It is a frequent complaint that women have been airbrushed out of history, their contributions forgotten, their voices silenced. In this superbly written book, historian Derek Wilson redresses the balance, showing how women were crucial to the Reformation. Working alongside men - and sometimes in opposition to them - women were able to study, to speak, to write, to struggle and even to die for what they believed, and to leave behind a record of all these achievements. From Catharina Luther, through English martyr Anne Askew to Elizabeth I and onwards out into Europe - this book reveals the rich threads women brought to the tapestry of history.
What words come to mind when we think of God? Merciful? Just? Compassionate? In fact, the Bible lays out God's primary qualities clearly: jealous, petty, unforgiving, bloodthirsty, vindictive - and worse. Originally conceived as a joint presentation between influential thinker and bestselling author Richard Dawkins and former evangelical preacher Dan Barker, this unique book provides an investigation into what may be the most unpleasant character in all fiction. Barker combs through both the Old and New Testament, presenting powerful evidence for why the Scripture shouldn't govern our everyday lives and arguing that we should move past the Bible and clear a path to a kinder and more thoughtful world.
Drawing on the story of the seventh-century Chinese monk Shenxiu, Will Johnson offers meditation exercises to create a mind like a mirror, cleansing it of obscuring layers of worry and emotion to literally see things as they are, not just how we perceive them to be. He explains how to awaken your body to the sensations we learn to ignore when we lose ourselves in thought and tense ourselves in ways that stifle the body's vibrancy. He offers meditative techniques to silence the projections of the mind and enter into a condition of ecstatic mindfulness. He details gazing practices, such as sky gazing, eye gazing, and mirror gazing, to cleanse our vision and remove whatever is distorting our perceptions. Through this new kind of seeing, divisions between your inner and outer world start to drop away. You begin to experience an intimate connectivity to the world you look out onto. By cleansing the mirror of the mind, we can come out of the dreams of who we think we are and awaken into our true, essential nature.
The best known Buddhist teachers on the planet all have something in common - they are excellent communicators. This is not by accident, as the Buddha taught what are called the four elements of right speech over 2,600 years ago. In this unique book, qualified meditation and mindfulness instructor, Cynthia Kane, has taken the four elements of right speech and developed them into a modern practice based on mindful listening, mindful speech and mindful silence. Beginning with an illuminating self-test to assess your current communication style, this book will take you through the author's own five-step practice that is designed to help you: * Listen to yourself (your internal and external words) * Listen to others * Speak consciously, concisely, and clearly * Regard silence as a part of speech * Meditate to enhance your communication skills If you have ever felt misheard, have trouble stating how you feel or long to have more meaningful and genuine conversations, this book can help. The simple steps outlined in this book will have a huge effect on how you communicate with others and yourself. Communication is essential to being human and when you become better at it, your personal truth becomes clearer, your relationships improve and the result is that you experience more peace and harmony in your life.
The classic thirteenth-century collection of Zen koans with one of the most accessible commentaries to date, from a Chinese Zen teacher. Gateways to awakening surround us at every moment of our lives. The whole purpose of k an ( gong an, in Chinese) practice is to keep us from missing these myriad opportunities by leading us to certain gates that have traditionally been effective for people to access that marvelous awakening. The forty-eight k ans of the Gateless Barrier (Chinese: Wumenguan ; Japanese: Mumonkan ) have been waking people up for well over eight hundred years. Chan teacher Guo Gu provides here a fresh translation of the classic text, along with the first English commentary by a teacher of the Chinese tradition from which it originated. He shows that the k ans in this text are not mere stories from a distant past, but are rather pointers to the places in our lives where we get stuck and that each sticking point, when examined, can become a gateless barrier through which we can enter into profound wisdom.
Bringing together stories and insights from the Buddha’s teachings and combining them with evocative imagery, this essential collection is the perfect inspiration for relaxation in hectic modern life.
