Born Bad is the latest book from James Boyce, acclaimed author and historian.
Boyce traces a history of original sin from Adam and Eve, St Augustine and Martin Luther to Adam Smith, Sigmund Freud and Richard Dawkins.
According to original sin, humans are 'born bad' and only God's grace can bring salvation. Although Christianity is on the wane, Boyce explores how these religious ideas of morality still underpin our modern secular society, though we are often not aware of their origins. If today the specific doctrine has all but disappeared (even from the churches), what remains is the distinctive discontent of Western people - the feelings of guilt and inadequacy associated not with doing wrong, but with being wrong.
As well as an innovative history of Christianity, Boyce offers new insights into the making of the West.
The Great and Holy War offers the first look at how religion created and prolonged the First World War, and the lasting impact it had on Christianity and world religions more extensively in the century that followed. The war was fought by the world's leading Christian nations, who presented the conflict as a holy war. A steady stream of patriotic and militaristic rhetoric was served to an unprecedented audience, using language that spoke of holy war and crusade, of apocalypse and Armageddon. But this rhetoric was not mere state propaganda. Philip Jenkins reveals how the widespread belief in angels, apparitions, and the supernatural, was a driving force throughout the war and shaped all three of the Abrahamic religions - Christianity, Judaism, and Islam - paving the way for modern views of religion and violence. The disappointed hopes and moral compromises that followed the war also shaped the political climate of the rest of the century, giving rise to such phenomena as Nazism, totalitarianism, and communism. Connecting remarkable incidents and characters - from Karl Barth to Carl Jung, the Christmas Truce to the Armenian Genocide - Jenkins creates a powerful and persuasive narrative that brings together global politics, history, and spiritual crisis. We cannot understand our present religious, political, and cultural climate without understanding the dramatic changes initiated by the First World War. The war created the world's religious map as we know it today.
This book unravels a polyphony of silences from the history of Christianity and beyond. MacCulloch considers Judaeo-Christian borrowings from Greek explorations of the divine, and the silences which were a feature of Jesus' brief ministry. Besides prayer and contemplation, there are shame and evasion; careless and purposeful forgetting. Many deliberate silences are revealed: the forgetting of histories inconvenient to later Church authorities, and Christianity's problems in dealing honestly with sexuality. Behind all this is the silence of God. In a deeply personal conclusion, MacCulloch brings a message of optimism for those still seeking God beyond the clamour of over-confident certainties.
Every now and then - not very often - we meet a woman who has mastered the art of being in a couple, who has managed to keep the flame alive long after the honeymoon period and well into the trials of parenting. Sarah Napthali is not one of these women but is happy for readers to learn from her mistakes. With her trademark emphasis on self-compassion, she explains how she has applied Buddhist teachings to patch things up, hold things together and even, on good days, scale the heights of relationship happiness. Written for both men and women, Buddhism for Couples tackles the loaded subjects of housework, anger, sex, conflict and infidelity, before introducing Buddhist strategies that can enrich a relationship. Applying Buddhist teachings can improve our relationship by guiding us to delve more deeply into our psyches. Through mindfulness and ever-growing self-awareness, the teachings help us to become more familiar with the workings of our minds and bodies, more aware of our thoughts and beliefs, so that we can see our behaviours with more clarity. Alongside Buddhist teachings, Sarah explores the latest psychological research on relationships and discovers numerous overlaps. Humorous and informative, Buddhism for Couples provides a fresh approach to living as a couple, persuading us to leave behind stale, habitual ways of relating that don't seem to work.
By establishing a dialogue in which the meditative practices of Buddhism and Christianity speak to the theories of modern philosophy and science, B. Alan Wallace reveals the theoretical similarities underlying these disparate disciplines and their unified approach to making sense of the objective world. Wallace begins by exploring the relationship between Christian and Buddhist meditative practices. He outlines a sequence of meditations the reader can undertake, showing that, though Buddhism and Christianity differ in their belief systems, their methods of cognitive inquiry provide similar insight into the nature and origins of consciousness. From this convergence Wallace then connects the approaches of contemporary cognitive science, quantum mechanics, and the philosophy of the mind. He links Buddhist and Christian views to the provocative philosophical theories of Hilary Putnam, Charles Taylor, and Bas van Fraassen, and he seamlessly incorporates the work of such physicists as Anton Zeilinger, John Wheeler, and Stephen Hawking. Combining a concrete analysis of conceptions of consciousness with a guide to cultivating mindfulness and profound contemplative practice, Wallace takes the scientific and intellectual mapping of the mind in exciting new directions.
