Origins Beliefs Practices Holy Texts Sacred Places
This illustrated introduction to Christianity succinctly outlines the historical development of the faith and its main denominations; Christian concepts of the divine and of sacred persons, places and times; ethical and social principles; and beliefs about death and the afterlife. Each chapter ends with a section that explains the significance of an extract from a key text in the Christian tradition.
In Search of Authority
Anglican Theological Method from the Reformation to the Enlightenment
Throughout its history, the Anglican Church has attempted to pursue a middle course – the ‘Religio Medici’ advocated by Sir Thomas Browne in the 17th century – between doctrinal purity and compassionate pragmatism, an approach that still generates fierce controversy today. This important, thought-provoking book charts its intellectual development in response to secular society and modern science, and addresses the fundamental question: from where does the Church derive its authority – scripture, tradition, reason or conscience?
The God Confusion
Gary Cox, author of How to be an Existentialist, explores in a witty, yet balanced way the idea of God and the standard arguments for his existence, and he shows how all such arguments are logically incapable of moving beyond speculation to any kind of proof. Concluding that God may or may not exist and that the only credible philosophical position is agnosticism, Cox acknowledges that a commitment to live as though there is a moral God is both coherent and prudent.
The God of Jesus Christ
When it was first published in 1982, this important work by the German Catholic cardinal and theologian Walter Kasper argued for a ‘theological theology’ that makes the explanation of the confession of the triune God its first priority. In this new edition, Kasper’s introduction addresses recent changes as theology reassesses itself in relation to science, culture and the Church; and he emphasizes the importance of the existential and pastoral meaning of the doctrine of God in this new situation.
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.
Newman's Unquiet Grave
The Reluctant Saint
Written in the wake of publicity about the beatification of John Henry Newman (1801–1890), Cornwell's highly acclaimed biography focuses not on arguments for and against sainthood, but on Newman's character and importance as a writer. The study includes chapters devoted to each of his major works – Idea of a University, the Apologia, The Dream of Gerontius and The Grammar of Assent – and aims to reveal Newman's 'genius for creating new ways of imagining and writing about religion'.
A Brief Guide to Secret Religions
Why are millions of people abandoning both the established religions of their parents and scientific rationalism in favour of magic and esoteric teachings? This comprehensive, unbiased introduction charts the growth of New Age movements from Theosophy and Anthroposophy, and examines the beliefs and practices of a wide range of alternative religions such as Druidism, Neo-Paganism and Shamanism, to explain their growing appeal in our secular age.
The Bible: A History
The Making and Impact of the Bible
This colourful and richly informative survey of how the Old and New Testaments were written examines the Bible’s pervasive influence in Western cultures, through early Christendom; the invention of printing and the profound changes of the Reformation; and in the modern world. In short, illustrated chapters the authors look at the contribution of figures including St Paul, Josephus and Luther, and explore topics from early writing systems and papyrus to biblical movies and the apocalypse.
Secularization and the World Religions
In a collection of 13 essays, this volume addresses the connections between religions and the social world, and the extent, limits and future of secularization. After an introductory essay, ‘Society, State and Religion’ by Hans Joas, contributors discuss the major religions in turn; state-church models; religion and the natural sciences; and the religious situations in Europe, America, East Asia, Latin America and Africa, and the Middle East.
How to Believe
In an effort to rescue the debate from sterile polemics, one of Britain's leading philosophers defends religious belief by drawing on insights from poetry, music, scripture and a range of philosophical texts. This ‘account of the dynamics of belief’ argues that belief is less about advancing a set of explanatory hypotheses than responding ‘to certain deep psychological and moral features of our human predicament' with all our faculties, intellectual, emotional and imaginative.
Buddhism is a faith embraced by hundreds of millions of people, yet all that is known about its founder comes from a collection of ancient writings that fuse history, biography and myth. This concise but comprehensive introduction from the bestselling author of Fields of Blood (Postscript 25329) distils the chief events of Buddha's life and quest for enlightenment, illuminating the key tenets of the religion and the ideas of this most influential of spiritual thinkers.
Life In the Psalms
Contemporary Meaning in Ancient Texts
The psalms are still recited and sung in churches, but the full depth of their meaning can be hard to appreciate in our secular 21st-century world. Designed for daily use during Lent, this book offers reflections on 30 psalms, in which a former Canon of Wells Cathedral contemplates the ancient texts' power to illuminate such pressing modern issues as climate change, consumerism and our response to asylum-seekers.