Teachings of the Buddha reflects the rich diversity of Buddhist traditions, while concentrating in particular on the Pali canon, which contains the Dhammapada. Also included are extracts from the later Mahayana sutras, traditional Buddhist tales and fascinating koans (riddles) from Zen masters. Introductory passages of commentary illuminating key meanings. The book’s ten chapters mirror stages of the Buddha’s healing role, from diagnosis (starting with the chain of causation) to cure (ending with enlightenment).
Rooted in knowledge acquired thousands of years ago in the foothills of the Himalayas, the insights of the Buddha remain just as relevant today, because the issues we encounter in our search for true happiness are universal and timeless.
Translated by F Max-Muller, revised and with an Introduction by Suren Navlakha. Upanishads are mankind's oldest works of philosophy, predating the earliest Greek philosophy. They are the concluding part of the Vedas, the ancient Indian sacred literature, and mark the culmination of a tradition of speculative thought first expressed in the Rig-Veda more than 4000 years ago. Remarkable for their meditative depth, spirit of doubt and intellectual honesty, the Upanishads are concerned with the knowledge of the Brahman, the Ultimate Reality, and Man's relationship with it. The name Upanishad is derived from the face-to-face mode of imparting knowledge - in the utmost sanctity and secrecy, to prevent its trivialisation or perversion. Composed in Sanskrit between 900 and 600 BC, the Upanishads presented here are by far the oldest and most important of those that exist. Twelve were first translated more than a hundred years ago, and have been extensively revised and edited. The thirteenth is an entirely new translation by Suren Navlakha.
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come? The end of life has never meant the extinction of hope. People perpetually have yearned for, and often been terrified by, continuance beyond the horizon of mortality. Ranging across time and space, Philip Almond here takes his readers on a remarkable journey to worlds both of torment and delight. He travels to the banks of the Styx, where Charon the grizzled boatman ferries a departing spirit across the river only if a gold obol is first placed for payment on the tongue of its corpse. He transports us to the legendary Isles of the Blessed, walks the hallowed ground of the Elysian Fields and plumbs the murky depths of Tartarus, primordial dungeon of the Titans. The pitiable souls of the damned are seen to clog the soot-filled caverns of Lucifer even as the elect ascend to Paradise. Including medieval fears for the fate of those consumed by cannibals, early modern ideas about the Last Day and modern scientific explorations of the domains of the dead, this first full treatment of the afterlife in Western thought evokes many rich imaginings of Heaven, Hell, Purgatory and Limbo.
In Islamic Exceptionalism, Brookings Institution scholar and acclaimed author Shadi Hamid offers a novel and provocative argument on how Islam is, in fact, exceptional in how it relates to politics, with profound implications for how we understand the Middle East. With unprecedented access and drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews with lslamist activists and leaders across the region, Hamid argues for a new understanding of how Islam and lslamism shape politics and how the practice of politics shapes Islam. Despite the hopes of the Arab Spring, ideological and religious polarisation has actually worsened. Divides among citizens aren't just about power but are instead products of fundamental disagreements over the very nature and purpose of the modern nation state. Offering a panoramic and ambitious interpretation of the region's descent into violence, The Last Caliphate is a vital contribution to our understanding of Islam's past and present, and its central role in the struggle over the future of the Middle East.
Assuming no prior knowledge, The Qur'an: A Philosophical Guide is the first balanced introduction to the Qur'an from a philosophical point of view.
Oliver Leaman's guide begins by familiarizing the readers with the core theories and controversies surrounding the text. Covering key theoretical approaches and focusing on its style and language, Leaman introduces the Qur'an as an aesthetic object and as an organization; discusses the influence of the Qur'an on politics and covers its numerous interpreters from the modernizers and popularizers to the radicals.
