In God's Hands
The Spiritual Diaries: 1962–2003
Karol Wojtyla – St John Paul II – kept a spiritual diary from his early days as a priest in his native Poland until two years before his death in 2005. Now translated into English for the first time, alongside facsimiles of original pages, it charts his religious development over the course of 40 years, including his leadership of the Catholic Church through turbulent times. Intimate, searching and deeply honest, this book reveals his relationship with God, with others, and with himself.
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.
Biblica: The Bible Atlas
A Social and Historical Journey Through the Lands of the Bible
With landscape photographs and 125 maps showing prominent places, journeys and battles, this substantial geographical guide helps the reader to visualize the locations of events recorded in the Bible. The text, written by an international team of scholars, uses recent archaeological and theological research to highlight the important role played by notions of space and geographical metaphor in biblical narratives. Off-mint.
Journeying with Jesus
Personal Reflections on the Stations of the Cross and Resurrection
In this collection of moving personal testimonies, modern people relate their experiences to the Stations of the Cross and resurrection. Contributors include Archbishops John Sentamu and Vincent Nicholls; Sister Wendy Beckett; Peter Hitchens; Margaret Mizen, the mother of a murdered teenager; Kelly Connor, who ran over and killed an innocent victim; and Anne Maguire, of the wrongfully convicted Maguire Seven. Slightly off-mint.
Not in God's Name
Confronting Religious Violence
‘Religiously motivated violence must be fought religiously as well as militarily, and with passionate intensity.’ So writes the former Chief Rabbi in this powerful exploration of the roots of religious extremism. By analysing stories of sibling rivalry in the biblical texts shared by the Abrahamic faiths, he shows how centuries of misreadings have led to the ‘altruistic evil’ by which murder is seen as a moral act – an idea against which those of all faiths and none must stand together. Off-mint.
In His Own Words
In 2013, Benedict XVI became the only Pope to resign from office in modern times. In these conversations with the religious journalist Peter Seewald, he discusses the reasons for his resignation and his admiration for his successor, speaking frankly about the controversies that have dogged the Church, including ‘Vatileaks’ and the child abuse scandal, and revealing his thoughts about his life, his philosophy, his mistakes, and the future of Christianity.
Masters of Wisdom of Central Asia
Teachings from the Sufi Path of Liberation
Hasan Lutfi Shushud, renowned Sufi saint and master, introduces the teachers known as the Khwajagan (‘Masters of Wisdom’), who lived during the golden age of Islamic Sufism among the Turks and who advocated maintaining an active connection with the world. He examines their writings and teachings, revealing how they followed the path of Absolute Liberation, allotted to ‘one out of a thousand perfect men’. Revised second edition.
The New Testament
A Beginner's Guide
This introduction to Christianity’s foundational documents is also a guide to the main approaches that scholars have used in discussing them. Telford begins by describing the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts of the early church. He then outlines the dating and classification of the New Testament’s 27 books before providing a closer analysis of the Synoptic Gospels and the sources of their traditions about Jesus.
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.
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.
Knight, Martyr, Patron Saint and Dragonslayer
St George is England’s patron saint, yet many other nations, from Hungary to Ethiopia, consider him their own. This compact guide reviews what is known about this early martyr, and traces his battle with the dragon to legendary pre-Christian heroes.
Or Bones That Shine Like Fire
Who were the Apostles and what was their relationship to Jesus? Was James the Less really his brother? This synthesis of travelogue and biblical history ranges from Rome and Jerusalem, Turkey and Russia to India and Kyrgyzstan to seek answers to these ancient enigmas. Exploring the way the identities of the Apostles have evolved over two millennia, Tom Bissell charts the growth of Christianity from an obscure sect to the global faith we know today.
The Divine Library
A Comprehensive Reference Guide to the Sacred Texts and Spiritual Literature of the World
Covering a broad spectrum of spiritual literature, this guide offers succinct descriptions of 140 sacred texts, from the most ancient, such as the Chinese I Ching and Egyptian Pyramid Texts, to the Book of Mormon and the Baha’i Kitab-i-Iqan dating from the 19th century. It outlines the works’ cultural contexts, explains how they often grew from preliterate oral traditions and provides information on modern English translations and commentaries.
The Bible for Grown-Ups
A New Look at the Good Book
Why do the creation stories in Genesis contradict each other? Did the Exodus really happen? In a discussion which ‘neither requires, nor rejects, belief’, Loveday brings a literary critic’s eye to the Biblical authors. Presenting insights from modern scholarship, he shows how to read their texts ‘with our brains in gear’, by viewing the Bible as a structure of the imagination rather than through modern concepts of ‘history’ and ‘truth’.
