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Latest episodes from New Books in Religion

Kim Haines-Eitzen, "Sonorous Desert: What Deep Listening Taught Early Christian Monks—and What It Can Teach Us" (Princeton UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2022 36:16

For the hermits and communal monks of antiquity, the desert was a place to flee the cacophony of ordinary life in order to hear and contemplate the voice of God. But these monks discovered something surprising in their harsh desert surroundings: far from empty and silent, the desert is richly reverberant. Sonorous Desert: What Deep Listening Taught Early Christian Monks—and What It Can Teach Us (Princeton UP, 2022) shares the stories and sayings of these ancient spiritual seekers, tracing how the ambient sounds of wind, thunder, water, and animals shaped the emergence and development of early Christian monasticism. Kim Haines-Eitzen draws on ancient monastic texts from Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine to explore how noise offered desert monks an opportunity to cultivate inner quietude, and shows how the desert quests of ancient monastics offer profound lessons for us about what it means to search for silence. Drawing on her own experiences making field recordings in the deserts of North America and Israel, she reveals how mountains, canyons, caves, rocky escarpments, and lush oases are deeply resonant places. Haines-Eitzen discusses how the desert is a place of paradoxes, both silent and noisy, pulling us toward contemplative isolation yet giving rise to vibrant collectives of fellow seekers. Accompanied by Haines-Eitzen's evocative audio recordings of desert environments, Sonorous Desert reveals how desert sounds taught ancient monks about solitude, silence, and the life of community, and how they can help us understand ourselves if we slow down and listen. You can listen to a series of recordings that go with each chapter of the book here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

On Online Churches

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2022 66:51

Dr. Tim Hutchings is a sociologist of digital religion. His Ph.D. (Durham University, 2010) was an ethnographic study of five online Christian churches. Dr. Hutchings is interested in the relationship between religion, media and culture, with particular attention to digital forms of Christianity. His research has included studies of online worship; digital evangelism and formation; online community; digital publishing and e-reading; apps and games; and death and dying. His research led to the publication of his book Creating Church Online: Ritual, Community and New Media (Routledge, 2017). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

John Callow, "The Last Witches of England: A Tragedy of Sorcery and Superstition" (Bloomsbury, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2022 56:29

On the morning of Thursday 29 June 1682, a magpie came rasping, rapping and tapping at the window of a prosperous Devon merchant. Frightened by its appearance, his servants and members of his family had, within a matter of hours, convinced themselves that the bird was an emissary of the devil sent by witches to destroy the fabric of their lives. As the result of these allegations, three women of Bideford came to be forever defined as witches. A Secretary of State brushed aside their case and condemned them to the gallows; to hang as the last group of women to be executed in England for the crime. Yet, the hatred of their neighbours endured. For Bideford, it was said, was a place of witches. Though 'pretty much worn away' the belief in witchcraft still lingered on for more than a century after their deaths. In turn, ignored, reviled, and extinguished but never more than half-forgotten, it seems that the memory of these three women - and of their deeds and sufferings, both real and imagined – was transformed from canker to regret, and from regret into celebration in our own age. Indeed, their example was cited during the final Parliamentary debates, in 1951, that saw the last of the witchcraft acts repealed, and their names were chanted, as both inspiration and incantation, by the women beyond the wire at Greenham Common. In The Last Witches of England: A Tragedy of Sorcery and Superstition (Bloomsbury, 2021), Dr. John Callow explores this remarkable reversal of fate, and the remarkable tale of the Bideford Witches. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Kajri Jain, "Gods in the Time of Democracy" (Duke UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2022 53:33

In 2018 India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, inaugurated the world's tallest statue: a 597-foot figure of nationalist leader Sardar Patel. Twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, it is but one of many massive statues built following India's economic reforms of the 1990s. In Gods in the Time of Democracy (Duke UP, 2021), Kajri Jain examines how monumental icons emerged as a religious and political form in contemporary India, mobilizing the concept of emergence toward a radical treatment of art historical objects as dynamic assemblages. Drawing on a decade of fieldwork at giant statue sites in India and its diaspora and interviews with sculptors, patrons, and visitors, Jain masterfully describes how public icons materialize the intersections between new image technologies, neospiritual religious movements, Hindu nationalist politics, globalization, and Dalit-Bahujan verifications of equality and presence. Centering the ex-colony in rethinking key concepts of the image, Jain demonstrates how these new aesthetic forms entail a simultaneously religious and political retooling of the "infrastructures of the sensible." Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Wayne Allen, "Thinking about Good and Evil: Jewish Views from Antiquity to Modernity" (U Nebraska Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2022 63:42

oday I talked to Rabbi Wayne Allen about his book Thinking about Good and Evil: Jewish Views from Antiquity to Modernity (U Nebraska Press, 2021). Starting with the Bible and Apocrypha, Rabbi Allen takes us through the Talmud; medieval Jewish philosophers and Jewish mystical sources; the Ba'al Shem Tov and his disciples; early modern thinkers such as Spinoza, Mendelssohn, and Luzzatto; and, finally, modern thinkers such as Cohen, Buber, Kaplan, and Plaskow. Each chapter analyzes individual thinkers' arguments and synthesizes their collective ideas on the nature of good and evil and questions of justice. Allen also exposes vastly divergent Jewish thinking about the Holocaust: traditionalist (e.g., Ehrenreich), revisionist (e.g., Rubenstein, Jonas), and deflective (e.g., Soloveitchik, Wiesel). Rabbi Allen's engaging, accessible volume illuminates well-known, obscure, and novel Jewish solutions to the problem of good and evil. Matthew Miller is a graduate of Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah. He studied Jewish Studies and Linguistics at McGill for his BA and completed an MA in Hebrew Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London. He works with Jewish organizations in media and content distribution, such as TheHabura.com and RabbiEfremGoldberg.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, "The Bible with and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently" (HarperOne, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2022 66:37

