Mark Juergensmeyer (ed.)
This book is a reference for understanding world religious societies in their contemporary global diversity. The contributors are leading scholars of world religions, many of whom are also members of the communities they study. Comprising sixty articles, the book focuses on communities rather than beliefs, symbols, or rites. It is organized into six sections corresponding to the major living religious traditions: the Indic cultural region, the Buddhist/Confucian, the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim regions, and the African cultural region. In each section, an introductory article discusses the social development of that religious tradition historically. The other articles cover the basic social facts: the community's size, location, organizational and pilgrimage centers, authority figures, patterns of governance, major subgroups, and schisms; as well as issues regarding boundary maintenance, political involvement, roles in providing cultural identity, and encounters with modernity. Communities in the diaspora and at the periphery are covered, as well as the central geographic regions of the religious traditions. For example, Islamic communities in Asia and the United States are included along with Islamic societies in the Middle East.
John J. Collins and Timothy H. Lim (eds)
The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls seeks to probe the main disputed issues in the study of the Scrolls. In 1947 the first of the Dead Sea Scroll discoveries was made near the site of Qumran, at the northern end of the Dead Sea. Despite the much-publicized delays in the publication and editing of the Scrolls, practically all of them had been made public by the time of the fiftieth anniversary of the first discovery. That occasion was marked by a spate of major publications which attempted to sum up the state of scholarship at the end of the twentieth century, including The Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These publications produced an authoritative synthesis to which the majority of scholars in the field subscribed, despite some disagreements in the detail. Lively debate continues over the archaeology and history of the site, the nature and identity of the sect, and its relation to the broader world of Second Temple Judaism and to later Jewish and Christian tradition. It is the book's intention here to reflect on diverse opinions and viewpoints, highlight the points of disagreement, and point to promising directions for future research.
Michael Lieb, Emma Mason, Jonathan Roberts, and Christopher Rowland (eds)
The Oxford Handbook of the Reception History of the Bible presents reception history as an enterprise (not a method) that questions and understands tradition afresh. In recent decades, reception history has become an increasingly important and controversial topic of discussion in biblical studies. Rather than attempting to recover the original meaning of biblical texts, reception history focuses on exploring the history of interpretation. The breadth of material and hermeneutical issues that reception history engages with questions any narrow understanding of the history of the Bible and its effects on faith communities. The challenge that reception history faces is to explore tradition without either reducing its meaning to what faith communities think is important, or merely offering anthologies of interesting historical interpretations. This book consciously allows for the interplay of the traditional and the new through a two-part structure. Part One comprises a set of essays surveying the outline, form, and content of twelve key biblical books that have been influential in the history of interpretation. Part Two offers a series of in-depth case studies of the interpretation of particular key biblical passages or books with due regard for the specificity of their social, cultural or aesthetic context. These case studies span two millennia of interpretation by readers with widely differing perspectives. Some are at the level of a group response, while others examine individual approaches to texts. Several articles examine historical moments, while others look to wider themes, and still others study in detail the works of popular figures who have used the Bible to provide inspiration for their creativity.
Catherine Wessinger (ed.)
The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism offers an in-depth look at both the theoretical underpinnings of the study of millennialism and its many manifestations across history and cultures. Christian Dispensationalism, the Taiping Revolution, cargo cults in Oceania, the Baha'i Faith, and the Raelian Movement would seem to have little in common. What they share, however, is a millennial orientationthe audacious human hope for a collective salvation, which may be heavenly or earthly or both. Although many religions feature a belief in personal salvation, millennial faiths are characterized by the expectation that salvation will be accomplished, for an entire group, by a superhuman agent, with or without human collaboration. While the term millennialism is drawn from Christianity, it is a category that is used to study religious expressions in diverse cultures, religious traditions, and historical periods. Sometimes, millennial expectations are expressed in peaceful ways. Other times, millennialists become involved in violence. The book begins with a section that examines four primary types of millennialism. The succeeding parts examine key issues such as charismatic leadership, use of scripture, prophetic failure, gender roles, children, tension with society, and violence. The rest of the book explores millennialism in a wide variety of places and times, from ancient Near Eastern movements to contemporary apocalyptic and new age movements, including the roles played by millennialism in national and international conflicts.
Jerry L. Walls (ed.)
This book provides an important critical survey of eschatology from a variety of perspectives—biblical, historical, theological, philosophical, and cultural. Eschatology is the study of the last things—death, judgment, the afterlife, and the end of the world. Through centuries of Christian thought, from the early Church fathers through the Middle Ages and the Reformation, these issues were of the utmost importance. In other religions, eschatological concerns were also central. After the Enlightenment, many religious thinkers began to downplay the importance of eschatology which, in light of rationalism, came to be seen as something of an embarrassment. The twentieth century, however, saw the rise of phenomena that placed eschatology back at the forefront of religious thought. From the rapid expansion of fundamentalist forms of Christianity, with their focus on the end times, to the proliferation of apocalyptic new religious movements, to the recent (and very public) debates about suicide, martyrdom, and paradise in Islam, interest in eschatology is once again on the rise. In addition to its popular resurgence, in recent years some of the world's most important theologians have returned eschatology to its former position of prominence.
