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Biblical Interpretation and African Traditional Religion

Cross-Cultural and Community Readings in Owamboland, Namibia

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Helen C. John

In Biblical Interpretation and African Traditional Religion, Helen C. John juxtaposes grassroots biblical interpretations from Owamboland, Namibia, with professional interpretations of selected New Testament texts, effectively demonstrating the capacity of grassroots interpretations to destabilise, challenge and nuance dominant professional interpretations. John uses a cross-cultural and dialogical approach – ‘Cross-Cultural Biblical Interpretation Groups’ – to explore the relationship between African Traditional Religion (ATR), Christianity and biblical interpretation in Owamboland, Namibia. She contextualises the grassroots Owambo interpretations using fieldwork experiences and ethnographic literature, thus heightening the cross-cultural encounter. In particular, John reflects on Western epistemologies and the Eurocentric interpretative trends that are brought into relief by the African interpretations gathered in Owamboland.

Becoming Marxist

Studies in Philosophy, Struggle, and Endurance

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Ted Stolze

In Becoming Marxist Ted Stolze offers a series of studies that take up the importance of philosophy for the development of an open and critical Marxism. He argues that an adequate ‘philosophy for Marxism’ must be open to engagement with a diverse range of traditions, texts, and authors – from Paul of Tarsus, via Averroes, Spinoza, and Hobbes, to Althusser, Deleuze, Negri, Habermas, and Žižek. Stolze also explores such practical contemporary issues as the politics of self-emancipation, the nature of Islamophobia, and climate change.

Christianity and the Roots of Morality

Philosophical, Early Christian and Empirical Perspectives

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Edited by Petri Luomanen, Anne Birgitta Pessi and Illka Pyysiäinen

What is the role of religion, especially Christianity, in morality, pro-social behavior and altruism? Are there innate human moral capacities in the human mind? When and how did they appear in the history of evolution? What is the real significance of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount — does it set up unique moral standards or only crystallize humans’ innate moral intuitions? What is the role of religious teachings and religious communities in pro-social behavior? Christianity and the Roots of Morality: Philosophical, Early Christian, and Empirical Perspectives casts light on these questions through interdisciplinary articles by scholars from social sciences, cognitive science, social psychology, sociology of religion, philosophy, systematic theology, comparative religion and biblical studies.

Contributors include: Nancy T. Ammerman, István Czachesz, Grace Davie, Jutta Jokiranta, Simo Knuuttila, Kristen Monroe, Mika Ojakangas, Sami Pihlström, Antti Raunio, Heikki Räisänen (✝), Risto Saarinen, Kari Syreeni, Lauri Thurén, Petri Ylikoski.

The Alter-Imperial Paradigm

Empire Studies & the Book of Revelation

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Shane J. Wood

Many assume the book of Revelation is merely an “anti-imperial” attack on the Roman Empire. Yet, Shane J. Wood argues this conclusion over-exaggerates Rome’s significance and, thus, misses Revelation’s true target—the construction of the alter-empire through the destruction of the preeminent adversary: Satan. Applying insights from Postcolonial criticism and 'Examinations of Dominance,' this monograph challenges trajectories of New Testament Empire Studies by developing an Alter-Imperial paradigm that appreciates the complexities between the sovereign(s) and subject(s) of a society—beyond simply rebellion or acquiescence. Shane J. Wood analyses Roman propaganda, Jewish interaction with the Flavians, and Domitianic persecution to interpret Satan's release (Rev 20:1-10) as the climax of God's triumphal procession. Thus, Rome provides the imagery; Eden provides the target.

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Hughson T. Ong

In The Multilingual Jesus and the Sociolinguistic World of the New Testament, Hughson Ong provides a study of the multifarious social and linguistic dynamics that compose the speech community of ancient Palestine, which include its historical linguistic shifts under different military regimes, its geographical linguistic landscape, the social functions of the languages in its linguistic repertoire, and the specific types of social contexts where those languages were used. Using a sociolinguistic model, his study attempts to paint a portrait of the sociolinguistic situation of ancient Palestine. This book is arguably the most comprehensive treatment of the subject matter to date in terms of its survey of the secondary literature and of its analysis of the sociolinguistic environment of first-century Palestine.

In the Vale of Tears

On Marxism and Theology, V

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Roland Boer

In the Vale of Tears brings to a culmination the project for a renewed and enlivened debate over the interaction between Marxism and religion. It does so by offering the author's own response to that tradition. It simultaneously draws upon the rich insights of a significant number of Western Marxists and strikes out on its own. Thus, it argues for the crucial role of political myth on the Left; explores the political ambivalence at the heart of Christianity; challenges the bent among many on the Left to favour the unexpected rupture of kairós as a key to revolution; is highly suspicious of the ideological and class alignments of ethics; offers a thorough reassessment of the role of fetishism in the Marxist tradition; and broaches the question of death, unavoidable for any Marxist engagement with religion. While the book is the conclusion to the five-volume series, The Criticism of Heaven and Earth, it also stands alone as a distinct intervention in some burning issues of our time.

Winner of the 2014 Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize.

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Edited by Stanley E. Porter and Christopher D. Land

Pauline scholars have always been interested in Paul’s relationships. In fact, some of the most influential developments in modern Pauline scholarship have been attempts to situate Paul socially. This volume addresses many of the questions surrounding Paul and his social relations, including how to define and analyze such relations, their relationship to Paul's historical and social context, how Paul related to numerous friends and foes, and the implications for understanding Paul's letters as well as his theology. As a result, a variety of methods are brought to an examination of Paul. These include explorations in social-scientific methodology, close readings of Paul's letters, and linguistically informed approaches to social relations. The conclusions well illustrate the importance of Paul's social relations and his own social connectedness.

Scripture Cannot Be Broken

The Social Function of the Use of Scripture in the Fourth Gospel

Jaime Clark-Soles

Scripture is powerful for all who lend it authority. Clark-Soles explores the ways in which the author of the Fourth Gospel deploys scripture to form his sectarian community. The first part of the book provides the sociological framework for addressing the role of scripture within sectarian communities. By definition, sects are in conflict with a parent tradition. How, if at all, does a sect appropriate those texts that not only “belong” to the parent tradition but also are used by that parent tradition to deride the sectarians? By investigating the dynamics of scripture in the ancient Qumran community and in the modern Branch Davidian community, Clark-Soles sheds light on the community of the Fourth Gospel.