Prayer for the Day Volume II
More Reflections for Daily Inspiration
All religions agree on one thing: to be human is to pray. This new collection of 365 meditations from BBC Radio 4’s Prayer for the Day offers insights from across the faiths into happiness, integrity and spiritual wellbeing. With one prayer for every day of the year, the book provides new perspectives on the challenges of our times, and a vision of gratitude, joy and hope.
Cambodia, the Buddha and the Naga
Buddhism is more than a religion in Cambodia; it is a comprehensive system for living. This absorbing study, illustrated with colour photographs throughout, describes the Buddha's path to enlightenment, and the role of the naga, or serpent king, in protecting him. Through individual stories, it traces the cycle of death and rebirth, and shows how spirituality informs every aspect of the life of the nation.
An Anthology: 365 Readings
The clergyman and scholar George MacDonald (1824–1905) was a pioneer of fantasy fiction and an inspiration to CS Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. This collection of MacDonald’s thoughts, selected by Lewis, offers inspiration for every day of the year. Reflecting on topics from ‘Inexorable Love’ to ‘The Torment of Death’, it illuminates the Christian faith that underpins the work of both writers.
The Story of the Holy Father
Pope Francis is a pontiff like no other, loved the world over for his humility, charisma and reforming agenda. This Vatican-endorsed illustrated biography recounts his parents’ emigration from Italy, his childhood love of soccer, his calling to the priesthood and his formative encounter with poverty as a missionary in Chile. Illustrated with more than 250 photographs, the book includes 50 removable documents including facsimiles of his baptismal certificate and handwritten notes as pope.
The Essence of the Gnostics
Bernard Simon looks at elements of Gnosticism that are common to ancient pagan and occult religions; he compares its teachings with the Judeo-Christian faiths, and in particular with the writings of Paul; and considers the spiritual and cosmic principles and iconography that have endured to the present day.
The Essence of Sufism
John Baldock begins this introduction with chapters on the life of the Prophet Mohammad, the Qur’an, the principal tenets of Islam and the emergence of Sufism, before discussing the Sufis themselves, their literature, and the path of transformation and fulfilment that frees the individual from the dictates of ego.
The Essence of Vedanta
‘Vedanta’, writes Brian Hodgkinson, ‘hinges upon this truly remarkable idea, that everything, without any exception whatsoever, is the one spirit’. In this book he first discusses the ancient historical and literary origins of Vedanta, then turns to the central tenets of Vedic philosophy and their social dimension.
The Prophetic Voice of Thomas Merton
The Trappist monk, social critic and ecumenist Thomas Merton (1915–68) produced an extensive body of writings, through which he continues to intrigue and challenge readers. In this study the Dean Emeritus of St Paul’s Cathedral asks what meaning we should give to Merton’s contradictions and discontents, as well as considering how he speaks with a prophetic voice in areas of contemporary concern, such as war and peace, abuses of power and the freedom of the individual. Foreword by Rowan Williams.
The Discovery of the Nag Hammadi Texts
A Firsthand Account of The Expedition That Shook the Foundations of Christianity
Jean Doresse was a member of the party of archaeologists who first investigated the important collection of Gnostic texts found during the 1940s at a remote site in Upper Egypt. In this volume (first published in French in 1958) he describes that expedition, presents information about each of the manuscripts and explains what the 44 texts reveal about early Christian beliefs. The book ends with a translation and analysis of the Gospel according to Thomas.
Strong as Death is Love
The Song of Songs, Ruth, Esther, Jonah, and Daniel
As distant in time from the Pentateuch of Moses as Updike is from Shakespeare, these later books of the Old Testament are innovative and entertaining works of literature, in which women are often centre stage. The Song of Songs is a sensuous celebration of young love, Queen Esther’s shrewd triumph is a sly sexual comedy, while the story of Ruth celebrates loyalty, charity and love. Robert Alter’s award-winning translation from the Hebrew captures all their freshness and immediacy.
'To understand what Jesus accomplished and how he paid with his life, we have to understand what was happening around him.' O'Reilly and Dugard turn from their previous non-fiction 'thrillers' on the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy to the events leading up to Jesus' execution. They examine Greek, Roman and Jewish sources to tell the story of this volatile epoch, its cast of characters – from Cleopatra to John the Baptist – and the historical events which made Jesus' death inevitable.
A Brief History of Christianity
Bamber Gascoigne tells the story of the Christian faith, from its origins in the Roman Empire, through the glories of Byzantium and the machinations of Renaissance popes, to the Soviet Union’s hostility to religion. His entertaining narrative sets Christianity in the context of other world religions and explains the forces behind its development over time. Revised edition of The Christians, originally written to accompany Gascoigne’s 1977 television series.
