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Latest episodes from New Books in Religion

Robin Derricourt, "Creating God: The Birth and Growth of Major Religions" ( Manchester UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2021 57:07

What do we really know about how and where religions began, and how they spread?  Robin Derricourt considers the birth and growth of several major religions, using history and archaeology to recreate the times, places and societies that witnessed the rise of significant monotheistic faiths. Beginning with Mormonism and working backwards through Islam, Christianity and Judaism to Zoroastrianism, Creating God: The Birth and Growth of Major Religions ( Manchester UP, 2021) opens up the conditions that allowed religious movements to emerge, attract their first followers and grow. Throughout history there have been many prophets: individuals who believed they were in direct contact with the divine, with instructions to spread a religious message. While many disappeared without trace, some gained millions of followers and established a lasting religion. Derricourt considers and gives new insights on the origins of major religions and raises essential questions about why some succeeded where others failed. And who does not want to know that! Robin Derricourt is an Honorary Professor of History in the School of Humanities at the University of New South Wales and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He holds a PhD in archaeology from the University of Cambridge. His previous books include Inventing Africa: History, Archaeology and Ideas (2011), Antiquity Imagined: The Remarkable Legacy of Egypt and the Ancient Near East (2015) and Unearthing Childhood: Young Lives in Prehistory (2018), which received the PROSE Award for Archaeology and Ancient History. Bede Haines is a solicitor, specialising in litigation and a partner at Holding Redlich, an Australian commercial law firm. He lives in Sydney, Australia. Known to read books, ride bikes and eat cereal (often). bede.haines@holdingredlich.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

McComas Taylor, "The Viṣṇu Purāṇa: Ancient Annals of the God with Lotus Eyes" (Australian National UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2021 60:00

Listen in as we speak with McComas Taylor (Associate Professor and Reader in Sanskrit, The Australian National University) about his brand-new translation of the Viṣṇu Purāṇa. This is the second time the Viṣṇu Purāṇa has been translated into English, the last time being nearly two centuries ago. Attentive to out the aesthetics of out-loud utterance, this beautiful translation is in blank-verse, faithful to the original Sanskrit, and available Open Access. We also speak about the World Sanskrit Conference, an upcoming Sanskrit Narrative volume, and studying Sanskrit online with McComas Taylor. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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

Francis Wade, "Myanmar's Enemy Within: Buddhist Violence and the Making of a Muslim 'Other'" (Zed Books, 2017)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2021 55:12

In 2017, Myanmar's military launched a campaign of widespread targeted violence against its Rohingya minority. The horrific atrocities was later described by United Nations experts as genocide. This had been building since 2012, when earlier ethnic violence erupted between Buddhists and Muslims in Western Myanmar. These very grave incidents leading to the deaths and also the flight of thousands of Rohingya to neighbouring Bangladesh was the most concentrated exodus of people since the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. In Myanmar's Enemy Within: Buddhist Violence and the Making of the Muslim 'Other' (Zed Books, 2017, 2019), Francis Wade identifies the underlying causes which flamed division, segregation and resulted in a horrific loss of life and violence. Wade explores how the manipulations by a ruling elite turned prompted neighbours to take up arms against neighbour, by politicising ethnic identity.  The crisis is contextualised in the legacy of British colonialism which calcified the previously fluid dynamics of cultural groups across the country.The military junta is shown to have exploited these divisions in its campaign which targeted the Rohingya minority. In the period of extreme violence, Wade draws out how the U.N., and more broadly, how Western backers of the apparent political transition to democratisation contemporaneously ignored the unfolding situation. Through his on-the-ground accounts, Wade explores how citizens experiencing rights and freedoms unseen for half a century, under a much lauded civilian leaders such as Aung San Suu Kyi, became complicit in this humanitarian catastrophe.  Francis Wade is a journalist specialising in Myanmar and Southeast Asia. He began reporting on Myanmar in 2009 and went on to cover in-depth the transition from military rule and the violence which accompanied it. He has reported for The Guardian, The London Review of Books, TIME, New York Review of Books and more.  Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Jason Bruner, "Imagining Persecution: Why American Christians Believe There Is a Global War Against Their Faith" (Rutgers UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2021 106:29

Many American Christians have come to understand their relationship to other Christian denominations and traditions through the lens of religious persecution. Jason Bruner's Imagining Persecution: Why American Christians Believe There Is a Global War Against Their Faith (Rutgers UP, 2021) provides a historical account of these developments, showing the global, theological, and political changes that made it possible for contemporary Christians to claim that there is a global war on Christians. This book, however, does not advocate on behalf of particular repressed Christian communities, nor does it argue for the genuineness (or lack thereof) of certain Christians' claims of persecution. Instead, this book is the first to examine the idea that there is a “global war on Christians” and its analytical implications. It does so by giving a concise history of the categories (like “martyrs”), evidence (statistics and metrics), and theologies that have come together to produce a global Christian imagination premised upon the notion of shared suffering for one's faith. The purpose in doing so is not to deny certain instances of suffering or death; rather, it is to reflect upon the consequences for thinking about religious violence and Christianity worldwide using terms such as a “global war on Christians.” Byung Ho Choi and Shalon Park are Ph.D. students in the Department of History & Ecumenics, focusing on World Christianity and history of religions at Princeton Theological Seminary.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Moshe Halbertal, "Nahmanides: Law and Mysticism" (Yale UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 31:22

Rabbi Moses ben Nahman (1194–1270), known in English as Nahmanides and by the acronym the Ramban, was one of the most creative kabbalists, one of the deepest and most original biblical interpreters, and one of the greatest Talmudic scholars the Jewish tradition has ever produced. Join us as we talk with Moshe Halbertal about his recent book: Nahmanides: Law and Mysticism (Yale UP, 2020), where he provides a broad, systematic account of Nahmanides's thought, exploring his conception of halakhah and his approach to the central concerns of medieval Jewish thought, as well as the relationship between Nahmanides's kabbalah and mysticism and the existential religious drive that nourishes them. Moshe Halbertal is the John and Golda Cohen Professor of Jewish Thought and Philosophy at Hebrew University and Gruss Professor of Law at NYU Law School. He has also written Maimonides: Life and Thought. Michael Morales is Professor of Biblical Studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the author of The Tabernacle Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus(Peeters, 2012), Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of Leviticus(IVP Academic, 2015), and Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption(IVP Academic, 2020). He can be reached at mmorales@gpts.edu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Joseph P. Laycock, "Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds" (U California Press, 2015)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 26, 2021 77:56