We are told that Western/Christian and Muslim/Arab civilizations are heading towards inevitable conflict. The demographics of the West remain sluggish, while the population of the Muslim world explodes, widening the cultural gap and all but guaranteeing the outbreak of war. Leaving aside the media's sound and fury on this issue, measured analysis shows another reality taking shape: rapprochement between these two civilizations, benefiting from a universal movement with roots in the Enlightenment. The historical and geographical sweep of this book discredits the notion of a specific Islamic demography. The range of fertility among Muslim women, for example, is as varied as religious behavior among Muslims in general. Whether agnostics, fundamentalist Salafis, or al-Qaeda activists, Muslims are a diverse group that prove the variety and individuality of Islam. Youssef Courbage and Emmanuel Todd consider different degrees of literacy, patriarchy, and defensive reactions among minority Muslim populations, underscoring the spread of massive secularization throughout the Arab and Muslim world. In this regard, they argue, there is very little to distinguish the evolution of Islam from the history of Christianity, especially with Muslims now entering a global modernity. Sensitive to demographic variables and their reflection of personal and social truths, Courbage and Todd upend a dangerous meme: that we live in a fractured world close to crisis, struggling with an epidemic of closed cultures and minds made different by religion.
The Holy Grail and Holy Thorn explores the legends of King Arthur and Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury and how their influence has been felt from medieval to modern times. Joseph was said to have built at Glastonbury the first church in Christendom, which made it a center of medieval pilgrimage, and gave Glastonbury an international profile in the fifteenth century. Through the winter-flowering holy thorn, said to have grown from Joseph's staff, and later the Chalice Well, Glastonbury remained a focus of superstition in the Protestant centuries. In medieval romance Joseph of Arimathea had been the first keeper of the Holy Grail, a mystical past that was revived by Romantic writers and artists and ensured that Glastonbury retained a place in our national culture. In the twentieth century Glastonbury's reputation was further elaborated by the belief that Joseph was the great-uncle of Jesus Christ, and that when he first came to Britain he brought the young Jesus with him, an idea suggested by William Blake's Jerusalem. In the same mystical tradition, in the 1960s John Michell saw in Glastonbury the dimensions of New Jerusalem, which proved crucial in making Glastonbury the capital of New Age culture.
A pocket-sized NIV Bible bound in soft, tactile imitation leather with magnetic clasp closure, ribbon and brightly coloured, hand-drawn endpapers. The New International Version is the world's most popular modern English Bible. It is renowned for its combination of reliability and readability. Fully revised and updated for the first time in 25 years, the NIV is ideal for personal reading, public teaching and group study. This Bible also features: - clear, readable 6.75pt text - easy-to-read layout - shortcuts to key stories, events and people of the Bible - reading plan - timeline - book by book overview - quick links to find inspiration and help from the Bible in different life situations. This edition uses British spelling, punctuation and grammar to allow the Bible to be read more naturally. Royalties from all sales of the NIV Bible help Biblica, formerly the International Bible Society, in their work of translating and distributing Bibles around the world.
Few documents in world history can match the inspirational impact of the New Testament. For all its variety - gospels, letters and visions - this first-century collection of texts keeps always at its centre the enigmatic figure of Joshua/Jesus: the Jewish prophet who gathered a group around him, proclaimed the imminent end of the world, but was made captive by the authorities of Rome only to suffer a shameful criminal's death on a cross. When his followers (including former persecutor Saul/Paul) became convinced that Jesus had defeated extinction, and had risen again to fresh life, the movement crossed over from Palestine to ignite the entire Graeco-Roman Mediterranean world. The author shows how the writings of this vibrant new faith came into being from oral transmission and then became the pillar of a great world religion. He explores their many varied usages in music, liturgy, art, language and literature. In discussing its textual origins, as well as its later reception, Moxnes shows above all how the New Testament has been employed both as a tool for liberation and as a means of power and control.
Normon Solomon's succinct book is an ideal introduction to Judaism as a religion and way of life. Demonstrating the diverse nature and ethnic origin of those with the Jewish faith, Solomon explores how the Jewish religion has developed in the 2,000 years since the days of the Bible. This Very Short Introduction starts by outlining the basics of practical Judaism - its festivals, prayers, customs, and various sects - and goes on to consider how Judaism has responded to, and dealt with, a number of key issues and debates, including the impact of the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. In this new edition, Solomon considers issues of contemporary Judaism in the twenty first century. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Since the first edition of Approaches to Greek Myth was published in 1990, interest in Greek mythology has surged. There was no simple agreement on the subject of myth in classical antiquity, and there remains none today. Is myth a narrative or a performance? Can myth be separated from its context? What did myths mean to ancient Greeks and what do they mean today? Here, Lowell Edmunds brings together practitioners of eight of the most important contemporary approaches to the subject. Whether exploring myth from a historical, comparative, or theoretical perspective, each contributor lucidly describes a particular approach, applies it to one or more myths, and reflects on what the approach yields that others do not. Edmunds' new general and chapter-level introductions recontextualize these essays and also touch on recent developments in scholarship in the interpretation of Greek myth. Contributors are Jordi Pamias, on the reception of Greek myth through history; H. S. Versnel, on the intersections of myth and ritual; Carolina Lopez-Ruiz, on the near Eastern contexts; Joseph Falaky Nagy, on Indo-European structure in Greek myth; William Hansen, on myth and folklore; Claude Calame, on the application of semiotic theory of narrative; Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, on reading visual sources such as vase paintings; and Robert A. Segal, on psychoanalytic interpretations.