A. N. Wilson has been thinking about the Bible, and reading it, since he read theology for a year at university. Martin Luther King was 'reading the Bible' when he started the Civil Rights movement. When Michelangelo painted the fresco cycles in the Sistine Chapel, he was 'reading the Bible'.
In The Book of the People A. N. Wilson explores how readers and thinkers have approached the Bible, and how it might be read today. Charting his own relationship with the Bible over a lifetime of writing, Wilson argues that it remains relevant even in a largely secular society, as a philosophical work, a work of literature and a cultural touchstone that the western world has answered to for nearly two thousand years. He challenges the way fundamentalists whether believers or non-believers - have misused the Bible, either by neglecting and failing to recognize its cultural significance, or by using it as a weapon against those with whom they disagree.
Erudite, witty and accessible, The Book of the People seeks to reclaim the Good Book as our seminal work of literature, and a book for the imagination.
We can spend a lot of time looking for happiness when the world right around us is full of wonder. But our hearts and minds are so full of noise that we can't always hear the call of life and love. To hear that call and respond to it, we need silence. In his beautiful new book, Buddhist monk and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh explains how mindfulness is the practice that stops the noise inside. With gentle anecdotes, simple Buddhist wisdom and practical exercises, he shows us how to live mindfully so that all the internal chatter ceases and we are left with the eloquent sound of silence. Now, at last, we can answer the call of the beauty around us. Through silence, Thich Nhat Hanh reveals, we are free to hear, to see - and just be.
If the Oceans Were Ink is Carla Power's eye-opening story of how she and her long-time friend Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi found a way to confront ugly stereotypes and persistent misperceptions that were cleaving their communities. Their friendship-between a secular American and a madrasa - trained sheikh - had always seemed unlikely, but now they were frustrated and bewildered by the battles being fought in their names. Both knew that a close look at the Quran would reveal a faith that preached peace and not mass murder; respect for women and not oppression. And so they embarked on a yearlong journey through the controversial text. A journalist who grew up in the Midwest and the Middle East, Power offers her unique vantage point on the Quran's most provocative verses as she debates with Akram at cafes, family gatherings, and packed lecture halls, conversations filled with both good humour and powerful insights. Their story takes them to madrasas in India and pilgrimage sites in Mecca, as they encounter politicians and jihadis, feminist activists and conservative scholars. Armed with a new understanding of each other's worldviews, Power and Akram offer eye-opening perspectives, destroy long-held myths, and reveal startling connections between worlds that have seemed hopelessly divided for far too long.
Since its origins in the deserts of Arabia fourteen centuries ago, Islam has grown until today it has one and a half billion followers, nearly a quarter of mankind. Today Islam is feared and distrusted by much of the Western world for its association with religious extremism and terrorism, although the vast majority of Muslims believe only in peace, love and service to Allah and assert that extremism has no place in their faith. Mohammed Jabbar, a Muslim, a British civil servant and a law graduate, has made a special study of the perception of Islam in the West. He has written this book to dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings about Islam, to encourage a rational approach to its study and to look at the prospects for building a better relationship between adherents of this great religion and the rest of the international community.
The image of St George - the mounted, medieval knight slaying a dragon - seems so familiar to us all that it is tempting to assume this figure is easily understood. He is, in fact, one of the most significant and complex mythic figures in Christian culture, and has played an important role in Eastern Orthodox, Coptic and western European traditions over many centuries.
Today St George continues to have a lively and diverse following: his various appearances can be found across many world religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and the African-Brazilian belief system Candomble. St George's identification with nature, springtime and healing means that he can also be found throughout pagan beliefs. St George: A Saint for All includes firsthand accounts of celebrations in Georgia, Greece, Malta and Belgium, and explores the iconic figure's wide-ranging significance in nations such as Lebanon, Palestine, Ethiopia and Estonia, as well as his totemic role for the Roma people. With or without the dragon, St George has been repeatedly reinvented over the last 1,700 years.
This book is an engaging account of the huge potential that artists, poets and painters have found in his myth, discussing the often controversial political uses to which the saint has been put, including many reworkings and reimaginings, and places his current cultural position in its historical context. This is the first book to offer a full overview of the cult of St George, from its beginnings in the eastern Mediterranean to its established presence around the world today.
The Wisdom of Compassion offers rare insights into the Dalai Lama's life as he interacts with remarkable people from all walks of life. In these deeply engaging behind-the-scenes stories we see not only the Dalai Lama at his most human, and most humane, but also the way he approaches the world with humour and optimism. As he empathizes with those who are suffering, and demonstrates the tangible benefits of practising forgiveness and compassion, the Dalai Lama reveals the many lessons he has learned, including how his collaborations with leading neuroscientists, psychologists, teachers and students from around the world have taught him how to educate the heart; his inspiring friendship with a blind Irishman, the only person he calls his hero, has taught him how one can overcome adversity; through his encounters with illiterate grandmothers learning how to harness solar power for their communities, a beggar girl, and his soulmate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he has discovered how compassion can be translated into action. Enhanced by the Dalai Lama's seven decades of practice and illuminated through captivating anecdotes, The Wisdom of Compassion can help readers to lead more fulfilling lives. The Dalai Lama also shows how, when we open our hearts and minds to others, we are on the surest path to true happiness.