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Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books

Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books
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Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books




Daniel Veidlinger, "From Indra’s Net to Internet: Communication, Technology, and the Evolution of Buddhist Ideas" (U Hawaii Press, 2018)

In this episode of New Books in Buddhist Studies, I am joined by Daniel Veidlinger to discuss his exciting new book From Indra’s Net to Internet: Communication, Technology, and the Evolution of Buddhist Ideas (University of Hawaii Press, 2018), which offers a theoretically compelling exploration of the types communicative “ecosystems” in which Buddhist ideas have flourished throughout history. Drawing inspiration from evolutionary biology and media theory, Veidlinger’s book begins by...


Jonathan G. Kline, "Keep Up Your Biblical Greek in 2 Minutes a Day" (Hendrickson, 2017)

The last few years have seen a proliferation of helps for those of us who struggle to consolidate and develop our knowledge of ancient languages. But here is one of the most helpful of these new resources. Jonathan G. Kline, who is academic editor at Hendrickson, and the author of Allusive soundplay in the Hebrew Bible (SBL, 2017), has published a series of books that provide one-sentence daily readings in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, and which then parse these sentences in an imaginative and...


Ithamar Theodor, "Exploring the Bhagavad Gītā: Philosophy, Structure and Meaning" (Routledge, 2016)

The Bhagavad Gītā remains to this day a mainstay of Hinduism and Hindu Studies alike, despite the profusion of books written on it over the centuries. While the Gītā’s profundity is evident, its meaning most certainly is not. Is there a unity within the Bhagavad Gītā? Ithamar Theodor’s Exploring the Bhagavad Gītā: Philosophy, Structure and Meaning (Routledge, 2016) proposes a unifying structure which of this seminal Hindu work, identifying multiple layers of meaning at play. Theodor provides...


Julia Cassaniti, "Remembering the Present: Mindfulness in Buddhist Asia" (Cornell UP, 2018)

How do you understand mindfulness? Is your understanding limited by your own culture’s definition of what mindfulness is? These are some of the questions you will ask yourself while reading Remembering the Present: Mindfulness in Buddhist Asia (Cornell University Press). In today’s podcast, Prof. Julia Cassaniti takes us on a tour of three Theravada Buddhist countries (Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka) to show us how mindfulness is understood in this region and what this, in turn, can teach...


Nazia Kazi, "Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018)

Nazia Kazi’s Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) is a brilliant and powerful meditation on the intersection and interaction of Islamophobia, racism, and U.S. imperial state power. This book seeks to reorient our understanding of Islamophobia from a phenomenon centered on individual attitudes and perceptions of hate, to one which is indelibly entrenched to the structural logics of modern state sovereignty, and to the long-running history of racism in the U.S....


Lynn Kaye, "Time In The Babylonian Talmud: Natural and Imagined Times in Jewish Law and Narrative" (Cambridge UP, 2018)

The great writer Jorge Luis Borges said, “Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” Time is the topic of a new book by Lynn Kaye, Assistant Professor of Rabbinic Literature and Thought at Brandeis University and Visiting Library Fellow at The Van Leer Institute Jerusalem. With insights gleaned from art and literature, as well as a...


Jackson Wu, "Reading Romans with Eastern Eyes: Honor and Shame in Paul's Message and Mission" (IVP Academic, 2019)

What does it mean to “read Romans with Eastern eyes”? Combining research from Asian scholars with his many years of experience living and working in East Asia, Jackson directs our attention to Paul's letter to the Romans. He argues that some traditional East Asian cultural values are closer to those of the first-century biblical world than common Western cultural values. In addition, he adds his voice to the scholarship engaging the values of honor and shame in particular and their influence...


Laury Silvers, “The Lover” (Kindle Direct Publishers, 2019)

Zaytuna just wants to be left alone to her ascetic practices and nurse her dark view of the world. But when an impoverished servant girl she barely knows comes and begs her to bring some justice to the death of a local boy, she is forced to face the suffering of the most vulnerable in Baghdad and the emotional and mystical legacy of her mother, a famed ecstatic whose love for God eclipsed everything. The Lover (Kindle Direct Publishers, 2019) is a historically sensitive mystery that...


Jessica Starling, "Guardians of the Buddha’s Home: Domestic Religion in Contemporary Jōdo Shinshū" (U Hawaii Press, 2019)

In her recent ethnography, Guardians of the Buddha’s Home: Domestic Religion in Contemporary Jōdo Shinshū (University of Hawaii Press, 2019), Prof. Jessica Starling invites us into the daily lives of the bōmori, the spouses of priests in the Japanese Jōdo Shinshū, or True Pure Land, tradition. Focusing on domestic religion, Prof. Starling shows us how the bōmori create community by cleaning the temple altar, how they express gratitude for their salvation by carefully managing temple...


Peter Jan Margry, "The Miracle of Amsterdam: Biography of a Contested Devotion" (U Notre Dame, 2019)

harles Caspers and Peter Jan Margry's The Miracle of Amsterdam: Biography of a Contested Devotion (University of Notre Dame, 2019) presents a “cultural biography” of a Dutch devotional manifestation. According to tradition, on the night of March 15, 1345, a Eucharistic host thrown into a burning fireplace was found intact hours later. A chapel was erected over the spot, and the citizens of Amsterdam became devoted to their “Holy Stead." From the original Eucharistic processions evolved the...