He presents a close reading of the Qur'an as a whole, carefully and clearly presenting every form of philosophical interpretation verse-by-verse. Explaining what the philosopher is arguing, relating the argument to a particular verse, and providing the reader with the means to be part of the discussion, this section includes:
-Translated extracts from the text
-A range of national backgrounds and different cultural and historic contexts spanning the classical and modern period, the Middle East, Europe and North America
-Philosophical interpretations ranging from the most Islamophobe to the extreme apologist
-A variety of schools of thought and philosophers such as Peripatetic, Illuminationist, Sufi, deconstructionist and postmodernist.
Written with clarity and authority and showing the distinct ways a variety of thinkers have sought to understand the text,The Qur'an: A Philosophical Guide introduces readers to the value of interpreting the Qur'an philosophically.
The Sociology of Islam provides an accessible introduction to this emerging field of inquiry, teaching and debate. The study is located at the crucial intersection between a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities. It discusses the long-term dynamics of Islam as both a religion and as a social, political and cultural force. The volume focuses on ideas of knowledge, power and civility to provide students and readers with analytic and critical thinking frameworks for understanding the complex social facets of Islamic traditions and institutions. The study of the sociology of Islam improves the understanding of Islam as a diverse force that drives a variety of social and political arrangements. Delving into both conceptual questions and historical interpretations, The Sociology of Islam is a transdisciplinary, comparative resource for students, scholars, and policy makers seeking to understand Islam s complex changes throughout history and its impact on the modern world.
How has Christ been seen for the last two millennia? From the Christ of the Gospels to the Isa of Islam, this book explores the way Jesus Christ has been viewed, described, promoted, opposed and written about. What did the word 'Christ' mean in the first century, and how did it resonate with the politics and religion of the time? And beyond that, how was Jesus seen in the New Testament, and then onto the time of the Desert Fathers? What of the heretical Christs - and who decided, and why?
And from the 2nd century onwards, people started to draw and to paint images of Christ - how did this change and develop? The book then traces the history of Christ through the militant leader of the Crusaders, via the multi-faceted Christ of the Middle Ages, and the opposing views of Him thrown up by the Reformation and the wars that followed. Finally, the authors consider the Christ of the technological age and the age of total war, before looking also at the Christ of Liberation Theology, Marxism, the Developing world, the Dalits, other faiths, and the Post-modern Christ of the 21st century.
Bible stories: Martin Luther s revolutionary publicationMartin Luther s Bible, first printed in 1534, was not only a milestone for the printing press, but also a momentous event in world history. A UNESCO world heritage masterpiece, Luther s translation from Hebrew and ancient Greek into German made the Bible accessible to laypeople for the first time and gave printed reference to a whole new branch of Christian faith Protestantism.In this meticulous two-volume reprint, TASCHEN presents both the Old and New Testaments of Luther s landmark publication. Based on a precious copy of the original and printed in color, it reveals the multilayered splendor of this bible, showcasing the meticulous script, elaborate initials, and exquisite color woodcuts from the workshop of Lucas Cranach.Stephan Fussel, director of the Institute for Book Sciences at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, adds his expertise to the publication with detailed descriptions of the illustrations, as well as an introduction exploring Luther s life and the seismic significance of his bible.
In 1535, William Tyndale, the first man to produce an English version of the Bible in print, was captured and imprisoned in Belgium. A year later he was strangled and then burned at the stake. His co-translator was also burned. In that same year the translator of the first Dutch Bible was arrested and beheaded. These were not the first, nor were they the last instances of extreme violence against Bible translators. The Murderous History of Bible Translations tells the remarkable, and bloody, story of those who dared translate the word of God. The Bible has been translated far more than any other book. To our minds it is self-evident that believers can read their sacred literature in a language they understand. But the history of Bible translations is far more contentious than reason would suggest. Bible translations underlie an astonishing number of religious conflicts that have plagued the world. Harry Freedman, author of The Talmud: A Biography describes brilliantly the passions and strong emotions that arise when deeply held religious convictions are threatened or undermined. He tells of the struggle for authority and orthodoxy in a world where temporal power was always subjugated to the divine. A world in which the idea of a Bible for all was so important that many were willing to give up their time, their security and often their lives.
How do you reinvigorate an institution that prides itself on preserving two thousand years of history? That is the challenge Jorge Mario Bergoglio faced when he became Pope Francis in March 2013. From the beginning, with his commitment to "remember the poor," Francis embarked on a mission to "rebrand" the Church so that it better reflected its founder, Jesus Christ, instead of preserving institutional power and prestige. Amid surprising pronouncements and reforms and a humble and humorous approach to his office, Francis's most surprising strategy may be his decision to leverage a modern innovation that his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, had begun to use: a Twitter account with which, for the first time in history, the pope can communicate directly with his global flock.
With more than 21 million followers reading Tweets in 9 languages, Francis regularly posts his 140-character (or less) sermons a few times each week. The Boston Globe and Crux journalist Michael O'Loughlin argues that Pope Francis's social media output reveals the secret to his popularity and provides a window into his priorities, passions, and exciting and revolutionary vision for the Church. With chapters on the primary themes used in Francis's Tweets-the poor, forgiveness, immigration, youth, mercy, joy, even 'sports', and more-O'Loughlin explains the biographical and historical context for what the pope writes as well the spirituality these posts embody.
Surprisingly, O'Loughlin discovers that by following these 140-character sermons, we not only better understand the pope's revolutionary agenda but can also be inspired to be better Christians.
The sacred allure of the Holy Grail has fascinated writers and ensnared knights for over a thousand years. From Malory to Monty Python, the eternal chalice?said to be the very cup from which Christ drank at the Last Supper?has the richest associations of any icon in British myth.
Many different meanings have been devised for the Grail, which has been linked to the Celts and King Arthur, the eucharistic rites of Eastern Christianity, ancient mystery religions, Jungian archetypes, dualist heresies, Templar treasure and even the alleged descendants of Christ himself and Mary Magdalene. The common thread running through all these stories is the assumption that the Grail legend has a single source with a meaning that?if only we could decode it?is concealed in the romances themselves. That meaning has become the subject of coded, secret documents and is the central feature of a vast conspiracy supposedly stretching back to the dawn of western civilization.
Juliette Wood here reveals the elusive and embedded significance of the Grail story in popular consciousness?as myth, medieval romance, tangible holy relic and finally as the centre of an esoteric theory of global conspiracy. The author shows how various interpretations of the Grail, over the centuries, reflect changing cultural needs and desires. Her book will enthral those who, like Sir Perceval, seek to unlock the mysterious secrets of western mythology's most extraordinary and tantalising enigma, and will delight students of history, myth and religion alike.
Stories of the beginning, both of humankind and the universe itself have fascinated us for thousands of years. This comprehensive new book offers tales of creation from the many different traditions around the world, each one reflecting the climate of their origins, with water, or desert, or the heaving mountains taking centre stage. In China the cosmic egg sprouted limbs that became the earth, in Ancient Egypt the primeval ocean spawned the God Amen and in India there are so many intriguing and magical stories, some of them philosophical, others more brutal. From the tribes of Africa, and North America, to the crucible of religions in the Middle East the desire to understand the world and its origins continues to fascinate us, and this is the perfect book to enjoy these multi-faceted views. Organised by type and theme, each section offers a short introduction, followed by the retelling of the creation myths from around the world: Ancient Egypt, the Norsemen, Ancient Greece, Babylonia, the many tribes of native Americans, the Chinese, Burmese, Japanese, Aboriginal Australian, to the Pacific Island tribes, and the multiple, co-existing creation stories of Indian tradition.
For as long as we have sought god, we have found the goddess. Ruling over the imaginations of humankind's earliest agricultural civilizations, she played a critical spiritual role as a keeper of nature's fertile powers and an assurance of the next sustaining harvest. In The Goddess, David Leeming and Christopher Fee take us all the way back into prehistory, tracing the goddess across vast spans of time to tell the epic story of the transformation of belief and what it says about who we are.