The Complete Cloud of Unknowing
With the Letter of Privy Counsel
Written around 1380–1400, The Cloud of Unknowing is addressed to a young protégé of the priestly, anonymous author who teaches that God is ultimately beyond human experience and unknowable, and describes the practices of Christian life, particularly for those wanting to attain the highest level of ascetical and mystical development. The work, along with its companion The Letter of Privy Counsel, is translated here, with insightful introductions, annotations and commentary by Father John-Julian.
Islamism and Islam
Despite the intense media focus since 9/11, many Western policymakers have little understanding of the distinction between Islam as a religion and the political movement known as Islamism. Drawing on three decades of research in 20 Muslim countries, this courageous study subjects Islamism's political ideology to trenchant analysis and warns of its dangers, while demonstrating how Islam as a religion and culture is open to tolerance and coexistence with other faiths.
The Wife of Jesus
Ancient Texts and Modern Scandals
Was Jesus married? The question has inspired fierce debate, conspiracy theories, sensationalist news stories and The Da Vinci Code. In this clear account of the evidence Anthony le Donne examines a range of ancient texts and modern scholarship to offer arguments for and against a married Jesus; he also considers how the changing nature of our quest for Jesus' wife illuminates the ebb and flow of modern social and cultural preoccupations.
In 2013, after the unprecedented resignation of Benedict XVI, the Catholic world was stunned by the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the radical Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as Pope Francis. Illustrated with more than 250 previously unpublished images by one of the Pope's official photographers, this handsome book follows the pontiff through a year in his life, from daily prayers to international pastoral visits, as he offers his support to the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed throughout the world.
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.
The Divine Conspiracy Continued
Fulfilling God's Kingdom on Earth
Dallas Willard's The Divine Conspiracy was one of the most important works of Christian philosophy of recent decades, and influenced a whole generation of disciples. This sequel takes its message out of the church and into the wider world of business and the professions, encouraging those disciples to become leaders in the civil community in order to build Christian principles and practices into the fabric of their society.
The Dwelling of the Light
Praying with Icons of Christ
To look at an icon is to do far more than view a work of human art. As Orthodox Christians have understood for 1,500 years, it is a potentially life-changing encounter with God. In this attractive little book the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams shows us how to understand four classical icons: the Transfiguration; the Resurrection; Christ as one of the Trinity; and Christ the judge and ruler of all.
The Poems of Jesus Christ
'Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.' Jesus Christ is the great invisible poet of the world. Embedded in the Gospels are sayings and parables of lyric intensity: austere, vivid and poignant, and rich in garden, nature and animal imagery. Barnstone's translations, excerpted from his Restored New Testament (2009), strip away the trappings of prose to reveal the consummate poetic drama of the Gospel of Jesus in all its wonder and majesty. American-cut pages.
The Bible: A Reader's Guide
Summaries, Commentaries, Color-Coding for Key Themes
Designed for use alongside the Bible, this book is a navigational tool for the modern reader. The introduction discusses the overarching ideas, then the two testaments are covered separately, each with a narrative summary, key quotations and helpful commentary. This comprehensive guide to all versions of the Bible makes the ancient texts accessible and enables the reader to locate specific themes, making it the perfect resource for private contemplation or writing a sermon.
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 Son of Zebedee
The Life of a Legend
Beginning with New Testament reports of John as a fisherman, and extending through recent Johannine scholarship, Culpepper gathers stories about the exploits and death of the apostle from church fathers, the apocryphal acts of John, medieval sources, and Victorian poets, and from 19th- and 20th-century historians of early Christianity. Examining this multitude of sources, the study overcomes barriers that have traditionally separated New Testament exegesis from the study of the history of early Christianity.
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.
A Parish for the World
Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon has a history that stretches back to Anglo-Saxon times, but is best known as the burial place of the town's most famous resident - William Shakespeare. This handsome book explores the church's history and architecture, its connection with the playwright, and its role in the life of the community today. Colour photographs show every aspect of this beautiful building, its carvings and its monuments, in the shifting play of light filtering through its stained-glass windows.
The Correspondence of Henry Edward Manning and William Ewart Gladstone
The Complete Correspondence 1833-1891 (Four volumes)
Between 1833 and 1891, Manning and Gladstone maintained a correspondence, broken significantly only for the decade from 1851 up to 1861 and from 1875 to 1882. Presented here with introductions, notes and index, the letters provide substantial insights into debates on Church-state alignments; entanglements of Anglican Old High Churchmen and Tractarians from the Oxford Movement to 1851; and relationships between Roman Catholics and the British Government over issues including Ireland, Italy and education in the later 19th century.
