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Megachurches and Social Engagement

Public Theology in Practice

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Mark J. Cartledge, Sarah Dunlop, Heather Buckingham and Sarah Bremner

This book is the first detailed academic study of megachurches in the UK. In particular, it explores the nature and significance of social engagement by megachurches in the context of London. The research contains empirical case studies of two Anglican and three African diaspora Pentecostal churches. As well as exploring the range of social engagement activities provided by these churches, the study offers explanations in term of theological motivations and the influence of globalisation. Subsequently, the book outlines the importance of the findings for the relationship between church and society in the contemporary context, addressing the implications for social policy and practice. The book advances discussions in public theology, megachurch studies, Pentecostal and Charismatic studies and ecclesiology.
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Karl Rahner, Culture and Evangelization

New Approaches in an Australian Setting

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Anthony Mellor

The situation of religious institutional diminishment in many Western countries requires new approaches to the proclamation of Christian faith. As a response to these complexities, Karl Rahner suggested a “mystagogic” approach as a future pathway for theology. A mystagogical approach seeks modes of spiritual and theological conversation which engage the religious imagination and draws upon personal experiences of transcendence and religious sensibility. In Karl Rahner, Culture and Evangelization: New Approaches in an Australian Setting, Anthony Mellor develops a reflective process of contemporary “mystagogia” describing how different fields of engagement require different patterns of mystagogical conversation. While focussing on the Australian setting, these differentiate arenas of engagement are also applicable to other cultural settings and offer fresh perspectives for evangelisation today.
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Edited by Pål Repstad

As the title suggests, Political Religion, Everyday Religion: Sociological Trends reflects upon two important trends that have recently emerged in the sociology of religion. Firstly, there is an increasing interest in the interplay between religion and politics. Religion has moved from being almost ignored by sociologists to being acknowledged – some would even say overrated – as an important political factor. Secondly, ordinary people’s everyday religion has likewise become an important topic for many researchers. In this book, James Beckford, Inger Furseth and other prominent scholars present critical discussions and empirical studies of both political and everyday religion, and the editor, Pål Repstad, shows how these two trends should enter into a closer dialogue. The book is essential for both students and experienced researchers in the sociology of religion.
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Migration Journeys to Israel

Narratives of the Way and Their Meaning

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Gadi BenEzer

This book addresses a lacuna in the study of Jewish and Israeli history - that of journeys taken by Jews in the 20th century towards Israel – which is also a neglected subject in the more general fields of migration and refugee studies. Dr. Gadi BenEzer, a psychologist and anthropologist, eloquently shows how such journeys are life changing events that affect individuals, families, and communities in a variety of ways. Based on narrative research of Jewish people who have undergone journeys on their way to Israel from around the world, the author is able to pose original questions and give initial convincing answers. The powerful personal accounts are followed by a thought-provoking analysis.
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Jesus the Samaritan

Ethnic Labeling in the Gospel of John

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Stewart Penwell

In Jesus the Samaritan: Ethnic Labeling in the Gospel of John, Stewart Penwell examines how ethnic labels function in the Gospel of John. After a review of the discourse history between “the Jews” and “the Samaritans,” the dual ethnic labeling in John 4:9 and 8:48 are examined and, in each instance, members from “the Jews” and “the Samaritans” label Jesus as a member of each other’s group for deviating from what were deemed acceptable practices as a member of “the Jews.” The intra-textual links between John 4 and 8 reveal that the function of Jesus’s dual ethnic labelling is to establish a new pattern of practices and categories for the “children of God” (1:12; 11:52) who are a trans-ethnic group united in fictive kinship and embedded within the Judean ethnic group’s culture and traditions.
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Enlightening Europe on Islam and the Ottomans

Mouradgea d’Ohsson and His Masterpiece

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Carter Vaughn Findley

Mouradgea d’Ohsson’s Tableau général de l’Empire othoman offered the Enlightenment Republic of Letters its most authoritative work on Islam and the Ottomans, also a practical reference work for kings and statesmen. Profusely illustrated and opening deep insights into illustrated book production in this period, this is also the richest collection of visual documentation on the Ottomans in a hundred years. Shaped by the author’s personal struggles, the work yet commands recognition in its own totality as a monument to inter-cultural understanding. In form one of the great taxonomic works of Enlightenment thought, this is a work of advocacy in the cause of reform and amity among France, Sweden, and the Ottoman Empire.

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A History of Water Engineering and Management in Yemen

Material Remains and Textual Foundations

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Ingrid Hehmeyer

In A History of Water Engineering and Management in Yemen, Ingrid Hehmeyer describes the three-way relationship between water, land, and humans from ancient to medieval and premodern times. As illustrated in case studies from four sites, individual ecosystems necessitated different engineering and management approaches in order to make good use of the scarce water resources for both irrigated agriculture and domestic consumption. Material remains and written sources provide the evidence for a comprehensive examination of continuity and change; technical and managerial struggles, failures, and successes; the question of technology transfer; the impact of the religion of Islam on water use and allocation; and people’s reactions in times of severe crisis.
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Edited by Paul L. Gareau, Spencer Culham Bullivant and Peter Beyer

Youth, Religion, and Identity in a Globalizing Context: International Perspectives investigates the ways that young people navigate the intersections of religion and identity. As part of the Youth in a Globalizing World series, this book provides a broad discussion on the various social, cultural, and political forces affecting youth and their identities from an international comparative perspective. Contributors to this volume situate the experiences of young people in Canada, the United States, Germany, and Australia within a globalized context. This volume explores the different experiences of youth, the impact of community and processes of recognition, and the reality of ambivalence as agency.
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Marthe Hesselmans

In Racial Integration in the Church of Apartheid Marthe Hesselmans uncovers the post-apartheid transformation of South Africa’s Dutch Reformed Church. This church once constituted the religious pillar of the Afrikaner apartheid regime (1948-1994). Today, it seeks to unite the communities it long segregated into one multiracial institution. Few believe this will succeed. A close look inside congregations reveals unexpected stories of reconciliation though. Where South Africans realize they need each other to survive, faith offers common ground – albeit a feeble one. They show the potential, but also the limits of faith communities untangling entrenched national and racial affiliations. Linking South Africa’s post-apartheid transition to religious-nationalist movements worldwide, Hesselmans offers a unique perspective on religion as source of division and healing.
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Edited by Andrew Village and Ralph W. Hood

The general papers in Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 29 cover a range of topics including psychological type, prayer, nature and well-being, psychobiography, coping with addiction, and the role of place in spirituality. The first special section on congregational studies draws on a range of large datasets from the National Church Life Surveys in Australia. Papers examine the factors that predict individual sense of belonging in Catholic parishes as well as congregational-level aspects of vitality, collective confidence, and innovativeness. The second special section examines the Ideological Surround Model and how it can help to better understand expressions of faith related to psychological constructs such as mindfulness, fundamentalism, and the ‘Dark Triad’ of Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy.