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Spirituality and Religion May 2014
"Had Suleyman prevailed at Vienna, as the odds suggest he should have, Europe would have been Islamic to the Rhine River in the early sixteenth century."
~ from James Reston's Defenders of the Faith: Christianity and Islam Battle for the Soul of Europe, 1520-1536
New and Recently Released!
American Saint: The Life of Elizabeth Seton - by Joan Barthel
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/04/2014
Share American Saint%3a The Life of Elizabeth Seton ISBN-13: 9780312571627
ISBN-10: 0312571623
Mother Elizabeth Seton was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1975, 200 years after her birth to a prominent Episcopalian family in New York City. In American Saint, Joan Barthel, a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University, engagingly highlights the significance of Elizabeth's contributions to American education, the Catholic Church, and women's roles in the Church. Barthel relates Elizabeth's rejection by New York society after her conversion to Catholicism, her relocation to Maryland, her struggles within the Church, and her eventual triumph in founding the first American women's religious order and establishing the first parochial school. Kirkus Reviews calls American Saint "a rounded portrait of an ambitious woman."
Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie: Being Muslim in America - by Ranya Idliby
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/07/2014
Share Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie%3a Being Muslim in America ISBN-13: 9780230341845
ISBN-10: 0230341845
In this "memoir-cum-manifesto" (Publishers Weekly), American Muslim Ranya Idliby examines the status of American Muslims after the World Trade Center attacks of 9/11. Relating her childhood as an Arab who traveled between Dubai and Virginia, her settled life in Manhattan with her husband and children, and the changes they experienced after 9/11, Idliby discredits inaccurate American perceptions of Islam and refutes Islamic fundamentalist doctrines. She also describes how American Muslims can easily fit into mainstream society. Both those unfamiliar with Islam and Muslims who want to be comfortable in American culture will find valuable insights in Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie.
The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words, 1000 BC - 1492 AD - by Simon Schama
Publisher: HarperCollins
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/18/2014
Share The Story of the Jews%3a Finding the Words, 1000 BC - 1492 AD ISBN-13: 9780060539184
ISBN-10: 0060539186
In The Story of the Jews, acclaimed author and historian Simon Schama explores the Jewish sense of identity, art, and religious teachings from 1000 B.C. to 1492 A.D., when Portugal expelled Jewish residents. Focusing on a specific object at the beginning of each chapter, Schama explores the item's context and its significance to the people associated with it, broadening his discussion to examine the Jewish community at each relevant geographical location and historical period. Schama's engaging approach draws readers into the settings and provides insight into the history of Jews and Judaism through the millennia. This 1st of two planned volumes represents "a new interpretation of a well-covered subject" (Booklist).
Teaching the Cat to Sit: A Memoir - by Michelle Theall
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 02/25/2014
Share Teaching the Cat to Sit%3a A Memoir ISBN-13: 9781451697292
ISBN-10: 1451697295
Growing up in a strict Catholic family in Texas, award-winning journalist Michelle Theall, who writes about GLBT issues, longed to be accepted by the Church she loved, but found contradictions and conflicts wherever she turned. When her family rejected her after she came out in adulthood as a lesbian, she was ironically aware that the Church's hierarchy had covered up the pedophilia of a priest she knew in her childhood. Her sense of alienation grew when the parish she and her partner attended in Boulder, Colorado refused to baptize their adopted biracial son. In this gripping, heart-rending, and ultimately affirming memoir, Theall raises questions and offers insight into the challenges faced by LGBT people in church and society alike.
Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis - by Tim Townsend
Publisher: HarperCollins
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/11/2014
Share Mission at Nuremberg%3a An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis ISBN-13: 9780061997198
ISBN-10: 0061997196
In Mission at Nuremberg, religion journalist Tim Townsend provides a carefully researched account of the last months in the lives of Nazi war criminals. Focusing on the work of U.S. Army chaplain Henry Gerecke, Townsend relates Gerecke's earlier life, his work as a Lutheran chaplain during World War II, and his unusual -- and unusually challenging -- assignment to minister to accused and convicted war criminals. Vivid descriptions of places and actions, telling psychological insights about both the Americans and the Nazis, and an engaging narrative style propel this examination of wrenching issues of faith, honor, and human nature. Mission at Nuremberg presents a thought-provoking report on a previously untold chapter of this era.
