New in October

Hymns and Hymnody: Historical and Theological Introductions: Volume III: From the English West to the Global South

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

Out on 29/10/2020

“A remarkable group of scholars provides a perceptive set of essays to orient students to the riches of Christian hymnody throughout the first twenty centuries of Christianity. What a remarkable testimony this is to the Spirit’s work in and through composers and poets throughout the centuries.”

John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary

Hymns, and the music the church sings, are tangible means of expressing worship. While worship is one of the central functions of the church (along with mission, service, education, justice, and compassion) and occupies a prime focus of our churches, 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: Historical and Theological Introductions 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 3 engages nineteenth century hymnists to the contemporary movements of the twenty-first century. 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.

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New in June

Christianity and the Christian Church of the First Three Centuries

by Ferdinand Christian Baur and Peter C. Hodgson (editor)

Out on 25/06/2020

“No historical theologian has contributed more than Baur to a rational understanding of Christian origins and history. Professor Hodgson is his outstanding English-language interpreter. His introduction and, with Robert Brown, lucid translation of this most important synthesis invites fresh assessments of modern New Testament scholarship by revisiting the origins of that discipline’s dominant paradigm.”

Robert Morgan, University of Oxford

Christianity and the Christian Church of the First Three Centuries, the first volume in Baur’s five-volume history of the Christian Church, is the most influential and best known of his many groundbreaking publications in New Testament, early Christianity, church history, and historical theology. In it, Baur discusses such matters as the entrance of Christianity into world history, the teaching and person of Jesus, the tension between Jewish Christian and gentile Christian interpretations and their resolution in the idea of the Catholic Church, the opposition of Gnosticism and Montanism to Catholicism, the development of dogma or doctrine in the first three centuries, Christianity’s relation to the pagan world and the Roman state, and Christianity as a moral and religious principle.

This new translation is translated by Robert F. Brown and Peter C. Hodgson.

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Church and World: Eusebius’s, Augustine’s, and Yoder’s Interpretations of the Constantinian Shift

by Simon P. Schmidt

Out on 25/06/2020

“There is no debate that significant shifts happened in theology, ethics, and the relationship of church and world following the advent of Constantine as the first ‘Christian emperor’. The only debate is how we are to understand these changes. This carefully researched and well-organized book is ideal to move this conversation forward. Even where readers disagree – and at places I certainly do – Schmidt carries the discussion forward through a careful naming of the pertinent issues.”

Mark Thiessen Nation, Professor of Theology Emeritus, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, author of Mem>John Howard Yoder: Mennonite Patience, Evangelical Witness, Catholic Convictions

The question of how the church is to exist ‘in but not of the world’ is a much contested current theological debate. To provide answers true to the context in which the Western church now finds itself, it is worth investigating how the question has been answered in the past. In determining what to do today, we must understand how we got here in the first place.

Church and World looks to the fourth century, at the beginning of which people were persecuted for being Christians, and persecuted for not being Christians by the end. The change during the century raised fundamental questions about the relationship between church and state and nature of good government, which are as pressing today as they have ever been. Simon P. Schmidt offers an academic investigation of how three paradigmatic theologians interpreted this so-called Constantinian shift: Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. 260–339), Augustine of Hippo (354–430), and John Howard Yoder (1927–1997). Surprising similarities between the theology of Eusebius and Yoder become apparent, along with the underlying theological structures of how to interpret what it looks like to be a community that follows Christ.

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New in April

Notes from a Wayward Son: A Miscellany

by Andrew Walker

Out on 30/04/2020

“The second edition of Notes from a Wayward Son highlights the ground-breaking work of Andrew Walker, bringing together his expertise in sociology and his commitment to orthodox trinitarian theology.”

Pete Ward, Professor of Practical Theology, Durham University

This ‘miscellany’ puts readers around the table with a teacher who has provided the church with wisdom and passion, allowing us to hear an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about the relationship between the gospel and culture. Andrew Walker’s ‘ecclesial intelligence’ and broad interdisciplinary approach to theology and sociology will undoubtedly capture the imagination of many who are curious about the church’s mission in the modern West. Notes from a Wayward Son represents a broad sampling of Walker’s writings from a distinguished forty-five-year career – from explorations of Pentecostalism and Charismatic Renewal to Eastern Orthodoxy, C.S. Lewis, and Deep Church; from the impact of modernity on the ecclesia to mission and ecumenism in the West today. In a world and a church often driven by the latest fashions, Walker’s is a voice to which we will want to listen!

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Come Out from among Them, and Be Ye Separate, Saith the Lord: Separationism and the Believers’ Church Tradition

By William H. Brackney and Evan L. Colford (editors)

Out on 30/04/2020

As a corollary to the 500th anniversary of the Radical Reformation, here is a collection of fresh and scholarly essays that carefully underscores General and Particular Baptists, Black Baptists, Mennonites, Hutterites, Pentecostals, and other Restorationist movements. Taking their cue from the great Brethren historian, Donald Durnbaugh, this nonsectarian volume elucidates the meaning of the Believers’ Church tradition.

