Living with the Gods
On Beliefs and Peoples
In this book accompanying his BBC radio series, the former director of the British Museum explores the role of shared beliefs in the life of human communities around the globe. Rather than focusing on religious doctrine, he concentrates on practices, objects and places, tracing how societies from the Ice Age onwards have used stories and rituals to mark their identity and strengthen cohesion: ‘for in deciding how we live with our gods we also decide how to live with each other’.
Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms
Journeys into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East
The minority religions of the Middle East continue to practise faiths and customs that preserve the last vestiges of great ancient empires. But today the turmoil in the region threatens the survival of their small communities. A former British diplomat here draws on his encounters with such groups as the Yazidis, Zoroastrians and Copts as he describes their history and explains why they have refused inducements to abandon their beliefs. Foreword by Rory Stewart.
Finding Jesus in the Old Testament
‘Christianity doesn’t abrogate the Old Testament; it completes it.’ Limbaugh presents a reading of the 39 books from Genesis to Malachi, arguing that they offer rich and plentiful insights to help us understand Jesus’ life, deeds and message. After an overview of Old Testament history and key themes such as prophecy, covenants and salvation, he unlocks each book’s mysteries through an analysis of the passages that herald the coming of the Saviour. (Previously published as The Emmaus Code.)
Grammar and Christianity in the Late Roman World
How did literate Romans of the fourth and fifth centuries come to know Christianity? This study looks at the role of educational texts about Latin grammar and usage – the artes grammaticae produced between 350 and 500 CE – in shaping religious and literary discourse.
The Radicals Who Made the Modern World
In 1517, Martin Luther, the ‘indispensable firestarter’, launched his 95 theses protesting the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. From the upheaval of the Reformation that followed, Alec Ryrie’s fast-paced and engaging history traces five centuries of Protestantism, across the globe and across a vast diversity of sects and movements, to Pentecostalism in the 20th century and the situation today. ‘We cannot understand the modern age,’ writes Ryrie, ‘without understanding the dynamic history of Protestant Christianity’.
The son of a famous soldier, Andrew Festing spent nine years in the army and another twelve at Sotheby's auction house before becoming a professional painter in 1981. He quickly established himself as a leading portraitist and has completed commissions of prominent figures in politics, the Church and the Royal Family, including the Queen. This exploration of his oeuvre gives an account of his life and influences, discusses his meticulous methods and includes reproductions of over 150 of his works.
The Foundation of Freedom, 1215–2015
Described by Lord Denning as ‘the greatest constitutional document of all times’, Magna Carta is widely seen as a guarantor of individual rights and freedom from tyranny. But how is a charter forced on a medieval king by his barons relevant today? This comprehensive, accessible and richly illustrated volume explains its origins, how it has been interpreted through the centuries, and the inspiration it provides to those wishing to build democratic societies across the world.
The Beginning of Women's Ministry
The Revival of the Deaconess in the Nineteenth-Century Church of England
This volume on the revival of women’s ministry in the 19th-century Church of England presents documents from a variety of unpublished sources that show how the Deaconess Movement posed a threat to the gender order of Victorian society by creating new areas of activity and roles of authority outside the domestic sphere. Prominent among the institutions and individuals discussed are the North London Deaconess Institute and the first head deaconess, Elizabeth Ferard (1825–1883). No jacket.
The Back Parts of War
The YMCA Memoirs and Letters of Barclay Baron, 1915–1919
Deemed unfit for army service when he tried to enlist in 1914, Barclay Baron (1884–1964) served instead with the Young Men’s Christian Association, or ‘Red Triangle’, in France, Belgium and occupied Germany, from 1915 to 1919. His memoirs and letters give a vivid account of the often overlooked war work of the YMCA in supporting British troops on the Western Front. The memoirs are accompanied by substantial chapters on Baron himself and the wartime YMCA.
Pursuing Social Holiness
The Band Meeting in Wesley's Thought and Popular Methodist Practice
One of Methodism’s earliest traditions was the ‘band meeting’, at which a small group of people came together and confessed their sins, in order to grow in holiness and to foster community. Drawing extensively on personal accounts by those who attended them, Watson explains why Wesley considered regular band meetings so important, shows how they grew from a synthesis of Anglican and Moravian concepts of piety and suggests why they declined during the 19th century.
John the Baptist and the Last Gnostics
The Secret History of the Mandaeans
Amid the dangers of the modern Middle East, adherents of the obscure Mandaean religion still practise weekly river baptisms, following the example of their most important prophet, John the Baptist. Smith investigates the history of the Mandaeans, asking whether their mysterious sect could be the last survival of ancient Gnosticism, as they claim. He also considers their links to other ancient religions, their possible influence on the Knights Templar and their belief that Jesus himself was an apostate Mandaean.
A Collection of Ranter Writings
Spiritual Liberty and Sexual Freedom in the English Revolution
The Ranters were a group of religious libertarians who flourished shortly after the execution of Charles I during the English Civil War. Expressing their spiritual liberty, and their alleged commitment to free love, Ranter writings were remarkably candid and daring. This scholarly anthology brings together some of the most visionary texts by Abiezer Coppe, Laurence Clarkson, Joseph Salmon and Jacob Bauthumley. Second edition, with a new foreword by the author.