Leeming and Fee use the goddess to gaze into the lives and souls of the people who worshipped her. They chart the development of traditional Western gender roles through an understanding of the transformation of concepts of the Goddess from her earliest roots in India and Iran to her more familiar faces in Ireland and Iceland. They examine the subordination of the goddess to the god as human civilizations became mobile and began to look upon masculine deities for assurances of survival in movement and battle. And they show how, despite this history, the goddess has remained alive in our spiritual imaginations, in figures such as the Christian Virgin Mother and, in contemporary times, the new-age resurrection of figures such as Gaia.
The Goddess explores this central aspect of ancient spiritual thought as a window into human history and the deepest roots of our beliefs.
To the uninitiated, astrology can seem rather daunting. With all those measurements, degrees and logarithms - what's simple about it? This wonderful introduction demystifies a topic that everyone knows a little bit about and provides a basic framework for understanding it. The Jacksons' easy and straightforward approach explains how you can learn more about yourself and those around you through the zodiac. They, also, explore some more esoteric topics in astrology, including trines, aspects and conjunctions. Look up the characteristics of each sun sign, create a birth chart, find out your rising and moon signs and more. Illustrated with line drawings and charts, this Plain and Simple guide will be received enthusiastically by the novice and the experienced.
Thomas Edison was arguably the greatest inventor in history. His phonograph created the recording industry, his motion picture camera created the movie industry, and the light bulb has changed the landscape of virtually every corner of the world.
Edison was no head-in-the-clouds idealist. From the time he started his first business, selling and printing newspapers on a Michigan train route, Edison relied on practical theory to develop products that would create and then satisfy the needs of a consumer market. But his last and least-known invention may well have been his greatest: the spirit phone, a device to communicate with the dead.
Edison's Quest to Talk to the Dead is the story of this mysterious adventure, which dominated the final decade of his life as he gathered scientists, engineers, and spiritual mediums to conduct experiments in contacting the "other side."
Birnes and Martin explore Edison's motives, the science he believed supported those attempts, the consumer market he hoped to reach, and the social and cultural history that inspired him to do what his detractors - including the Church - said was not only impossible, but immoral.
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, this book offers fresh and exciting insights into the ever-popular works of the world's greatest playwright. It specifically highlights Shakespeare's use of the archetypal language of astrological symbolism in both obvious and subtle ways.
Such references would have been commonly known in Shakespeare's time, but their deeper significance is lost to modern-day playgoers and readers. The most unique aspect of this book is the revelation that many of Shakespeare's plays are entirely keyed to a specific zodiacal sign and its associated (or ruling) planet. Shakespeare's audience would have immediately grasped their significance in revealing character, foreshadowing the plot and establishing key themes for each play.
The first half of the book provides necessary background for understanding the plays by describing the synthesis of both classical and Christian ideas in Shakespeare's time. The seven planets were considered an integral part of the cosmos and were instrumental in shaping human character. The Elizabethan worldview, also, explains why Shakespeare specifies a certain type of music and uses particular images and symbols in each of his plays.
The second half of the book examines six of Shakespeare's best-loved plays in the light of astrological symbolism. The chosen plays include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, The Tempest and King Lear. Each chapter ranges widely, incorporating related and relevant information from astrological tradition, classical and Renaissance philosophy, Greek and Roman mythology, esoteric wisdom, modern psychology (especially that of C. G. Jung) and great literature.
Thoroughly researched and well-illustrated with many examples from the plays, this book is a clear and brilliant synthesis that challenges conventional literary criticism of Shakespeare's works. By grounding its analysis in verifiable historical information and conveying it in clear and accessible prose, modern readers will find that this book illuminates the plays from a fresh perspective that deepens and profoundly transforms their understanding of them.