In The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently (HarperOne, 2020), Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler take readers on a guided tour of the most popular Hebrew Bible passages quoted in the New Testament to show what the texts meant in their original contexts and then how Jews and Christians, over time, understood those same texts. Passages include the creation of the world, the role of Adam and Eve, the Suffering Servant of Isiah, the book of Jonah, and Psalm 22, whose words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” Jesus quotes as he dies on the cross. Comparing various interpretations – historical, literary, and theological - of each ancient text, Levine and Brettler offer deeper understandings of the original narratives and their many afterlives. They show how the text speaks to different generations under changed circumstances, and so illuminate the Bible's ongoing significance. By understanding the depth and variety by which these passages have been, and can be, understood, The Bible With and Without Jesus does more than enhance our religious understandings, it helps us to see the Bible as a source of inspiration for any and all readers. Amy-Jill Levine is the Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies Emerita, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies Emerita, and Professor of New Testament Studies Emerita at Vanderbilt University. Marc Zvi Brettler is the Bernice and Morton Lerner Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at Duke University. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Kimberly Anne Coles, "Bad Humor: Race and Religious Essentialism in Early Modern England" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2022 62:34

Kimberly Anne Coles is Professor of English at the University of Maryland; her first book, Religion, Reform and Women's Writing in Early Modern England, was published with Cambridge University Press in 2008. Her work has been supported by the John W. Kluge Center, the Warburg Institute, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Today, we are discussing Bad Humor: Race and Religious Essentialism in Early Modern England, which was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2022. In Bad Humor, Professor Coles charts how concerns around lineage, religion and nation converged around a pseudoscientific system that confirmed the absolute difference between Protestants and Catholics, guaranteed the noble quality of English blood, and justified English colonial domination. Professor Coles delineates the process whereby religious error, first resident in the body, becomes marked on the skin. Early modern medical theory bound together psyche and soma in mutual influence. By the end of the sixteenth century, there is a general acceptance that the soul's condition, as a consequence of religious belief or its absence, could be manifest in the humoral disposition of the physical body. The history that this book unfolds describes developments in natural philosophy in the early part of the sixteenth century that force a subsequent reconsideration of the interactions of body and soul and that bring medical theory and theological discourse into close, even inextricable, contact. With particular consideration to how these ideas are reflected in texts by Elizabeth Cary, John Donne, Ben Jonson, William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Mary Wroth, and others, Professor Coles reveals how science and religion meet nascent capitalism and colonial endeavor to create a taxonomy of Christians in Black and White. John Yargo recently received his PhD in English literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, specializing in the environmental humanities and early modern culture. His articles have been published or are forthcoming in the Journal for Early Modern Culture Studies, Early Theatre, Studies in Philology, and Shakespeare Studies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

David Konstan, "The Origin of Sin: Greece and Rome, Early Judaism and Christianity" (Bloomsbury, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2022 61:32

Where did the idea of sin arise from? In The Origin of Sin: Greece and Rome, Early Judaism and Christianity (Bloomsbury, 2022), David Konstan takes a close look at classical Greek and Roman texts, as well as the Bible and early Judaic and Christian writings. He argues that the fundamental idea of “sin” arose in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, although this original meaning was obscured in later Jewish and Christian interpretations. Through close philological examination of the words for “sin,” in particular the Hebrew hata' and the Greek hamartia, he traces their uses over the centuries in four chapters and concludes that the common modern definition of sin as a violation of divine law indeed has antecedents in classical Greco-Roman conceptions, but acquired a wholly different sense in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament. Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on ‘Anthropology of Religion' at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Thomas S. Kidd, "Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father" (Yale UP, 2017)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2022 63:22

Renowned as a printer, scientist, and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin also published more works on religious topics than any other eighteenth-century American layperson. Born to Boston Puritans, by his teenage years Franklin had abandoned the exclusive Christian faith of his family and embraced deism. But Franklin, as a man of faith, was far more complex than the “thorough deist” who emerges in his autobiography. As Thomas Kidd reveals in Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2018), deist writers influenced Franklin's beliefs, to be sure, but devout Christians in his life kept him tethered to the Calvinist creed of his Puritan upbringing. Thomas Kidd is Research Professor of Church History at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and a Senior Research Scholar at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Kecia Ali, ed., "Tying the Knot: A Feminist/Womanist Guide to Muslim Marriage in America" (Open BU, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 26, 2022 59:16

Are you a born, revert, or convert Muslim who is trying to navigate the puzzle that is Muslim marriage in America? Do you want an egalitarian and fair Muslim marriage? Have you ever wondered how you can institute equality, respect, and care in your marital relationship? Do you want an interfaith and/or a non-heteronormative marriage? Are you planning or drafting a marriage contract that is more suitable for you and your marital goals? How can you build an ethics of care that facilitates and accommodates you, your partner, and your broader community? If you are curious about these and other questions related to Muslim marriages, then Tying the Knot: A Feminist/Womanist Guide to Muslim Marriage in America (Open BU, 2021) is the book for you. This book is edited by Dr Kecia Ali and advances the conversation that Dr Ali, along with her contributors, initiated in a reader, Half of Faith: American Muslim Marriage and Divorce in the Twenty-First Century. Tying the Knot is a collection of reflections and guides to facilitate Muslim women on their path to marriage. It addresses curiosities, questions, controversies, and needs of women from diverse Muslim communities in America. It also provides the solutions, guides, and sample contract drafts to equip them with the tools that they need to make the best decision for themselves before, during, or after their marriages. The book contains chapters that address issues as diverse as Muslim women's interfaith/interracial/interethnic marriages, Muslim LGBTQ+ marriages, Muta'h marriage, pre-marital counseling and contracts, officiating the diverse Muslim marriages, and Muslim widows and their challenges. This book is available open-access here.  Iqra Shagufta Cheema (@so_difoucault) is a researcher, writer, teacher, and a chronic procrastinator. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

James P. Byrd and James Hudnut-Beumler, "The Story of Religion in America: An Introduction" (Westminster John Knox Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 25, 2022 67:45

The Story of Religion in America: An Introduction (Westminster John Knox Press, 2021) presents the broad scope of the story of religion in the American colonies and the United States. While following certain central narratives, including the long shadow of Puritanism, the competition between revival and reason, and the defining role of racial and ethnic diversity, the book also tells the story of American religion in all its historical and moral complexity. To appeal to its broad range of readers, this text includes charts, timelines, and suggestions for primary source documents that will lead readers into a deeper engagement with the material. Unlike similar history books, The Story of Religion in America: An Introduction pays careful attention to balancing the story of Christianity with the central contributions of other religions. James P. Byrd is Professor of American Religious History, Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research, and Chair of the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. James Hudnut-Beumler is Anne Potter Wilson Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and Professor of History in the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University. Jackson Reinhardt is a graduate of University of Southern California and Vanderbilt University. He is currently an independent scholar, freelance writer, and research assistant. You can reach Jackson at jtreinhardt1997@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @JTRhardt Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Ann Marie Borys, "American Unitarian Churches: Architecture of a Democratic Religion" (U Massachusetts Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2022 26:28

