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’.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.)
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.