The lost history of Christianity?

Recent arrivals to the religion and beliefs collections cover church history, Bishop Tom Wright, Benedictine spiritual life and sex.

Syndetics book coverJesus, Paul and the people of God : a theological dialogue with N.T. Wright, edited by Nicholas Perrin and Richard B. Hays.
“N. T. Wright, a former Anglican bishop and a prolific writer about Jesus, Paul, and the New Testament, receives an up-close analysis in this compilation of essays. …… essayists discuss various points Wright makes (or doesn’t make) in his own writings. Wright then has a chance to respond to the critiques individually and in longer overviews of his own work. …. Wright’s writings on religious history and theology cover such a broad spectrum, [he] is a prime choice for this type of coverage.” (drawn from the Booklist review, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverShaping Godzone : public issues and church voices in New Zealand 1840-2000, by Laurie Guy.
“This ground-breaking book highlights the influence of the church in shaping ‘Godzone’ – Aotearoa New Zealand. It audaciously claims that the church has been midwife to the nation. Without missionary influence there would have been no Treaty of Waitangi and no New Zealand as we know it today. In the nineteenth century church voices were nation-shaping on issues as wide-ranging as alcohol restraint, voting rights for women, the use of Sunday and the exploitation of workers. In the last generation there were vocal church voices on the Vietnam War, a nuclear-free New Zealand and the 1981 Springbok Tour. … On other matters the church ought to have spoken out, but largely failed to do so: e.g. World War One, or against racism in the hundred years after 1860…..” (drawn from book description).

Syndetics book coverThe lost history of Christianity : the thousand-year golden age of the church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia – and how it died, by Philip Jenkins.
“Jenkins reminds us that Christianity has at turns flourished and died out over the course of history. Focusing on less-well-known branches of Christianity, such as the Nestorians and the Jacobites, he examines the question of why religions die. … He shows, for example, how the coming of Islam affected Egypt and North Africa, once vibrant centers of Christianity, positing that the faith was able to survive in Egypt because religious roots were deeply planted through use of vernacular language and liturgy but disappeared in North Africa, where Christianity had a more elitist focus. … A thought-provoking volume that brings forgotten history to light … (Drawn from Library Journal, courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverThe meaning of sex : Christian ethics and the moral life, by Dennis P. Hollinger.
“Between a culture deeply confused about sex and sexual ethics – at times promoting an “anything goes” attitude while at other times seeking to impose limits on sexual behavior – and a church that frequently responds with simplistic answers, the real meaning of sex has largely been lost. In this book, Dennis Hollinger argues for an inherent, God-given meaning to sex. This meaning provides a framework for a wholistic biblical sexual ethic that adequately addresses contemporary moral issues, such as premarital sex, sex within marriage, homosexuality, reproductive technologies … ” Drawn from the Book jacket.

Syndetics book coverUnderstanding the social world of the New Testament, edited by Dietmar Neufeld and Richard E. DeMaris.
As the title suggests this is a collection of essays on the general social context in which the New Testament writings emerged. Topics include general Mediterranean culture and family values, constructions of gender in the Roman imperial world, Ethnicity, Jesus’s healings within a political context, social stratification and patronage in Ancient Mediterranean societies, and ancient economy.

Syndetics book coverThe social universe of the English Bible : scripture, society, and culture in early modern England, by Naomi Tadmor.
“How can we explain the immense popularity of the English Bible? Naomi Tadmor argues that the vernacular Bible became so influential in early modern English society and culture not only because it was deeply revered, widely propagated, and resonant but also because it was – at least in some ways – Anglicised. … She investigates the dissemination of these English translated terms in early modern society and culture, focusing on community ties, gender and labour relations, and offices of state. The result is an important contribution to the history of the English Bible, biblical translations, and to early modern English history more generally.” (drawn from the publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverMeeting Christ in His mysteries : a Benedictine vision of the spiritual life, by Gregory Collins.
Nourished by Liturgy and lectio divina, this book offers a transforming theological vision based on prayer and spiritual insight. As a Benedictine monk the author contemplates the sacramental mysteries of Scripture, Baptism, the Eucharist, the icon, mystical prayer and the great feasts of the liturgical year, viewing them as privileged “disclosure-zones” where the Holy Spirit reveals God’s presence and invites us to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. (drawn from Syndetics book summary)

Syndetics book coverThe true wealth of nations : Catholic social thought and economic life, edited by Daniel K. Finn.
“This timely volume addresses the ways in which Catholic social thought (CST) speaks on matters of economics. … it brings together a number of scholars affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies to examine the way the various principles and the history of CST can speak to issues of economics. … CST works more to articulate principles of the common good than to prescribe a particular economic system. The balance of the book addresses the ways in which CST’s principles can be brought to bear on the conversation, with a particular aim in the latter half to address contextual issues such as the economic situation of women… (drawn from Choice review, courtesy of Syndetics)