The Unitarian religious tradition was a product of the same eighteenth-century democratic ideals that fueled the American Revolution and informed the founding of the United States. Its liberal humanistic principles influenced institutions such as Harvard University and philosophical movements like Transcendentalism. Yet, its role in the history of American architecture is little known and studied. In American Unitarian Churches: Architecture of a Democratic Religion (U Massachusetts Press, 2021), Ann Marie Borys argues that the progressive values and identity of the Unitarian religion are intimately intertwined with ideals of American democracy and visibly expressed in the architecture of its churches. Over time, church architecture has continued to evolve in response to developments within the faith, and many contemporary projects are built to serve religious, practical, and civic functions simultaneously. Focusing primarily on churches of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple and Louis Kahn's First Unitarian Church, Borys explores building histories, biographies of leaders, and broader sociohistorical contexts. As this essential study makes clear, to examine Unitarianism through its churches is to see American architecture anew, and to find an authentic architectural expression of American democratic identity. Bryan Toepfer, AIA, NCARB, CAPM is the Principal Architect for TOEPFER Architecture, PLLC, an Architecture firm specializing in Residential Architecture and Virtual Reality. He has authored two books, “Contractors CANNOT Build Your House,” and “Six Months Now, ARCHITECT for Life.” He is an Assistant Professor at Alfred State College and has served as the Director of Government Affairs and as the Director of Education for the AIA Rochester Board of Directors. Always eager to help anyone understand the world of Architecture, he hosts the New Books Network – Architecture podcast, is an NCARB Licensing Advisor and helps coach candidates taking the Architectural Registration Exam. btoepfer@toepferarchitecture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Chrysovalantis Kyriacou, "Orthodox Cyprus Under the Latins, 1191-1571: Society, Spirituality, and Identities" (Lexington Books, 2018)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2022 63:43

Medieval and Renaissance Cyprus was a fascinating place of ethnic, cultural, and religious encounters. Following almost nine centuries of Byzantine rule, Cyprus was conquered by the Crusaders in 1191, becoming (until 1571) the most important stronghold of Latin Christianity in the Eastern Mediterranean—first under the Frankish dynasty of the Lusignans, and later under the Venetians. Modern historiographical readings of Cypriot identity in medieval and early modern times have been colored by British colonialism, Greek nationalism, and Cyprocentric revisionism. Although these perspectives have offered valuable insights into the historical experience of Latin-ruled Cypriots, they have partially failed to capture the dynamics of non-coercive resistance to domination, and of identity preservation and adaptation.  Orthodox Cyprus under the Latins, 1191–1571 (Lexington Books, 2018) readdresses the question of Cypriot identity by focusing on the Greek Cypriots, the island's largest community during the medieval and early modern period. By bringing together theories from the fields of psychology, social anthropology, and sociology, this study explores continuities and discontinuities in the Byzantine culture and religious tradition of Cyprus, proposing a new methodological framework for a more comprehensive understanding of Cypriot Orthodoxy under Crusader and Venetian rule. A discussion of fresh evidence from hitherto unpublished primary sources enriches this examination, stressing the role of medieval and Renaissance Cyprus as cultural and religious province of the Byzantine and post-Byzantine Orthodox world. Chrysovalantis Kyriacou (Ph.D.) is a lecturer in Ecclesiastical History at the Theological School at the church of Cyprus. He earned his Ph.D. in history at Royal Holloway, University of London, and has also taught at the University of Cyprus. His area of specialty is late antique, Byzantine, medieval, and early modern history and culture, focusing on the role of Cyprus as a place of ethnoreligious encounter, interaction, and contention. Evan Zarkadas (MA) is an independent scholar of European and Medieval history and an educator. He received his master's in history from the University of Maine focusing on Medieval Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, medieval identity, and ethnicity during the late Middle Ages. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Elliott Rabin, "The Biblical Hero: Portraits in Nobility and Fallibility" (Jewish Publication Society, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2022 59:18

Today I talked to Elliott Rabin about his book The Biblical Hero: Portraits in Nobility and Fallibility (Jewish Publication Society, 2020). Approaching the Bible in an original way—comparing biblical heroes to heroes in world literature—Rabin addresses a core biblical question: What is the Bible telling us about what it means to be a hero? Focusing on the lives of six major biblical characters—Moses, Samson, David, Esther, Abraham, and Jacob—Rabin examines their resemblance to hero types found in (and perhaps drawn from) other literatures and analyzes why the Bible depicts its heroes less gloriously than do the texts of other cultures. Matthew Miller is a graduate of Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah. He studied Jewish Studies and Linguistics at McGill for his BA and completed an MA in Hebrew Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London. He works with Jewish organizations in media and content distribution, such as TheHabura.com and RabbiEfremGoldberg.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Francine Friedman, "Like Salt for Bread: The Jews of Bosnia and Herzegovina" (Brill, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2022 86:59

Francine Friedman's Like Salt for Bread: The Jews of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Brill, 2021) is the only comprehensive treatment in any language of a rather “exotic” Balkan Jewish community. It places the Jewish community of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the context of the Jewish world, but also of the world within which it existed for around five hundred years under various empires and regimes. The Bosnian Jews might have remained a mostly unknown community to the rest of the world had it not played a unique role within the Bosnian Wars of the early 1990s, providing humanitarian aid to its neighbor Serbs, Croats, and Muslims. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Maxwell Kennel, "Postsecular History: Political Theology and the Politics of Time" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2022 32:13

In this thought provoking book entitled PostSecular History:Political Theology and The Politics of Time (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), Max Kennel explores how contemporary approaches to the meaning of time and history follow patterns that are simultaneously political and theological. Even after postsecular critiques of Christianity, religion, and secularity, many influential ways of dividing time and history continue to be formed by providential narratives that mediate between experience and expectation in movements from promise to fulfilment. In response to persistent theological influences within ostensibly secular ways of understanding time and history, Postsecular History revisits and revises the concept of periodization by tracing powerful efforts to divide time into past, present, and future, and by critiquing historical partitions between the Reformation and Enlightenment. Developing a postsecular critique of theopolitical periodization in six chapters, Postsecular History questions how relations of possession, novelty, freedom, and instrumentality implied in the prefix ‘post' are reproduced in postsecular discourses and the field of political theology. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Simran Jeet Singh, "The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life" (Riverhead, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 19, 2022 44:02

