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New titles just published

17 September 2021

This week’s selection: a Middle Eastern perspective on Jesus’s last words on the cross, autism in the Church, and the transformation of Christianity as Europe modernised

Cries for a Lost Homeland: Reflections on Jesus’ sayings from the cross by Guli Francis Dehqani (Canterbury Press, £10.99 (Church Times SPECIAL OFFER PRICE £8.79); 978-1-78622-383-8).

“Guli Francis-Dehqani was born in Isfahan, Iran, to a family who were part of the tiny Anglican Church established by 19th-century missionaries. Her father, a Muslim convert, became the first indigenous Persian bishop. As the Islamic Revolution of 1979 swept across the country, church properties were raided, confiscated or closed down. Guli’s father was briefly imprisoned before surviving an attack on his life, which injured his wife. Soon after, whilst he was out of the country for meetings, Guli’s 24 year-old brother, Bahram, a university teacher in Tehran, was murdered. No one was ever brought to justice and the family were advised to leave Iran. Guli was 14. They eventually settled in England with refugee status. Drawing on the riches of Persian culture and her own dramatic experience of loss of a homeland, Guli offers memorable and perceptive reflections on Jesus’s seven final sayings from the cross, opening up for Western readers fresh and arresting insights from a Middle Eastern perspective.”

Autistic Thinking in the Life of the Church by Stewart Rapley (SCM Press, £19.99 (Church Times SPECIAL OFFER PRICE £15.99); 978-0-334-06087-1).

“Autism was only identified and recognised relatively recently, but even so one might have expected the church to have moved further in its thinking about how autistic thinking can contribute to the life of the church. At a time when churches exhibit a heightened awareness of ‘inclusion’ and recognition of difference in all manner of ways, it is startling how little attention is given to those who have autism. Drawn from extensive research amongst autistic worshippers, Autistic Thinking in the Life of the Church develops and explores a model in which churches can strengthen and retain the cognitive engagement of those worshippers in their congregations who are on the autistic 

Religion and Society at the Dawn of Modern Europe: Christianity Transformed, 1750-1850 by Rudolf Schlögl (Bloomsbury, £28.99 (£26.09); 978-1-350-24677-5).

“This book reveals how, in confrontation with secularity, various new forms of Christianity evolved during the time of Europe’s crisis of modernisation. Rudolf Schlögl provides a comprehensive overview of the development of religious institutions and piety in Protestant and Catholic Europe between 1750 and 1850; at the same time, he offers a detailed exposition of contemporary philosophical, theological, and socio-theoretical thought on the nature and function of religion. This allows us to understand the importance of religion in the self-defining of European society during a period of great change and upheaval. Religion and Society at the Dawn of Modern Europe is a pivotal work — translated into English here for the first time — for all scholars and students of European society in the 18th and 19th centuries.”

Selected by Aude Pasquier, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.

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