Despite a long history of external threats and internal strife, the Roman Catholic Church remains a vast and influential presence in our modern world. But what were its origins, and how has it changed and adapted over the centuries? After Pope Benedict XVI dramatically resigned in early 2013 (the first Pope to resign since the fifteenth century), and Pope Francis was elected, many wondered what direction he would lead the Church in, and whether the Church could modernise in the face of the demands of our world. In this Very Short Introduction, Gerald O'Collins covers the history of the Catholic Church, and considers some of the key issues facing Catholicism today, such as the catastrophic revelations about clerical child abuse, the impact of the growth of Islam, and the destruction in the Middle East of ancient Christian church communities. He also shows how Catholics are being increasingly challenged by an opposition between their traditional Christian values and rights which are endorsed by the secular world, such as the right to physician assisted suicide or same-sex marriage, and considers the future for the largest and oldest institution in the world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
What is Anglicanism? How is it different from other forms of Christianity, and how did it come to have so many different versions throughout the world? Although originally united by location and a common belief, Anglicanism has gradually lost its pre-eminence as the English state church due to increasing pluralisation and secularisation. While there are distinctive themes and emphases which emerge from its early history and theology, there is little sense of unity in Anglicanism today. In Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction, Mark Chapman highlights the diversity of contemporary Anglicanism by exploring its fascinating history, theology, and structures. Putting the history and development of the religion into context, Chapman reveals what it is that holds Anglicanism together despite the recent crises that threaten to tear it apart. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Author: Linda Woodhead
Publisher: Oxford University Press (UK)
At a time when Christianity is flourishing in the Southern hemisphere but declining in much of the West, this Very Short Introduction offers an important overview of the world's largest religion. Exploring the cultural and institutional dimensions of Christianity, and tracing its course over two millennia, Linda Woodhead provides a fresh, lively, and candid portrait of Christianity's past and present. Addressing topics including the competition for power between different forms of Christianity, the churches' use of power, and its struggles with modernity, this new edition includes up to date information on the growth and geographical spread of Eastern Christianity, reflecting the global nature of Christianity in our ever-shifting contemporary culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The Reformation transformed Europe, and left an indelible mark on the modern world. It began as an argument about what Christians needed to do to be saved, but rapidly engulfed society in a series of fundamental changes. This Very Short Introduction provides a lively and up-to-date guide to the process. It explains doctrinal debates in a clear and non-technical way, but is equally concerned to demonstrate the effects the Reformation had on politics, society, art, and minorities. Peter Marshall argues that the Reformation was not a solely European phenomenon, but that varieties of faith exported from Europe transformed Christianity into a truly world religion. The complex legacy of the Reformation is also assessed; its religious fervour produced remarkable stories of sanctity and heroism, and some extraordinary artistic achievements, but violence, holy war, and martyrdom were equally its products. A paradox of the Reformation - that it intensified intolerance while establishing pluralism - is one we still wrestle with today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Author: Beth Williamson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
This work decodes the key themes, signs and symbols found in Christian art - the Eucharist, the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mary. It also explores the theological and historical background of Christian imagery, from the devotional works of the medieval and Renaissance periods, to the 21st century.
Presents an accessible history of Protestantism from Martin Luther to the present day, focusing on worldwide developments and examining not only European and North American aspects of Protestant journeys, but also the importance of Protestant expansion into the non-Western world.
Author: Ian Linden
Publisher: Columbia University Press
"Every bishop and priest in the Catholic Church should sit down and read this remarkable book."--The Tablet Global Catholicism examines the complex pressure the Second Vatican Council placed on the Roman Catholic Church and the counterforces that have mobilized in responce to its reforms. Ian Linden considers whether the Catholic Church has lived up to the promise of the Vatican II and whether it has come to terms with the challenges of pluralism, modernity, and different forms of spirituality. He also focuses on historical and theological factors that have had a huge impact on the evolution and international standing of the church in the twentieth century. Linden examines the Church's response to global and local wars and efforts to maintain peace; the growth of nationalism and the struggle for democratization in Africa; theological debates over liberation; the actions carried out by military dictatorships; guerilla combat in Latin America, Africa, and the Phillipines; interactions with communist governments; and inculturation and contact with a resurgent Islam. Depsite an honest assessment of the Church's failings, Linden ultimately portrays the Catholic Church as an organization uniquely attuned to globalization.