An inspiring approach to a happier, more fulfilling life through Sikh teachings on love and service.  As a boy growing up in South Texas, Simran Jeet Singh and his brothers confronted racism daily: at school, in their neighborhood, playing sports, and later in college and beyond. Instead, Singh delved deep into the Sikh teachings that he grew up with and embraced the lessons to seek the good in every person and situation and to find positive ways to direct his energy. Singh reaches beyond his comfort zone to practice this deeper form of living and explores how everyone can learn the insights and skills that have kept him engaged and led him to commit to activism without becoming consumed by anger, self-pity, or burnout. Part memoir, part spiritual journey, The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life (Riverhead, 2022) is a transformative book of hope that shows how each of us can turn away from fear and uncertainty and move toward renewal and positive change. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Philippe Denis, "The Genocide Against the Tutsi, and the Rwandan Churches: Between Grief and Denial" (James Currey, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 17, 2022 62:21

Why did some sectors of the Rwandan churches adopt an ambiguous attitude towards the genocide against the Tutsi which claimed the lives of around 800,000 people in three months between April and July 1994? What prevented the churches' acceptance that they may have had some responsibility? And how should we account for the efforts made by other sectors of the churches to remember and commemorate the genocide and rebuild pastoral programmes?  Drawing on interviews with genocide survivors, Rwandans in exile, missionaries and government officials, as well as Church archives and other sources, this book is the first academic study on Christianity and the genocide against the Tutsi to explore these contentious questions in depth, and reveals more internal diversity within the Christian churches than is often assumed. While some Christians, Protestant as well as Catholic, took risks to shelter Tutsi people, others uncritically embraced the interim government's view that the Tutsi were enemies of the people and some, even priests and pastors, assisted the killers. The church leaders only condemned the war: they never actually denounced the genocide against the Tutsi.  In The Genocide Against the Tutsi, and the Rwandan Churches: Between Grief and Denial (James Currey, 2022), Denis examines in detail the responses of two churches, the Catholic Church, the biggest and the most complex, and the Presbyterian Church in Rwanda, which made an unconditional confession of guilt in December 1996. A case study is devoted to the Catholic parish La Crête Congo-Nil in western Rwanda, led at the time by the French priest Gabriel Maindron, a man whom genocide survivors accuse of having failed publicly to oppose the genocide and of having close links with the authorities and some of the perpetrators. By 1997, the defensive attitude adopted by many Catholics had started to change. The Extraordinary Synod on Ethnocentricity in 1999-2000 was a milestone. Yet, especially in the immediate aftermath of the genocide, tension and suspicion persist. Allison Isidore is the Assistant Director for the American Catholic Historical Association. Her research interest is focused on the twentieth-century American Civil Rights Movement and the Catholic Church's response to racism, and the participation of Catholic clergy, nuns, and laypeople in marches, sit-ins, and kneel-ins during the 1950s and 1960s. Allison is also a Video Editor for The Religious Studies Project, producing videos for the podcast and marketing team. She tweets from @AllisonIsidore1. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Tony Perman, "Signs of the Spirit: Music and the Experience of Meaning in Ndau Ceremonial Life" (U Illinois Press, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2022 42:34

In 2005, Tony Perman attended a ceremony alongside the living and the dead. His visit to a Zimbabwe farm brought him into contact with the madhlozi, outsider spirits that Ndau people rely upon for guidance, protection, and their collective prosperity. Perman's encounters with the spirits, the mediums who bring them back, and the accompanying rituals form the heart of his ethnographic account of how the Ndau experience ceremonial musicking. As Perman witnessed other ceremonies, he discovered that music and dancing shape the emotional lives of Ndau individuals by inviting them to experience life's milestones or cope with its misfortunes as a group. Signs of the Spirit: Music and the Experience of Meaning in Ndau Ceremonial Life (U Illinois Press, 2020) explores the historical, spiritual, and social roots of ceremonial action and details how that action influences the Ndau's collective approach to their future. The result is a vivid ethnomusicological journey that delves into the immediacy of musical experience and the forces that transform ceremonial performance into emotions and community. Tony Perman is an associate professor music at Grinnell College.  Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at marshallpoe@newbooksnetwork.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Erin C. MacLeod, "Visions of Zion: Ethiopians and Rastafari in the Search for the Promised Land" (NYU Press, 2014)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2022 50:35

In reggae song after reggae song Bob Marley and other reggae singers speak of the Promised Land of Ethiopia. "Repatriation is a must!" they cry. The Rastafari have been travelling to Ethiopia since the movement originated in Jamaica in 1930s. They consider it the Promised Land, and repatriation is a cornerstone of their faith. Though Ethiopians see Rastafari as immigrants, the Rastafari see themselves as returning members of the Ethiopian diaspora.  In Visions of Zion: Ethiopians and Rastafari in the Search for the Promised Land (NYU Press, 2014), Erin C. MacLeod offers the first in-depth investigation into how Ethiopians perceive Rastafari and Rastafarians within Ethiopia and the role this unique immigrant community plays within Ethiopian society. Rastafari are unusual among migrants, basing their movements on spiritual rather than economic choices. This volume offers those who study the movement a broader understanding of the implications of repatriation. Taking the Ethiopian perspective into account, it argues that migrant and diaspora identities are the products of negotiation, and it illuminates the implications of this negotiation for concepts of citizenship, as well as for our understandings of pan-Africanism and south-south migration. Providing a rare look at migration to a non-Western country, this volume also fills a gap in the broader immigration studies literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Antonio Rigopoulos, "The Hagiographer and the Avatar: The Life and Works of Narayan Kasturi" (SUNY Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2022 52:50

In The Hagiographer and the Avatar: The Life and Works of Narayan Kasturi (SUNY Press, 2021), Antonio Rigopoulos explores the fundamental role of a hagiographer within a charismatic religious movement: in this case, the postsectarian, cosmopolitan community of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba. The guru's hagiographer, Narayan Kasturi, was already a distinguished litterateur by the time he first met Sathya Sai Baba in 1948. Drawing on years of research on the movement as well as interviews with Kasturi himself, this book deepens our understanding of this important pan-Indian figure and his charismatic religious movement. You can find oral testimonies about Sai Baba here.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Evan Berry, "Climate Politics and the Power of Religion" (Indiana UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2022 57:55

