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Edited by Ralph L. Piedmont and David O. Moberg

Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion (RSSSR) publishes reports of innovative studies that pertain empirically or theoretically to the scientific study of religion, including spirituality, regardless of their academic discipline or professional orientation. Various articles are presented covering psychological, sociological and cross-cultural topics relevant to religious/spiritual researchers and academics.

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Edited by Hector Avalos

Latinos/Latinas are the largest “minority” in the United States, but the field of U.S. Latino/Latina studies is still in its infancy. This work represents the first single volume ever published on the U.S. Latino/Latina religious experience, an area that is even less explored. A carefully selected group of experts examines the major sub-groups of Latinos/Latinas including Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans, along with some of the lesser studied groups such as Dominicans and Central Americans. In addition, the volume includes important thematic chapters on the role of art, film, health care, literature, music, politics, and women’s influence in the U.S. Latino/Latina religious experience.

Series:

Edited by Ralph L. Piedmont and David O. Moberg

Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion (RSSSR) publishes reports of innovative studies that pertain empirically or theoretically to the scientific study of religion, including spirituality, regardless of their academic discipline or professional orientation. It is academically eclectic, not restricted to any one particular theoretical orientation or research method. Most articles report the findings of quantitative or qualitative investigations, but some deal with methodology, theory, or applications of social science studies in the field of religion.

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Edited by Ralph L. Piedmont

Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion (RSSSR) publishes reports of innovative studies that pertain empirically or theoretically to the scientific study of religion, including spirituality, regardless of their academic discipline or professional orientation.
The articles included in this volume report studies on the role of religion and spirituality in relationship to many topics of current popular interest, among them well-being, self-esteem, emotional intelligence, substance abuse, social mobility, positive psychology, coping with medical decision making, and images of God.

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Ralph L. Piedmont

A wide range of research and review articles are presented. Topic areas include mental and physical health, personality correlates of spirituality, validity evidence for the ASPIRES, and the role of religious values on socio-political attitudes. Also included in this volume are studies examining women's issues surrounding body image and disordered eating. Another paper addresses Christian Serpent handlers, a very understudied group, and the legal, religious, and moral issues surrounding this practice. There is also a special section, edited by Dr. Christopher Boyatzis, that addresses specific issues around adolescant spirituality. This volume provides a diverse snapshot of cutting edge research in the field across multiple disciplines. Readers will come away with an appreciation for the broad interests that characterize this field and the fascinating empirical findings that continue to draw professional interest in numinous constructs.

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Edited by Johann P. Arnason, Shmuel N. Eisenstadt and Björn Wittrock

The overarching theme of the book is the historical meaning of the Axial Age, commonly defined as a period of several centuries around the middle of the last millennium BCE, and its cultural innovations. The civilizational patterns that grew out of this exceptionally creative phase are a particularly rewarding theme for comparative analysis.
The book contains essays on cultural transformations in Ancient Greece, Ancient Israel, Iran, India and China, as well as background developments in the core civilizations of the Ancient Near East. An introductory section deals with the history of the debate on the AxialAge, the theoretical questions that have emerged from it, and the present state of the discussion.
The book will be useful for comparative historians of cultures and religions, as well as for historical sociologists interested in the comparative analysis of civilizations. It should also help linking the fields of classical, biblical and Asian studies to broader interdisciplinary debates within the humanities sciences.

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Edited by Christopher Hartney and Daniel Tower

This volume significantly advances the academic debate surrounding the taxonomy and the categorisation of ‘indigenous religion’. Developing approaches from leading scholars in the field, this edited volume provides the space for established and rising voices to discuss the highly problematic topic of how indigenous 'religion' can be defined and conceptualised. Constructing the Indigenous highlights the central issues in the debate between those supporting and refining current academic frameworks and those who would argue that present thinking remains too dependant on misunderstandings that arise from definitions of religion that are too inflexible, and from problems caused by the World Religion paradigm. This book will prove essential reading for those that wish to engage with contemporary discussions regarding the definitions of religion and their relations to the indigenous category.

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David Tombs

David Tombs offers an accessible introduction to the theological challenges raised by Latin American Liberation and a new contribution to how these challenges might be understood as a chronological sequence. Liberation theology emerged in the 1960s in Latin America and thrived until it reached a crisis in the 1990s. This work traces the distinct developments in thought through the decades, thus presenting a contextual theology. The book is divided into five main sections: the historical role of the church from Columbus’s arrival in 1492 until the Cuban revolution of 1959; the reform and renewal decade of the 1960s; the transitional decade of the 1970s; the revision and redirection of liberation theology in the 1980s; and a crisis of relevance in the 1990s. This book offers insights into liberation theology’s profound contributions for any socially engaged theology of the future and is crucial to understanding liberation theology and its legacies.

This publication has also been published in hardback, please click here for details.

Rational Theology in Interfaith Communication

Abu-I-Husayn al-Basri's Mu'tazili Theology among the Karaites in the Fatimid Age

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Wilferd Madelung and Sabine Schmidtke

Rational speculative theology (kalam) in early Islam was represented most distinctly by the theological school of the Mu‘tazila. Founded in Basra in the early 8th century, the school soon became predominant in theological scholarship and discourse and remained so until the early 11th century. The Mu‘tazila held that the basic truths of theology, such as the existence of God and the nature of His attributes and justice, are entirely subject to rational proof without the benefit of scriptural revelation. Only after these basic truths have been established can the veracity of scripture be proved by reason, and the primacy of reason must also maintained in the interpretation of scripture. Mu‘tazili theology naturally appealed to rationally inclined theologians of other scriptural religions and provided a suitable basis for inter-faith communication in the Islamic world. In Judaism Mu‘tazili thought was adopted to varying degrees from the 9th century on and reached a peak during the tenth century.
The Mu‘tazili world view and rational theology was facing increasing competition and criticism from philosophy of Greek origin, which claimed to provide the only scientific world view based on cogent logical demonstration independent of religious beliefs. Study of the philosophical sciences was mostly shunned in religious scholarship, but was an integral part of the education of the medical profession. Among Qadi ‘Abd al-Jabbar’s disciples in Rayy was for some time a young physician trained in the philosophical sciences, Abu l-Husayn al-Basri (d. 1044), who challenged some of his teaching in his lectures and went on to compose a massive critical review of the arguments and proofs used in kalam. His theological works were generally ignored among the Mu‘tazila and handed down among students of medicine. Only a century later his teaching was revived and espoused by the Mu‘tazili scholar Mahmud b. al-Malahimi in Khorezm in Central Asia and gained recognition as a school of Mu‘tazili theology.
The present study presents evidence that Abu l-Husayn’s theology was immediately registered and controversially debated in the Karaite community under the Fatimid caliphate. The study is based on source material preserved in Genizahs and now dispersed in libraries around the world.

Robert Singerman

Edited by David L. Gold

This work identifies and describes over 3,000 books, essays in books, and articles on Jewish given names and family names throughout history, spanning the Biblical period to modern times. The bibliography is a highly analytic one, recording published materials in a wide variety of research languages treating Jewish anthroponymy in the broadest sense from historical, sociological, and linguistic perspectives. The bibliography will be an invaluable resource for any researcher engaged in etymological studies, Jewish intralinguistics, or Jewish family history.