The 1980s saw the peak of a moral panic over fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. A coalition of moral entrepreneurs that included representatives from the Christian Right, the field of psychology, and law enforcement claimed that these games were not only psychologically dangerous but an occult religion masquerading as a game. Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds (University of California Press, 2015) by Joseph Laycock, explores both the history and the sociological significance of this panic. Fantasy role-playing games do share several functions in common with religion. However, religion—as a socially constructed world of shared meaning—can also be compared to a fantasy role-playing game. In fact, the claims of the moral entrepreneurs, in which they presented themselves as heroes battling a dark conspiracy, often resembled the very games of imagination they condemned as evil. By attacking the imagination, they preserved the taken-for-granted status of their own socially constructed reality. Interpreted in this way, the panic over fantasy-role playing games yields new insights about how humans play and how they construct and maintain meaningful worlds together. Joseph Laycock is an associate professor of religious studies at Texas State University. He has written several books on new religious movements and American religious history, including one on The Satanic Temple. He is also a co-editor for the journal Nova Religio. Carrie Lynn Evans is currently a PhD student of English Literature with Université Laval in Quebec. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Jyoti Gulati Balachandran, "Narrative Pasts: The Making of a Muslim Community in Gujarat, C. 1400-1650" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 23, 2021 66:38

Jyoti Gulati Balachandran's Narrative Pasts: The Making of a Muslim Community in Gujarat, c. 1400-1650 (Oxford University Press, 2020) explores the complex power of Sufi texts in creating Muslim communities in Gujarat from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries. Balachandran focuses on three main Sufi saints, including Ahmad Khattu, whose disciples chronicled his life and legacy through various literary productions in Persian and Arabic. The study provides a social history of Gujarat through a deep analysis of Sufi textual traditions, such as compilations of public assemblies (malfuzat) and genealogical and biographical (tazkirat) texts. The complex process of textual production and architectural developments, such as Sufi shrines, in Gujarat showcases a vibrant and complex history of Islam, one that hinges on Gujarat sultans, Suhrawardi Sufis, and local Muslim communities. The book provides significant insights into Gujarat's sultanate and Sufism, while also further complicating the history of medieval and early modern South Asian Islam. This book will be of interest to those who think and write about Sufism, South Asian Islamic history, sacred spaces and textual production and much more. Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen's University. More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at shobhana.xavier@queensu.ca. You can follow her on Twitter via @shobhanaxavier. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

A Conversation with Greg Bailey: Sanskrit Scholar and Novelist

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2021 55:43


This interview features a candid conversation with Greg Bailey, seasoned scholar of Sanskrit narrative Literature, on his multi-decade work on the Purāṇas and Mahābhārata, and on his new novel In Search of Bliss: A Tale of Early Buddhism (Vanguard Press, 2019). About the novel: Kshemapala is a monk from the North who has been tasked with an important scholarly mission: fill in the gaps in the history of the monk, Ananda, the Buddha's close companion, about whom there are legends but few facts. To achieve this he must journey south, towards the source of many of the stories and also towards experiences which will challenge his perception of his practice and of himself. Highly trained in Buddhist meditation techniques and detachment, he must take in and study the evidence, and understand the behaviour and choices of a monk from the past who seems to have done things rather differently. Along the way, Kshemapala is assisted by old and new acquaintances and teachers, and thrown into peril by his confrontation with the supernatural, despite his years of discipline. He is challenged mentally, physically and metaphysically, all of which lead him to consider his own direction. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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


Sokthan Yeng, "Buddhist Feminism: Transforming Anger against Patriarchy" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2021 72:54

How can Buddhism and feminism be brought together in a constructive way to challenge patriarchial structures? What could such a philosophy say about anger over injustice and oppression? In Buddhist Feminism: Transforming Anger Against Patriarchy (Palgrave, 2020), Sokthan Yeng answers these questions. She argues that, despite Buddhist institutions themselves being susceptible to feminist critiques, there are fruitful ways of reading Buddhist philosophy and practices that contribute to feminist goals. By examining a range of Buddhisms, Theravada and Mahāyāna, around the world and from different historical periods, Yeng argues that a Buddhist feminism would involve relationality, attention to the body, and the call to recognize anger. To make the case, her book engages with contemporary feminists who are Buddhist, such as bell hooks, Luce Irigay, and Jan Willis, as well as the writings of premodern Buddhist nuns, the Therīgātha. Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit philosophy of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras (and stuff). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Paul Mendes-Flohr, "Cultural Disjunctions: Post-Traditional Jewish Identities" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 16, 2021 55:37

The identity of contemporary Jews is multifaceted, no longer necessarily defined by an observance of the Torah and God's commandments. Indeed, the Jews of modernity are no longer exclusively Jewish. They are affiliated with a host of complementary and sometimes clashing communities—vocational, professional, political, and cultural—whose interests may not coincide with that of the community of their birth and inherited culture. In Cultural Disjunctions: Post-Traditional Jewish Identities (U Chicago Press, 2021), Paul Mendes-Flohr explores the possibility of a spiritually and intellectually engaged cosmopolitan Jewish identity for our time. Reflecting on the need to participate in the spiritual life of Judaism so that it enables multiple relations beyond its borders and allows one to balance Jewish commitment with a genuine obligation to the universal, Mendes-Flohr lays out what this delicate balance can look like for contemporary Jews, both in Israel and in diasporic communities worldwide. Cultural Disjunctions walks us through the labyrinth of twentieth-century Jewish cultural identities and commitments. Ultimately, Mendes-Flohr calls for Jews to remain “discontent,” not just with themselves but also and especially with the reigning social and political order, and to fight for its betterment. 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 r.garfinkel@yahoo.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Anna Bigelow et al., "Islam Through Objects" (Bloomsbury, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 16, 2021 57:22

Islam through Objects (Bloomsbury, 2021) represents the state of the field of Islamic material cultural studies. With contributions from scholars of religion, anthropologists, art historians, folklorists, historians, and other disciplines, Anna Bigelow, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University, brings together a wide range of perspectives on Islamic materiality to debunk myths of Islamic aversion to material aspects of religion. Each chapter focuses on a single object in daily use by Muslims, including prayer beads, coins, amulets, a cistern well, clothing, jewelry, and bodily and domestic adornments, to consider both generic and particular aspects of the object in question. Framed by an introduction that assesses the various approaches to Islamic material culture in recent scholarship, Islam through Objects provides a template for the study of religion and material culture, which engages current theory, subtle and nuanced narratives, and the creative and imaginal capacities of Muslims through history. In our conversation we discussed key subjects in material religion scholarship, theological foundations for Islamic notions of materiality, the uses of visual images as historical vantage points, the role of objects as a means for marking and making identity, the life of material items in ritual and social action, and the future study of Islam through objects. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kpeterse@odu.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Shankar Nair, "Translating Wisdom: Hindu-Muslim Intellectual Interactions in Early Modern South Asia" (U California Press, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2021 66:06

During the height of Muslim power in Mughal South Asia, Hindu and Muslim scholars worked collaboratively to translate a large body of Hindu Sanskrit texts into the Persian language. Translating Wisdom reconstructs the intellectual processes and exchanges that underlay these translations. Using as a case study the 1597 Persian rendition of the Yoga-Vasistha—an influential Sanskrit philosophical tale whose popularity stretched across the subcontinent—Shankar Nair illustrates how these early modern Muslim and Hindu scholars drew upon their respective religious, philosophical, and literary traditions to forge a common vocabulary through which to understand one another. These scholars thus achieved, Nair argues, a nuanced cultural exchange and interreligious and cross-philosophical dialogue significant not only to South Asia's past but also its present. This interview is one of 3 interviews related to an upcoming American Academy of Religion "New Books in Hindu Studies" academic panel. The panel discusses Translating Wisdom: Hindu-Muslim Intellectual Interactions in Early Modern South Asia (University of California Press, 2020) in tandem with Patton Burchett's A Genealogy of Devotion. Patton's interview can be accessed here. Translating Wisdom is available open access here.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Yael Ziegler, "Lamentations: Faith in a Turbulent World" (Koren Publishers, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2021 32:13