How does our faith affect how we think about and respond to climate change? Climate Politics and the Power of Religion (Indiana University Press, 2022) is an edited collection that explores the diverse ways that religion shapes climate politics at the local, national, and international levels. Drawing on case studies from across the globe, it stands at the intersection of religious studies, environment policy, and global politics. From small island nations confronting sea-level rise and intensifying tropical storms to high-elevation communities in the Andes and Himalayas wrestling with accelerating glacial melt, there is tremendous variation in the ways that societies draw on religion to understand and contend with climate change. Climate Politics and the Power of Religion offers 10 timely case studies that demonstrate how different communities render climate change within their own moral vocabularies and how such moral claims find purchase in activism and public debates about climate policy. Whether it be Hindutva policymakers in India, curanderos in Peru, or working-class people's concerns about the transgressions of petroleum extraction in Trinidad—religion affects how they all are making sense of and responding to this escalating global catastrophe. Evan Berry is an associate professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University and President of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Yehudah Mirsky, "Towards the Mystical Experience of Modernity: The Making of Rav Kook, 1865-1904" (Academic Studies Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2022 87:30

Avraham Yitzhaq Ha-Cohen Kook (1865-1935) stands as a colossal figure of modern Jewish history and thought. Jurist, mystic, poet, theologian, communal leader, founder of the modern Chief Rabbinate and still the defining thinker of Religious Zionism, he is indispensable for understanding modern Jewish thought, the contemporary State of Israel, and the most fundamental interactions of religion, nationalism, ethics and spirituality. Despite countless studies of him, almost no full-fledged intellectual biography of him exists in any language.  This study of the years before his momentous move to Jaffa in 1904, drawing on little-known works, including recently published manuscripts, begins to fill that gap. Towards the Mystical Experience of Modernity: The Making of Rav Kook, 1865-1904 (Academic Studies Press, 2021) traces his life and times in the remarkably intense Rabbinic intellectual milieu of late nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, and his path from a profound, regularly rationalist traditionalism, towards a dynamic theology and spiritual practice weaving together Kabbalah, philosophy, universal ethics, and romantic mysticism. Matthew Miller is a graduate of Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah. He studied Jewish Studies and Linguistics at McGill for his BA and completed an MA in Hebrew Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London. He works with Jewish organizations in media and content distribution, such as TheHabura.com and RabbiEfremGoldberg.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Travis W. Proctor, "Demonic Bodies and the Dark Ecologies of Early Christian Culture" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 12, 2022 43:01

Drawing insights from gender studies and the environmental humanities, Demonic Bodies and the Dark Ecologies of Early Christian Culture (Oxford UP, 2022) analyze how ancient Christians constructed the Christian body through its relations to demonic adversaries. Through case studies of New Testament texts, Gnostic treatises, and early Christian church fathers, Travis W. Proctor notes that early followers of Jesus construed the demonic body in diverse and sometimes contradictory ways, as both embodied and bodiless, “fattened” and ethereal, heavenly and earthbound. Across this diversity of portrayals, however, demons consistently functioned as personifications of “deviant” bodily practices such as “magical” rituals, immoral sexual acts, gluttony, and pagan religious practices. This demonization served an exclusionary function whereby Christian writers marginalized fringe Christian groups by linking their ritual activities to demonic modes of (dis)embodiment. The tandem construction of demonic and human corporeality demonstrates how Christian authors constructed the bodies that inhabited their cosmos - human, demon, and otherwise as part of overlapping networks or “ecosystems” of humanity and nonhumanity. Through this approach, Proctor provides new resources for reimagining the enlivened ecosystems that surround and intersect with our modern ideas of “self.” Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on ‘Anthropology of Religion' at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Shivan Mahendrarajah, "The Sufi Saint of Jam: History, Religion and Politics of a Sunni Shrine in Shi'i Iran" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2022 55:32

Shivan Mahendrarajah's book, The Sufi Saint of Jam: History, Religion, and Politics of a Sunni Shrine in Shi‘i Iran (Cambridge UP, 2021), which explores the history and politics of Ahmad-i-Jam's shrine, which is located in Iran. The shrine is of particular interest and importance today given that Ahmad of Jam (d. 1141 C.E.) was a Sunni-Sufi, while contemporary Iran is majority Shia, and the shrine has lasted and even thrived for 900 years; the renaissance of the shrine in Iran is also of particular relevance given prevailing assumptions about Iran's alleged sectarian and intolerant Shi‘i theocracy. Complete with photographs, this exciting book would appeal to academics, researchers, and others interested in Central Asia, Afghanistan, Sufism, medieval Islam, and Iran. It will also be of use to anyone interested in Islamic art and architecture. In our conversation today, Mahendrarajah discusses the origins of this book, explains why and how Ahmad-i-Jam, whose shrine is the focus of the book, became known as the patron saint of kings, why the shrine has lasted for 900 years including in a contemporary Shia majority, the sorts of services the shrine has provided historically, its funding sources, and the ways the shrine operates today. We also talk about the architecture of the shrine, and the author explains how the book might also appeal to scholars interested in Islamic art and architecture. Shehnaz Haqqani is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Mercer University. She earned her PhD in Islamic Studies with a focus on gender from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. Her dissertation research explored questions of change and tradition, specifically in the context of gender and sexuality, in Islam. She can be reached at haqqani_s@mercer.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Holly Welker, "Revising Eternity: 27 Latter-Day Saint Men Reflect on Modern Relationships" (U Illinois Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2022 47:25

Marriage's central role in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints distinguishes the faith while simultaneously reflecting widespread American beliefs. But what does Latter-day Saint marriage mean for men?  In Revising Eternity: 27 Latter-Day Saint Men Reflect on Modern Relationships (U Illinois Press, 2022), Holly Welker presents a collection of essays exploring this question. The essayists provide insight into challenges involving sexuality, physical and emotional illness, addiction, loss of faith, infidelity, sexual orientation, and other topics. Conversational and heartfelt, the writings reveal the varied experiences of Latter-day Saint marriage against the backdrop of a society transformed by everything from economic issues affecting marriage to evolving ideas about gender. An insightful exploration of the gap between human realities and engrained ideals, Revising Eternity sheds light on how Latter-day Saint men view and experience marriage today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Andrew R. Polk, "Faith in Freedom: Propaganda, Presidential Politics, and the Making of an American Religion" (Cornell UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2022 57:09

