A veritable war is being waged in the Catholic Church: on one side, there is Pope Francis's strong message of one church for rich and poor alike; on the other, there is the old Curia with its endless enemies, and the old and new lobbies struggling to preserve their not so Christian privileges. Based on confidential information including top secret documents from inside the Vatican and actual transcripts of Pope Francis's admonishments to the papal court about the lack of financial oversight and responsibility - Merchants in the Temple illustrates all the undercover work conducted by the pope since his election and shows the reader who his real enemies are. It reveals the instruments Francis is using to reform the Vatican and rid it, once and for all, of the overwhelming corruption traditionally encrusted in the Roman Catholic Church. Merchants in the Temple is a startling book that will shock every reader. It's a story is worthy of as Dan Brown novel with its electrifying details of the trickery and scheming against the papacy - except that it is real.
St Paul is known throughout the world as the first Christian writer, authoring fourteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament. But as Karen Armstrong demonstrates in St Paul: The Misunderstood Apostle, he also exerted a more significant influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the world than any other figure in history. It was Paul who established the first Christian churches in Europe and Asia in the first century, Paul who transformed a minor sect into the largest religion produced by Western civilization, and Paul who advanced the revolutionary idea that Christ could serve as a model for the possibility of transcendence. While we know little about some aspects of the life of St Paul - his upbringing, the details of his death - his dramatic vision of God on the road to Damascus is one of the most powerful stories in the history of Christianity, and the life that followed forever changed the course of history.
We have come to admire Buddhism for being profound but accessible, as much a lifestyle as a religion. The credit for creating Buddhism goes to the Buddha, a figure widely respected across the Western world for his philosophical insight, his teachings of nonviolence, and his practice of meditation. But who was this Buddha, and how did he become the Buddha we know and love today?
Leading historian of Buddhism Donald S. Lopez Jr. tells the story of how various idols carved in stone—variously named Beddou, Codam, Xaca, and Fo—became the man of flesh and blood that we know simply as the Buddha. He reveals that the positive view of the Buddha in Europe and America is rather recent, originating a little more than a hundred and fifty years ago. For centuries, the Buddha was condemned by Western writers as the most dangerous idol of the Orient. He was a demon, the murderer of his mother, a purveyor of idolatry.
Lopez provides an engaging history of depictions of the Buddha from classical accounts and medieval stories to the testimonies of European travelers, diplomats, soldiers, and missionaries. He shows that centuries of hostility toward the Buddha changed dramatically in the nineteenth century, when the teachings of the Buddha, having disappeared from India by the fourteenth century, were read by European scholars newly proficient in Asian languages. At the same time, the traditional view of the Buddha persisted in Asia, where he was revered as much for his supernatural powers as for his philosophical insights. From Stone to Flesh follows the twists and turns of these Eastern and Western notions of the Buddha, leading finally to his triumph as the founder of a world religion.
'Loveday's case is that the mantle of historical truth and divine authority has placed upon the Bible an intolerable weight, crushing it as a creative work of immense imaginative and inspirational power. His argument is both fascinating and persuasive.' Matthew Parris The Bible for Grown-Ups neither requires, nor rejects, belief. It sets out to help intelligent adults make sense of the Bible - a book that is too large to swallow whole, yet too important in our history and culture to spit out. Why do the creation stories in Genesis contradict each other? Did the Exodus really happen? Was King David a historical figure? Why is Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus so different from Luke's? Why was St Paul so rude about St Peter? Every Biblical author wrote for their own time, and their own audience. In short, nothing in the Bible is quite what it seems. Literary critic Simon Loveday's book - a labour of love that has taken over a decade to write - is a thrilling read, for Christians and anyone else, which will overturn everything you thought you knew about the Good Book.
Politicians and pundits regularly invoke the Bible in social and political debates on a host of controversial social and political issues, including: abortion, stem-cell research, gay marriage, the death penalty, separation of church and state, family values, climate change, income distribution, teaching evolution in schools, taxation, school prayer, aid for the poor, and immigration. But is the Bible often used out of context in these major debates? This book includes essays by fourteen biblical scholars who examine the use of the Bible in political debates, uncovering the original historical contexts and meanings of the biblical verses that are commonly cited. The contributors take a non-confessional approach, rooted in non-partisan scholarship, to show how specific texts have at times been distorted in order to support particular views. At the same time, they show how the Bible can sometimes make for unsettling reading in the modern day. The key questions remain: What does the Bible really say? Should the Bible be used to form public policy?
With over 400 million Bibles in print, 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.British Text This edition uses British spelling, punctuation and grammar to allow the Bible to be read more naturally. More about the translation This revised and updated edition of the NIV includes three main types of change, taking into account changes in the way we use language day to day; advances in biblical scholarship and understanding; and the need to ensure that gender accurate language is used, to faithfully reflect whether men and women are referred to in each instance. The translators have carefully assessed a huge body of scholarship, as well as inviting peer submissions, in order to review every word of the existing NIV to ensure it remains as clear and relevant today as when it was first published. 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.
The saints form a huge part of our world's history, on both a religious and secular level. Their shrines have attracted millions of pilgrims throughout the centuries, and their relics continue to be venerated today. In North America even atheists and non-Christians know to bury a statue of St Joseph in their yards for a quick sale of their property. In England there is a tradition that the weather on St Swithun's feast day (the 15th July) will continue for forty more days. On the 14th of February the love-struck and lonely-hearted of the world declare their crushes with a card or gifts to the object of their affections, signing in the name of St Valentine. But how did people become saints? What role does sainthood continue to play in our institutional beliefs and traditions? And how does their significance in the Christian ideology translate into other cultures and belief systems? Simon Yarrow introduces the origins of sainthood and sanctity, and examines the part the saints have played in our society and culture, from the ancient world to the modern day. Exploring the treatment of saints in literature and art, and the way they have been used in politics, he analyses them as examples of idealised male and female heroism. He concludes by considering the similarities between Christian Saints and holy figures in other religious cultures, including Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.
Hard to believe but true: The Passover Seder is a Greco-Roman symposium banquet The Talmud rabbis presented themselves as Stoic philosophers Synagogue buildings were Roman basilicas Hellenistic rhetoric professors educated sons of well-to-do Jews Zeus-Helios is depicted in synagogue mosaics across ancient Israel In Israel there were synagogues where the prayers were recited in Greek. Historians have long debated the (re)birth of Judaism in the wake of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple cult by the Romans in 70 CE. What replaced that sacrificial cult was at once something new, even as it also sought to preserve what little it could of the old Israelite religion. Arguing that its transformation from a Jerusalem centred cult to a world religion was made possible by the Roman Empire, Rabbi Burton Visotzky presents Judaism as a distinctly Roman religion. Full of fascinating detail from the daily life and culture of Jewish communities across the Hellenistic world, Aphrodite and the Rabbis will appeal to anyone interested in the development of Judaism, religion, history, art and architecture.