The Biblical book of Lamentations contains a whirlwind of emotional responses to tragedy and suffering—expressing anger, doubt, and confusion—and yet its central message is one of deep hope and trust in God's goodness. Join us as we speak with Dr. Yael Ziegler about her recently published commentary, Lamentations: Faith in a Turbulent World. We will also touch on her previous commentary, Ruth: From Alienation to Monarchy. Dr. Yael Ziegler is an assistant professor of Bible at Herzog Academic College, a senior lecturer at Matan Jerusalem. In addition to her two commentaries with Koren Publishers, she has also written Promises to Keep: The Oath in Biblical Narrative. Michael Morales is Professor of Biblical Studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the author of The Tabernacle Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus (Peeters, 2012), Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of Leviticus(IVP Academic, 2015), and Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption(IVP Academic, 2020). He can be reached at mmorales@gpts.edu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Sharon L. Coggan, "Sacred Disobedience: A Jungian Analysis of the Saga of Pan and the Devil" (Lexington Books, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2021 95:29

Pan plays a central role in European mythology, originating as a figure who represented all that was impossible to tame in the world, something anyone who has ever worked with goats will understand. This primitive origin was slowly assimilated by the Greeks as a celebration of life and vitality, although through Plato's radical dualism and the moral inflection introduced by Christianity, his transition from goatlike deity to devil leaves us with a complicated relationship today towards everything he represented, giving birth to a collection of complexes and pathologies that demand addressing. Joining me to discuss these ideas is Sharon Coggan, here to discuss her new book Sacred Disobedience: A Jungian Analysis of the Saga of Pan and the Devil (Lexington Books, 2020). Synthesizing Jungian psychology with the history of mythology and theology, Coggan works her way through the history of Pan as a way of thinking about the development of various forms of consciousness, both individual and social. This is then a history of myth and religion, but with the goal of developing a psychological and sociological diagnosis, and thinking about what sort of cure might be called for. Sharon Coggan is a recently retired professor who spent much of her career at the University of Colorado in Denver, and founded the Religious Studies Program where she served as director for many years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Martha Theodora Frederiks and Dorottya Nagy, "World Christianity: Methodological Considerations" (Brill, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 12, 2021 73:34

World Christianity publications proliferate but the issue of methodology has received little attention. World Christianity: Methodological Considerations (Brill, 2020) addresses this lacuna and explores the methodological ramifications of the World Christianity turn. In twelve chapters scholars from various academic backgrounds (anthropology, religious studies, history, missiology, intercultural studies, theology, and patristics) as well as of multiple cultural and national belongings investigate methodological issues (e.g. methods, use of sources, choosing a unit of analysis, terminology, conceptual categories,) relevant to World Christianity debates. In a closing chapter the editors Frederiks and Nagy converge the findings and sketch the outlines of what they coin as a ‘World Christianity approach', a multidisciplinary and multiple perspective approach to study Christianity/ies' plurality and diversity in past and present. Byung Ho Choi is a Ph.D. Student from South Korea in the Department of History & Ecumenics, concentrating in World Christianity and history of religions at Princeton Theological Seminary. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Deatra Cohen and Adam Siegel, "Ashkenazi Herbalism: Rediscovering the Herbal Traditions of Eastern European Jews" (North Atlantic Books, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 9, 2021 62:46

Until now, the herbal traditions of the Ashkenazi people have remained unexplored and shrouded in mystery. Ashkenazi Herbalism: Rediscovering the Herbal Traditions of Eastern European Jews (North Atlantic Books, 2021) rediscovers the forgotten legacy of the Jewish medicinal plant healers who thrived in Eastern Europe's Pale of Settlement, from their beginnings in the Middle Ages through the modern era. Including the first materia medica of 26 plants and herbs essential to Ashkenazi folk medicine, Ashkenazi Herbalism sheds light on the preparations, medicinal profiles, and applications of a rich but previously unknown herbal tradition–one hidden by language barriers, obscured by cultural misunderstandings, and nearly lost to history. Written for new and established practitioners, it offers illustrations, provides information on comparative medicinal practices, and illuminates the important historical and cultural contexts that gave rise to Eastern European Jewish herbalism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Michael Fishbane, "Fragile Finitude: A Jewish Hermeneutical Theology" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 9, 2021 55:17

Perhaps no other scholar has exerted a more decisive influence on the study of Jewish thought and theology over the past half century than Michael Fishbane. Continuing his recent engagement with Jewish theology, in Fragile Finitude: A Jewish Hermeneutical Theology (University of Chicago Press, 2021), Professor Fishbane articulates a four-fold matrix of theological thought and inquiry that addresses the modern person in all her complexity and perplexity, charting a path toward deep encounter, and deep meaning, to be found through engagement with life, text, and life as text. Michael Fishbane is the Nathan Cummings Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago Divinity School David Gottlieb received his PhD in the History of Judaism from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2018. He is the author of Second Slayings: The Binding of Isaac and the Formation of Jewish Memory (2018). He will begin work in the summer of 2021 as director of the Jewish Studies program at the Spertus Institute for Learning and Leadership in Chicago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, "Talks on the Parasha" (Maggid, 2015)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2021 48:24

Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz (11 July 1937 – 7 August 2020), an Israeli Chabad Chasidic rabbi, teacher, philosopher, author, and translator, has been compared to Rashi and Maimonides in terms of the import of his scholarly and religious achievements. In today's show, we speak with his son, Rabbi Meni Even-Israel, about two of his father's books: Talks on the Parasha, featuring explanations of the Torah, and Change & Renewal, which explains the significance of the Jewish holidays. Rabbi Meni Even-Israel serves as the Executive Director of the Steinsaltz Center, which oversees the teachings and publications of Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, and has recently put out the app, Steinsaltz Daily Study. Michael Morales is Professor of Biblical Studies at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the author of The Tabernacle Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus (Peeters, 2012), Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of Leviticus(IVP Academic, 2015), and Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption(IVP Academic, 2020). He can be reached at mmorales@gpts.edu Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Young Richard Kim, "The Cambridge Companion to the Council of Nicaea" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2021 58:41

Every Sunday, Christians all over the world recite the Nicene Creed as a confession of faith. While most do not know the details of the controversy that led to its composition, they are aware that the Council of Nicaea was a critical moment in the history of Christianity. For scholars, the Council has long been a subject of multi-disciplinary interest and continues to fascinate and inspire research. As we approach the 1700th anniversary of the Council, The Cambridge Companion to the Council of Nicaea (Cambridge UP, 2021) provides an opportunity to revisit and reflect on old discussions, propose new approaches and interpretative frameworks, and ultimately revitalize a conversation that remains as important now as it was in the fourth century. The volume offers fifteen original studies by scholars who each examine an aspect of the Council. Informed by interdisciplinary approaches, the essays demonstrate its profound legacy with fresh, sometimes provocative, but always intellectually rich ideas. 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

