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Theology and Race

Black and Womanist Traditions in the United States

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Andrew Prevot

This study develops a Christian theological response to the problems of race and anti-black racism in conversation with black theology and womanist theology. It provides a detailed introduction to multiple voices, developments, and tensions in these two theological traditions over the last half century. It offers an overview of James Cone’s arguments and their reception. It considers turns toward pragmatism and genealogy in black religious scholarship, focusing on Cornel West, Peter Paris, Dwight Hopkins, Victor Anderson, Anthony Pinn, Bryan Massingale, J. Kameron Carter, and Willie Jennings. It analyzes womanist theological treatments of intersectionality, narrative, and embodiment through Jacquelyn Grant, Katie Cannon, Delores Williams, Emilie Townes, Karen Baker-Fletcher, Kelly Brown Douglas, Diana Hayes, and M. Shawn Copeland. Finally, it suggests some open questions related to hybridity, sexuality, and ecology. Ultimately, it argues that the credibility of Christian theological witness depends significantly on the quality of Christian theology’s response to anti-black racism.
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Gregory of Nyssa: In Canticum Canticorum

Analytical and Supporting Studies. Proceedings of the 13th International Colloquium on Gregory of Nyssa (Rome, 17-20 September 2014)

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Taken together, Gregory of Nyssa’s XV Homilies In Canticum Canticorum are at the same time – as if in unison – a work of spiritual, exegetical, and theological doctrine. The wide spectrum of the themes present in them have prompted a great interest in this work, not only among scholars of patristics or theology, but also among those interested in biblical interpretation, ancient rhetoric or Christian mystical doctrine. These Proceedings present the results of the 13th International Colloquium on Gregory of Nyssa (Rome, 17-20 September 2014): a systematic commentary of Gregory’s In Canticum from a broad perspective in the form of sixteen papers and a selection of fourteen short essays devoted to various issues that represent a valuable set of supporting studies.
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Gregory of Nyssa: Contra Eunomium I

An English Translation with Supporting Studies

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Speech-in-Character, Diatribe, and Romans 3:1-9

Who’s Speaking When and Why It Matters

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Justin King

In Speech-in-Character, Diatribe, and Romans 3:1-9, Justin King argues that the rhetorical skill of speech-in-character ( prosopopoiia, sermocinatio, conformatio) offers a methodologically sound foundation for understanding the script of Paul’s imaginary dialogue with an interlocutor in Romans 3:1-9. King focuses on speech-in-character’s stable criterion that attributed speech should be appropriate to the characterization of the speaker. Here, speech-in-character helps to inform which voice in the dialogue speaks which lines, and the general goals of diatribe help shape how an “appropriate” understanding of the script is best interpreted. King’s analyses of speech-in-character, diatribe, and Romans, therefore, make independent contributions while simultaneously working together to advance scholarship on a much debated passage in one of history’s most important texts.
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The Rites Controversies in the Early Modern World is a collection of fourteen articles focusing on debates concerning the nature of “rites” raging in intellectual circles of Europe, Asia and America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The controversy started in Jesuit Asian missions where the method of accommodation, based on translation of Christianity into Asian cultural idioms, created a distinction between civic and religious customs. Civic customs were defined as those that could be included into Christianity and permitted to the new converts. However, there was no universal consensus among the various actors in these controversies as to how to establish criteria for distinguishing civility from religion. The controversy had not been resolved, but opened the way to radical religious scepticism.

Contributors are: Claudia Brosseder, Michela Catto, Gita Dharampal-Frick, Pierre Antoine Fabre, Ana Carolina Hosne, Ronnie Po-Chia Hsia, Giuseppe Marcocci, Ovidiu Olar, Sabina Pavone, István Perczel, Nicholas Standaert, Margherita Trento, Guillermo Wilde and Ines G. Županov.
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Arts, Religion, and the Environment

Exploring Nature’s Texture

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Humans have been described as “meaning-making animals.” At the threshold of the Anthropocene, how might humans artistically envision their place in the world? Do humans possess cultural tools, which will allow us to imagine new possibilities and relationships with the natural environment at a time when our material surroundings are under siege?
Exploring Nature’s Texture looks at the imaginative possibilities of using the visual arts to address the breakdown of the human relationship with the environment. Bringing together contributions from artists, theologians, anthropologists and philosophers, it investigates the arts as a bridge between culture and nature, as well as between the human and more-than-human world.

Contributors: Whitney A. Bauman, Sigurd Bergmann, Forrest Clingerman, Timothy M. Collins, J. Sage Elwell, Reiko Goto, Arto Haapala, Tim Ingold, Karolina Sobecka, George Steinmann
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Though the number of Christians in Western societies is declining, many areas of our daily life are still influenced by Christian thoughts, expressions and images, sometimes without people being aware of it. This volume is about Christ's descent into hell as it appears in The Apostles' Creed 'He descended into hell', the Apostles' Creed professes.

But what are Christians who recite this Creed supposed to believe in when they profess their faith in the descent into hell? Or, to put the same question more poignantly, what is at stake if people deny the descent? Would it make any difference if we did not believe in the descent? How did the early Church interpret this belief? What influence has this article of faith had on contemporary theology and culture?

