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Religion as a Way of Worldmaking
At some point very early on in its development, Christianity split between two different pathways: one path stayed with the teaching of Jesus and the primacy of ethics, the other started with the return of Jesus and, therefore, with supernatural belief. Today, ethics has been largely sidelined, viewed as secondary or subservient to belief. Don Cupitt argues that the time has come to give ethics priority in defining and shaping religious life. As he puts it, “No longer should we aim to conserve the self, preparing for eternity: we must simply expend it, by living generously.”
Paul and His Legacy
“In this book readers are able to follow the work of a scholar who has—for almost four decades—intensively examined the correspondence of Paul. Many of the essays in this impressive collection constitute fundamental scholarship on the letters of Paul, attempting as they do to determine what Paul wrote and what he did not write. Others propose innovative and compelling solutions to long-contested problems. All of them demonstrate Walker’s meticulous attention to the original texts and his clarity in setting out the results.” —Joseph B. Tyson, Southern Methodist University
Shadow on the Moon
A Child’s Guide to the Discovery of the Solar System
Is the earth flat, a square, or a sphere? Geocentric or heliocentric? How do we know? Using rhyme and imaginative illustrations, Shadow on the Moon takes children on a scientific journey from Aristotle and Aristarchus, through Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Galileo, to Kepler and Newton.
The Gospel of Jesus
According to the Jesus Seminar
Robert W. Funk, Arthur J. Dewey & the Jesus Seminar
The voice of Jesus has for centuries been obscured and his vision skewed even by well-intended gospel writers, who transmitted his words to serve their own concerns. The Gospel of Jesus frees Jesus’ voice from the accretions of time and lets his challenging wisdom stand out as never before. This single composite gospel, created out of the sayings and reports that were deemed probably historical by the Jesus Seminar, is an essential resource for anyone seeking to detect the words of Jesus as they were heard by his earliest listeners.
Filmed in New Zealand and Israel and premiered at the NZ Parliament, The Last Western Heretic explores Lloyd Geering’s worldview through a discussion of his ideas—there is no life after death, the Bible is not infallible, Jesus was not divine, among others. Includes live footage from his 1967 heresy trial on charges of “doctrinal error and disturbing the peace of the [Presbyterian] church” which resulted from Geering’s assertion that the resurrection of Jesus should not be interpreted literally.
» Watch an excerpt and order now
The Faith Journey of a Modern Heretic
Described by the BBC as “the last living heretic,” Lloyd Geering has spent much of his life wrestling with God. Of late, however, he finds himself struggling with the absence of God. The rise of nonreligious, secular culture around the world testifies that he is not alone, that the concept of God has become problematical. Should God be abandoned altogether? Can God be reformed, so to speak?
How Christianity Became a Religion Jesus Would Have Rejected
According to Hagenston, Jesus had such a hard edge when it came to Gentiles that he coined his own unflattering term for them—dogs. He limited what he was offering strictly to Jews. Yet the religion that began in his name quickly transformed into a predominantly Gentile movement centered on blood sacrifice to obtain God’s forgiveness, a practice rejected by many Jews long before Jesus came on the scene. Furthermore the sacrifice was not just of an animal, but of Jesus himself. How did this happen? Hagenston exposes the roots of brutal justice underpinning traditional Christianity, but finds hope in a Jewish movement toward grace that preceded and influenced the historical Jesus.
Gospel of Luke
What prompted the anonymous author of Luke to edit his sources—Mark and Q—and retell the story of Jesus? Using the Scholars Version translation that is true to the everyday Greek of the gospel writers, Pervo explores the who, when, where, why, and how of the Gospel of Luke. Includes the Greek text, introduction, notes, and cross-references.
In this one-on-one interview, bestselling author and MacArthur Prize recipient Elaine Pagels tells a wide-ranging story. She explains how Billy Graham’s preaching sparked her interest in religion, and talks of her early encounters with Gnostic texts and with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Through the interconnections between the personal and professional, Pagels addresses the problem of how we are to define Christianity meaningfully in ancient and modern times.
The Earliest Christian Text
Paul’s letters were written before any other Christian texts, even the gospels. And the earliest text of all is 1 Thessalonians. This new English translation is both intelligible and true to the meaning of the original Greek text. In the accompanying commentary, Lüdemann engages critically with the theology of the early Paul, including Paul’s virulent attacks on circumcision and other Jewish practices. Readers desiring a more in-depth study will find detailed appendices on Pauline chronology and later letters.
Acts and Christian Beginnings
The Acts Seminar Report
Edited by Dennis E. Smith and Joseph B. Tyson
Acts was long thought to be a first-century document, and its author Luke — a disciple of Paul — an eyewitness or acquaintance of eyewitnesses. It was considered history, pure and simple. But Westar’s Acts Seminar concluded that Acts is from the second century, a conclusion that directly challenges the view of Acts as history and raises a host of new questions, addressed in this final report of the Acts Seminar.
The First New Testament
Marcion’s Scriptural Canon
Jason D. BeDuhn
The earliest version of the New Testament, now in English for the first time!
History preserves the name of the person responsible for the first New Testament, the circumstances surrounding his work, and even the date he decided to build a textual foundation for his fledgling Christian community. So why do so few people know about him? Jason BeDuhn introduces Marcion, reconstructs his text, and explores his impact on the study of Luke-Acts, the two-source theory, and the Q hypothesis
From the Big Bang to God
Our Awe-Inspiring Journey of Evolution
By Lloyd Geering
Until two hundred years ago, most people in the Western world believed that earth and sky were no more than six thousand years old. Then science brought that date into question. In the pages of From the Big Bang to God, Geering simply and concisely tells the story of evolution and traces the rise and fall of God as a human response to discoveries about the universe.
The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles
Volume 5 of the Early Christian Apocrypha series
Clayton N. Jefford
Rediscovered in 1873, the Didache provides a glimpse of early Christian ritual and liturgy. It is the very first manual for Christian life. Here Clayton Jefford presents parallel translations of the original-language manuscripts — from Greek, Latin, Coptic, Ethiopic, and Georgian. His detailed introduction places the Didache in its historical context, and cross references and notes on sources enable in-depth study.
A lecture by Elaine Pagels
Early “Christians” seized on the Book of Revelation as a weapon against heresy and infidels of all kinds—Jews, even Christians who dissented from their increasingly rigid doctrines and hierarchies. But were they its original targets? Elaine Pagels persuasively interprets Revelation as a scathing attack on the decadence of Rome. She argues that its author, John of Patmos, was taking aim at the Roman Empire following the “Jewish War” in 66 CE, when militant Jews in Jerusalem, fired with religious fervor, waged an all-out war against Rome’s occupation of Judea, and their defeat resulted in the desecration of Jerusalem and its Great Temple.