Lyle D. Bierma, "Font of Pardon and New Life: John Calvin and the Efficacy of Baptism" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2021 38:18


Lyle D. Bierma's Font of Pardon and New Life: John Calvin and the Efficacy of Baptism (Oxford UP, 2021) is a study of the historical development and impact of John Calvin's doctrine of baptismal efficacy. The primary questions it addresses are (1) whether Calvin taught an "instrumental" doctrine of baptism, according to which the external sign of the sacrament serves as a means or instrument to convey the spiritual realities it signifies, and (2) whether Calvin's teaching on baptismal efficacy remained constant throughout his lifetime or underwent significant change. Secondarily, the work also examines whether such spiritual blessings, in Calvin's view, are conferred only in adult (believer) baptism or also in the baptism of infants, and what impact Calvin's doctrine of baptismal efficacy had on the Reformed confessional tradition that followed him. The book examines all of Calvin's writings on baptism-his Institutes, commentaries on Scripture, catechisms, polemical writings, and consensus documents-chronologically through five stages of his life and then analyzes the doctrine of baptismal efficacy in eight of the major Reformed confessions and catechisms from the age of confessional codification. It concludes that Calvin did indeed hold to an instrumental view of baptism; that this doctrine underwent change and development over the course of his life but not to the extent that some in the past have suggested; that his view of the efficacy of infant baptism was consistent with his doctrine of baptism in general; and that versions of Calvin's teaching can be found in many, though not all, of the major Reformed confessional documents of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 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


Becca Ehrlich, "Christian Minimalism: Simple Steps for Abundant Living" (Morehouse, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 6, 2021 43:52

Christian Minimalism: Simple Steps for Abundant Living (Morehouse, 2021), written by Becca Ehrlich was published in 2021 by Morehouse Publishing Inc. In this practical and scripturally based book, Ehrlich not only gives practical ways to simplify, but she leads her readers through the Bible to show us how Christianity calls us to minimalism. Focus on what matters most—and intentionally remove the rest. Logically, we all know our purpose in life is not wrapped up in accumulating possessions, wealth, power, and prestige—Jesus is very clear about that—but society tells us otherwise. Christian Minimalism attempts to cut through our assumptions and society's lies about what life should look like and invites readers into a life that Jesus calls us to live: one lived intentionally, free of physical, spiritual, and emotional clutter. Written by a woman who simplified her own life and practices these principles daily, this book gives readers a fresh perspective on how to live out God's grace for us in new and exciting ways and live out our faith in a way that is deeply satisfying. Meg Gambino is an artist and activist currently working as the Director of Outreach for an addiction recovery center. Her life mission is to creatively empower others by modeling reconciliation between communities of people and people on the margins. Find her work at reconfigureart.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Spencer W. McBride, "Joseph Smith for President: The Prophet, the Assassins, and the Fight for American Religious Freedom" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 1, 2021 51:49


By the election year of 1844, Joseph Smith, the controversial founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had amassed a national following of some 25,000 believers. Nearly half of them lived in the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, where Smith was not only their religious leader but also the mayor and the commander-in-chief of a militia of some 2,500 men. In less than twenty years, Smith had helped transform the American religious landscape and grown his own political power substantially. Yet the standing of the Mormon people in American society remained unstable. Unable to garner federal protection, and having failed to win the support of former president Martin Van Buren or any of the other candidates in the race, Smith decided to take matters into his own hands, launching his own bid for the presidency. While many scoffed at the notion that Smith could come anywhere close to the White House, others regarded his run―and his religion―as a threat to the stability of the young nation. Hounded by mobs throughout the campaign, Smith was ultimately killed by one―the first presidential candidate to be assassinated. Though Joseph Smith's run for president is now best remembered―when it is remembered at all―for its gruesome end, the renegade campaign was revolutionary. Smith called for the total abolition of slavery, the closure of the country's penitentiaries, and the reestablishment of a national bank to stabilize the economy. But Smith's most important proposal was for an expansion of protections for religious minorities. At a time when the Bill of Rights did not apply to individual states, Smith sought to empower the federal government to protect minorities when states failed to do so. In his book Joseph Smith for President: The Prophet, the Assassins, and the Fight for American Religious Freedom (Oxford UP, 2021),  Spencer W. McBride tells the story of Joseph Smith's quixotic but consequential run for the White House and shows how his calls for religious freedom helped to shape the American political system we know today. 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


James Reeves, "Godless Fictions in the Eighteenth Century: A Literary History of Atheism" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 28, 2021 79:40

Although there were no self-avowed British atheists before the 1780s, authors including Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Sarah Fielding, Phebe Gibbes, and William Cowper worried extensively about atheism's dystopian possibilities and routinely represented atheists as being beyond the pale of human sympathy. In Godless Fictions in the Eighteenth Century: A Literary History of Atheism (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Dr. James Bryant Reeves challenges traditional notions of secularization that equate modernity with unbelief, revealing how reactions against atheism instead helped sustain various forms of religious belief throughout the “Age of Enlightenment.” He demonstrates that hostility to unbelief likewise produced various forms of religious ecumenicalism, with authors depicting non-Christian theists from around Britain's emerging empire as sympathetic allies in the fight against irreligion. Godless Fictions traces a literary history of atheism in eighteenth-century Britain for the first time, revealing a relationship between atheism and secularization far more fraught than has previously been supposed. James Bryant Reeves is an assistant professor of English at Texas State University in San Marcos. His work has appeared in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, the Keats-Shelley Journal, and SEL Studies in English Literature 1500–1900. He has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, Linacre College, Oxford, and UCLA, where he earned his PhD in 2016. Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Mariusz Kalczewiak, "Polacos in Argentina: Polish Jews, Interwar Migration, and the Emergence of Transatlantic Jewish Culture" (U Alabama Press, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 25, 2021 52:39

In Polacos in Argentina: Polish Jews, Interwar Migration, and the Emergence of Transatlantic Jewish Culture (University of Alabama Press, 2020), Dr. Mariusz Kałczewiak, senior research associate and lecturer in the Eastern European studies department at the University of Potsdam, recreates a mosaic of entanglements that Jewish migration wove between Poland and Argentina. Kałczewiak sheds light on marginalised aspects of Jewish migration and enriches the dialogue between Latin American Jewish studies and Polish Jewish studies. This book is highly readable, provocative and thoughtful. Dr Max Kaiser can be reached at kaiserm@unimelb.edu.au Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

April D. Hughes, "Worldly Saviors and Imperial Authority in Medieval Chinese Buddhism" (U Hawaii Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 25, 2021 47:56

What is the relationship between Buddhism and politics? How might Buddhism be realized in this world? And how might Buddhist texts help legitimate new rulers? These questions are ably addressed in April Hughes's Worldly Saviors and Imperial Authority in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (University of Hawaii Press, 2021). Students of Buddhism are familiar with Wu Zhao, or Wu Zetian, the only woman in Chinese history take the title of “emperor,” and her use of Buddhist ideas and imagery to support her claims to rule. Hughes sets Wu Zhao within a longer history of “worldly saviors,” figures who fuse political and religions authority. Through close readings of apocryphal scriptures, Hughes shows how the “worldly savior” incorporates elements from the traditions of Wheel-Turning King and buddhas and bodhisattvas to address the needs of a world in chaos. Along with Wu Zhao, Hughes discusses rebel-monks and the founder of the Sui dynasty, Yang Jian. Worldly Saviors and Imperial Authority in Medieval Chinese Buddhism helps us to better understand the religio-political landscape of medieval China. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Peter Christiaan Bisschop and Yuko Yokochi, "The Skandapurána" (Brill, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 24, 2021 47:58

This interview features Drs. Peter Bisschop (Leiden University) and Yuko Yokochi (Kyoto University) and their work on the monumental Skandapurāṇa project. Started in the 1990's, the project is aimed at creating a critical edition of the Skandapurāṇa along with documenting its variations over time as well producing important studies of the text. Their latest instalment of this project (Volume 5, featuring Chapters 92-112 of the Skandapurāṇa, with an introduction and annotated English synopsis) addresses the incorporation of Vaisnava mythology in the text.  Thanks to generous support of the J. Gonda Fund Foundation, the e-book version of this volume is available in Open Access here.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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

R. Ward Holder, "John Calvin in Context" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2021 62:05


John Calvin in Context (Cambridge UP, 2019) offers a comprehensive overview of Calvin's world. Including essays from social, cultural, feminist, and intellectual historians, each specially commissioned for this volume, the book considers the various early modern contexts in which Calvin worked and wrote. It captures his concerns for Northern humanism, his deep involvement in the politics of Geneva, his relationships with contemporaries, and the polemic necessities of responding to developments in Rome and other Protestant sects, notably Lutheran and Anabaptist. The volume also explores Calvin's tasks as a pastor and doctor of the church, who was constantly explicating the text of scripture and applying it to the context of sixteenth-century Geneva, as well as the reception of his role in the Reformation and beyond. Demonstrating the complexity of the world in which Calvin lived, John Calvin in Context serves as an essential research tool for scholars and students of early modern Europe. 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


Jonathon D. Beeke, "Duplex Regnum Christi: Christ's Twofold Kingdom in Reformed Theology" (Brill, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2021 37:51

In Duplex Regnum Christi: Christ's Twofold Kingdom in Reformed Theology (Brill, 2020), Jonathon D. Beeke surveys the development of thinking among early modern Reformed theologians about the relationship between religion and civil government. Taking cues from Calvin, but showing how the Reformed tradition variegates around his contribution, Beeke shows how the medieval ideas of two cities and two swords were brought into the "two kingdoms" ideas of the earlier magisterial reformers, and how later generations of protestants, especially among the Reformed, preferred to refer in the singular to the "two-fold kingdom" of Christ. Beeke's new work promises to add significant historical light to recent discussions among protestant theologians as to the relationship between church and state. What kinds of government did early modern Reformed theology prefer? Why was Calvin consistent in arguing that heretics who disturbed public peace should face the ultimate sanction? And why were these views so normative among Reformed thinkers - and for so long? Crawford Gribben is a professor of 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

Susan Blakeley Klein, "Dancing the Dharma: Religious and Political Allegory in Japanese Noh Theater" (Harvard UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 18, 2021 65:38

Dancing the Dharma: Religious and Political Allegory in Japanese Noh Theater (Harvard UP, 2020) examines the theory and practice of allegory by exploring a select group of medieval Japanese noh plays and treatises. Susan Blakeley Klein demonstrates how medieval esoteric commentaries on the tenth-century poem-tale Ise monogatari (Tales of Ise) and the first imperial waka poetry anthology Kokin wakashū influenced the plots, characters, imagery, and rhetorical structure of seven plays (Maiguruma, Kuzu no hakama, Unrin'in, Oshio, Kakitsubata, Ominameshi, and Haku Rakuten) and two treatises (Zeami's Rikugi and Zenchiku's Meishukushū). In so doing, she shows that it was precisely the allegorical mode—vital to medieval Japanese culture as a whole—that enabled the complex layering of character and poetic landscape we typically associate with noh. Klein argues that understanding noh's allegorical structure and paying attention to the localized historical context for individual plays are key to recovering their original function as political and religious allegories. Now viewed in the context of contemporaneous beliefs and practices of the medieval period, noh plays take on a greater range and depth of meaning and offer new insights to readers today into medieval Japan. Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Michael Nichols, "Malleable Mara: Transformations of a Buddhist Symbol of Evil" (SUNY Press, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 38:08


Michael Nichols's Malleable Mara: Transformations of a Buddhist Symbol of Evil (SUNY Press, 2020) is the first book to examine the development of the figure of Māra, who appears across Buddhist traditions as a personification of death and desire. Portrayed as a combination of god and demon, Māra serves as a key antagonist to the Buddha, his followers, and Buddhist teaching in general. From ancient India to later Buddhist thought in East Asia to more recent representations in Western culture and media, Māra has been used to satirize Hindu divinities, taken the form of wrathful Tibetan gods, communicated psychoanalytic tropes, and appeared as a villain in episodes of Doctor Who. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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


Brian Collins on Indian Mythology

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2021 57:46

What insights on the human experience can we find in ancient Indian mythology? Join us as we speak to Dr. Brian Collins (Associate Professor, Chair Department of Classics and Religious Studies, Ohio University) about his work on Paraśu-Rāma, the brahmin who decapitates his own mother and annihilates 21 generations of the warriors. You can also listen to Brian on the NBN here.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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

Katherine Carté, "Religion and the American Revolution: An Imperial History" (UNC Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 14, 2021 43:12

For most of the eighteenth century, British protestantism was driven neither by the primacy of denominations nor by fundamental discord between them. Instead, it thrived as part of a complex transatlantic system that bound religious institutions to imperial politics. As Katherine Carte argues, British imperial protestantism proved remarkably effective in advancing both the interests of empire and the cause of religion until the war for American independence disrupted it. That revolution forced a reassessment of the role of religion in public life on both sides of the Atlantic. Religious communities struggled to reorganize within and across new national borders. Religious leaders recalibrated their relationships to government. Religion and the American Revolution: An Imperial History (University of North Carolina Press and Omohundro Institute, 2021) is a nuanced and deeply researched examination of the religious "scaffolding" of the British empire and it offers a fresh perspective on the role of religion in the American Revolution. Lane Davis is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University where he studies American religious history. 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

Peter Morey, "Islamophobia and the Novel" (Columbia UP, 2018)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 11, 2021 61:54