In Faith in Freedom: Propaganda, Presidential Politics, and the Making of an American Religion (Cornell UP, 2021), Andrew R. Polk argues that the American civil religion so many have identified as indigenous to the founding ideology was, in fact, the result of a strategic campaign of religious propaganda. Far from being the natural result of the nation's religious underpinning or the later spiritual machinations of conservative Protestants, American civil religion and the resultant "Christian nationalism" of today were crafted by secular elites in the middle of the twentieth century. Polk's genealogy of the national motto, "In God We Trust," revises the very meaning of the contemporary American nation. Polk shows how Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, working with politicians, advertising executives, and military public relations experts, exploited denominational religious affiliations and beliefs in order to unite Americans during the Second World War and, then, the early Cold War. Armed opposition to the Soviet Union was coupled with militant support for free economic markets, local control of education and housing, and liberties of speech and worship. These preferences were cultivated by state actors so as to support a set of right-wing positions including anti-communism, the Jim Crow status quo, and limited taxation and regulation. Faith in Freedom is a pioneering work of American religious history. By assessing the ideas, policies, and actions of three US Presidents and their White House staff, Polk sheds light on the origins of the ideological, religious, and partisan divides that describe the American polity today. Andrew R. Polk is Associate Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University. Jackson Reinhardt is a graduate of University of Southern California and Vanderbilt University. He is currently an independent scholar, freelance writer, and research assistant. You can reach Jackson at jtreinhardt1997@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @JTRhardt Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Robin Dunbar, "How Religion Evolved: And Why It Endures" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2022 65:11

What is the evolutionary purpose of religion, and are some individuals more inclined than others to be religious? Our species diverged from the great apes six to eight million years ago. Since then, our propensity toward spiritual thinking and ritual emerged. How, when, and why did this occur, and how did the earliest, informal shamanic practices evolve into the world religions familiar to us today? In How Religion Evolved: And Why It Endures (Oxford UP, 2022), Robin Dunbar explores these and other questions, mining the distinctions between religions of experience--as practiced by the earliest hunter-gatherer societies--and doctrinal religions, from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and their many derivatives. Examining religion's origins, social functions, its effects on the brain and body, and its place in the modern era, Dunbar offers a fascinating and far-reaching analysis of the quintessentially human impulse to reach beyond. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network's Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at reneeg@vanleer.org.il. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Annette G. Aubert and Zachary Purvis, "Transatlantic Religion: Europe, America, and the Making of Modern Christianity" (Brill, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 5, 2022 43:27

Annette G. Aubert and Zachary Purvis' edited volume Transatlantic Religion: Europe, America, and the Making of Modern Christianity (Brill, 2021) offers a new perspective on nineteenth-century American Christianity that takes into account the century's major transformations in politics, philosophy, education, and religious doctrine. The book includes previously unexamined material to explain the influences of European ideas on the intellectual diversity and cultural specifics of American Christianity. It gives readers access to a new analytical approach to the transatlantic development of religion in America, one that acknowledges the role of ecumenical and partisan religious journalism, academic-religious mentoring, profound changes in the field of scientific inquiry, and the aims of institution builders. Justin McGeary is Director of Christian Studies at John Witherspoon College and a graduate student at Union School of Theology, Wales. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Helen Jin Kim, "Race for Revival: How Cold War South Korea Shaped the American Evangelical Empire" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 5, 2022 83:37

In 1973, Billy Graham, "America's Pastor," held his largest ever "crusade." But he was not, as one might expect, in the American heartland, but in South Korea. Why there? Race for Revival: How Cold War South Korea Shaped the American Evangelical Empire (Oxford UP, 2022) seeks not only to answer that question, but to retell the story of modern American evangelicalism through its relationship with South Korea. With the outbreak of the Korean War, the first "hot" war of the Cold War era, a new generation of white fundamentalists and neo-evangelicals forged networks with South Koreans that helped turn evangelical America into an empire. South Korean Protestants were used to bolster the image of the US as a non-imperial beacon of democratic hope, in spite of ongoing racial inequalities. At the same time, South Koreans used these racialized transpacific networks for their own purposes, seeking to reimagine their own place in the world order. They envisioned Korea as the "new emerging Christian kingdom," that would beat the American evangelical empire in a race for revival. Yet these nonstate networks ultimately foreshadowed the rise of the Christian Right in the US and South Korea in the 1980s and 1990s. Employing a bilingual and bi-national approach, Race for Revival reexamines the narrative of modern evangelicalism through an innovative transpacific framework, offering a new lens through which to understand evangelical history from the Korean War to the rise of Ronald Reagan. Byung Ho Choi is a PhD candidate in the History and Ecumenics program at Princeton Theological Seminary, concentrating in World Christianity and history of religions. His research focuses on the indigenous expressions of Christianities found in Southeast Asia, particularly Christianity that is practiced in the Muslim-dominant archipelagic nation of Indonesia. More broadly, he is interested in history and the anthropology of Christianity, complexities of religious conversion and social identity, inter-religious dialogue, ecumenism, and World Christianity. Sun Yong Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History and Ecumenics, studying World Christianity and history of religions at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her research interests center on the history of Christianity in East Asia, Korea in particular. She is especially interested in women's experiences in their mission encounters and their participation in the formation of Christianity and social changes. Her research expands to social theory of religion and indigenous religions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

On the Myth of Disenchantment

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 5, 2022 70:03

Jason Josephson-Storm is Professor of Religion and Chair of Science and Technology Studies at Williams College in Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University in 2006 and has held visiting positions in the US, France, and Germany. He has three primary research foci: Japanese Religions, European Intellectual History, and Theory more broadly.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Yehudah Mirsky, "Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution" (Yale UP, 2014)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 4, 2022 55:54

