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Edited by Joyce Ann Mercer and Bonnie Miller-McLemore

In this landmark volume, internationally recognized scholars address key intellectual and practical conundrums that not only trouble practical theology but also reflect biases and breakdowns in the construction of theological knowledge in academy and religious communities at large. With critical facility and unheralded honesty that includes reflexivity about their own lives in the academy, the authors tackle complex issues that refuse easy solutions— racism, hierarchy of theory over practice, devaluation of small case studies, risks of interdisciplinarity to scholarly identity, inequities between Christian traditions, unreflective Christian-centrism, and tensions between the production of scholarship and public service. Outcomes of these issues will have serious implications for the discipline and the study of theology for years to come.

Contributors include Tom Beaudoin, Eileen R. Campbell-Reed, Faustino M. Cruz, Jaco Dreyer, Courtney T. Goto, Tone Stangeland Kaufman, Joyce Ann Mercer, Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, Phillis Isabella Sheppard, Katherine Turpin, Claire E. Wolfteich.

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Mary Clark Moschella

In Caring for Joy: Narrative, Theology, and Practice Mary Clark Moschella offers a new account of the value of joy in caregiving vocations, demonstrating how the work of caring for persons, communities, and the world need not be a dreary endeavor overwhelmed by crises or undermined by despair. Moschella presents glimpses of joy-in-action in the narratives of five notable figures: Heidi Neumark, Henri Nouwen, Gregory Boyle, Pauli Murray, and Paul Farmer, gleaning their wisdom for the construction of a theology of joy that embodies compassion, connection, justice, and freedom. Care must be deep enough to hold human suffering and spacious enough to take in the divine goodness, beauty, and love. This book expands the pastoral theological imagination and narrates joy-full approaches to transformational care.

“This work is a scholarly, engaging and compassionate call to reconsider the significance of joyful living and joyful lives in radical pastoral theology.”
— Heather Walton, University of Glasgow, President of the International Academy of Practical Theology, July 2016.

“Based on biographies, interviews, and life stories, Mary Clark Moschella presents joy as a counter-cultural emotion, as a spiritual path, and as a fruit of the Spirit. In her research, joy and reason are not ultimately opposed.”
— Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, Professor of Pastoral Care, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, July 2016.

“This highly readable and compelling theology of joy will inspire you to explore how joy might energize your vocation, especially caregiving vocations that use narrative approaches to spiritual care and pastoral counseling. I plan on using this book as a textbook in my theodicy, grief, death and dying, and vocational courses.”
— Carrie Doehring, Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Iliff School of Theology, Denver, August 2016

“Mary Moschella has given us a rare text, one that is theologically rich, intellectually sophisticated, drenched in pastoral wisdom, and beautifully written. She gives us a pastoral theology attuned to the realities of diversity and sensitive to the complex challenges facing those who lives constantly interface with suffering. There is simply nothing else like this book in pastoral care.”
— Willie James Jennings, Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies, Yale University, August 2016

Sociology of Shiʿite Islam

Collected Essays

Saïd Amir Arjomand

Sociology of Shiʿite Islam is a comprehensive study of the development of Shiʿism. Its bearers first emerged as a sectarian elite, then a hierocracy and finally a theocracy. Imamate, Occultation and the theodicy of martyrdom are identified as the main components of the Shiʻism as a world religion. In these collected essays Arjomand has persistenly developed a Weberian theoretical framework for the analysis of Shiʿism, from its sectarian formation in the eighth century through the establishment of the Safavid empire in the sixteenth century, to the Islamic revolution in Iran in the twentieth century. These studies highlight revolutionary impulses embedded in the belief in the advent of the hidden Imam, and the impact of Shiʻite political ethics on the authority structure of pre-modern Iran and the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Mission and Money

Christian Mission in the Context of Global Inequalities 

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Edited by Mari-Anna Auvinen-Pöntinen and Jonas Adelin Jørgensen

Mission and Money; Christian Mission in the Context of Global Inequalities offers academic discussion about the mission of the Church in the context of contemporary economic inequalities globally, challenging the reader to reconsider mission in the light of existing poverty, and investigating how economic structures could be challenged in the light of ethical and spiritual considerations. The book includes contributions on the subjects of poverty and inequality from the theologians, economists and anthropologists who gave keynote presentations at the European Missiological Conference (IAMS Europe) that took place in April 2014 in Helsinki, Finland. This conference was a major step forward in terms of discussion between missiologists and economists on global economic structures and their influence on human dignity.