In an era of rampant Islamophobia, literary representations of Muslims and anti Muslim bigotry tell us a lot about changing concepts of cultural difference. In Islamophobia and the Novel (Columbia University Press, 2018), Peter Morey, Professor at the University of Birmingham, analyzes how recent works of fiction have framed and responded to the rise of anti-Muslim prejudice, showing how their portrayals of Muslims both reflect and refute the ideological preoccupations of media and politicians in the post-9/11 West. Morey discusses novels embodying a range of positions—from the avowedly secular to the religious, and from texts that appear to underwrite Western assumptions of cultural superiority to those that recognize and critique neoimperial impulses. Contemporary literature's capacity to unveil the conflicted nature of anti-Muslim bigotry expands our range of resources to combat Islamophobia. This, in turn, might contribute to Islamophobia's eventual dismantling. In our conversation we discussed anti-Muslim prejudice, the tension between narrative and power, literature and its relationship to Islamophobia, the “market for the Muslim,” stereotyping, authenticity and the burden of representation, aesthetic expectations, economic constraints, multiculturalism, securitization, effects of 9/11, the global novel, and Critical Muslim Literary Studies. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kpeterse@odu.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Chitgopekar Nilima, "The Reluctant Family Man: Shiva in Everyday Life" (Penguin, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 10, 2021 37:56

He's the destroyer of evil, the pervasive one in whom all things lie. He is brilliant, terrifying, wild and beneficent. He is both an ascetic and a householder, both a yogi and a guru. He encompasses the masculine and the feminine, the powerful and the graceful, the Tandava and the Laasya, the darkness and the light, the divine and the human. What can we learn from this bundle of contradictions, this dreadlocked yogi? How does he manage the devotions and duties of father, husband and man of the house, and the demands and supplications of a clamorous cosmos? In The Reluctant Family Man (Penguin, 2019), Nilima Chitgopekar uses the life and personality of Shiva-his self-awareness, his marriage, his balance, his detachment, his contentment-to derive lessons that readers can practically apply to their own lives. With chapters broken down into distinct frames of analysis, she defines concepts of Shaivism and interprets their application in everyday life. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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

Silke Muylaert, "Shaping the Stranger Churches: Migrants in England and the Troubles in the Netherlands, 1547–1585" (Brill, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2021 33:11

During the mid-sixteenth century, English reformers invited a group of continental Protestant refugees to London and surrounding provinces. The ecclesiastical authorities allowed them liberty to establish their own churches with relatively little oversight by the English church. These "Stranger Churches," many of whom still maintained close ties to their friends and families in the Low Countries, faced internal tensions about how to relate to the political and religious upheavals that would transform the Netherlands. In Shaping the Stranger Churches: Migrants in England and the Troubles in the Netherlands, 1547–1585 (Brill, 2020), Silke Muylaert traces the saga of how tensions back home agitated internal conflicts among these refugee churches. In her expertly researched study, Muylaert challenges the existing narratives of the Strangers' relations to the Dutch revolt and reformation. By paying closer attention to the disagreements among the Strangers in England, Muylaert suggests that these Protestant refugees were far from united or "radicalized" in their attitudes toward religious Reformation and political violence.  Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher 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

Jon Keune, "Shared Devotion, Shared Food: Equality and the Bhakti-Caste Question in Western India" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2021 51:13

Jon Keune's book Shared Devotion, Shared Food: Equality and the Bhakti-Caste Question in Western India (Oxford UP, 2021) is about the deceptively simple question: when Hindu devotional or bhakti traditions welcomed marginalized people-women, low castes, and Dalits-were they promoting social equality? This the modern formulation of the bhakti-caste question. It is what Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar had in mind when he concluded that the saints promoted spiritual equality but did not transform society. While taking Ambedkar's judgment seriously, when viewed in the context of intellectual history and social practice, the bhakti-caste question is more complex.  This book dives deeply in Marathi sources to explore how one tradition in western India worked out the relationship between bhakti and caste on its own terms. Food and eating together were central to this. As stories about saints and food changed while moving across manuscripts, theatrical plays, and films, the bhakti-caste relationship went from being a strategically ambiguous riddle to a question that expected-and received-answers. Shared Devotion, Shared Food demonstrates the value of critical commensality to understand how people carefully negotiate their ethical ideals with social practices. Food's capacity to symbolize many things made it made an ideal site for debating bhakti's implications about caste differences. In the Vārkarītradition, strategically deployed ambiguity and the resonating of stories across media over time developed an ideology of inclusive difference-not social equality in the modern sense, but an alternative holistic view of society. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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

Andrei Znamenski, "Socialism As a Secular Creed" (Lexington Books, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2021 69:08

The predominantly secular focus of socialism can often obscure the parts of its ideology that reflect the elements it inherited from Western religious thinking. In Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History (Lexington Books, 2021), Andrei Znamenski shows how this religious inheritance created elements within it that were closer in form to a belief system than a philosophy. These religious elements were most prevalent in socialism's formative period, as Znamenski identifies the debt the socialist world-view owed to Christian millennialist ideas that were current in the early 19th century. Because of this the socialist world-view soon echoed the Christian one, with the working class becoming the chosen people who were anticipated to be the vanguard leading the world to the promised land of a socialist system. These elements persisted even as socialism focused on social engineering and nationalist forces caused socialist thinking to branch off into different forms. This continued in the 20th century as the economic conditions changed, as the “embourgeoisement” of the working classes and the post-World War II desire to disassociate from Soviet-style socialism led many socialists to turn instead to culture as the means towards attaining their millennialist vision. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Ruth Roth on the Wisdom of the Catholic Church

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2021 39:33

What wisdom does the Roman Catholic Church hold for our modern world? Can it become more inclusive? Join us as we speak to Ruth Roth, a Roman Catholic Woman Priest, who was ordained by a Bishop of the Church as part of one such effort. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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

Hannah Hoechner, "Quranic Schools in Northern Nigeria: Everyday Experiences of Youth, Faith, and Poverty" (U Cambridge Press, 2018)

Play Episode Listen Later May 28, 2021 54:47

In a global context of widespread fears over Islamic radicalization and militancy, poor Muslim youth, especially those socialized in religious seminaries, have attracted overwhelmingly negative attention. In northern Nigeria, male Qur'anic students have garnered a reputation of resorting to violence in order to claim their share of highly unequally distributed resources. Drawing on material from long-term ethnographic and participatory fieldwork among Qur'anic students and their communities, Quranic Schools in Northern Nigeria: Everyday Experiences of Youth, Faith, and Poverty (Cambridge University Press, 2018) offers an alternative perspective on youth, faith, and poverty. Mobilizing insights from scholarship on education, poverty research and childhood and youth studies, Hannah Hoechner, lecturer at the School of International Development, University of East Anglia, describes how religious discourses can moderate feelings of inadequacy triggered by experiences of exclusion, and how Qur'anic school enrollment offers a way forward in constrained circumstances, even though it likely reproduces poverty in the long run. In our conversation we discuss the rural economy of Northern Nigeria, educational options for young boys, the activities of the Qur’anic school, how boys support themselves through domestic service, youth masculinity, poverty and economic instability, politics of respectability, the “prayer economy” and spiritual services, and participatory research and video production. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Old Dominion University. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kpeterse@odu.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Zev Eleff, "Authentically Orthodox: A Tradition-Bound Faith in American Life" (Wayne State UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2021 61:26

