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Spirituality and Religion November 2013
"I believe in marriage." ~ from Gene Robinson's God Believes in Love
New and Recently Released!
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth - by Reza Aslan
Publisher: Random House
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 07/16/2013
Share Zealot%3a The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth ISBN-13: 9781400069224
ISBN-10: 140006922X
Exploring an old topic in a fresh and engaging style, author Reza Aslan presents the life of Jesus of Nazareth, historical human being. Explaining that the Jesus understood by people of faith is distinct from the first-century figure documented not only in the New Testament but in other sources from the period, Aslan recounts the story of his life and death in the socio-political context of the Roman domination of Palestine. Though the concept of the Historical Jesus has been around for over 150 years, Zealot offers an engaging account accessible to general readers. For another thought-provoking discussion focusing specifically on Jesus and less on the historical context, read Bruce Chilton's Rabbi Jesus.
The Dark Side of the Enlightenment: Wizards, Alchemists, and Spiritual Seekers in the Age of Reason - by John V. Fleming
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 07/22/2013
Share The Dark Side of the Enlightenment%3a Wizards, Alchemists, and Spiritual Seekers in the Age of Reason ISBN-13: 9780393079463
ISBN-10: 0393079465
Viewed from today's perspective, the Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason in 18th-century Europe represents an intellectual movement in which scholars turned away from religion and superstition and began to apply rigorous scientific method to studying natural phenomena. As historian John Fleming shows in The Dark Side of the Enlightenment, though, many prominent thinkers continued to use a spiritual approach to scientific study, viewing the forces at work on the material world as immaterial and mystical powers. They attempted to produce physical results by manipulating these forces. This "learned but reader-friendly" (Kirkus Reviews) book will surprise and intrigue anyone interested either in general European history or in the history of religion, science and intellectual endeavor.
The Book of Immortality: The Science, Belief, and Magic Behind Living Forever - by Adam Gollner
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 08/20/2013
Share The Book of Immortality%3a The Science, Belief, and Magic Behind Living Forever ISBN-13: 9781439109427
ISBN-10: 1439109427
Author Adam Gollner, former editor of Vice magazine, offers an informative and fascinating exploration of human attitudes towards death and eternal life in The Book of Immortality. Compiling his reading, interviews, and visits to cryonic research sites into an enthralling tour of the subject, Gollner brings together disparate religious views on immortality as well as scientific research on aging. He also includes a section on waters that impart eternal youth, such as the Fountain of Youth supposedly discovered by Ponce de León. Booklist, in a starred review, praises this "probing inquiry into the most insistent of human hopes."
Silence: A Christian History - by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 09/12/2013
Share Silence%3a A Christian History ISBN-13: 9780670025565
ISBN-10: 0670025569
In Silence, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Oxford Professor of the History of the Church, relates the history of silence in Christianity from Jesus' refusal to answer the charges against him to monastic meditation practices to the silencing of certain groups and categories within Christianity. In his "stimulating and sweeping overview" (Publishers Weekly), he shines a historical light on areas where the Church has failed (or refused) to speak up, as well as describing silence as an aid to spiritual growth. More than a study of silence itself, this is an intriguing history of Christianity through the window of a particular aspect of it.
Books with Buzz
Here are a few recent books that have garnered a lot of notice.
Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics - by Ross Douthat
Publisher: Free Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 04/17/2012
Share Bad Religion%3a How We Became a Nation of Heretics ISBN-13: 9781439178300
ISBN-10: 1439178305
Ross Douthat, a columnist for the New York Times and film critic for the National Review, is a practicing Catholic who views with dismay the status of Christianity in 21st-century America. In Bad Religion, he contrasts the social and moral authority Protestant and Catholic churches all commanded after World War II with the current array -- or disarray -- of individualistic doctrines, vague spiritualities, and institutional scandals. Douthat's critique will be controversial in some quarters, but his detailed analysis will provoke interest and invite self-examination in all denominations and movements.
The Pope's Last Crusade: How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI's Campaign to Stop Hitler - by Peter Eisner
Publisher: William Morrow
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/19/2013
Share The Pope ISBN-13: 9780062049148
ISBN-10: 0062049143
In 1939, an American Jesuit priest, John LaFarge, was working with Pope Pius XI on a Vatican policy regarding Nazi Germany's treatment of the Jews. The Pope asked Fr. LaFarge to draft an encyclical -- an important statement issued to Catholic Church leaders -- that would condemn anti-Semitism in general and Nazi oppression in particular. Sadly, Pius XI died before the encyclical was issued, and his successor, Pope Pius XII, followed a different course, which tended towards anti-Semitism and saw Communism as more dangerous than Nazism. The Pope's Last Crusade reveals the contents of LaFarge's draft encyclical and traces the influences that prevented its dissemination -- leaving the poignant question, might history have been different if the encyclical had been released?
The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person - by Harold S. Kushner
Publisher: Nextbook: Schocken
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/02/2012
Share The Book of Job%3a When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person ISBN-13: 9780805242928
ISBN-10: 0805242929
The Old Testament book of Job poses one of the most difficult problems in the Bible: why do people suffer? Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of the bestselling Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?, tackles this enigmatic book, explaining Job's contents chapter by chapter and making it accessible to contemporary readers. Kushner's analysis of Job includes a helpful review of interpretations through the ages and leavens the discussion with relevant personal anecdotes. Anyone interested in the problem of suffering will appreciate the detailed, scholarly, and engaging commentary in The Book of Job.
God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage - by Gene Robinson
Publisher: Knopf
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 09/18/2012
Share God Believes in Love%3a Straight Talk About Gay Marriage ISBN-13: 9780307957887
ISBN-10: 0307957888
The Rev. Gene Robinson was one of the first priests in the Episcopal Church to have a publicly acknowledged same-sex committed relationship; his election as Bishop of New Hampshire greatly intensified the controversy over the ordination of homosexuals. Now preparing to retire, Robinson has written a thoughtful and gentle explanation of his position that same-sex unions should be accepted by church and society in the same way as heterosexual marriage. Using engaging language and accessible arguments, he grounds his discussion in his primary concern: the love of God. Though God Believes in Love might not change anyone's mind, it offers a calm and rational discussion for all who are interested in the subject.
Why Priests? A Failed Tradition - by Garry Wills
Publisher: Viking
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 02/12/2013
Share Why Priests? A Failed Tradition ISBN-13: 9780670024872
ISBN-10: 0670024872
Historian Garry Wills, who professes belief in the Catholic Church's creed, or statement of faith, radically questions the validity of the priesthood. Analyzing the New Testament and earliest evidence of Church history, he asserts that the traditional association of miraculous power with the individuals ordained to celebrate the sacraments has no grounding in scripture or first-century history. Noting the deference offered to priests even in secular settings such as the golf course, Wills challenges both the Church's bestowal of authority on the clergy and lay people's acceptance of their special status. Why Priests? offers a comprehensive and impassioned discussion of the Church's sacramental traditions and serves, says Kirkus Reviews, as a "formidable volley lobbed at tradition."
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