New in March

Towards Reconciliation:

Understanding Violence and the Sacred after René Girard

by Paul Gifford

out on 26 of March

Why do humans sacralise the causes for which they fight? Who will decipher for us the enigma of ‘sacred violence’?

Paul Gifford shows that the culture theorist and fundamental anthropologist René Girard has in fact decoded the obscurely ‘foundational’ complicity between violence and the sacred, showing why it is everybody’s problem and the Problem of Everybody.

René Girard’s mimetic theory, especially his neglected writings on biblical texts, can be read as an anthropological argument continuous with Darwin, shedding formidable new light to a vast array of dark and knotted things: from the functioning of the world’s oldest temple to today’s terrorist violence, from the Cross of Christ to the Good Friday Agreement. Such insights illuminate superbly (‘from below’) the ways of creation, revelation, redemption – which is to say, ultimately, the Christian enterprise and vocation of Reconciliation.

Here is a novel and exciting resource for scanning the hidden ‘sacrificial’ logic that still secretly shapes cultural, social, and political life today. Girard puts us ahead of the game in the key dialogues required if we are to avoid autogenerated apocalypses of human violence in the world of tomorrow.

Available for pre-order.

The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Nativity of Mary

by Brandon W. Hawk

out on 26 of March

The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew is one of the most important witnesses in Western Europe to apocryphal stories about the lives of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and Mary’s parents, Anna and Joachim. This apocryphon was also used as the basis for another, the Nativity of Mary, which gained equal popularity. As bestsellers of medieval Christianity, these Latin apocrypha are major witnesses to the explosion of extra-biblical literature in the Western Middle Ages. Despite their apocryphal status, the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Nativity of Mary proved influential throughout the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, as their popularity and influences may be traced in Christian literature, visual arts, liturgy, and theological perspectives still revered by Roman Catholic theologians. These apocrypha also remain significant works for considering the history of monasticism and the cult of the Virgin Mary.

The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Nativity of Mary draws upon a range of manuscript sources to present comprehensive English translations of the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew and the Nativity of Mary with full introductions and commentaries, as well as translations of related works with accompanying commentaries.

Available for pre-order.

Hymns and Hymnody Historical and Theological Introductions:

Volume I: From Asia Minor to Western Europe

edited by Mark A. Lamport, Benjamin K. Forrest and Vernon M. Whaley 

out on 26 of March

Hymns and the music the church sings are tangible means of expressing worship. As worship is one of the central functions of the church and it occupies a prime focus, a renewed sense of awareness to our theological presuppositions and cultural cues must be maintained to ensure a proper focus in worship.

Hymns and Hymnody is an introductory textbook in three volumes describing the most influential hymnists, liturgists, and musical movements of the church. This academically grounded resource evaluates both the historical and theological perspectives of the major hymnists and composers that have impacted the church over the course of twenty centuries. Volume 1 explores the early church and concludes with the Renaissance era hymnists. Each chapter contains five elements: historical background, theological perspectives communicated in their hymns/compositions, contribution to liturgy and worship, notable hymns, and bibliography. The missions of Hymns and Hymnody are to provide biographical data on influential hymn writers for students and interested laypeople, and to provide a theological analysis of what the cited composers have communicated in the theology of their hymns. It is vital for those involved in leading the worship of the church to recognize that what they communicate is in fact theology. This latter aspect is missing in accessible formats for the current literature.

Available for pre-order.

The Didache:

A Commentary

by Shawn J. Wilhite

out on 26 March

Shawn J. Wilhite’s commentary on the Didache complements the study of early Christianity through historical, literary, and theological readings of the Apostolic Fathers, seeking to be mindful of the critical while commenting on a final-form text. The Didache includes a brief introduction to this relevant text, the use of Scripture by the Didachist, and the theology of the Didache. The commentary proceeds section by section with a close ear to the text of the Didache, relevant early Christian literature, and current scholarship.

Available for pre-order.

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