Jocelin of Wells
Bishop, Builder, Courtier
Jocelin, a royal administrator and the bishop of Wells from 1206 to 1242, played a major role in the growth of Somerset's towns, fairs and markets as well as the completion of Wells Cathedral and its Bishop's Palace. This volume comprises ten essays on Jocelin's life, career and reforms, his building projects and the findings of recent architectural, archaeological and botanical investigations into the curious physical nature of the palace site.
Michael Cook gives an incisive account of the man who inspired the Islamic faith, drawing on the traditional Muslim sources to describe Muhammad's life and teaching. He also attempts to stand back from this traditional picture to question how far it is historically justified. From the Past Masters series of introductions to the thought of leading intellectual figures.
Anglican Church-Building in London 1946–2012
After the Blitz devastated many of London's historic churches, some 250 new ones were built throughout the capital, mostly in the Modernist style. They have received little attention, and some have fallen into neglect or been demolished; but as this unique survey makes clear, many have considerable architectural merit. A general introduction is followed by a borough-by-borough gazetteer, with each entry illustrated by both an interior and exterior view. The book concludes with a list of architects and their work.
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.
Shakespeare's Common Prayers
The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizabethan Age
'See,' says Buckingham in Richard III, 'a book of prayer in his hand.' From its appearance in 1549, the Book of Common Prayer was known by heart by every literate person in England, including William Shakespeare. This engaging, elegantly written study traces the influence of its rhythms and metres, its ambiguities and controversies, on plays such as Measure for Measure, As You Like It, Hamlet and – above all – Macbeth, to create a dazzlingly original portrait of the playwright at work.
The Former Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings
This volume in Alter's award-winning new translation of the Hebrew Bible comprises the four books of narrative history known traditionally as the 'Former Prophets'. They cover the stories of Joshua and the fall of Jericho, Saul and David ('one of the greatest pieces of narrative in all of Western literature'), and the cycle of tales about the 'Herculean folk-hero' Samson. At the foot of each page is running commentary on the cultural background and difficulties in interpreting the Hebrew text.
The Sacred History
How Angels, Mystics and Higher Intelligence Made Our World
This is an alternative narrative of human history, 'a sort of folk history of the world', which weaves together stories of men and women who had visionary experiences involving angels, daemons or other supernatural powers. A spellbinding display of the place of mystery and mysticism in human experience, it features key episodes in religious scriptures, moments in the lives of such potent cultural figures as Joan of Arc and Abraham Lincoln and tales from African, Native American and Celtic traditions.
Living with a Wild God
A Non-Believer's Search for the Truth About Everything
In middle age, the acclaimed social commentator Barbara Ehrenreich rediscovered a journal she had kept as a teenager. It recorded an event so strange that she had never spoken or written about it: a mystical experience that rocked her steadfast rationalist convictions. In this profound reflection on science, religion and the human condition, she attempts to reconcile that cataclysmic moment with her secular understanding, challenging us to reassess our perceptions of life.
The Historical David
The Real Life of an Invented Hero
Described by Diarmuid MacCulloch as 'an invigoratingly grown-up reading of the Bible', this book is a revisionist analysis of King David's presentation in the Hebrew scriptures. Baden shows that the historical figure, who did not write Psalms or kill Goliath, was reinvented as a glorious king through layers of fact and fiction – the spin of Samuel and Chronicles followed by the messianic connections presented in the New Testament – which have contributed to our idealized cultural memory of David.
The Myth of Persecution
How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom
Central to the traditions of Christianity is the example of the early martyrs, crucified, burned and thrown to wild beasts because they refused to renounce their faith. Yet as this controversial study makes clear, the myth of persecution was greatly exaggerated. Drawing on both Christian and pagan sources, it shows that only during brief, widely separated intervals did believers suffer violence, and that for much of Roman history they prospered and even achieved high public office.
Understanding the Qur'an Today
Mahmoud Hussein is the pseudonym of two French political writers of Egyptian origin, whose bestselling work engaging with the debate on Islam and modernity is now available in English. In 20 short chapters they examine three propositions: that God's Word maintains a living link with the historical context of its revelation; that it takes the form of an exchange between Heaven and Earth; and that the Qur'an enunciates different orders of truth.
On the Trail of John Wesley
During his long life John Wesley (1703–95) preached thousands of sermons and travelled more than 250,000 miles around Britain, as well as spending two years in the American state of Georgia. Here Methodist historian Keith Cheetham tells the story of Wesley's life – and his transformative effect on the religious face of Britain – through more than 170 places associated with him.