Contributors are: Mari-Anna Auvinen-Pöntinen, Stephen B. Bevans, Jonathan J. Bonk, Ulrich Duchrow, Jonas Adelin Jørgensen, Vesa Kanniainen, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Tinyiko Sam Maluleke, Gerrie Ter Haar, Evi Voulgaraki-Pissina, Mika Vähäkangas, Felix Wilfred.

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Edited by Brian Grim, Todd Johnson, Vegard Skirbekk and Gina Zurlo

The Yearbook of International Religious Demography presents an annual snapshot of the state of religious statistics around the world. Every year large amounts of data are collected through censuses, surveys, polls, religious communities, scholars, and a host of other sources. These data are collated and analyzed by research centers and scholars around the world. Large amounts of data appear in analyzed form in the World Religion Database (Brill), aiming at a researcher’s audience. The Yearbook presents data in sets of tables and scholarly articles spanning social science, demography, history, and geography. Each issue offers findings, sources, methods, and implications surrounding international religious demography. Each year an assessment is made of new data made available since the previous issue of the yearbook.

The 2015 issue highlights both global and local realities in religious adherence, from the demographics of the world's atheists to the emigration of Christians from the Middle East. Other case studies include inter-religious marriage patterns in Austria, Muslim immigration to Australia, and methodological challenges in counting Hasidic Jews.

Contextuality in Reformed Europe

The Mission of the Church in the Transformation of European Culture

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Edited by Christine Lienemann-Perrin, Hendrik M. Vroom and Michael Weinrich

The scope of this volume is how churches experience themselves and their mission in their context. The discussions in this volume provide ample material to substantiate the claim that the church should not be an ecclesia incurvata in se ipsa, (a church curved into itself) but welcoming and directed not only to personal needs but to social needs as well—but not bound to what people often feel the needs are and delving deeper to the real roots of sin and selfishness, be it personal, social or national. Contextualization in itself is part of the mission of the churches, but it is on the edge: should the church adapt to its context and lose both its identity and witness or should it find a way between the Scylla of easy adaptation to the changing contexts of this world that is passing and the Charybdis of a preservation of forms and identities of bygone times that have lost the freshness of the message of liberation of bondage, conversion and freedom, freedom to be what the church is called to be, a sign of hope, peace, reconciliation, justice and love?

Holy Scriptures in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Hermeneutics, Values and Society

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Edited by Hendrik M. Vroom and Jerald D. Gort

One of the prime issues that needs to be addressed in dialogical encounter between the three monotheistic faiths of the world is that concerning the authority and interpretation of Holy Writ, since Jews, Christians and Muslims alike consider their Scriptures to be divine revelation. It is incumbent upon each of these religions to apprise itself of the hermeneutical approach employed by the others in ascribing current meaning to ancient scriptural texts. This is not only important as a means for the enhancement of inter-religious understanding but is also of great interest to society at large. What role does the Jewish Bible, the Christian Bible, and the Qu'ran play in the thinking and the lives of contemporary Jews, Christians, and Muslims? How are these Holy Scriptures interpreted in terms of present-day circumstances? How much room do the three religions allow for bringing their basic messages and biblical-theological traditions into rapport with constantly changing social, political and economic conditions? Is the concept of hermeneutical space acceptable to these religions? If so, in what sense and at what level? Is it possible to identify the scopus of a text and then reconstitute it textually, as it were, in light of the social and ethical questions thrown up by new contextual developments? Can interpretive adjustments be made without jeopardizing the core message of the text involved? And do the three monotheistic religions stand open to one another for influence in this regard? Has one or another of them taken hermeneutical cues from the others? Is there room for mutual learning within the hermeneutical space mentioned above or is this a sacred space closed to all influence from other traditions? These are among the central questions raised and dealt with in this interreligious collection of essays, perhaps the only dialogical symposium to date to deal exclusively with the doctrine and hermeneutics of Holy Scripture in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.