NEW BOOKS: Religion. Philosophy.

The Cross; History, Art and Controversy by Robin Jensen. Harvard University Press, 2017. Perhaps Christianity’s most revered symbol. And a humiliating execution for a messiah and savior. How could that have happened?

The Idea of the Muslim World; A Global Intellectual History by Cemil Aydin. Harvard University Press, 2017. It is a misconception to think of the 1.5 billion Moslems as constituting a single religious-political entity. Just as would be the case of view all Christians as one body.

After Buddhism; Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age by Stephen Bachelor. Yale University Press, 2017 paper. Gainesville, Florida – secular – has been blessed with a beautiful statue of the Buddha from Vietnam.

Poets of the Bible; From Solomon’s Song of Songs to John’s Revelation by Willis Barnstone. W.W. Norton, 2017. Barnstone restores the poetic language of both New and Old Testaments, and helps of think through more carefully the intentions of Biblical authors.

Who Made Early Christianity?; The Jewish Lives of the Apostle Paul by John Gager, Jr. Columbia University Press, 2017 paper. Argues against the argument that Paul rejected Judaism, in favor of this new religion and that he also introduced what became Christian anti-Judaism.

The Political Pope; How Pope Francis is Delighting the Liberal Left and Abandoning conservative Catholics by George Nuemayr. Center Street Press, 2017. Nuemayr is critical, but what if Francis is doing what he thinks right, given the present state of religious abandonment?

A Brief History of Sunday; From the New Testament to the New Creation by Justo González. Eerdmans, 2017 paper. The long history of Sunday observation in the ancient church. Then on to the Middle Ages and the Puritanism of the New Enlightenment.

An Oasis in Time; How a Day of Rest Can Save Your Life by Marilyn Paul. Rodale, 2017. It might as well be Sunday. Or perhaps using a day off for a day of solid reading.

Just Immigration; American Policy In Christian Perspective by Mark Amstutz. Eerdmans, 2017 paper. What are the responses of Christian groups, Catholics, evangelicals, and main-line Protestants?. Do they look upon them as refugees? Homeless? Needing a helping hand.

The Whole Church Sings; Congregational Singing in Luther’s Wittenberg by Robin Leaver. Eerdmans, 2017 paper. Looks at the Wittenberg hymnal of 1526 to suggest how the Lutheran Reformation was expressed in its congregational singing.

Martin Luther; Rebel in an Age of Upheaval by Heinz Schilling & Rona Gordon. Oxford University Press, 2017. This is the five-hundredth anniversary of Luther’s nailing his ninety-five theses on the Wittenberg parish church.

Eleanor; A Spiritual Biography; The Faith of the 20th Century’s Most Influential Woman by Harold Smith. Westminster John Knox, 2017 paper. Eleanor was mostly thought of as a social activist, but her good works were also inspired by her spiritual life.

Set in Stone; America’s Embrace of the Ten Commandments by Jenny Joselit. Oxford University Press, 2017. Was it Cecil B. DeMille’s epic film and those stone tablets that sparked ongoing popular demands for posting stone and other representations of these divine laws, usually under the nose of legislators.

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