Lewis R. Rambo and Charles E. Farhadian (eds)
Religious conversion has long played a major role in the transformation of people, societies, and cultures worldwide. However, in recent decades, academic and personal interest in religious conversion has burgeoned, along with increasing controversy about its ethics, direction, and social, cultural, political consequences. The Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion draws on the expertise of an international team of scholars who provide original essays that illuminate the multifaceted nature of the phenomena of conversion in a global context. Moving past earlier, narrow definitions, this book provides the first major survey of both religions and theoretical perspectives on religious change. These innovative essays underscore the complex nature of religious change. An overview of current scholarship on religious change encourages new thinking and reflection on familiar and emergent themes to stimulate new scholarship and debate on conversion. The thirty-two original essays in this volume consist of two parts. Part I invites readers to consider global themes of religious change through disciplinary perspectives, including history, demography, geography, anthropology, sociology, psychology, gender studies, art, semiotics, politics, and autobiography. Part II explores the character of major religious traditions that advocate for change, conversion, and intensification. Individual essays offer unparalleled analysis of religious change within Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Chinese indigenous religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, and New Religious Movements, along with chapters on deconversion and the legal and political aspects of religious conversion. The Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion provides an invaluable resource for research and teaching in the immensely relevant theme of religious change.
Chad Meister (ed.)
This volume consists of thirty-three original articles, written by experts representing a wide variety of religious and philosophical perspectives, which cover numerous issues in religious diversity and draw readers into the heart of the current dialogue. There exists today a rich and abounding diversity of religions in the world—a diversity with respect to both belief and practice. But it is a diversity that poses many challenges and raises many questions, most especially in a pluralistic milieu. How do we engage in effective dialogue with religious others? What should public education reflect in a religiously pluralistic context? What role might the diversity of religions play in developing a global ethic? How do the various religious traditions deal with the plurality of religious belief and practice? What role does gender play in such discourse? The book is divided into three parts addressing various issues related to religious diversity and differing perspectives on the subject. articles in the first part trace the general features of religious diversity discussions from four different fields: history, religious studies, philosophy, and sociology. Part two explores key theological, philosophical, sociological, and public policy issues relevant to religious diversity. The third and final part provides differing analyses of religious diversity from multi-faith, gender, and global points of view.
Martin Goodman (ed.)
The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies covers all the main areas currently taught and researched as part of Jewish studies in universities throughout the world, especially in Europe, the United States, and Israel. The span of the volume chronologically and geographically is thus enormous, but all international contributors have in common their expertise in the study of the history, literature, religion, and culture of the Jews. Jewish studies is a comparatively young discipline which has grown over the past fifty years in a somewhat undisciplined way. In a period of great upheaval for Jews following the Holocaust, the creation of the State of Israel, the emergence of new forms of dialogue between Jews and Christians, deepening divisions between secular and religious Jews, and unprecedented assimilation by diaspora Jews to the wider culture, the study of Jewish traditions and history has rarely been dispassionate. There have been some attempts in recent years to encapsulate current conclusions about particular aspects of Jewish studies, but these other works aim to provide compendia of agreed facts rather than a survey of interests and directions such as is found in this text. The book begins with an examination of Jewish studies as an academic discipline in its own right. The first half of the volume is organized chronologically, followed by sections on languages and literature, general aspects of religion, and other branches of Jewish studies which have each accumulated a considerable corpus of scholarship over the past half-century.
Elliot N. Dorff and Jonathan K. Crane (eds)
For thousands of years the Jewish tradition has been a source of moral guidance, for Jews and non-Jews alike. As the chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality show, the theologians and practitioners of Judaism have a long history of wrestling with moral questions, responding to them in an open, argumentative mode that reveals the strengths and weaknesses of all sides of a question. The Jewish tradition also offers guidance for moral conduct in both children and adults, and how to motivate people to do the right thing despite weakness and temptation. This book offers a collection of chapters addressing these topics—historical and contemporary, as well as philosophical and practical. The first part describes the history of the Jewish tradition's moral thought, from the Bible to contemporary Jewish approaches. The second part includes chapters on specific fields in ethics, including the ethics of medicine, business, sex, speech, politics, war, and the environment.
Anthony B. Pinn and Katie G. Cannon (eds)
Based on a thematic and topical structure, this Handbook provides scholars and advanced students detailed description, analysis, and constructive discussions concerning African American theology—in the forms of black and womanist theologies. This volume surveys the academic content of African American theology by highlighting its (1) sources; (2) doctrines; (3) internal debates; (4) current challenges; and (5) future prospects, in order to present key topics related to the wider palette of black religion in a sustained scholarly format. The first section describes the sources used in the development of African American theology. The second section presents the major theological categories and concerns that define this modality of theology. This section is followed by a third in which attention is given to the internal conversation—the charged issues debated by those producing African American theology. The fourth section explores some of the more significant areas requiring continued attention—current challenges confronting theologians committed to this particular discourse. The final section presents developing directions in African American theology. These are not challenges as opposed in the fourth section, but rather new and emerging areas of interest. The Handbook is arranged in terms of key topics and themes that move from historical analysis to constructive discussion of African American theology’s ongoing role as part of the American theological landscape. While several of the chapters provide focused attention to developments such as womanist theology and humanist theology, the remaining chapters address topics through attention to the work of both black men and black women.