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The Curve of the Sacred

An Exploration of Human Spirituality

Series:

Constantin V. Ponomareff and Kenneth A. Bryson

This interdisciplinary book examines the nature of spirituality and the role it plays in the search for meaning. Spirituality is a loving tendency towards the sacred. In a secular environment, the sacred is taken to be a power greater than self. In a religious environment, the Sacred refers to God, or Higher Power. The book examines the developments of the s/Sacred in great works of art and literature, as well as in medicine, theology, psychology, philosophy, and religion. Spirituality also functions as an unloving tendency towards disunity, or a force for evil.
The first part of the book examines the ways of the spiritual as a force for good and evil. We have just witnessed one of the bloodiest centuries in human history. The experience of two World Wars leaves a legacy of brokenness: “Where Nossack’s reminiscences bore poetic, compassionate, and personal witness to the disaster, Eliot’s poetry reads more like a sacred and religious poem taking contemporary Western European civilization to task—much like the biblical prophets of old—for its spiritual bankruptcy.” Albert Einstein, Edvard Munch’s Madonna, and Carl Jung’s ‘unconscious’ touch the curve of the Sacred in more promising places.
The second part examines how the search for meaning works. The distinction between being human and being a person plays a central role in the life of the spiritual; “…the spiritual is manifest in the activities taking place in the central self. The central self is the locus of all thoughts, feelings, acts of reason and judgment, conscious and unconscious processes alike. The central self is the place where social relationships and environmental relationships are processed. The essential feature of the central self is that it does not exist outside these processes.” The same spiritual energies that light up great works of art also light up our destructive side, only the associations’ change.

Limping but Blessed

Jürgen Moltmann’s Search for a Liberating Anthropology

Series:

Ton van Prooijen

For Jürgen Moltmann, theological anthropology must be liberating. It should take a stand against dehumanizing images and concepts of human life and point out ways to “true humanity.” In his view, a theologian can develop such a liberating anthropology only if he speaks explicitly from the perspective of God’s kingdom as conceived in the Bible and the Christian tradition and if he speaks to and in his context, as one who experiences contemporary sufferings and hopes. But how? This book analyzes the development of Moltmann’s theology in the light of this quest for a liberating view on human life. It examines the anthropological concerns in the different stages of his theological enterprise: his post-war Trümmertheologie, the “loose theological threads” of the 1950s, his theology of hope and promise in the 1960s, his theology of the cross, human rights and play in the 1970s and his ecological and “charismatic” theology of the 1980s and 1990s. Moltmann’s theological thinking has taken place consciously at the intersection of personal experiences, historical challenges, biblical testimony and the fundamentals of the Christian tradition. Analyzing his quest for a liberating anthropology in a chronological way, this study therefore gives an impression of the frictions and fault lines of Christian anthropology in the context of the societal changes during the second half of the twentieth century. A concluding chapter discusses some of the problems accentuated in the course of this analysis and evaluates some valuable leads for a Christian anthropology today.

Series:

Dennis Bonnette

This book evaluates the claims of scientific creationism versus materialistic evolution, while examining other scenarios. Consistently philosophical in methodology and perspective, the book is radically interdisciplinary in content, examining data and arguments drawn from natural science, philosophy, and theology. This work challenges the limits of human knowledge regarding every major question touching on human origins.

History as the Story of Freedom

Philosophy in Intercultural Context

Series:

Clark Butler

The purpose of this book is to advance responsible rehabilitation of the speculative philosophy of history. It challenges the idea popularized by thinkers such as and Claude Lévi-Strauss and Jean-François Lyotard that historical meta-mythology and meta-narrative are philosophically obsolete. As long as humanity, viewed anthropologically, lives by over-arching narrative, the quest for a version that survives rational criticism remains vital. Here human rights serve as the key to unlock such a version. Despite the fact that the Hegelian philosophy of history has often been derided, something very similar currently functions as the official ideology of the world community: the idea of history as the story of freedom. This book does not retell the world-historical story of freedom. Rather, it uncovers it, beginning with the current age of human rights and working backward through the great role-model civilizations of history. Its conclusion is that a forward retelling of the story of freedom as the story of human rights can be justified by dewesternizing the story. The book contains critical responses from specialized scholars and re-presentative of selected world cultures. The volume includes illustrations, and a guest Afterword by Donald Phillip Verene. It is a companion-volume to the author's Hegel's Logic: Between History and Dialectic (North-western University Press, 1996).

Series:

Henry Jansen

Classical theism, the dominant tradition in Christian theology, has stressed the metaphysical concept of God, i.e., God's ontological transcendence and independence from the world. In this century, however, this concept of God has increasingly met with criticism. On the basis of the Bible and new philosophical considerations, it is argued that a relational concept of God better answers the fundamental concerns of the Christian faith. In this book the author investigates the questions of whether one can conceive of God apart from the metaphysical attributes and whether reflection on the biblical depiction of God leads necessarily to a relational concept of God. The author explores the questions by examining the relational concepts of God found in two contemporary German theologians, Jürgen Moltmann and Wolfhart Pannenberg, and uses the divine attribute of immutability as a focus for the discussion. He argues that the relational concept of God presupposes another metaphysical conception of God, which raises problems as serious as those in classical theism, and that the Bible itself, because of its nature as a narrative text, is ambiguous in many respects as far as God is concerned. A truly Christian doctrine of God must take both the metaphysical and relational aspects of God into account.

The Meaning of Life

Insights of the World’s Great Thinkers

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William Gerber

The book aims to present the wisdom of sages, great thinkers, renowned writers, and philosophers, of many countries and time periods, in their own words, regarding life. The book also aims to place the numerous quotations from these sources in a structured organization, with introductory and explanatory comments and comparisons.
Main Topics or Fields - See Organization or Principal Parts.

Religions and the Truth

Philosophical Reflections and Perspectives

Series:

Hendrik M. Vroom

The Gathas of Zarathustra

A Reconstruction of the Text

M.C. Monna

Charles Bigg