Amy Collier Artman, "The Miracle Lady: Kathryn Kuhlman and the Transformation of Charismatic Christianity" (Eerdmans, 2019)

On October 15, 1974, Johnny Carson welcomed his next guest on The Tonight Show with these words: “I imagine there are very few people who are not aware of Kathryn Kuhlman. She probably, along with Billy Graham, is one of the best-known ministers or preachers in the country.” But while many people today recognize Billy Graham, not many remember Kathryn Kuhlman (1907–1976), who preached faith and miracles to countless people over the fifty-five years of her ministry and became one of the most...


John Stratton Hawley, "Bhakti and Power: Debating India's Religion of the Heart" (U Washington Press, 2019)

What is the relationship between religion and power? With this important overarching theme in mind, Bhakti and Power: Debating India's Religion of the Heart(University of Washington Press, 2019), edited by John Stratton Hawley, Christian Lee Novetzke and Swapna Sharma, combines 17 fascinating studies which explore the ways in which bhakti - “India’s religion of the heart”, loosely translated as devotionalism – tears down power barriers, and also build them up. Bhakti and Power offers...


Courtney Pace, "Freedom Faith: The Womanist Vision of Prathia Hall" (U Georgia Press, 2019)

Freedom Faith: The Womanist Vision of Prathia Hall (University of Georgia Press, 2019) is the first full-length critical study of Rev. Dr. Prathia Laura Ann Hall (1940–2002), an undersung leader in both the civil rights movement and African American theology. Freedom faith was the central concept of Hall’s theology: the belief that God created humans to be free and assists and equips those who work for freedom. Hall rooted her work simultaneously in social justice, Christian practice, and...


Ricardo Cubas Ramacciotti, "The Politics of Religion and the Rise of Social Catholicism in Peru (1884-1935)" (Brill, 2018)

In The Politics of Religion and the Rise of Social Catholicism in Peru (1884-1935): Faith, Workers, and Race Before Liberation Theology (Brill, 2018), Ricardo Cubas Ramacciotti, Associate Professor of Latin American History at the Universidad de los Andes (Chile), provides a lucid synthesis of the Catholic Church’s responses to the secularization of the State and society, whilst offering a fresh appraisal of the emergence of Social Catholicism and its contribution to social thought and...


David Slucki, "My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons" (Wayne State UP, 2019)

In Sing This at My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons (Wayne State University Press, 2019), David Slucki, Assistant Professor in the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program at the College of Charleston, gives us a very different type of history book. Slucki’s memoir blends the scholarly and literary, grounding the story of his grandfather and father in the broader context of the twentieth century. Based on thirty years of letters from Jakub to his brother Mendel, on archival materials, and...


Naftali Rothenberg, "Rabbi Akiva’s Philosophy of Love" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

Is love between man and woman the source of wisdom and the cornerstone of moral life? Naftali Rothenberg says it is, based on the works and life of the first century Jewish scholar and sage, Rabbi Akiva. In Rabbi Akiva’s Philosophy of Love (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) Rothenberg explores the philosophy of love through the thought and life of Rabbi Akiva whose life was transformed by the love of his wife, Rachel. From this starting point, Naftali Rothenberg conducts a thorough examination of...


Betsy Perabo, "Russian Orthodoxy and the Russo-Japanese War" (Bloomsbury, 2017)

As Russian militarism becomes increasingly intertwined with Russian Orthodoxy theology in the 21st century, the history of the Church’s relationship to war and its justification becomes particularly relevant. Betsy Perabo’s book Russian Orthodoxy and the Russo-Japanese War (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017) is a unique and important contribution to this area of inquiry, representing a rare contemporary academic exploration of just war theory within Russian Orthodoxy in the context of the...


Marko Geslani, "Rites of the God-King: Śānti and Ritual Change in Early Hinduism" (Oxford UP, 2018)

Is “Vedic” fire sacrifice at odds with “Hindu” image worship? Through a careful study of ritual (śanti) texts geared towards appeasement of inauspicious forces (primarily the Atharva Veda and in the Bṛhatsaṃhitā, an Indian astrological work), Marko Geslani demonstrates the persistent significance and centrality of the work of Brahmanical priesthood from ancient to medieval to modern times. In doing so he aptly problematizes the scholarly tendency to demarcate Vedic ritual from popular...


Robert Louis Wilken, "Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian Origins of Religious Freedom" (Yale UP, 2019)

Robert Louis Wilken, the William R. Kenan Professor Emeritus of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia, has written an intellectual history of the ideas surrounding freedom of religion. Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian Origins of Religious Freedom (Yale University Press, 2019) offers a revisionist history of how the ideas of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion originated in the writings of the Christian fathers of the early Church, such as Tertullian...


Diana Pasulka, "American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology" (Oxford UP, 2019)

More than half of American adults and more than seventy-five percent of young Americans believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life. This level of belief rivals that of belief in God. In American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology (Oxford University Press, 2019), professor Diana Pasulka examines the mechanisms at work behind the thriving belief system in extraterrestrial life, a system she asserts is changing and even supplanting traditional religions. Over the course of a six-year...