With over 140 million copies in print, and serving as the principal proselytizing tool of one of the world's fastest growing faiths, the Book of Mormon is undoubtedly one of the most influential religious texts produced in the western world. Written by Terryl Givens, a leading authority on Mormonism, this compact volume offers the only concise, accessible introduction to this extraordinary work. Givens examines the Book of Mormon first and foremost in terms of the claims that its narrators make for its historical genesis, its purpose as a sacred text, and its meaning for an audience which shifts over the course of the history it unfolds. The author traces five governing themes in particular--revelation, Christ, Zion, scripture, and covenant--and analyzes the Book's central doctrines and teachings. Some of these resonate with familiar nineteenth-century religious preoccupations; others consist of radical and unexpected takes on topics from the fall of Man to Christ's mortal ministries and the meaning of atonement. Givens also provides samples of a cast of characters that number in the hundreds, and analyzes representative passages from a work that encompasses tragedy, poetry, sermons, visions, family histories and military chronicles. Finally, this introduction surveys the contested origins and production of a work held by millions to be scripture, and reviews the scholarly debates that address questions of the record's historicity. Here then is an accessible guide to what is, by any measure, an indispensable key to understanding Mormonism. But it is also an introduction to a compelling and complex text that is too often overshadowed by the controversies that surround it. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
Beginning with a handful of members in 1830, the church that Joseph Smith founded has grown into a world-wide organization with over 12 million adherents, playing prominent roles in politics, sports, entertainment, and business. Yet they are an oddity. They are considered wholesome, conservative, and friendly on one hand, and clannish, weird, and self-righteous on the other. Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction explains who Mormons are: what they believe and how they live their lives. Written by Richard Lyman Bushman, an eminent historian and practicing Mormon, this compact, informative volume ranges from the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the contentious issues of contemporary Mormonism. Bushman argues that Joseph Smith still serves as the Mormons' Moses. Their everyday religious lives are still rooted in his conceptions of true Christianity. They seek revelation to solve life's problems just as he did. They believe the authority to seal families together for eternity was restored through him. They understand their lives as part of a spiritual journey that started in a "council in heaven" before the world began just as he taught. Bushman's account also describes the tensions and sorrows of Mormon life. How are Mormons to hold on to their children in a world of declining moral standards and rampant disbelief? How do rational, educated Mormons stand up to criticisms of their faith? How do single Mormons fare in a church that emphasizes family life? The book also examines polygamy, the various Mormon scriptures, and the renegade fundamentalists who tarnish the LDS image when in fact they're not members. In a time when Mormons such as Mitt Romney and Harry Reid are playing prominent roles in American society, this engaging introduction enables readers to judge for themselves how Mormon teachings shape the character of believers. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
When Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses (reputedly nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg), he unwittingly launch a movement that would dramatically change the course of European history. This superb short introduction to Martin Luther, written by a leading authority on Luther and the Reformation, presents this pivotal figure as historians now see him. Instead of singling him out as a modern hero, historian Scott Hendrix emphasizes the context in which Luther worked, the colleagues who supported him, and the opponents who adamantly opposed his agenda for change. The author explains the religious reformation and Luther's importance without ignoring the political and cultural forces, like princely power and Islam, which led the reformation down paths Luther could neither foresee nor influence. The book pays tribute to Luther's genius but also recognizes the self-righteous attitude that alienated contemporaries. The author offers a unique explanation for that attitude and for Luther's anti-Jewish writings, which are especially hard to comprehend after the Holocaust.
Ren--eacute--; Descartes (1596-1650) had a remarkably short working life, and his output was small, yet his contributions to philosophy and science have endured to the present day. In this book Tom Sorell shows that Descartes was, above all, an advocate and practitioner of a new mathematical approach to physics, and that he developed his metaphysics to support his programme in the sciences.
Thomas Aquinas, one of the most famous and highly thought of Christian thinkers, was a controversial figure who was exposed and engaged in conflict. This Very Short Introduction looks at Aquinas in a historical context, and explores the Church and culture into which Aquinas was born. It also ask why Aquinas matters now.
Communion of Immigrants
Author: James T. Fisher
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Tracing more than four centuries of Catholics in America, this concise study is a fascinating look at the history of the country's largest religious denomination. 15 photos.
The Catholic Study Bible
Author: Donald Senior, John Collins, Mary Ann Getty
Publisher: Oxford University Press
This landmark resource, the first fully-based on the authoritative NABRE translation, contains the trustworthy study notes, expanded essays, and informational sidebars which have guided and informed students and general readers for 25 years. In this new edition, one-third of the Reading Guide materials are new, and all of the other Guides have been reviewed and revised by their original authors. The extensive Reading Guide, the focal point of this volume, leads the reader through the Scriptures, book by book. References and background information are clearly laid out to guide the reader to a fuller understanding of the Bible. New to this edition is a more extensive treatment of the biblical background, including history and archeology. Other outstanding features include: a 15-page glossary of special terms and complete Sunday and weekday lectionary readings for the liturgical years of the Church. Thirty-two beautiful pages of full-color Oxford Bible Maps come with a place-name index for easy reference. Perfect for both higher education and clergy, Bible study and general readers, The Catholic Study Bible is an essential resource for both experienced students and first-time readers. The New American Bible Revised Edition: The New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE) brings to culmination the work of nearly 100 scholars, including translators, editors, and a subcommittee of Catholic bishops who provided extensive review of the biblical text over a period of many years. The NABRE is the first major amendment to the New American Bible translation since 1991. It features: *The first update of the Old Testament since 1970, taking into account recent archaeological and textual discoveries. *Complete revision of the Psalter.
A comprehensive history of the Catholic Church from its beginnings in Jesus' ministry to its current status in an increasingly secular world.