Adam J. Silverstein
This chapter argues that both the focus on Abraham as a unifying figure and the categorization of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as comparable religions (which, importantly, are to be distinguished from others), have been in evidence since ancient times. The chapter draws on both the theological stances of each religion towards the other, and on assorted moments in history when the relationship between the Abrahamic religions—and amongst their adherents—was appreciated and even highlighted.
Peter E. Pormann
The classical tradition not only provided the backdrop against which the Abrahamic religions emerged, but also provided a constant source of inspiration for their development over the centuries. The present chapter offers a number of vignettes on this topic, looking at: the Christian apologetic literature through the perceptive of the patristic historian Franz Overbeck; the Talmudic concept of the ‘Wisdom of Greek (Ḥoḵmaṯ Yewānīṯ)’; the Graeco-Arabic Translation Movement, and notably how the ‘philosopher of the Arabs’, al-Kindī, established philosophy in the Arabo-Islamic tradition; Maimonides’ work on medicine and speculative theology, showing the continuities between Alexandria in antiquity and the medieval world on the different shores of the Mediterranean; the interest in Greek and Latin at the Ottoman court; and the importance of classical studies for the development of Islam’s modernity.
The Mediterranean has been an exceptionally important place of interaction, competition, and, at times, conflict among Jews, Christians, and Muslims, throughout the centuries since the rise of Islam. In this chapter, the emphasis is upon the themes of crystallization of identity, dispersion, and conflict. In the early Middle Ages the borders between the various religious communities in the Mediterranean were at times ill-defined, with frequent interaction and overlaps in religious identities. This situation changes in the Middle Ages, with permeable boundaries turning into physical, social, legal, and cultural walls. Thus, in many Mediterranean communities we can observe the crystallization of the religious groups into self-confident communities led by literate elites and wedded to codes of law embodied in the Talmud, in the evolving system of canon law, and in Muslim ḥadīths and fatwas. This stiffening of the boundaries is reflected in the Crusades and in the Iberian conflicts.
Rubén René Dupertuis
The Acts of the Apostles offers a kind of sequel to Gospel of Luke, telling the story of the spread of the Jesus movement through the activities of key leaders, beginning in Jerusalem, moving westward into the Aegean region, and finally to Rome, the imperial center. Narrative approaches have been instrumental in turning attention to how the author tells the story using the tools of narrative—plot, characterization, and so on—as well as to how the author’s use of linguistic and cultural codes would have been heard by ancient readers. This chapter explores the importance of this westward geographical movement in Acts and, through a reading of the story of Paul’s visit to Philippi (Acts 16:11–40), looks at the ways in which the author of Acts adapts narrative conventions to highlight particular moments in the progression.
The narrative(s) in Genesis 1–3 is a foundational text for Western discourse on gender and sexuality. To date, studies of biblical masculinities have virtually ignored the biblical first male subject; feminist scholarship has long focused on Eve; and queer readings that render Genesis 1–3 alien to modern discourses are promising but small in number. This chapter takes some tentative first steps toward a more focused reception history of Adam as a gendered subject. In light of the current (and still relatively new) state of scholarship on biblical masculinities, the chapter then proposes that reception history and cultural-historical approaches to biblical “afterlives” offer a promising path for future work. Particular attention is paid to Adam’s gender in Genesis 1–3 itself and in the writings of Paul, as well as in later theological, literary, and artistic texts.
John M. Giggie
The topic of black religious newspapers is one that has received scant attention from scholars of religion and the media, who prefer wider stories on the rise of the institution of the black press in general or narrower ones on a famous secular press. News about African Americans' sacred life has not always been readily and amply available. Indeed, the history of the modern black religious press is more a chronicle of failed endeavors than long-running successes, of aborted efforts than sustained publications. Since the birth of black newspapers in the nineteenth century, only a few denominational organs have avoided bankruptcy and lasted beyond a few months. That notable list includes the Christian Recorder, the Christian Index, the Baptist Vanguard, and the Southwestern Christian Advocate. These papers persisted far longer than their peers because they shared a range of editorial themes, advertising strategies, and marketing tactics that set them apart from their competitors and, in the minds of many blacks, made them essential to their daily lives.
In the last few decades, stories about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) have increasingly become a staple of domestic and international newspaper health coverage. These are often pegged to the dramatic upsurge in the use of alternative health practices or to scientific research on the efficacy of particular treatments. Newspapers reporting the rise of alternative health practices do not generally overplay the trend. However, reporters rarely situate CAM within the shifting tides of contemporary spirituality and religion. This article examines journalistic coverage of CAM in light of this disconnect between the religious/spiritual nature of CAM, on the one hand, and the paucity of journalistic attention to such on the other. Drawing particularly on categories of solidarity developed by Charles Taylor, it argues that mainstream newspaper journalism in the United States tends to be more in line with one style of solidarity, and the particular spiritual quality of CAM with another.
This chapter offers an overview of the history and historiography of some of the nonverbal aspects of American Bibles, focusing on format, bindings, and paper. These features of Bibles have evolved both materially and symbolically, owing to changing technologies, economic considerations, aesthetic preferences, and, crucially, a tension between two opposed ideals regarding the Bible’s physical presence. Americans with various stakes in Bible production have shared a sense that Bibles should be both materially impressive and widely accessible. The changing forms of Bibles make particularly legible the push and pull between transcendence and immanence, a contest ongoing in the digital age.
Throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, there was a noticeable decline in the influence of two major players in twentieth-century American life: Roman Catholicism and the mass-market newsweekly. Beginning with the clergy sexual abuse crisis in 2001, the Roman Catholic Church suffered a blow to its credibility as never before experienced. For a third of the nation's history (from the founding of the first newsweekly in the 1920s through the alleged end of the era of the newsweekly in 2010), the covers of the most influential magazines—Time, Life, and Newsweek—acted not only as windows into the soul of the nation but also as the stained glass of the newsstand. The place of religion in these peculiar products of American media is noteworthy in general. Despite the newsweeklies' eagerness to exploit the church's fall from grace, they have been slow to recognize that the mass-market media has suffered potentially fatal wounds from the same slings and arrows endured by the church.
Russell W. Dalton
Children’s Bibles have been among the most popular and influential types of religious publications in the United States, providing many Americans with their first formative experiences of the Bible and its stories. This chapter explores the variety of ways in which children’s Bibles have adapted, illustrated, and retold Bible stories for children throughout US history. Children’s Bibles served a variety of ends, such as teaching biblical literacy, instilling a fear and respect for God’s power and judgment, calling children to salvation in Jesus Christ, modeling moral virtues, and reframing Bible stories as fun and engaging stories that portray a friendly God who cares for children.