Search results for: are-you-alone-wise

Are You Alone Wise

Author : Susan Schreiner
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Susan Schreiner argues that Europe in the 16th century was preoccupied with certainty, especially religious certainty. She analyzes the pervading questions about certitude & doubt in the terms & contexts of a wide variety of thinkers during this time of competing truths.

Are You Alone Wise

Author : Susan Schreiner
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The topic of certitude is much debated today. On one side, commentators such as Charles Krauthammer urge us to achieve "moral clarity." On the other, those like George Will contend that the greatest present threat to civilization is an excess of certitude. To address this uncomfortable debate, Susan Schreiner turns to the intellectuals of early modern Europe, a period when thought was still fluid and had not yet been reified into the form of rationality demanded by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Schreiner argues that Europe in the sixteenth century was preoccupied with concerns similar to ours; both the desire for certainty -- especially religious certainty -- and warnings against certainty permeated the earlier era. Digging beneath overt theological and philosophical problems, she tackles the underlying fears of the period as she addresses questions of salvation, authority, the rise of skepticism, the outbreak of religious violence, the discernment of spirits, and the ambiguous relationship between appearance and reality. In her examination of the history of theological polemics and debates (as well as other genres), Schreiner sheds light on the repeated evaluation of certainty and the recurring fear of deception. Among the texts she draws on are Montaigne's Essays, the mystical writings of Teresa of Avila, the works of Reformation fathers William of Occam, Luther, Thomas Muntzer, and Thomas More; and the dramas of Shakespeare. The result is not a book about theology, but rather about the way in which the concern with certitude determined the theology, polemics and literature of an age.


Author : Desiderius Erasmus (Humanist, Theologe, Niederlande, Schweiz)
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Public Religious Disputation in England 1558 1626

Author : Joshua Rodda
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With a focus on England from the accession of Elizabeth I to the mid-1620s, this book examines the practice of direct, scholarly disputation between fundamentally opposing and oftentimes antagonistic Catholic, Protestant and nonconformist puritan divines. Introducing a form of discourse hitherto neglected in studies of religious controversy, the volume works to rehabilitate a body of material only previously examined as part of the great, subjective mass of polemic produced in the wake of the Reformation. In so doing, it argues that public religious disputation - debate between opposing clergymen, arranged according to strict academic formulae - can offer new insights into contemporary beliefs, thought processes and conceptions of religious identity, as well as an accessible and dramatic window into the major theological controversies of the age. Formal disputation crossed confessional lines, and here provides an opportunity for a broad, comparative analysis. More than any other type of interaction or material, these encounters - and the dialogic accounts they produced - displayed the shared methods underpinning religious divisions, allowing Catholic and reformed clergymen to meet on the same field. The present volume asserts the significance of public religious disputation (and accounts thereof) in this regard, and explores their use of formal logic, academic procedure and recorded dialogue form to bolster religious controversy. In this, it further demonstrates how we might begin to move from the surviving source material for these encounters to the events themselves, and how the disputations then offer a remarkable new glimpse into the construction, rationalization and expression of post-Reformation religious argument.

The Birth of Modern Belief

Author : Ethan H. Shagan
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An illuminating history of how religious belief lost its uncontested status in the West This landmark book traces the history of belief in the Christian West from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, revealing for the first time how a distinctively modern category of belief came into being. Ethan Shagan focuses not on what people believed, which is the normal concern of Reformation history, but on the more fundamental question of what people took belief to be. Shagan shows how religious belief enjoyed a special prestige in medieval Europe, one that set it apart from judgment, opinion, and the evidence of the senses. But with the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation, the question of just what kind of knowledge religious belief was—and how it related to more mundane ways of knowing—was forced into the open. As the warring churches fought over the answer, each claimed belief as their exclusive possession, insisting that their rivals were unbelievers. Shagan challenges the common notion that modern belief was a gift of the Reformation, showing how it was as much a reaction against Luther and Calvin as it was against the Council of Trent. He describes how dissidents on both sides came to regard religious belief as something that needed to be justified by individual judgment, evidence, and argument. Brilliantly illuminating, The Birth of Modern Belief demonstrates how belief came to occupy such an ambivalent place in the modern world, becoming the essential category by which we express our judgments about science, society, and the sacred, but at the expense of the unique status religion once enjoyed.

