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The Spirit’s Empowerment of the Early Jesus Community
What does Luke mean when he describes the Spirit as gift (Acts 2:38)? This study explores the social implications of gift-giving in the Greco-Roman world, arguing that gifts initiate and sustain relationships. Therefore, the description of the Spirit as gift is inherently social, which is shown in the Spirit’s empowerment of the teaching, unity, meals, sharing of possessions and worship of the early Jesus community. The Spirit as gift then leads us to see that the early Jesus community is “the community of the Holy Spirit.”
The medieval dissenters known as ‘Waldenses’, named after their first founder, Valdes of Lyons, have long attracted careful scholarly study, especially from specialists writing in Italian, French and German. Waldenses were found across continental Europe, from Aragon to the Baltic and East-Central Europe. They were long-lived, resilient, and diverse. They lived in a special relationship with the prevailing Catholic culture, making use of the Church’s services but challenging its claims.

Many Waldenses are known mostly, or only, because of the punitive measures taken by inquisitors and the Church hierarchy against them. This volume brings for the first time a wide-ranging, multi-authored interpretation of the medieval Waldenses to an English-language readership, across Europe and over the four centuries until the Reformation.

Contributors include: Marina Benedetti, Peter Biller, Luciana Borghi Cedrini, Euan Cameron, Jacques Chiffoleau, Albert De Lange, Andrea Giraudo, Franck Mercier, Grado Giovanni Merlo, Georg Modestin, Martine Ostorero, Damian J. Smith, Claire Taylor, and Kathrin Utz Tremp.
Miracle accounts provide a window into the views and conceptions of the laity, the uneducated, women, and even children, whose voices are mostly missing from other types of sources. They are not, however, simple to use. This volume offers a methodological insight into the medieval world of the miraculous. Consisting of 15 cutting-edge articles by leading scholars in the field, it provides versatile approaches to the origins, methods, and recording techniques of various types of miracle narratives. It offers fascinating case studies from across Europe, which show how miracle accounts can be used as a source for various topics such as lived religion, healing, protection, and family and gender.

Contributors are Nicole Archambeau, Leigh Ann Craig, Ildikó Csepregi, Jussi Hanska, Emilia Jamroziak, Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Jenni Kuuliala, Iona McCleery, Jyrki Nissi, Roberto Paciocco, Donald S. Prudlo, Marika Räsänen, Jonas Van Mulder, and Louise Elizabeth Wilson.
Author: Hugh Morrison
At Christmas 1936, Presbyterian children in New Zealand raised over £400 for an x-ray machine in a south Chinese missionary hospital. From the early 1800s, thousands of children in the British world had engaged in similar activities, raising significant amounts of money to support missionary projects world-wide. But was money the most important thing? Hugh Morrison argues that children’s education was a more important motive and outcome. This is the first book-length attempt to bring together evidence from across a range of British contexts. In particular it focuses on children’s literature, the impact of imperialism and nationalism, and the role of emotions.
Editor: Alexandre Papas
This volume describes the social and practical aspects of Islamic mysticism (Sufism) across centuries and geographical regions. Its authors seek to transcend ethereal, essentialist and “spiritualizing” approaches to Sufism, on the one hand, and purely pragmatic and materialistic explanations of its origins and history, on the other. Covering five topics (Sufism’s economy, social role of Sufis, Sufi spaces, politics, and organization), the volume shows that mystics have been active socio-religious agents who could skillfully adjust to the conditions of their time and place, while also managing to forge an alternative way of living, worshiping and thinking.

Basing themselves on the most recent research on Sufi institutions, the contributors to this volume substantially expand our understanding of the vicissitudes of Sufism by paying special attention to its organizational and economic dimensions, as well as complex and often ambivalent relations between Sufis and the societies in which they played a wide variety of important and sometimes critical roles.