Starting with a biblical view, the volume covers the history of theology by discussing the ideas of Augustine, the liturgy of the Early Church, the role of Christ's decent in Franciscan spirituality and in the theology of Thomas Aquinas. It also asks whether similar theological ideas are present in Judaism. In addition, it gauges the meaning of Christ's descent for today by reflecting on pastoral activities and on computer games. The volume concludes with a fundamental theological reflection which systematises and summarises all the material presented in this volume.

These and other questions are discussed by theologians against the background of various disciplines: Biblical Studies, History of the Liturgy, Jewish Studies, History of Theology, History of Spirituality, Practical Theology, Cultural Theology and Systematic Theology.

Contributors are: Frank Bosman, Toke Elshof, Paul van Geest, Harm Goris, Marcel Poorthuis, Gerard Rouwhorst, Marcel Sarot, William Marie Speelman, and Archibald van Wieringen.
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Piero di Cosimo

Painter of Faith and Fable

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The year 2015 could rightly be called “The Year of Piero di Cosimo.” Piero’s (1462-1522) critical fortunes have been much revived and his admirers’ sense of curiosity piqued by two exhibitions, Piero di Cosimo: The Poetry of Painting in Renaissance Florence, organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (February 1-May 3, 2015), and Piero di Cosimo (1462-1522): Pittore fiorentino ‘eccentrico’ fra Rinascimento e Maniera, subsequently hosted by the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence (June 22-September 27, 2015). Together, the exhibitions marked and celebrated a pair of firsts: The first-ever major retrospectives devoted entirely to Piero’s artistic career and the first joint-exhibition collaboration between the National Gallery of Art and the Uffizi in the distinguished history of the two institutions.
It could be said that the study of Piero di Cosimo belongs no less to the history of imagination than to the history of art. As was true for Giorgio Vasari five centuries ago, Piero’s highly personal visual language remains a moving target for modern scholars. Yet, as surprising and alluringly strange as his pictorial solutions appear, it may be claimed that we have never known or understood as much about Piero as we do today. Freed from the powerful spell of Vasari’s biography-cum-cautionary tale, the Piero that emerges is not solely a conjurer of the uncanny, but a sensitive observer of the natural and manmade worlds, humans and beasts, surfaces and coloristic effects, phenomena material and ephemeral.
The complementary exhibitions in Washington and Florence, then, signified both a continuing journey and a destination, bringing together and, in many cases, reuniting paintings that have been separated for many decades, if not centuries. The conference from which the thirteen essays in the present volume emerge provided a forum for international scholars to continue the ongoing conversation and, above all, to ask new questions. The latter address Piero’s relationship to his artistic contemporaries, north and south of the Alps, across a variety of media; the master’s Marian imagery; his intellectual engagement with classical traditions; the dual themes of naturalism and exoticism; and the latest technical findings, gleaned from the most recent conservation efforts. Topics of investigation thus range as broadly as Piero’s own versatile production, uniting diverse fields and methods, traversing regional boundaries, and, on occasion, venturing far beyond Florence’s city walls, into the wild.

Contributors are: Ianthi Assimakopoulu, Marina Belozerskaya, Jean Cadogan, Elena Capretti, Alessandra Galizzi Kroegel, Dennis Geronimus, Guy Hedreen, Sarah Blake McHam, Anna Teresa Monti, Paula Nuttall, Roberta Olson, Lesley Stevenson, Lisa Venerosi Pesciolini, and Elizabeth Walmsley.

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Rethinking Anselm's Arguments

A Vindication of his Proof of the Existence of God

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Richard Campbell

This book re-examines Anselm’s famous arguments for the existence of God in his Proslogion, and in his Reply. It demonstrates how he validly deduces from plausible premises that God so truly exists that He could not be thought not to exist. Most commentators, ancient and modern, wrongly located his argument in a passage which is not about God at all. It becomes evident that, consequently, much contemporary criticism is based on misreading and misunderstanding his text. It reconstructs his reasoning through three distinct but logically connected stages. It shows that, even if Anselm’s crucial premises are sceptically interpreted, his conclusions still follow. Properly understood, this argument is not vulnerable to the standard criticisms, including Gaunilo’s ‘Lost island’ counter-example
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Pentecostals and Roman Catholics on Becoming a Christian

Spirit-Baptism, Faith, Conversion, Experience, and Discipleship in Ecumenical Perspective

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Karen Murphy

In Pentecostals and Roman Catholics on Becoming a Christian, Dr. Karen Murphy explores the fifth round of the International Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue (1998-2006). Discussing Spirit-baptism, faith, conversion, experience, and discipleship, Dr. Murphy notes areas in which the Dialogue has evolved since its inception in 1972. She unpacks the commonalities that bond Catholics and Pentecostals and examines theological divergences and challenges to dialogue. While Catholics approach becoming a Christian from a sacramental perspective, most Pentecostals think of Christian initiation in non-sacramental, or conversionist, terms, a reality that fosters ongoing tensions between the two traditions. Dr. Murphy reveals how Catholics and Pentecostals seek to overcome this dichotomy by honoring spirituality and experience as integral to the ecumenical encounter.