A Short History
Described by the Financial Times as ‘an excellent antidote to prejudice’, this concise account of Muslim history emphasizes the importance of rethinking the Western mistrust of Islam which dates back to the time of the Crusades. As well as challenging stereotypes and highlighting how the faith has inspired scholars, mystics and poets, it reveals how Islam’s ‘sacralization of history’ means that the religion, its past history and current events are woven together especially closely.
Discovering the Lead Codices: The Book of Seven Seals
and the Secret Teachings of Jesus
One of the most controversial episodes in recent Biblical archaeology has concerned a hoard of ring-bound lead books allegedly discovered in a remote Jordanian valley. Could these be the oldest Christian artefacts ever found? Are they genuine? The Elkingtons, who first saw photographs of them in 2007, recount their subsequent quest to track down and authenticate the codices and to investigate the possible meanings of their texts and symbols in the context of early Christianity and Judaism.
The Present State of Ecclesiastical Architecture in England
The architect AWN Pugin (1812-1852) was England's leading exponent of the Gothic revival. In this pioneering work, first published in 1843, he espouses Gothic of the early 14th century as the pinnacle of architectural excellence. New introduction by Michael Fisher.
A Brief History of the Druids
The Druids have been perceived, and misunderstood, in many different ways – from the barbaric priests making human sacrifices the Romans described, to ancient exponents of 'New Age' philosophy. Peter Beresford Ellis sifts through archaeological, etymological and Greek and Roman written evidence to provide a fully researched account of the Druids, revealing them as the intellectual caste – the doctors, lawyers, ambassadors and advisors – of ancient Celtic society
Restoring the 'Lost Years' of a Social Activist and Religious Dissident
Who was Jesus? This biography draws on modern economic, forensic and psychological models, alongside ancient Roman and Jewish sources, to create a convincing portrait of an adolescent galvanized by tyranny and the displacement of the Galilean peasantry to embark on a mission of social and religious reform. It sets his teachings in their historical context, explains his healing abilities in terms of both ancient and modern medicine, and sheds new light on his betrayal and execution.
An Encyclopedia of the World's Faiths
Drawing on a wealth of scholarly research and firsthand source material, this is a comprehensive survey of the modern religious world. Encompassing traditional faiths, indigenous religions and new religious movements, the book focuses on the historical development and teachings of each religion and examines how these traditions have evolved into contemporary beliefs and practices. This revised and updated edition also explores new approaches to spirituality, the spread of religious pluralism and the movement towards interfaith dialogue.
The Undiscovered Country
Journeys Among the Dead
From John Baret’s effigy of his own corpse in St Mary’s Church, in 15th-century Bury St Edmunds, to the incident that prompted the idea of bringing an anonymous body – ‘An Unknown Soldier’ – back from the First World War trenches, Watkins’ history of the macabre delves into Britain’s past in search of ancient customs, local characters and compelling tales that illuminate the ways in which people have come to terms with death.
A Surprising History
This book seeks to show that throughout history royal prayers have had a place at the heart of a nation's life, and that monarchs continue to play a pivotal role in protecting the interests of their people today. Chapters discuss royal prayers at times of national tragedy or emergency, prayers to launch ships, prayers of remembrance, of patronage, and of support for endeavours of science or exploration. An appendix contains the Collects of each branch of the Armed Forces.
The Commerce of the Sacred
Mediation of the Divine among Jews in the Greco-Roman World
An influential work since its first publication in 1984, The Commerce of the Sacred now appears in a new, updated edition. It combines approaches from the history of religions and social anthropology to investigate the practices and influence of Jews who lived in the Greco-Roman world outside Palestine. Without rabbinic control, Lightstone argues, they developed their own beliefs, such as those involving prayers at dead martyrs' tombs, and thereby helped blur the boundaries between Jews and Christians.
Return of the Magi (1931)
'It is more profitable to study the history of the imperfect masters', writes Magre, than those 'so near the gods that they have been enveloped in the clouds of the empyrean'. His compendium of attainable spiritual heroes includes an anonymous master of the Albigenses who succumbs under torture, the Templars, the alchemist Nicolas Flamel and Madame Blavatsky. Translated from the French.
Religion, Reform and Modernity in the Eighteenth Century
Thomas Secker and the Church of England
Some scholars contend that the 18th century witnessed the birth of the modern world; others argue that England remained an ancient régime confessional state. Robert Ingram takes issue with both positions and uses the career of the reforming Archbishop Thomas Secker (1693–1768) to look afresh at aspects of social and church reform, including the church-state alliance, and to argue that war rather than social, economic or cultural developments was the catalyst for change. No jacket.
God and the Atlantic
America, Europe, and the Religious Divide
Addressing the religious divide between Europe and America, and the causes of that divide, this study carefully examines European views of America since the late 18th century to explore how transatlantic comparisons and prejudices developed and solidified.
All is Change
The 2000-Year Journey of Buddhism to the West
The West's embrace of Buddhism, seemingly a relatively recent phenomenon, actually came about over the course of two millennia, despite the obstacles of language, cultural difference and colonial and post-colonial politics. From early exchanges between the ancient Greeks and Indian Buddhists to the current fascination with the Dalai Lama, Sutin describes how the West discovered that Buddhism offers teachings and practices which can be used within disciplines such as Western philosophy, psychology and politics.