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New titles just published

17 June 2022

This week’s selection: a history of ‘the meaning of life’, the miracle of Isaiah, and a case for disestablishment

What Do We Mean When We Talk About Meaning? by Steven Cassedy (OUP, £19.9 (£17.99); 978-0-19-093690-7).

“The book begins with the early Christian thinkers who believed meaning could be ‘read’ from the world as if it were holy scripture, then moves into the philosophers who adapted this notion and eventually the Romantic-era Germans that coined ‘the meaning of life,’ a phrase that later traveled to Great Britain, the United States, and Russia. The book also extends into the twentieth century, when ‘meaning’ acquired its greatest power in the realms of religion, psychotherapy, and self-help, all of which helped it to accumulate the fluidity and ambiguity it still displays today.”

Miracle in Isaiah: Divine marvel and prophetic word by John Goldingay (Fortress Press, £16.99 (£15.29); 978-1-5064-8179-1).

“Isaiah is a miracle. Divine wonder can be found in its testimonies to God’s communication with people, in reminders of God's acts long ago, in reports of God’s acts of rescue of his people, in God’s promised acts of restoration in the future, and in God’s extraordinary acts toward other peoples. The extraordinary binds the prophecy together.”

Beyond Establishment: Resetting Church-State relations in England by Jonathan Chaplin (SCM Press, £25 (Church Times SPECIAL OFFER PRICE £20); 978-0-334-06173-1).

“Separating the question of establishment from the question of presence in the community, Chaplin argues that the time has come for the ending of privileged constitutional ties between the Church of England the British state.”

Selected by Frank Nugent, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop. 

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