A powerfully original thinker, Rav Kook combined strict traditionalism and an embrace of modernity, Orthodoxy and tolerance, piety and audacity, scholasticism and ecstasy, and passionate nationalism with profound universalism. Though little known in the English-speaking world, his life and teachings are essential to understanding current Israeli politics, contemporary Jewish spirituality, and modern Jewish thought. Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution (Yale UP, 2014), the first biography of Kook in English in more than half a century, offers a rich and insightful portrait of the man and his complex legacy. Yehudah Mirsky clears away widespread misunderstandings of Kook's ideas and provides fresh insights into his personality and worldview. Mirsky demonstrates how Kook's richly erudite, dazzlingly poetic writings convey a breathtaking vision in which "the old will become new, and the new will become holy." Matthew Miller is a graduate of Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah. He studied Jewish Studies and Linguistics at McGill for his BA and completed an MA in Hebrew Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London. He works with Jewish organizations in media and content distribution, such as TheHabura.com and RabbiEfremGoldberg.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Carla Power, "Home, Land, Security: Deradicalization and the Journey Back from Extremism" (One World, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2022 66:35

In the Pulitzer Prize finalist book Home, Land, Security: Deradicalisation and the Journey Back from Extremism (One World, 2021), Carla Power explores: what are the roots of radicalism? Journalist Carla Power came to this question well before the January 6, 2021, attack in Washington, D.C., that turned the US' attention to the problem of domestic radicalization. Her entry point was a different wave of radical panic—the way populists and pundits encouraged us to see the young people who joined ISIS or other terrorist organizations as simple monsters. Power wanted to chip away at the stereotypes by focusing not on what these young people had done but why: What drew them into militancy? What visions of the world—of home, of land, of security for themselves and the people they loved—shifted their thinking toward radical beliefs? And what visions of the world might bring them back to society? Power begins her journey by talking to the mothers of young men who'd joined ISIS in the UK and Canada; from there, she travels around the world in search of societies that are finding new and innovative ways to rehabilitate former extremists. We meet an American judge who has staked his career on finding new ways to handle terrorist suspects, a Pakistani woman running a game-changing school for former child soldiers, a radicalized Somali American who learns through literature to see beyond his Manichean beliefs, and a former neo-Nazi who now helps disarm white supremacists. Along the way Power gleans lessons that get her closer to answering the true question at the heart of her pursuit: Can we find a way to live together? An eye-opening, page-turning investigation, Home, Land, Security speaks to the rise of division and radicalization in all forms, both at home and abroad. In this richly reported and deeply human account, Carla Power offers new ways to overcome the rising tides of extremism, one human at a time. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Shannen Dee Williams, "Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle" (Duke UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2022 51:05

In Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle (Duke UP, 2022), Shannen Dee Williams provides the first full history of Black Catholic nuns in the United States, hailing them as the forgotten prophets of Catholicism and democracy. Drawing on oral histories and previously sealed Church records, Williams demonstrates how master narratives of women's religious life and Catholic commitments to racial and gender justice fundamentally change when the lives and experiences of African American nuns are taken seriously. For Black Catholic women and girls, embracing the celibate religious state constituted a radical act of resistance to white supremacy and the sexual terrorism built into chattel slavery and segregation. Williams shows how Black sisters--such as Sister Mary Antona Ebo, who was the only Black member of the inaugural delegation of Catholic sisters to travel to Selma, Alabama, and join the Black voting rights marches of 1965--were pioneering religious leaders, educators, healthcare professionals, desegregation foot soldiers, Black Power activists, and womanist theologians. In the process, Williams calls attention to Catholic women's religious life as a stronghold of white supremacy and racial segregation--and thus an important battleground in the long African American freedom struggle. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Nicholas T. Pruitt, "Open Hearts, Closed Doors: Immigration Reform and the Waning of Mainline Protestantism" (NYU Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2022 47:40

Open Hearts, Closed Doors: Immigration Reform and the Waning of Mainline Protestantism (NYU Press, 2021) uncovers the largely overlooked role that liberal Protestants played in fostering cultural diversity in America and pushing for new immigration laws during the forty years following the passage of the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924. These efforts resulted in the complete reshaping of the US cultural and religious landscape. During this period, mainline Protestants contributed to the national debate over immigration policy and joined the charge for immigration reform, advocating for a more diverse pool of newcomers. They were successful in their efforts, and in 1965 the quota system based on race and national origin was abolished. But their activism had unintended consequences, because the liberal immigration policies they supported helped to end over three centuries of white Protestant dominance in American society. Yet, Pruitt argues, in losing their cultural supremacy, mainline Protestants were able to reassess their mission. They rolled back more strident forms of xenophobia, substantively altering the face of mainline Protestantism and laying foundations for their responses to today's immigration debates. More than just a historical portrait, this volume is a timely reminder of the power of religious influence in political matters. Lane Davis is an Instructor of Religion at Huntingdon College. Find him on Twitter @TheeLaneDavis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Omar Kasmani, "Queer Companions: Religion, Public Intimacy, and Saintly Affects in Pakistan" (Duke UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2022 81:24

In Queer Companions: Religion, Public Intimacy, and Saintly Affects in Pakistan (Duke UP, 2022), Omar Kasmani theorizes saintly intimacy and the construction of queer social relations at Pakistan's most important site of Sufi pilgrimage. Conjoining queer theory and the anthropology of Islam, Kasmani outlines the felt and enfleshed ways in which saintly affections bind individuals, society, and the state in Pakistan through a public architecture of intimacy. Islamic saints become lovers and queer companions just as a religious universe is made valuable to critical and queer forms of thinking. Focusing on the lives of ascetics known as fakirs in Pakistan, Kasmani shows how the affective bonds with the place's patron saint, a thirteenth-century antinomian mystic, foster unstraight modes of living in the present. In a national context where religious shrines are entangled in the state's infrastructures of governance, coming close to saints further entails a drawing near to more-than-official histories and public forms of affect. Through various fakir life stories, Kasmani contends that this intimacy offers a form of queer world making with saints. Mathew Gagné in an independent writer, scholar, and educator, currently teaching in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Simon Atkinson, "Krishnamacharya on Kundalini: The Origins and Coherence of His Position" (Equinox Publishing, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2022 62:37

