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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.
This book addresses a fundamental dilemma in religious studies. Exploring the tension between humanistic and social scientific approaches to thinking and writing about religion, Daniel Gold develops a line of argument that begins with the aesthetics of academic writing in the field. He shows that successful writers on religion employ characteristic aesthetic strategies in communicating their visions of human truths. Gold examines these strategies with regard to epistemology and to the study of religion as a collective endeavor.
Old World and New
The second edition of this landmark work is enhanced by new chapters on Ogun worship in the New World. From reviews of the first edition:
"... an ethnographically rich contribution to the historical understanding of West African culture, as well as an exploration of the continued vitality of that culture in the changing environments of the Americas." -- African Studies Review
"... leav[es] the reader with a sense of the vitality, dynamism, and complexity of Ogun and the cultural contexts in which he thrives.... magnificent contribution to the literature on Ogun, Yoruba culture, African religions, and the African diaspora." -- International Journal of Historical Studies
Cure a nosebleed by holding a silver quarter on the back of the neck. Treat an earache with sweet oil drops. Wear plant roots to keep from catching colds. Within many African American families, these kinds of practices continue today, woven into the fabric of black culture, often communicated through women. Such folk practices shape the concepts about healing that are diffused throughout African American communities and are expressed in myriad ways, from faith healing to making a mojo.
Stephanie Y. Mitchem presents a fascinating study of African American healing. She sheds light on a variety of folk practices and traces their development from the time of slavery through the Great Migrations. She explores how they have continued into the present and their relationship with alternative medicines. Through conversations with black Americans, she demonstrates how herbs, charms, and rituals continue folk healing performances. Mitchem shows that these practices are not simply about healing; they are linked to expressions of faith, delineating aspects of a holistic epistemology and pointing to disjunctures between African American views of wellness and illness and those of the culture of institutional medicine.
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.
African immigration to North America has been rapidly increasing. Yet, little has been written about this significant group of immigrants and the particular religious traditions that they are transplanting on our shores, as scholars continue largely to focus instead on immigrants from Europe and Asia.
African Immigrant Religions in America focuses on new understandings and insights concerning the presence and relevance of African immigrant religious communities in the United States. It explores the profound significance of religion in the lives of immigrants and the relevance of these growing communities for U.S. social life. It describes key social and historical aspects of African immigrant religion in the U.S. and builds a conceptual framework for theory and analysis.
The volume broadens our understandings of the ways in which new immigration is changing the face of Christianity in the U.S. and adds needed breadth to the study of the black church, incorporating the experiences of African immigrant religious communities in America.
Religion, Race, Culture, and Identity
The first book to compare Cuban American and African American religiosity, Afro-Cuban Theology argues that Afro-Cuban religiosity and culture are central to understanding the Cuban and Cuban American condition. Gonzalez interprets this saturation of the Afro-Cuban as transcending race and affecting all Cubans and Cuban Americans in spite of their pigmentation or self-identification. Building on a historical overview of the intersection of race, religion, and nationhood, the author explores the manner in which devotion to La Caridad del Cobre, popular religion, and Cuban letters inform an Afro-Cuban theology.
This interdisciplinary study draws from various theological schools as well as the disciplines of history, literary studies, and ethnic studies. The primary discipline is systematic theology, with special attention to black and Latino/a theologies. Far from being disconnected subfields, they are interrelated areas within theological studies. Gonzalez provides a broad overview of the Cuban and Cuban American communities, emphasizing the manner in which the intersection of race and religion have functioned within the construction of Cuban and Cuban American identities. The Roman Catholic Church's role in this history, as well as the preservation of African religious practices and consequent formation of Afro-Cuban religions, are paramount.
Also groundbreaking is the collaborative spirit between black and Latino/a that underlines this work. The author proposes an expansion of racial identity recognizing the different cultures that exist within U.S. racial contexts--specifically a model of collaboration versus dialogue between black and Latino/a theologies.
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