Brodd et al., “Invitation to World Religions”

9780190690816We close this week’s book posts with a comparative religion textbook that Oxford released earlier this year. The book is Invitation to World Religions, by John Brodd (CSU-Sacramento) and others, now in its third edition. Here’s the description from the Oxford website:

Featuring a unique, consistent, and modular chapter structure–“Teachings,” “History,” and “Way of Life”–and numerous pedagogical features, Invitation to World Religions, Third Edition, invites students to explore the world’s great religions with respect and a sense of wonder. This chapter structure enables students to navigate each religion in a consistent and systematic way and to make comparisons between religions. The book describes the essential features of each religion and shows how they have responded to basic human needs and to the cultural contexts in which they developed. The authors also encourage students to develop an appreciation for what religious beliefs and practices actually mean to their adherents.

Reynolds, ” The Qu’ran and the Bible”

d45d6afd5a9ec42573dba326d65fb632From Yale University Press, here is a new comparative study of the scripture of three religions – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. The author is the noted Notre Dame scholar Gabriel Said Reynolds. The book is The Qu’ran and the Bible: Text and Commentary. Here is the publisher’s description:

While the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament are understood to be related texts, the sacred scripture of Islam, the third Abrahamic faith, has generally been considered separately. Noted religious scholar Gabriel Said Reynolds draws on centuries of Qur’anic and Biblical studies to offer rigorous and revelatory commentary on how these holy books are intrinsically connected.

Reynolds demonstrates how Jewish and Christian characters, imagery, and literary devices feature prominently in the Qur’an, including stories of angels bowing before Adam and of Jesus speaking as an infant. This important contribution to religious studies features a full translation of the Qur’an along with excerpts from the Jewish and Christian texts. It offers a clear analysis of the debates within the communities of religious scholars concerning the relationship of these scriptures, providing a new lens through which to view the powerful links that bond these three major religions.

Peters, “The Children of Abraham”

9780691181035_3F.E. Peters, now an emeritus professor at New York University, is one of the greatest scholars of comparative religion in the United States. His works on Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are lucid, fair, and helpful, especially for scholars new to the field who are looking for a place to start. Years ago, I got a copy of his monograph, Islam: A Guide for Jews and Christiansfrom the St. John’s University library and have never returned it! Friends of mine who have taken classes with him say he is a great teacher as well.

This month, Princeton University Press is releasing a new edition of Peters’s The Children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, and IslamIt is surely worth reading, if one is at all interested in the subject (and one should be). Here’s the description from the Princeton website:

F.E. Peters, a scholar without peer in the comparative study of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, revisits his pioneering work. Peters has rethought and thoroughly rewritten his classic The Children of Abraham for a new generation of readers-at a time when the understanding of these three religious traditions has taken on a new and critical urgency.

He began writing about all three faiths in the 1970s, long before it was fashionable to treat Islam in the context of Judaism and Christianity, or to align all three for a family portrait. In this updated edition, he lays out the similarities and differences of the three religious siblings with great clarity and succinctness and with that same remarkable objectivity that is the hallmark of all the author’s work.

Peters traces the three faiths from the sixth century B.C., when the Jews returned to Palestine from exile in Babylonia, to the time in the Middle Ages when they approached their present form. He points out that all three faith groups, whom the Muslims themselves refer to as “People of the Book,” share much common ground. Most notably, each embraces the practice of worshipping a God who intervenes in history on behalf of His people.

The book’s text is direct and accessible with thorough and nuanced discussions of each of the three religions. Footnotes provide the reader with expert guidance into the highly complex issues that lie between every line of this stunning edition of The Children of Abraham. Complete with a new preface by the author, this Princeton Classics edition presents this landmark study to a new generation of readers.

“Violence and the World’s Religious Traditions” (Juergensmeyer et. al., eds.)

In December, Oxford University Press will release Violence and the World’s Religious Traditions: An Introduction edited by Mark Juergensmeyer (University of California), Margo Kitts (Hawai’i Pacific University), and Michael Jerryson (Youngstown State University). The publisher’s description follows:

violence-and-the-worlds-religious-traditionsIs religion inherently predisposed to violence? Or has religion been taken hostage by a politics of aggression? The years since the end of the Cold War have shown a noticeable shift in patterns of religious extremism, accentuating the uncomfortable, complex, and oft-misunderstood relationship between religion and violence. The essays in this succinct new volume examine that relationship by offering a well-rounded look at violence as it appears in the world’s most prominent religious traditions, exploring Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Sikh, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, African, and Pacific Island texts and practices.

The essays in Violence and the World’s Religious Traditions explore the ways in which specific religions have justified acts of destruction, in history, in scripture, and in the contemporary world. But the collection also offers an investigation of religious symbols and practices, shedding new light on the very nature of religion and confronting the question of how deeply intertwined are violence and faith.

“Religion, Migration and Identity” (Frederiks & Nagy, eds.)

