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Series:

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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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

Series:

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.

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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. It is academically eclectic, not restricted to any one particular theoretical orientation or research method. Most of our 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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Calvin L. Smith

This interdisciplinary study breaks new ground by exploring relations between Protestants (mainly Pentecostals) and the Sandinistas in revolutionary Nicaragua, which to date have received scant attention. It challenges the view that most Protestants supported the Sandinistas (in fact, the majority vigorously opposed them) and establishes why many believed Nicaragua was heading towards communism or totalitarianism. Meanwhile, the Sandinistas expressed irritation with Pentecostalism’s otherworldliness and support for Israel. Pentecostals were harassed, even brutally repressed in the northern highlands, leading many to join the Contras. That a minority of Protestants supported the Sandinistas caused further problems.
Pentecostals and Sandinistas were ideological rivals offering an alternative vision to the poor: revolution or revival. As Pentecostalism exploded, a collision between the two was inevitable.

Women and Miracle Stories

A Multidisciplinary Exploration

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Edited by Anna Korte

This book contains a multidisciplinary collection of studies on women in miracle stories found in texts ranging from religious classics to contemporary literary fiction. Miracle stories are a genre of great importance for the study of women's religious inheritance and for the historical and cultural understanding of women as 'makers of faith'. Miracle stories are very generally speaking more open to popular religion and culture than, for instance, doctrinal and official ecclesiastical texts, and as such, they can be of special interest to the study of women's lives and religious aspirations. Remarkably, up till now this genre has not been looked at from this point of view. This book aims to open this field for further research by presenting case studies from diverse angles and disciplines.
Some of the questions this book tries to answer are: What do miracle stories specifically tell us about women? Are there some (types of) miracles that are in particular related to (certain groups of) women? What do these stories tell us about women as performers and/or subjects of miracles? What can be said about the social function and religious meaning of miracles by specifically looking at the way certain groups of women are practising and experiencing miracles? By including research on miracle stories in contemporary fiction written by women this book also wants to acknowledge and research the disputed status of 'miracles' as well of 'women' in our present society which is moving from modernity to post-modernity.

Please note that Women and Miracle Stories is previously published by Brill in hardback (ISBN 90 04 16681 8, still available).

Series:

René Holvast

Spiritual Mapping is a U.S. Evangelical and Neo-Pentecostal movement (1989-2005), which developed its own religious technique to wage a 'spiritual' war against unseen non-human beings. These 'spirits' were identified along the lines of geographical territories and put on a map, whence 'Spiritual Mapping'. Its intended function was to boost the numerical growth of Christianity. This book offers a comprehensive historical-descriptive approach of both the movement and the concept, with special attention for theological and anthropological concepts. Its historical roots, relation with Argentina, self-understanding and critics are being described. The reader is presented with a unique insight into Spiritual Mapping as an expression of Americanism, as well as the socio-political concept of Manifest Destiny and U.S. religious marketing.

Series:

Edited by David O. Moberg and Joanne Marie Greer

The purpose of this book is to provide an outlet for original research articles examining the role and value of religious and spiritual constructs across the social sciences. The aim of the series is to include an international and interfaith voice to this research dialogue. An effort is made to be interdisciplinary and academically eclectic.
The articles in each volume represent a wide array of perspectives and research projects. Most of the 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, and some are applied, demonstrating the relevance of the social sciences to religious organizations and their clergy.
The value of the volume is that it gives to researchers in this area a broad perspective on the issues and methods of religious research across a spectrum of academic disciplines. The aim of the book is to stimulate a creative, integrative dialogue that will enhance interdisciplinary research.