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by
03 January 2012

Theology and other faiths

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THE book A Heart Broken Open: Radical faith in an age of fear is based on Ray Gaston’s experience of parish ministry in Leeds, during which he engaged with members of the Islamic community. The author tells the story of his developing relationships with the Muslim community post-9/11, and outlines some of his thinking and reflection on the issues. The final section of the book allows others to respond (Wild Goose, £13.50 (£12.15); 978-1-905010-61-5).

Symon Hill’s The No-Nonsense Guide to Religion looks at key questions about religion and its place in the 21st-century world, making particular reference to issues that appear most in the news. Chapters are given to questions of truth, power and oppression, liberation, religious liberty, violence and peace (New Internationalist, £7.99 (£7.20); 978-1-906523-29-9).

Religion — Life Itself by Barbara Butler and Beate Dehnan is an intro­duction to the Faith Awareness programme of Christians Aware, an organisation which provides oppor­tunities for followers of different faiths to meet to develop trust and understanding (Christians Aware, £5 (£4.50); 978-1-873372-296).

Without Buddha I Could not be a Christian is based on Paul Knitter’s experiences. At a time of crisis in his Christian faith, he turned towards Buddhism; the result, he believes, was that his Christianity was revitalised (Oneworld, £12.99 (£11.70); 978-1-85168-673-5).

Christian Approaches to Other Faiths, an SCM reader, edited by Alan Race and Paul Hedges, is aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students. Its material is divided into three sections: theoretical and methodological responses, responses to specific faiths, and responses to Christianity by those of other religions (SCM, £30 (£27); 978-0-334-04114-6).

How did the physical body influence Christian thinking in the early days from Paul to Augustine? Jennifer Glancy argues that social location is experienced through the body, and shows the significance of that for developing theology. Corporal Knowledge explores in particular Paul’s boasting of being beaten, slavery, and Mary in childbirth (OUP, £30 (£27); 978-0-19-532815-8).

Troels Engberg-Pedersen argues that what holds together for St Paul his world-view and self is his understanding of the body, and that for the apostle there is no gap between ideas and practices. Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul: The material spirit begins with work on Stoic ideas before moving on to Pauline ones and holding a dialogue between them (OUP, £65 (£58.50); 978-0-19-955856-8).

The SPCK Introduction to Karl Barth is part of a series introducing readers to the work and lives of well-known theologians. The second half of the book focuses mainly on Church Dogmatics and Barth’s thought on the Word of God, the doctrine of God, creation and reconciliation. The author is Professor Densil Morgan of Bangor University (SPCK, £9.99 (£9); 978-0-281-06045-0).

James Sweeney, Gemma Simmonds, and David Lonsdale have edited a guide to Roman Catholic pastoral and practical theology. Keeping Faith in Practice is a collection of essays that introduces the current situation, reflects on the main issues for contemporary scholars, and points towards areas for future dialogue between the different approaches. The final section shows some examples of theology in practice (SCM, £45 (£40.50); 978-0-334-04323-2).

Fergus Kerr has written Thomas Aquinas: A very short introduction. He acknowledges the importance of all Aquinas’s work, but concentrates particularly on the Summa Theologiae, which takes up three of the book’s six chapters (OUP, £7.99 (£7.20); 978-0-19-955664-9).

Jennifer Cooper argues that the theology of Edward Schillebeeckx (she focuses particularly on his earlier work) deserves more attention, and that his work is a foundation for raising questions about theological method and the history of theological ideas. Humanity in the Mystery of God: The theological anthropology of Edward Schillebeeckx concentrates on revelation, grace, incarnation, and resurrection (T. & T. Clark, £65 (£58.50); 978-0-567-03408-3).

Most of the chapters in Who Am I? Bonhoeffer’s theology through his poetry started life as papers at a conference on this subject in Oxford in 2006. He wrote ten poems while in prison; this book aims to help readers to con­verse with them. The poems are printed in German with an English translation at the beginning of each chapter. The editor is Bernd Wannenwetsch; contributors include Stanley Hauerwas, Michael Northcott, and Oliver O’Donovan (T. & T. Clark, £60 (£54); 978-0-567-03222-5).

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