Pentecostal spirituality, the latest Joyce Meyer, and studying Hinduism are featured in this April edition.
The Devil within : possession & exorcism in the Christian West, by Brian P. Levack.
“In this riveting, readable study, Levack (The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe), a history professor at the University of Texas, Austin, offers readers a comprehensive view of reports of demon possession and efforts to rid victims of it. Focusing on the years leading up to and including 17th century Europe, a period the author cites as “the golden age of the demoniac,” readers come away from this book amazed at the extent to which demon possession permeated a deeply superstitious Europe. … And while the role of exorcist is sufficiently well known in Catholic circles, readers will be surprised at how common they were in Protestant societies. This is must-reading for students of history, psychology and religion.” (drawn from Publisher Weekly, courtesy of Syndetics)
Discovering the city of Sodom : the fascinating, true account of the discovery of the Old Testament’s most infamous city, by Steven Collins and Latayne C. Scott.
“Despite the prevailing view among scholars that Sodom and Gomorrah were mythical, Collins maintains that the cities actually existed and reports on his search for them, eventually settling on a location, Tell el-Hammam, north of the Dead Sea in present-day Jordan. Although finely argued, Collins’s work originates from an unapologetically religious point of view, and his assumption of the historicity of certain biblical tales, for instance the Exodus, will prove controversial to many scholars and skeptics. … Collins’s work will be contested in the academy. Recommended for general readers, particularly those with an interest in archaeology or biblical studies. (drawn from Library Journal, courtesy of Syndetics)
Cosmic healing : a spiritual journey with Aaron and John of God, by Barbara Brodsky and Aaron.
“With the onset of sudden profound deafness at the age of twenty-nine, Barbara Brodsky set out on a path to understand the nature of illness and healing, examining the interrelationship of mind and body and our capacity to transcend limitation. A nationally known dharma teacher who first began meditating in the ’60s, Brodsky discovered an entirely new path on her healing journey when her channeling of the spirit Aaron began in 1989. Brodsky’s personal narrative is interspersed with Buddhist teachings, channeled material from Aaron, exercises for the reader, and an account of her experiences with the healer known as John of God (João Teixeira de Faria) at his teaching center, Casa de Dom Inácio, in Brazil. …. Book jacket.” (Syndetics summary)
The emergence of Islam : classical traditions in contemporary perspective, by Gabriel Said Reynolds.
“Gabriel Said Reynolds organizes his study in three parts, beginning with Muhammad’s early life and rise to power, showing the origins and development of the Qur’an with a distinctive, if unique, juxtaposition between the Qur’an and biblical literature, and concluding with an overview of modern and fundamentalist narratives of Islam’s origin…Includes chapter summaries, questions for review and discussion, photos, maps, suggested readings, glossary, and timeline” (drawn from the publisher’s description).
Heaven is real but so is Hell : an eyewitness account of what is to come, by Vassula Rydén.
“Internationally renowned speaker, author and mystic Vassula Ryden takes the reader into the supernatural world where she has experienced the hidden forces that affect every moment of our lives. It features her amazing encounters with both good and evil forces and reveals profoundly important messages for all humanity, largely hidden until now. Sometimes harrowing, but filled with hope, it answers many of the questions that people have been asking for thousands of years and at the same time offers a glimpse into God’s love and justice, and of what is soon to come.” –Publisher.
Cults : a reference and guide, by James R. Lewis.
“Examines the status of cults across the United States, Europe, and East Asia. Focusing on the principal controversial religions and movements that have attracted major media attention, the book also includes profiles of hundreds of minority religions, from Jesus People and Rastafarians to voodoo practitioners and the human-cloning Raelians. …Cults presents a comprehensive and authoritative reference, offering a balanced view of the controversy surrounding these new religious movements, assessing the movements themselves as well as the legal and governmental responses to them, including attempts to quantify membership.” (drawn from the publisher’s description)
Christian peoples of the Spirit : a documentary history of Pentecostal spirituality from the early church to the present, edited by Stanley M. Burgess.
“In this anthology, Burgess (Regent Univ.)…, provides readers with a compelling defense of his thesis, based on documented testimony, that Pentecostalism – defined as manifestations of spiritual gifts and Pentecostal-like worship and experience – has been an ongoing phenomenon throughout church history. … This collection – organized into the ancient, medieval, early modern, and contemporary periods – includes an eclectic and provocative selection of writings that eschew strict orthodoxy while emphasizing the witness to the presence of Pentecostalism. Thus, along with Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Wesley, and Pope Paul VI, readers encounter the Cathars, Shakers, E. G. White, Joseph Smith, and snake handlers. … overall the documents enrich and broaden understanding of Pentecostal experiences ….” (drawn from Choice, courtesy of Syndetics)
Firsthand : ditching secondhand religion for a faith of your own, by Ryan & Josh Shook.
An exploration in which “the brothers tell about growing up in church only to realize that ‘how things are supposed to be’ had stopped working for them. So they set out to find what makes a young person’s Christian faith stick – or not – and in the process, asked hundreds of other people, young and old, some really hard questions, like ‘If God is real, then why do I feel empty?’”–Dust jacket flap.
Making good habits, breaking bad habits : 14 new behaviors that will energize your life, by Joyce Meyer.
“In this work the author examines the nature of habits and provides guidance for listeners seeking to break bad habits. She argues that any immediate gratification gained from bad habits is outweighed by the spiritual toll they take on an individual. Here, she introduces fourteen fulfilling habits that she suggests using to replace the bad ones. She explains that by implementing the good habits, listeners will become spiritually fulfilled and will have no use for bad habits.” (Syndetics summary)
Studying Hinduism in practice, edited by Hillary Rodrigues.
“Drawing on personal experiences of Hinduism on the ground, this book provides a reflective context within which religious practices can be understood and appreciated. It conveys the rich realities of the Hindu tradition and the academic approaches through which they are studied. The chapters cover a wide range of topics, including dance, music, performance, festival traditions, temples, myth, philosophy, women ’s practices, and divine possession. …. All the entries are accompanied by photographs and suggestions for further reading.” (Syndetics summary)
Astonished : a story of evil, blessings, grace, and solace, by Beverly Donofrio.
In the middle of her vibrant Mexican town, amid good friends, margaritas at sunset, salsa, yoga, mariachis, even before the rapist arrived, a midlife crisis had been brewing. Failed relationships, worn-out dreams, and wavering religious beliefs had tinged her life with despair, flat-lined it to gray. No longer sustained by the religious practices that had nourished her for years, she missed God and had been searching on the Internet for a monastery she might join. Now, as the worst thing imaginable happened, she turned to prayer. – drawn from the cover p.