Authentically Orthodox: A Tradition-Bound Faith in American Life (Wayne State University Press, 2020), by Zev Eleff, challenges the current historical paradigm in the study of Orthodox Judaism and other tradition-bound faith communities in the United States. Paying attention to "lived religion," the book moves beyond sermons and synagogues and examines the webs of experiences mediated by any number of American cultural forces. Eleff lucidly explores Orthodox Judaism's engagement with Jewish law, youth culture and gender, and how this religious group has been affected by its indigenous context. To do this, the book makes ample use of archives and other previously unpublished primary sources. Eleff explores the curious history of Passover peanut oil and the folkways and foodways that battled in this culinary arena to both justify and rebuff the validity of this healthier substitute for other fatty ingredients. He looks at the Yeshiva University quiz team's fifteen minutes of fame on the nationally televised College Bowl program and the unprecedented pride of young people and youth culture in the burgeoning Modern Orthodox movement. Another chapter focuses on the advent of women's prayer groups as an alternative to other synagogue experiences in Orthodox life and the vociferous opposition it received on the grounds that it was motivated by "heretical" religious and social movements. Whereas past monographs and articles argue that these communities have moved right toward a conservative brand of faith, Eleff posits that Orthodox Judaism-like other like-minded religious enclaves-ought to be studied in their American religious contexts. The microhistories examined in Authentically Orthodox are some of the most exciting and understudied moments in American Jewish life and will hold the interest of scholars and students of American Jewish history and religion. Zev Eleff is chief academic officer of Hebrew Theological College and associate professor of Jewish History at Touro College. 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

Karen G. Ruffle, "Everyday Shi'ism in South Asia" (John Wiley & Sons, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2021 52:29

Karen Ruffle's Everyday Shi'ism in South Asia (John Wiley & Sons, 2021) is an introduction to the everyday life and cultural memory of Shi’i women and men, focusing on the religious worlds of both individuals and communities at particular historical moments and places in the Indian subcontinent. Ruffle draws upon an array primary sources, images, and ethnographic data to present topical case studies offering broad snapshots Shi'i life as well as microscopic analyses of ritual practices, material objects, architectural and artistic forms, and more.  Focusing exclusively on South Asian Shi'ism, an area mostly ignored by contemporary scholars who focus on the Arab lands of Iran and Iraq, the author shifts readers' analytical focus from the center of Islam to its periphery. Ruffle provides new perspectives on the diverse ways that the Shi'a intersect with not only South Asian religious culture and history, but also the wider Islamic humanistic tradition.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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

Christiane Tietz, "Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2021 44:49

From the beginning of his career, Swiss theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968) was often in conflict with the spirit of his times. While during the First World War German poets and philosophers became intoxicated by the experience of community and transcendence, Barth fought against all attempts to locate the divine in culture or individual sentiment. This freed him for a deep worldly engagement: he was known as "the red pastor," was the primary author of the founding document of the Confessing Church, the Barmen Theological Declaration, and after 1945 protested the rearmament of the Federal Republic of Germany.  In Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict (Oxford UP, 2021), Christiane Tietz compellingly explores the interactions between Barth's personal and political biography and his theology. Numerous newly-available documents offer insight into the lesser-known sides of Barth such as his long-term three-way relationship with his wife Nelly and his colleague Charlotte von Kirschbaum. This is an evocative portrait of a theologian who described himself as "God's cheerful partisan," who was honored as a prophet and a genial spirit, was feared as a critic, and shaped the theology of an entire century as no other thinker. 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

Sarah Drummond: Founding Dean Andover Newton Seminary at Yale Divinity School

Play Episode Listen Later May 24, 2021 105:34

Sarah Drummond provides a master class for any higher education leader contemplating a strategic alliance or merger with another institution. She describes and draws lessons from the many earlier failed partnership efforts of Andover Newton Seminary as it sought ways to continue its mission and become financially viable. And then describes in detail the carefully crafted, three-stage process which ANS negotiated with Yale Divinity School to move the Seminary to New Haven. This is the first of three episodes with presidents who’ve led the successful integration of their institutions into larger universities. David Finegold is the president of Chatham University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Michael P. Winship, "Hot Protestants: A History of Puritanism in England and America" (Yale UP, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later May 24, 2021 47:11

The English Reformation started in the middle of the sixteenth century, and right away there were more zealous reformers who were not satisfied with the changes made in the English church. These "hotter sort of Protestants" kept trying to conform English to the pattern of Reformed churches in continental Europe. In a fast-paced introductory volume, Hot Protestants: A History of Puritanism in England and America (Yale UP, 2019), Michael P. Winship covers a century-and-a-half of the Puritan project as it spans across the British Atlantic. By rejecting the standard and artificial periodization that stops the Puritan narrative at 1660, Winship traces a coherent movement all the way to the end of the seventeenth century. This is a must-read for any students who want to study the complicated international religious and political networks in the long English reformation and New England colonies. Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher 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

Michael D. Nichols, "Religion and Myth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe" (McFarland, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 21, 2021 45:32


Breaking box office records, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has achieved an unparalleled level of success with fans across the world, raising the films to a higher level of narrative: myth. Michael D. Nichols's Religion and Myth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (McFarland, 2021) is first book to analyze the Marvel output as modern myth, comparing it to epics, symbols, rituals, and stories from world religious traditions. Nichols places the exploits of Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and the other stars of the Marvel films alongside the legends of Achilles, Gilgamesh, Arjuna, the Buddha, and many others. It examines their origin stories and rites of passage, the monsters, shadow-selves, and familial conflicts they contend with, and the symbols of death and the battle against it that stalk them at every turn. The films deal with timeless human dilemmas and questions, evoking an enduring sense of adventure and wonder common across world mythic traditions. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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


Michelle Chaplin Sanchez, "Calvin and the Resignification of the World: Creation, Incarnation, and the Problem of Political Theology in the 1559 'Institutes'" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later May 21, 2021 53:15


John Calvin's 1559 Institutes takes the reader on a journey that ends not in the celestial city but rather an ordinary, terrestrial city with all the attendant political and social secular concerns. Michelle Chaplin Sanchez, associate professor of theology at Harvard Divinity School, brings this crucial text into conversation with critical theories of secularization, modernity, and political theology. In her theoretically-informed study, Calvin and the Resignification of the World: Creation, Incarnation, and the Problem of Political Theology in the 1559 Institutes (Cambridge UP, 2019), Sanchez helps readers of Calvin contextualize his continual revisions of his most well known work. Her attention to artifactuality, design, and genre offers students of the Institutes an window into a text that defies periodization and challenges static readings of this dynamic text. Calvin's attention to providence and incarnation become the dominant lenses through which he develops his understandings of divine and political sovereignty. This monograph deserves attention by anyone interested in Reformed theology, secularization, and the rise of modern political theory.  Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher 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


Andrew L. Whitehead, "Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later May 20, 2021 63:35

Why do so many conservative Christians continue to support Donald Trump despite his many overt moral failings? Why do many Americans advocate so vehemently for xenophobic policies, such as a border wall with Mexico? Why do many Americans seem so unwilling to acknowledge the injustices that ethnic and racial minorities experience in the United States? Why do a sizeable proportion of Americans continue to oppose women's equality in the workplace and in the home? Andrew Whitehead and Samuel L. Perry seek to answer these questions in Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2020), which explores the phenomenon of "Christian nationalism," the belief that the United States is-and should be-a Christian nation. Christian ideals and symbols have long played an important role in American public life, but Christian nationalism is about far more than whether the phrase "under God" belongs in the pledge of allegiance. At its heart, Christian nationalism demands that we must preserve a particular kind of social order, an order in which everyone--Christians and non-Christians, native-born and immigrants, whites and minorities, men and women recognizes their "proper" place in society. The first comprehensive empirical analysis of Christian nationalism in the United States, Taking America Back for God illustrates the influence of Christian nationalism on today's most contentious social and political issues. Drawing on multiple sources of national survey data as well as in-depth interviews, Andrew Whitehead and Samuel Perry document how Christian nationalism shapes what Americans think about who they are as a people, what their future should look like, and how they should get there. Americans' stance toward Christian nationalism provides powerful insight into what they think about immigration, Islam, gun control, police shootings, atheists, gender roles, and many other political issues-very much including who they want in the White House. Taking America Back for God is a guide to one of the most important-and least understood-forces shaping American politics. Andrew Whitehead is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Clemson University and Assistant Director of the Association of Religion Data Archives. 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

J. Fewkes and M. Adamson Sijapati, "Muslim Communities and Cultures of the Himalayas: Conceptualizing the Global Ummah" (Routledge, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2021 42:26

Jacqueline Fewkes and Megan Adamson Sijapati edited volume Muslim Communities and Cultures of the Himalayas: Conceptualizing the Global Ummah (Routledge, 2020) explores individual perspectives and specific iterations of Muslim community, Muslim practice and experience of Islam in the Himalayan region as well as the concept of the general Islamic community the Ummah. A multidisciplinary analysis of Muslim communities and historical and contemporary Islamicate traditions, the book shows how Muslims understand and mobilize regional identities and religious expressions. Moreover, it assesses regional interactions, the ways in which institutions shape Muslim practices in specific areas and investigates the notion of the Himalayas as an Islamic space. The book suggests that the regional focus on the Himalayas provides a site of both geographic and cultural crossroads where Muslim community is simultaneously constituted at multiple social levels. As a result, chapters document a wide range of local, national, and global interests while maintaining a focus on individual perspectives, moments in time, and localized experiences. This book draws attention to the cultural, social, artistic, and political diversity of the Himalaya beyond the better-understood and frequently documented religio-cultural expressions of the region. It will be of interest to academics in the fields of anthropology, geography, history, religious studies, Asian Studies, and Islamic Studies. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, 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

Leon R. Kass, "Founding God’s Nation: Reading Exodus" (Yale UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2021 65:41

Everything, in the end, comes down to Exodus. Everything that we are as a civilization goes back to Exodus. Every person, religious or not, who wants to consider him or herself educated needs to engage with Exodus. And, fortunately for us, the noted academic Leon Kass has provided us with that unique thing—a book that is both magisterial and readable. We will discuss with him his 2021 work, Founding God's Nation: Reading Exodus (Yale University Press, 2012). Kass examines Exodus in meticulous detail. We learn, among other things, that Exodus is a story of how all human beings can rise from the depths of despair and oppression and of how one group, in particular, formed a society that has influenced many others down to this day in everything from compassion for the downtrodden to humane treatment of animals to wise stewardship of the land. Not to mention the fact that our foundational laws and traditional family and current government structures derive from the events narrated in Exodus. Kass writes, “I undertook this study mainly to explore basic questions of people formation: What makes a people a people? What forms their communal identity, holds them together, guides their lives? For what should they strive? Exodus speaks to these questions through two unfolding and intersecting stories: the founding of the Israelite nation via deliverance and command, and the growing knowledge of God via divine revelation.” This is the perfect treatise for general readers on questions that are as relevant as ever: What is justice? What do we want our nation to be? What is my personal responsibility to others? The book also brims with drama—we are dealing here, after all, with Moses and mountaintops, pharaohs and plagues, God’s love and human faithlessness. For those not raised in religious households, this book is a gateway to understanding those who were and enriches us culturally. We will focus primarily in this interview with Dr. Kass (he is also a physician and one of the leading bioethicists of our times) on the role that the Sabbath plays in Exodus and in our own lives. His treatment of that subject alone demands attention. Give a listen. Hope J. Leman is a grants researcher. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/religion

Ayesha S. Chaudhry, "The Colour of God" (OneWorld, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 14, 2021 53:43

In today’s episode, we speak with Ayesha Chaudhry about her new book, The Colour of God (Oneworld Publications, 2021). The book describes Chaudhry’s personal, spiritual, and professional journey as she navigates her life as a South Asian immigrant Muslim girl raised in Canada. Rich in its analysis of its major themes – such as patriarchy, religion, colonialism, Islamophobia, the family, grief – it pushes us to think more deeply about the choices we make in response to various traumas, such as death or the violence of racism. Readers will appreciate the unapologetic rawness, its very personal but also academic nature, the ways Chaudhry weaves Islamic and Qur’anic themes and narratives into her own. Written in an accessible and engaging way, the book will interest academics and non-academics; it will make for an excellent read for both undergraduate and graduate courses in Women’s and Gender Studies, English courses, Islamic and Religious Studies courses, any courses on Migration, and Theory and Methods Courses, among many others. Chaudhry’s ownership and embrace of an Islam that values her humanity and her opposition to the oppressive, patriarchal Islam that she grew up with makes it an essential read for those seeking an Islam rooted in compassion and love. In our discussion, Chaudhry shares the origins of the book and its usefulness as a teaching resource. We also talk about puritan Islam and the toll it takes on our humanity and the intersection of patriarchy and Islamophobia, highlighting the complexity of telling a story parts of which may fulfil stereotypes about Muslims and the negotiation that the process of telling such a story entails. Chaudhry also shares her ideas on who the intended audience of the book is and her relationship with that audience, the advice she would give to others interested in writing in this genre, and so much more. 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 is currently working on a book project on Muslim women's marriage to non-Muslims in Islam. Shehnaz runs a YouTube channel called What the Patriarchy?!, where she vlogs about feminism and Islam in an effort to dismantle the patriarchy and uproot it from Islam (ambitious, she knows). 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

Andrew T. Walker, "Liberty for All: Defending Everyone's Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age" (Brazos Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2021 43:04

Christians are often thought of as defending only their own religious interests in the public square. They are viewed as worrying exclusively about the erosion of their freedom to assemble and to follow their convictions, while not seeming as concerned about publicly defending the rights of Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and atheists to do the same.  In Liberty for All: Defending Everyone's Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age (Brazos Press, 2021), Andrew T. Walker, an emerging Southern Baptist public theologian, argues for a robust Christian ethic of religious liberty that helps the church defend religious freedom for everyone in a pluralistic society. Whether explicitly religious or not, says Walker, every person is striving to make sense of his or her life. The Christian foundations of religious freedom provide a framework for how Christians can navigate deep religious difference in a secular age. As we practice religious liberty for our neighbors, we can find civility and commonality amid disagreement, further the church's engagement in the public square, and become the strongest defenders of religious liberty for all. Foreword by noted Princeton scholar Robert P. George. 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

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