In September, Brill Publishers will release “Religion, Migration and Identity: Methodological and Theological Explorations,” edited by Martha Frederiks (University of Utrecht) and Dorottya Nagy (Protestant Theological University in Amsterdam). The publisher’s description follows:

Durham & Thayer, “Religion, Pluralism, and Reconciling Difference”

In August, Routledge will release “Religion, Pluralism, and Reconciling Difference,” by W. Cole Durham, Jr. (Brigham Young University)  and Donlu Thayer (Brigham Young University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Religion, Pluralism, and Reconciling Difference brings together vital and thoughtful contributions treating aspects of mounting worldwide tensions concerning the routlogorelationship between religious diversity and social harmony. Religious pluralism can contribute to tensions in employment, media coverage of religion, and public life generally. Experts from North and South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East address these issues and suggest not only how social institutions can reduce tensions, but also how religious pluralism itself can bolster needed civil society.

Llewellyn & Sharma, “Religion, Equalities, and Inequalities”

This month, Routledge releases “Religion, Equalities, and Inequalities,” by Dawn Llewellyn (University of Chester) and Sonya Sharma (Kingston University London).  The publisher’s description follows:

Presenting cutting edge research on how religion can confront and obscure social inequalities in everyday life, Religion, Equalities and Inequalities argues that when 9781472439963religion is left out of social scientific analyses, it can result in incomplete analyses that conceal pathways to social inclusion and exclusion. Bringing together an international and interdisciplinary group of contributors who operate at the vanguard of theoretical and empirical work on how social structures of power, institutions and bodies can generate equalities and inequalities in religion, the collection shows how religion can enable and challenge the inequities that affect people’s everyday lives. Academics and students of religious studies, sociology, politics and social policy will all find this book offers useful insights into the relationship between religion and contemporary culture.

“Violence, Religion, Peacemaking” (Irvin-Erickson & Phan, eds.)

In May, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Violence, Religion, Peacemaking,” edited by Douglas Irvin-Erickson (George Mason University) and Peter C. Phan (Georgetown University).  The publisher’s description follows:

This volume explores how religious leaders can contribute to cultures of peace around the world. The essays are written by leading and emerging scholars and Unknownpractitioners who have lived, taught, or worked in the areas of conflict about which they write. Connecting the theory and practice of religious peacebuilding to illuminate key challenges facing interreligious dialogue and interreligious peace work, the volume is explicitly interreligious, intercultural, and global in perspective. The chapters approach religion and peace from the vantage point of security studies, sociology, ethics, ecology, theology, and philosophy. A foreword by David Smock, the Vice President of Governance, Law and Society and Director of the Religion and Peacebuilding Center at the United States Institute of Peace, outlines the current state of the field.

Butticci, “African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe”

In April, the Harvard University Press will release “African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe: The Politics of Presence in the Twenty-First Century,” by Annalisa Butticci (Harvard Divinity School and Utrecht University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Over the past thirty years, Italy—the historic home of Catholicism—has become a significant destination for migrants from Nigeria and Ghana. Along with suitcases and dreams of a brighter future, these Africans bring 9780674737099-lgtheir own form of Christianity, Pentecostalism, shaped by their various cultures and religious worlds. At the heart of Annalisa Butticci’s beautifully sculpted ethnography of African Pentecostalism in Italy is a paradox. Pentecostalism, traditionally one of the most Protestant of Christian faiths, is driven by the same concern as Catholicism: real presence.

In Italy, Pentecostals face harsh anti-immigrant sentiment and limited access to economic and social resources. At times, they find safe spaces to worship in Catholic churches, where a fascinating encounter unfolds that is equal parts conflict and communion. When Pentecostals watch Catholics engage with sacramental objects—relics, statues, works of art—they recognize the signs of what they consider the idolatrous religions of their ancestors. Catholics, in turn, view Pentecostal practices as a mix of African religions and Christian traditions. Yet despite their apparently irreconcilable differences and conflicts, they both share a deeply sensuous and material way to make the divine visible and tangible. In this sense, Pentecostalism appears much closer to Catholicism than to mainstream Protestantism.

African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe offers an intimate glimpse at what happens when the world’s two fastest growing Christian faiths come into contact, share worship space, and use analogous sacramental objects and images. And it explains how their seemingly antithetical practices and beliefs undergird a profound commonality.

“Women and Religious Traditions” (Anderson & Young, eds.)

Last month, Oxford University Press released “Women and Religious Traditions” edited by Leona M. Anderson (University of Regina) and Pamela Dickey Young (Queen’s University). The publisher’s description follows:

Women and Religious Traditions uses a critical feminist lens to explore the roles and interactions of women with major world faith traditions. Within each particular tradition, the text examines the history and status of women, family structures, sexuality, and social change, as well as texts, rituals, and interpretations by and for women.

Thirteen experts contribute nine chapters and five case studies, including a new case study on women in Chinese traditions. This third edition builds on the strengths of the first two, with the addition of lived religion content in each chapter, an expanded introduction to the study of women and religion, new research on Buddhist nuns, and up-to-date material on women’s current political position in Islamic countries.

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