George Herbert and the Mystery of the Word

Author : Gary Kuchar
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This book presents a historically and critically nuanced study of George Herbert's biblical poetics. Situating Herbert's work in the context of shifting ideas of biblical mystery, Gary Kuchar shows how Herbert negotiated two competing impulses within post-reformation thought—two contrary aspects of reformation spirituality as he inherited it: the impulse to certainty, assurance, and security and the impulse to mystery, wonder, and wise ignorance. Through subtle and richly contextualized readings, Kuchar places Herbert within a trans-historical tradition of biblical interpretation while also locating him firmly within the context of the early Stuart church. The result is a wide ranging book that is sure to be of interest to students and scholars across several different fields, including seventeenth-century studies, poetry and the bible, and literature and theology.

John Calvin and the Righteousness of Works

Author : Kevin P. Emmert
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John Calvin’s understanding of works-righteousness is more complex than is often recognized. While he denounces it in some instances, he affirms it in others. This study shows that Calvin affirms works-righteousness within the context where faith-righteousness is already established, and that he even teaches a form of justification by works. Calvin ascribes not only a positive role to good works in relation to divine acceptance, but also soteriological value to believers’ good works. This study demonstrates such by exploring Calvin’s theological anthropology, his understanding of divine-human activity, his teaching on the nature of good works, and his understanding of divine grace and benevolence. It also addresses current debates in Calvin scholarship by exploring topics such as union with Christ, the relation between justification and sanctification, the relation between good works and divine acceptance, the role of good works in the Christian life, and the content of good works.

Enemies of the Cross

Author : Vincent Evener
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Enemies of the Cross examines how suffering and truth were aligned in the divisive debates of the early Reformation. Vincent Evener explores how Martin Luther, along with his first intra-Reformation critics, offered "true" suffering as a crucible that would allow believers to distinguish the truth or falsehood of doctrine, teachers, and their own experiences. To use suffering in this way, however, reformers also needed to teach Christians to recognize false suffering and the false teachers who hid under its mantle. This book contends that these arguments, which became an enduring part of the Lutheran and radical traditions, were nourished by the reception of a daring late-medieval mystical tradition the post-Eckhartian which depicted annihilation of the self as the way to union with God. The first intra-Reformation dissenters, Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt and Thomas Müntzer, have frequently been depicted as champions of medieval mystical views over and against the non-mystical Luther. Evener counters this depiction by showing how Luther, Karlstadt, and Müntzer developed their shared mystical tradition in diverse directions, while remaining united in the conviction that sinful self-assertion prevented human beings from receiving truth and living in union with God. He argues that Luther, Karlstadt, and Müntzer each represented a different form of ecclesial-political dissent shaped by a mystical understanding of how Christians were united to God through the destruction of self-assertion. Enemies of the Cross draws on seldom-used sources and proposes new concepts of "revaluation" and "relocation" to describe how Protestants and radicals brought medieval mystical teachings into new frameworks that rejected spiritual hierarchy.

Death Be Not Proud

Author : David Marno
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The seventeenth-century French philosopher Nicolas Malebranche thought that philosophy could learn a valuable lesson from prayer, which teaches us how to attend, wait, and be open for what might happen next. Death Be Not Proud explores the precedents of Malebranche’s advice by reading John Donne’s poetic prayers in the context of what David Marno calls the “art of holy attention.” If, in Malebranche’s view, attention is a hidden bond between religion and philosophy, devotional poetry is the area where this bond becomes visible. Marno shows that in works like “Death be not proud,” Donne’s most triumphant poem about the resurrection, the goal is to allow the poem’s speaker to experience a given doctrine as his own thought, as an idea occurring to him. But while the thought must feel like an unexpected event for the speaker, the poem itself is a careful preparation for it. And the key to this preparation is attention, the only state in which the speaker can perceive the doctrine as a cognitive gift. Along the way, Marno illuminates why attention is required in Christian devotion in the first place and uncovers a tradition of battling distraction that spans from ascetic thinkers and Church Fathers to Catholic spiritual exercises and Protestant prayer manuals.

The Garb of Being

Author : Georgia Frank
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This collection explores how the body became a touchstone for late antique religious practice and imagination. When we read the stories and testimonies of late ancient Christians, what different types of bodies stand before us? How do we understand the range of bodily experiences—solitary and social, private and public—that clothed ancient Christians? How can bodily experience help us explore matters of gender, religious identity, class, and ethnicity? The Garb of Being investigates these questions through stories from the Eastern Christian world of antiquity: monks and martyrs, families and congregations, and textual bodies. Contributors include S. Abrams Rebillard, T. Arentzen, S. P. Brock, R. S. Falcasantos , C. M. Furey, S. H. Griffith, R. Krawiec, B. McNary-Zak, J.-N. Mellon Saint-Laurent, C. T. Schroeder, A. P. Urbano, F. M. Young