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Editor-in-Chief Stephan van Erp

Brill Research Perspectives in Theology covers state of the art analyses and critical studies in major and emerging fields in systematic, practical, historical, and intercultural theology. It provides the most up-to-date research written by a leading theologian in the area. Each issue consists of up to 100 pages, including an extensive, annotated bibliography. Topics range from theologians and specific periods in the history of theology to recent trends and themes in contemporary theology, from confessional traditions to methodological debates, from classic doctrinal themes to current developments in theology and society. Brill Research Perspectives in Theology is an invaluable resource for scholars wishing to draw on the latest theological research, as well as a dynamic resource for teaching and for students of theology and related fields.

published issues:
Paul Hedges, Comparative Theology. A Critical and Methodological Perspective
Joshua M. Moritz, The Role of Theology in the History and Philosophy of Science
Colby Dickinson, Continental Philosophy and Theology
Andrew Prevot, Theology and Race

forthcoming a.o.:
Animal Theology
Analytic Theology
Theology and Migration
Theology of Religions

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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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Edited by Mark Beaumont and Maha El Kaisy-Friemuth

al-Radd al-jamīl attributed to al-Ghazālī (d. 1111) is the most extensive and detailed refutation of the divinity of Jesus by a Muslim author in the classical period of Islam. Since the discovery of the manuscript in the 1930’s scholars have debated whether the great Muslim theologian al-Ghazālī was really the author.

This is a new critical edition of the Arabic text and the first complete English translation. The introduction situates this work in the history of Muslim anti-Christian polemical writing. Mark Beaumont and Maha El Kaisy-Friemuth argue that this refutation comes from an admirer of al-Ghazālī who sought to advance some of his key ideas for an Egyptian audience.

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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

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Richard J. Serina

Scholarship has recognized fifteenth-century speculative thinker Nicholas of Cusa for his early contributions to conciliar theory, but not his later ecclesiastical career as cardinal, residential bishop, preacher, and reformer. Richard Serina shows that, as bishop in the Tyrolese diocese of Brixen from 1452 to 1458, and later as resident cardinal in Rome, Nicolas of Cusa left a testament to his view of reform in the sermons he preached to monks, clergy, and laity. These 171 sermons, in addition to his Reformatio generalis of 1459, reflect an intellectual coming to terms with the challenge of reform in the late medieval church, and in response creatively incorporating metaphysics, mystical theology, ecclesiology, and personal renewal into his preaching of reform.

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.

Reading the Bible across Contexts

Luke’s Gospel, Socio-Economic Marginality, and Latin American Biblical Hermeneutics

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Esa J. Autero

In Reading the Bible Across Contexts Esa Autero offers a fresh perspective on Luke’s poverty texts. In addition to an historical reading, he conducted an empirical investigation of two Latin American Bible reading groups – one poor and the other affluent – to shed light on Luke’s poverty texts. The interaction between historical reading and present-day readings demonstrates the impact of socio-economic status on biblical hermeneutics and sheds new light on Luke’s views on wealth and poverty. At the same time Esa Autero critically examines liberation theologian’s claim that poor are privileged biblical interpreters.

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.

Creation Stories in Dialogue: The Bible, Science, and Folk Traditions

Radboud Prestige Lectures by R. Alan Culpepper

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Edited by Jan G. van der Watt and R. Alan Culpepper

This book is about creation stories in dialogue, not only between different religious views, but also between current day scientific perspectives. International specialists, like Alan Culpepper, David Christian, John Haught, Randall Zachman, Ellen van Wolde from various disciplines are reflecting on the interface between science and religion relating questions of creation and origin. This multi-disciplinary discussion by some of the leading exponents in this field makes the book unique, not only in its depth of discussion, but also in it wide ranging interdisciplinary discussion. The point of departure of all the contributions is the prestige lecture by Alan Culpepper where he argues for bringing Biblical material into discussion with modern scientific insights relating to creation and origin.

Defining Heresy

Inquisition, Theology, and Papal Policy in the Time of Jacques Fournier

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Irene Bueno

In Defining Heresy, Irene Bueno investigates the theories and practices of anti-heretical repression in the first half of the fourteenth century, focusing on the figure of Jacques Fournier/Benedict XII (c.1284-1342). Throughout his career as a bishop-inquisitor in Languedoc, theologian, and, eventually, pope at Avignon, Fournier made a multi-faceted contribution to the fight against religious dissent. Making use of judicial, theological, and diplomatic sources, the book sheds light on the multiplicity of methods, discourses, and textual practices mobilized to define the bounds of heresy at the end of the Middle Ages. The integration of these commonly unrelated areas of evidence reveals the intellectual and political pressures that inflected the repression of heretics and dissidents in the peculiar context of the Avignon papacy.