In the Name of God
A History of Christian and Muslim Intolerance
Selina O’Grady examines the concept of tolerance – ‘that highest of liberal political virtues’ – through the histories of Islam and Christianity, from the time when the Roman Empire became Christian to the genocides of the 20th century. As she traces the two religions’ changing attitudes to religious minorities she asks whether tolerance is enough to bring today’s post-Christian and Islamic worlds together, or whether something deeper is needed.
The Illuminated Life of Christ
The Gospels and Great Master Paintings
In this ‘missal-like’ devotional book the story of Jesus’ life, ministry, passion and resurrection is told through great works of art, each of which is paired with the Gospel passage that inspired it. The text is taken from the King James Bible; the 60 artists include Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci.
The Meaning of Mecca
The Politics of Pilgrimage in Early Islam
The hajj is the fifth and final pillar of Islam, which offers the chance to begin life anew, but even in its formative period the pilgrimage acquired political as well as spiritual significance. In a foundational study, McMillan analyses how the early caliphs used their leadership of the hajj as an opportunity to reinforce their political legitimacy. Slightly off-mint.
My Time as MI6's Top Spy Inside al-Qaeda
Aimen Dean was a bomb maker for al-Qaeda and was well respected in the organization, but grew sceptical of their philosophy and defected to become an MI6 agent. Recalling his life as a spy, which included meeting Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and many other key figures, his extraordinary memoir provides a deep insight into the terrorists’ world. Off-mint.
Magna Carta, Religion and the Rule of Law
With contributions from distinguished theologians, historians, a Lord Chief Justice and a Chief Rabbi, this volume of 19 conference papers and commissioned essays focuses on the enduring power of Magna Carta, the influence of Stephen Langton in its formulation, and its narratives of faith and governance – in the 13th century and through changing concepts of civil society to the present day.
How Religion Deprives Us of Happiness
In this appeal for us to reject religion’s ‘chimeras’, the businessman and philanthropist Vitaly Malkin argues that the adoption of monotheistic doctrines slowed down the progress of human civilization and has failed to make people happier. Examining the big questions of evil, death, suffering and ‘the great battle against pleasure’, he encourages the reader to question what benefit religious practices offer and to live in the present rather than wait for life after death. Slightly off-mint.
Open to God
Open to the World
In these conversations, recorded by Antonio Spadaro, Pope Francis shares his thoughts on some of the issues facing the church, his Papacy and the world. In informal dialogue with people from all walks of life, he confronts the tension between faith and fundamentalism, ecumenism, social justice, and the struggle for human rights in Myanmar and Latin America.
The Minister and the Murderer
A Book of Aftermaths
Should a self-confessed murderer be allowed to become a priest? In 1984 the Church of Scotland wrestled with this question when James Nelson, who had served a prison sentence for killing his mother, applied for ordination as a minister. Kelly uses this case as the starting-point for a history of the Church in Scotland, which also combines personal memoir, true-crime narrative and an exegesis of biblical and literary accounts of sin and forgiveness.
Faith Finding a Voice
The Archbishop of Westminster explores how Christians can listen with greater attention to the voice of God and how they can better convey its message in their words and actions. In particular, he invites the reader to respond to an altarpiece by Pietro Orioli, reflects on the place of religious literacy in education and encourages us to build a more peaceful world through inter-faith dialogue.
Key Words of Pope Francis
Examining the ministry and teachings of Pope Francis, 50 faith leaders and religious writers choose key words from his writings as a starting point for reflections on his beliefs and attitudes. Subjects include American Bishop Robert McElroy on ‘democracy’, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on ‘sheep’, and Honduran Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga on ‘reform’.
Octavia, Daughter of God
The Story of a Female Messiah and Her Followers
In the aftermath of the First World War, a group of Englishwomen came up with a solution to the world’s grief: a new religion. Led by Mabel Barthrop, whom they called Octavia and believed to be the daughter of God, they set about building a new Jerusalem in Bedford. Drawing on the group’s painstakingly preserved archive, this book charts the forgotten history of a utopian community that once had thousands of members and ministered to 10,000 people around the globe.
Islam and the West: Wars of the Gods
The Geopolitics of Faith
Ardavan Amir-Aslani was born in Tehran and now works as an international lawyer in Paris. Here he offers his perspective on contemporary geopolitics, arguing that simplistic thinking in terms of a ‘clash of civilizations’ between Muslim nations and the West obscures the complexity of Islam’s religious turmoil and the causes of the Arab Spring: ‘As long as Iran has not returned to secularism the Middle East will continue to burn with religious sectarianism.’
The English Martyr
From Reformation to Revolution
This study of early modern martyrology takes an innovative approach, starting from the premise that ‘martyrdom is not a death but a story that gets written about a death’. Through close analysis of English texts ranging from medieval drama, through Foxe’s famous Acts and Monuments, to John Milton’s Eikonoklastes, the author traces how narrative forms and rhetoric shaped the meanings of human lives during the theological and political upheavals of the Reformation.
The Power of Script and Image
Hebrew manuscripts took on a special significance following the sack of Jerusalem in 70 CE, ensuring the survival of the language, faith and culture across the vast diaspora. The examples in this book - both sacred and secular texts - trace the evolution of format and style in a tradition which remained vibrant even after the advent of printing.
Knight of the Goddess
Gawain, nephew of King Arthur, was once the most important knight at Arthur’s Court, yet as the popularity of the Arthurian legend grew his character evolved into a womanizing villain. Written by an expert on Arthurian mythology, this volume explores hundreds of years of British storytelling to uncover how such a transformation occurred and to restore Gawain’s reputation. This American edition was previously published in the UK as Gawain: Knight of the Goddess.
In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible
and How it Changed the Nation, a Language and a Culture
A landmark in the history of the English language, the translation of the Bible known as the 'Authorized Version' or 'King James Bible' has had an incalculable influence on cultural life and literature ever since it appeared in 1611. Beginning with the labyrinthine politics of Tudor and Jacobean England and a world being transformed by the new technology of printing, Alister McGrath narrates the story of the translation, why it was ordered by James I, who translated it, the problems they faced and the reception of the new Bible.
In this secular age religion gets a bad press, and atheism has powerful advocates such as Richard Dawkins. This lively, thought-provoking book offers an outspoken counterblast. It seeks not to prove the truth of Christianity – something it admits is unprovable – but its continuing relevance and resonance as a serious, grown-up way of ordering our lives and our emotions, which grants us experiences that our shallow, consumerist society fails to provide.