Focus on: Religions in History
Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World - by James Carroll
Publisher: Mariner Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 04/24/2012
Share Jerusalem, Jerusalem%3a How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World ISBN-13: 9780547747620
ISBN-10: 0547747624
James Carroll, an award-winning author and Boston Globe columnist, focuses on Jerusalem in this fascinating, elegantly written, and wide-ranging study of the city itself as well as the history of religion. Carroll argues that religion was born when primitive humans first linked death, violence, and ritual; he thoughtfully explores how Jerusalem as both a physical place and a powerful symbol has become a focal point of this violent legacy, which bears the effects of conflicts among religious factions. Library Journal says that those interested in the quest for world peace "need to read" Carroll's analysis.
The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible - by Matti Friedman
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/15/2012
Share The Aleppo Codex%3a A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible ISBN-13: 9781616200404
ISBN-10: 1616200405
The Aleppo Codex describes how a unique thousand-year-old authoritative copy of the Hebrew Bible survived tenth-century Crusaders in Jerusalem. By 1947, Syria's Great Synagogue of Aleppo housed the sacred text; tragedy struck when protesters enraged by the UN's decision to partition Palestine torched the synagogue. Miraculously, the so-called "Crown of Aleppo" resurfaced later in Israel -- however, its five most precious books (the Books of Moses, or the Pentateuch) were missing and have yet to be found. In a riveting and informative narrative that reads like a thriller, author Matti Friedman reveals the historical and contemporary mystery, confusion, and conspiracy that swirl around the "Crown."
Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India - by Joseph Lelyveld
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/29/2011
Share Great Soul%3a Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India ISBN-13: 9780307269584
ISBN-10: 0307269582
Most accounts of Mohandas Gandhi's life revolve around his pacifist political leadership in the movement to free India from British rule, but much of the conflict around him had its roots in religious differences. In this thoroughly researched, thoughtfully presented biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld examines key periods in Gandhi's life in order to trace his development from ambitious lawyer in South Africa to widely revered (and resented) leader in his native India. An important aspect of Lelyveld's study is the significance of Hindu-Muslim conflict, which Gandhi unsuccessfully tried to overcome. Emphasizing Gandhi's compassionate, though eccentric, human qualities, Lelyveld makes the "Mahatma" ("Great Soul") both accessible and admirable.
Defenders of the Faith: Christianity and Islam Battle for the Soul of Europe, 1520-1536 - by James Reston, Jr.
Publisher: Penguin Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 07/27/2010
Share Defenders of the Faith%3a Christianity and Islam Battle for the Soul of Europe, 1520-1536 ISBN-13: 9780143117599
ISBN-10: 0143117599
In the early 16th century, competing political and religious forces divided Europe, impairing efforts by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, to command a united front against westward-advancing Ottoman forces. Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent had vowed to conquer Western Europe, but he was distracted by divisions between Shi'a and Sunni Muslims. In this engaging, fast moving account of the period, journalist James Reston vividly describes the competing personalities, the religious conflicts, and the military actions in crucial battles that culminated in Suleyman's failure to capture Vienna in 1532. For a riveting encapsulation of the early Renaissance, the Reformation, and the effects of Islam on Eastern Europe, be sure to pick up Defenders of the Faith.
The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels - by Janet Soskice
Publisher: Vintage Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 08/24/2010
Share The Sisters of Sinai%3a How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels ISBN-13: 9781400034741
ISBN-10: 1400034744
Twin sisters Margaret Smith Gibson and Agnes Smith Lewis, prosperous 19th-century Scottish widows, felt called as faithful Presbyterians to extend the reach of biblical scholarship. Consulting with a Cambridge scholar, they learned of the manuscript collection at St. Catherine's, a Greek Orthodox monastery on a remote mountain in the Sinai Peninsula. The sisters traveled to St. Catherine's in 1892 in hopes of discovering previously unknown copies of biblical texts. Relating details of the status of women in the period, the rigors of travel to such a remote place, and scholarly controversies about ancient manuscripts, Cambridge theologian Janet Soskice paints a colorful picture of the sisters' lives, illuminating the significance of their contribution to biblical studies.
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