rather as a sober observer. For him, the darkened room of occult practice was as much laboratory as church.

In an evocative history of alternative religious practices in France in the second half of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, John Warne Monroe tells the interconnected stories of three movements-Mesmerism, Spiritism, and Occultism. Adherents of these groups, Monroe reveals, attempted to "modernize" faith by providing empirical support for metaphysical concepts. Instead of trusting theological speculation about the nature of the soul, these believers attempted to gather tangible evidence through Mesmeric experiments, séances, and ceremonial magic. While few French people were active Mesmerists, Spiritists, or Occultists, large segments of the educated general public were familiar with these movements and often regarded them as fascinating expressions of the "modern condition," a notable contrast to the Catholicism and secular materialism that prevailed in their culture.

Featuring eerie spirit photographs, amusing Daumier lithographs, and a posthumous autograph from Voltaire, as well as extensive documentary evidence, Laboratories of Faith gives readers a sense of what being in a séance or a secret-society ritual might actually have felt like and why these feelings attracted participants. While they never achieved the transformation of human consciousness for which they strove, these thinkers and believers nevertheless pioneered a way of "being religious" that has become an enduring part of the Western cultural vocabulary.

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Lake Monster Mysteries

Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures

Benjamin Radford

For centuries, eyewitnesses around the world—from America to Africa, Argentina to Scotland—have reported sightings of dark, mysterious creatures in area lakes that surface briefly, only to quickly disappear. While the most famous lake monsters of Loch Ness and Lake Champlain have gained international notoriety, hundreds of lakes around the world are said to shelter these shadowy creatures. Lake Monster Mysteries is the first book to examine these widespread mysteries from a scientific perspective. By using exhaustive research and results from firsthand investigations to help separate truth from myth, the authors foster our understanding of what really lurks in the cold, murky depths. Benjamin Radford and Joe Nickell are considered to be among the top lake monster authorities in the world. Here they share unique insights into many of the world’s best-known lake monsters. They interview witnesses and local experts and discuss the different types of lake monster sightings, delve into possible explanations for those sightings, and examine hoaxes, evidence claims, and legends surrounding the monsters. The authors have also conducted groundbreaking fieldwork and experiments at the lakes and have examined recent photographic and sonar evidence. Incorporating newly-revealed information and up-to-date developments in the cases they present, professional monster hunters Radford and Nickell plunge into both the cultural histories of these creatures and the scientific inquiries that may hold the key to these mysteries.

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