Contributors are Mehran Afshari, Ismail Fajrie Alatas, Semih Ceyhan, Rachida Chih, Nathalie Clayer, David Cook, Stéphane A. Dudoignon, Daphna Ephrat, Peyvand Firouzeh, Nathan Hofer, Hussain Ahmad Khan, Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen, Richard McGregor, Ahmet Yaşar Ocak, Alexandre Papas, Luca Patrizi, Paulo G. Pinto, Adam Sabra, Mark Sedgwick, Jean-Jacques Thibon, Knut S. Vikør and Neguin Yavari
The Distribution of Wealth and the Making of Social Relations in Northern Nigeria
Author: Dauda Abubakar
In ‘They Love Us Because We Give Them’ Zakāt, Dauda Abubakar describes the practice of Zakāt in northern Nigeria. Those who practice this pillar of Islam annually deduct Zakāt from their wealth and distribute it to the poor and needy people within their vicinity, mostly their friends, relatives and neighbours.
The practice of giving and receiving Zakāt in northern Nigeria often leads to the establishment of social relations between the rich and needy. Dauda Abubakar provides details of the social relationship in the people’s interpersonal dealings with one another that often lead to power relations, high table relations etc. The needy reciprocate the Zakāt they collect in many ways, respecting and given high positions to the rich in society.
Volume Editor: Dustin J. Byrd
In The Critique of Religion and Religion’s Critique: On Dialectical Religiology, Dustin J. Byrd compiles numerous essays honouring the life and work of the Critical Theorist, Rudolf J. Siebert. His “dialectical religiology,” rooted in the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, especially Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Leo Löwenthal, and Jürgen Habermas, is both a theory and method of understanding religion’s critique of modernity and modernity’s critique of religion. Born out of the Enlightenment and its most important thinkers, i.e. Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, religion is understood to be dialectical in nature. It contains within it both revolutionary and emancipatory elements, but also reactionary and regressive elements, which perpetuate mankind’s continual debasement, enslavement, and oppression. Thus, religion by nature is conflicted within itself and thus stands against itself. Dialectical Religiology attempts to rescue those elements of religion from the dustbin of history and reintroduce them into society via their determinate negation. As such, it attempts to resolve the social, political, theological, and philosophical antagonisms that plague the modern world, in hopes of producing a more peaceful, justice-filled, equal, and reconciled society. The contributors to this book recognize the tremendous contributions of Dr. Rudolf J. Siebert in the fields of philosophy, sociology, history, and theology, and have profited from his long career. This book attempts to honour that life and work.

Contributors include: Edmund Arens, Gregory Baum, Francis Brassard, Dustin J. Byrd, Denis R. Janz, Gottfried Küenzlen, Mislav Kukoč, Michael, R. Ott, Rudolf J. Siebert, Hans K. Weitensteiner, and Brian C. Wilson.
The Impact of the Presbyterian Church in the Caribbean
In Beyond the Legacy of the Missionaries and East Indians, Jerome Teelucksingh offers a revisionist perspective of the role of the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad. He is particularly interested in social mobility as regards the Indo-Caribbean diaspora in the era following the First World War. He argues that the Presbyterian Church in the Caribbean was particularly interested in women’s rights. As such, he examines the dynamic between local expertise and Canadian missionary work in such social uplift processes.
Volume Editor: Samantha Kahn Herrick
Hagiography and the History of Latin Christendom, 500–1500 shows the historical value of texts celebrating saints—both the most abundant medieval source material and among the most difficult to use. Hagiographical sources present many challenges: they are usually anonymous, often hard to date, full of topoi, and unstable. Moreover, they are generally not what we would consider factually accurate. The volume’s twenty-one contributions draw on a range of disciplines and employ a variety of innovative methods to address these challenges and reach new discoveries about the medieval world that extend well beyond the study of sanctity. They show the rich potential of hagiography to enhance our knowledge of that world, and some of the ways to unlock it.

Contributors are Ellen Arnold, Helen Birkett, Edina Bozoky, Emma Campbell, Adrian Cornell du Houx, David Defries, Albrecht Diem, Cynthia Hahn, Samantha Kahn Herrick, J.K. Kitchen, Jamie Kreiner, Klaus Krönert, Mathew Kuefler, Katherine J. Lewis, Giovanni Paolo Maggioni, Charles Mériaux, Paul Oldfield, Sara Ritchey, Catherine Saucier, Laura Ackerman Smoller, and Ineke van ‘t Spijker.

See inside the book.
Author: Boaz Shoshan
In Damascus Life 1480-1500: A Report of a Local Notary, Boaz Shoshan offers a microhistory of the largest Syrian city at the end of the Mamluk period and on the eve of the Ottoman conquest. Mainly based on a partly preserved diary, the earliest available of its kind and written by Ibn Ṭawq, a local notary, it portrays the life of a lower middle class who originated from the countryside and who, through marriage, was able to become a legal clerk and associate with scholars and bureaucrats. His diary does not only provide us with unique information on his family, social circle and the general situation in Damascus, but it also sheds light on subjects of which little is known, such as the functioning of the legal system, marriage and divorce, bourgeois property and the mores of the common people.