God, Darwin, and the Meaning of Life
Philip Appleman, poet and Darwin scholar, reflects on the struggles of our complex, highly evolved brains as we try to make sense of our human predicament. In particular, he argues, it is through our hypocrisies about religious belief that ‘toadstools of neurosis spring up in the dank labyrinths of our psyches’. He therefore proposes ways of valuing more highly our ephemeral existence and creating a more equitable society free from religious animosities and ‘pious bigotry’.
The Battle for Christendom
The Council of Constance, the East-West Conflict, and the Dawn of Modern Europe
As Turkish armies menaced a much divided Europe, all eyes looked to Germany's patient, charming but ruthless Emperor Sigismund to co-ordinate the resistance. At Christmas 1414 he convened the conference at Constance where Europe's greatest thinkers and most eminent nobles discussed the future of Christendom. This book offers a new view of Constance as a turning-point in history which planted the seeds that were to flourish in later ages: of the Renaissance, Humanism and the Reformation.
The History of the Church through 100 Masterpieces
From Paul’s ‘transformation of the Gospel message into a worldwide church’, represented by Il Bassano’s Sermon of Saint Paul, to Repin’s Procession in the Province of Kursk, depicting the persecution of Christians during the communist revolutions, this book traces the story of the Christian church through art. For each of 100 paintings, the authors discuss the historical events shown, their religious meaning and cultural background, providing a thoughtful and visually engaging history of the Church.
Relics of the Christ
Relics associated with Jesus – such as the Shroud of Turin, Holy Grail and Lance of Longinus – are revered by many of the faithful but are a perennial target for sceptics. Nickell presents the evidence on all sides, reporting the historical traditions associated with these objects and describing the range of techniques used by investigators to track down their origins. The final chapter follows the controversy surrounding the supposed ossuary of Jesus’ brother James, pronounced a fake in 2003.
A Brief Guide to Judaism
Theology, History and Practice
What are the key elements of Jewish theology? How do Jews put belief into practice? Rabbi Brawer outlines the development of the Jewish people and faith, from Abrahamic origins to the eras of diaspora and persecution. He particularly highlights how the ritual and practice that punctuate Jewish existence form a bridge between heaven and earth as they paradoxically call on adherents to transcend the material world while celebrating physical pleasures.
The Lost Book of Moses
The Hunt for the World's Oldest Bible
When the flamboyant treasure-hunter Moses Wilhelm Shapira arrived in London in 1883, he claimed to have discovered the world’s most ancient copy of Deuteronomy – and was quickly denounced as a fraudster. Over 70 years later the emergence of the eerily similar Dead Sea Scrolls prompted reassessment of Shapira’s claims, but by then his scrolls had vanished. Tigay describes his own worldwide quest to locate these mysterious documents and establish whether they truly were a forgery. Felt-tip mark on lower edge.
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 New Calendar and the Collects
The Book of Common Prayer for use in the Church in Wales
The Book of Common Prayer was first translated into Welsh in the 16th century, soon after the English version; following its revision in 1984, this new calendar was published in 2003. Listing holy days through the year, it provides collects and post-communion prayers for each Sunday and the collects for other feasts. All texts are presented in Welsh and English, with many collects appearing in both traditional and contemporary forms.
All That Matters
Embracing ideas about God from all the main world religions, Mark Vernon tackles some of the difficult questions encountered in traditional theological discussion – suffering, morality, peak experiences and God’s goodness – but he also considers modern concerns about ecology, the end of time and the death of God.
The Puzzle of Christianity
How has the Christian faith challenged people down the centuries, and what difficulties have Christians faced? In this accessible history of the world’s largest religion Vardy discusses how disagreements about Jesus’ message shaped different traditions; he also shows how Christianity has responded to such longstanding questions as the nature of God and the problem of evil, as well as to feminism and the ‘new atheism’ in today’s postmodern, relativistic age.
Petrarch's Guide to the Holy Land
Itinerary to the Sepulcher of Our Lord Jesus Christ
This edition of Petrarch's Itinerarium ad Sepulchrum Domini Nostri Yehsu Christi (1358) comprises a complete facsimile and transcription of an authoritative 14th century manuscript, with an introduction, English translation and notes.
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.
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
Churches, Chapels and the Parish Communities of Lincolnshire
Parish communities were at the centre of the considerable changes that took place in religious life between 1660 and 1900: the development of Protestant dissent, Evangelical Revival, the rise of Methodism, new patterns of worship in the Church of England and changes in the Catholic Church. This study looks at how the people of Lincolnshire responded to developments in religious life and how local communities shaped the course of these changes. Slightly off-mint.
Pope Gregory X and the Crusades
Studies in the History of Medieval Religion: Volume XLI
Pope Gregory X (1271–1276) died before the crusade he planned could be launched; but Baldwin uses a study of Gregory’s preparations to reveal the changing nature of crusading and particularly the passagium particulare.