Krishnamacharya on Kundalini: The Origins and Coherence of His Position (Equinox Publishing, 2022) explores a distinctive teaching of 'the father of modern yoga', T. Krishnamacharya. Whereas most yoga traditions teach that kuṇḍalinī is a serpentine energy that rises, Krishnamacharya defined it differently. To him, kuṇḍalinī is a serpentine blockage which prevents prāṇa (breath or life-force) from rising and which represents avidyā (spiritual ignorance). Simon Atkinson draws from over 20 years of study and practice under teachers following Krishnamacharya. He combines analysis of quotations from yoga workshops with a detailed study of traditional Sanskrit texts. Atkinson challenges claims that Krishnamacharya's position can be found in his religious tradition of Śrīvaiṣṇavism. He questions the tradition's reliance on textual sources, showing how the coherence of Krishnamacharya's position can only be maintained by employing elaborate arguments and rejecting texts that teach otherwise. Atkinson also explores how Krishnamacharya's teaching on kuṇḍalinī influences how yoga is practiced. He argues that Krishnamacharya's position is best viewed as a model for experience that guides practice. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Teemu Taira, "Taking ‘Religion' Seriously: Essays on the Discursive Study of Religion" (Brill, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2022 69:00

Teemu Taira's book Taking ‘Religion' Seriously: Essays on the Discursive Study of Religion (Brill, 2022) demonstrates through methodological reflections and carefully chosen case studies a new way to conduct the study of religion. It focuses on how social actors negotiate what counts as “religion” and how discourses on religion are part of how contemporary societies organize themselves. It draws on examples from judicial processes, media discourses, and scholarly debates related to Wiccans, Druids, and Jedi knights, among others. By analyzing discourses on religion and building on, rather than rejecting, genealogical critiques of religion, Taira argues that the study of religion can be constructive and socially relevant. Teemu tweets @TeemuTaira.  Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on ‘Anthropology of Religion' at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

D. G. Hart, "Benjamin Franklin: Cultural Protestant" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 28, 2022 46:42

Benjamin Franklin grew up in a devout Protestant family with limited prospects for wealth and fame. By hard work, limitless curiosity, native intelligence, and luck (what he called "providence"), Franklin became one of Philadelphia's most prominent leaders, a world recognized scientist, and the United States' leading diplomat during the War for Independence. Along the way, Franklin embodied the Protestant ethics and cultural habits he learned and observed as a youth in Puritan Boston.  Benjamin Franklin: Cultural Protestant (Oxford UP, 2021) follows Franklin's remarkable career through the lens of the trends and innovations that the Protestant Reformation started (both directly and indirectly) almost two centuries earlier. His work as a printer, civic reformer, institution builder, scientist, inventor, writer, self-help dispenser, politician, and statesmen was deeply rooted in the culture and outlook that Protestantism nurtured. Through its alternatives to medieval church and society, Protestants built societies and instilled habits of character and mind that allowed figures such as Franklin to build the life that he did. Through it all, Franklin could not assent to all of Protestantism's doctrines or observe its worship, but for most of his life he acknowledged his debt to his creator, reveled in the natural world guided by providence, and conducted himself in a way (imperfectly) to merit divine approval. In this biography, D. G. Hart recognizes Franklin as a cultural or non-observant Protestant, someone who thought of himself as a Presbyterian, ordered his life as other Protestants did, sometimes went to worship services, read his Bible, and prayed, but could not go all the way and join a church. Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and PhD candidate in History at Queen's University Belfast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

On Taoism, Martial Arts, and Mad Monk Manifesto

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 24, 2022 58:29

Monk Yun Rou was ordained in China as a Taoist monk in 2012. His writings and teachings propagate Taoist ideas and focus on environmental conservation, and political and social justice. Yun Rou began his formal martial arts training in 1980 and practiced a wide range of Chinese kung fu styles before settling on tai chi. A student of some of China's top tai chi grandmasters, he was named Tai Chi Master of The Year at the 2011 World Congress on Qigong and Traditional Chinese Medicine and Yun Rou was the keynote speaker at the International Tai Chi Symposium in Louisville, Kentucky. Yun Rou is the author of Mad Monk Manifesto. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Peter Oborne, "The Fate of Abraham: Why the West is Wrong about Islam" (Simon and Schuster, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2022 65:30

Peter Oborne's The Fate of Abraham: Why the West is Wrong about Islam (Simon and Schuster 2022) is as much a history of US, British, and French attitudes towards Islam and Muslims as it is about a relationship that was almost doomed from the outset. Not because of inherent problems with either the essence of the West or the essence of Islam but due to prejudice, bias, and, certainly in the 21st century, politicisation and weaponization of religion on both sides of the divide. Nonetheless, the book sketches how many of the Western and non-Western policy assumptions about Islam echo past fears, prejudices, and debates that that have fuelled a widening gap and Islamophobia. Oborne, the scion of a military and old-style politically conservative family, is passionate but well-documented, well-researched, and well-argued, in his description of the United States, France, and Britain's encounters with Islam and Muslims, who initially were either subjects with very different experiences of colonialism or slaves. Although these encounters vary widely, Islam, whose adherents were often not granted full and equal recognition in society, has in Oborne's telling in the 21th century replaced replaced communism as the enemy in the post-Cold War and post 9/11 era. Based on extensive historical research and investigative journalism, Oborne debunks myths and distortions of the truth. In doing so, he is clear about where he stands in the debate on whether non-violent political Islam poses a threat. Terms that have become fashionable such as Islamism and non-violent extremism constitute in his mind part of the vocabulary developed to force Muslims into a cultural straight jacket. With a well-put together list for further reading and spiced with historical nuggets, Oborne's book is a valuable and important contribution to discussions about Islamophobia, political Islam, and the relationship between the United States, European countries, and Islam – a relationship that is likely to co-shape the 21st century world order. Dr. James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar, a Senior Fellow at the National University of Singapore's Middle East Institute and the author of the syndicated column and blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Srilata Raman, "The Transformation of Tamil Religion: Ramalinga Swamigal and Modern Dravidian Sainthood" (Routledge, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2022 38:49

Srilata Raman's book The Transformation of Tamil Religion: Ramalinga Swamigal and Modern Dravidian Sainthood (Routledge, 2022) analyses the religious ideology of a Tamil reformer and saint, Ramalinga Swamigal of the 19th century and his posthumous reception in the Tamil country and sheds light on the transformation of Tamil religion that both his works and the understanding of him brought about. This book is a path-breaking study that also traces the common grounds between the religious visions of two of the most prominent subaltern figures of Tamil modernity - Iyothee Thass and Ramalingar. It argues that these transformations are one meaningful way for a religious tradition to cope with and come to terms with the implications of historicization and the demands of colonial modernity. It is, therefore, a valuable contribution to the field of religion, South Asian history and literature and Subaltern studies. This book is available open access here.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

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