Chris Chun, Professor of Church History and Director of Jonathan Edwards Center, Gateway Seminary

Believers’ Churches have their origin in the Radical Reformation of the sixteenth century. Over the past 450 years, the movement has included the Brethren, Mennonites, Hutterites, various types of Baptists, and the Restoration Movement.

The Believers’ Churches together have been characterized by a strong personal faith in Christ, a call to discipleship and Christian activism, a high view of the authority of Scripture, and profession of faith in believers’ baptism. The Believers’ Churches have represented their beliefs in various ecumenical settings, missionary gatherings, and theological conversations. In the late 1950s, representatives of the several Believers’ Churches began to meet in a series of conferences to explore their common views on doctrine, history, and ethics. Topics at the conferences have included baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the nature of the church, and religious voluntarism.

In 2016, the 17th Believers’ Church Conference was held at Acadia University and sponsored by Acadia Divinity College. The theme was ‘The Tendency Toward Separationism Among the Believers’ Churches’. This volume includes the papers presented at the conference and examines the theme from an immediate post-Reformation perspective, with analyses provided by leading historians, theologians, and social science specialists.

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Luther as Heretic: Ten Catholic Responses to Martin Luther, 1518–1541

By M. Patrick Graham and David Bagchi (editors)

Out on 30/04/2020

Ten Catholic critics of Luther and the Reformation come to brilliant light and life in this excellent collection of texts, newly translated into English and crisply introduced. Scholars and students alike of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation will learn from these striking examples of rhetorical and theological hardball played at a furious pace.

John Witte Jr, Emory University

The publication of Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 immediately elicited responses from dozens of Roman Catholics in Germany and beyond. While Luther’s works and those of his leading supporters have been available in English translation for many years, those of most of his Catholic opponents have not. In order to address this imbalance, win a fairer hearing for the Catholic opposition, and make it possible for students to understand both sides of the sixteenth-century religious debates, translators have drawn on the rich resources of the Kessler Reformation Collection at the Pitts Theology Library to present here introductions to and translations of ten Catholic pamphlets.

Luther as Heretic begins with an essay sketching the larger background for these publications. The editors’ goal is that this book will prove useful for teaching and research and will foster a deeper understanding of the sixteenth-century theological discussions by allowing today’s readers to hear voices that have been mostly silent in the English-speaking world for centuries.

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Top 10 theology books to read as you self-isolate

Although churches and universities have closed their doors for the foreseeable, there is nothing to stop you contemplating the ineffable from the comfort of your home. We at James Clarke & Co have compiled a list of our top 10 books to read during your self-isolation.

James Clarke & Co Top 10

Christos Yannaras:
The Apophatic Horizon of Ontology
 

By Basilio Petrà and Norman Russell (translator)

Learn more about the Greek theologian and  philosopher Christos Yannaras

“By testifying to the superabundance of God incarnate and of the Trinity, apophaticism is the seal of a theological and philosophical reflection that, faithful to classical metaphysics, does not retreat from claiming the value of ontology: theology is actually a theory of being as Trinitarian Mystery. Christos Yannaras proposes a critical reflection on the Church and on its historical forms, that are always inadequate as compared to the free breath of the Spirit.”

– Giacomo Canobbio, Faculty of Theology of Northern Italy

An introduction to the work of the Greek theologian and philosopher Christos Yannaras, exploring the development of his contribution to Greek Orthodox thought.

Publication date: 29/08/2019
ISBN: 9780227177044
Pages: 140pp
RRP: £65.00 (HB), £20.00 (PB, 27/02/2020)
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Ever-Moving Repose:
A Contemporary Reading of Maximus the Confessor’s Theory of Time 

By Sotiris Mitralexis

Thinking about the passing of time a lot recently? You’re in good company…

“This is a really welcome addition to the fast-growing literature on Maximus the Confessor. It is a first-class study of the original texts, but is distinctive in its willingness to bring Maximus’ thought into fruitful conversation with contemporary philosophical discussions, so that the implications of this study will be of interest to many more than Byzantine specialists.”

– Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge

A study of the theology of Maximus the Confessor, bringing contemporary insights from the Orthodox tradition to bear on his understanding of temporality.

Publication Date: 28/06/2018
ISBN: 9780227176849
Pages: 258pp
RRP: £22.50 (PB)
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Society and God:
Culture and Creed from a Philosophical Standpoint
 

By William Charlton

It’s brand new!

“This wide-ranging book proposes a holistic framework for understanding the human condition. Arguing that we are essentially social beings, Charlton rejects the fashionable liberal individualism, secularism, and multiculturalism of our times, and offers a challenging interpretation and defence of the Christian doctrines of creation, incarnation, and salvation as part of a single continuous creative process.”

– John Cottingham, Professor of Philosophy of Religion, University of Roehampton

A philosophical examination of religion and society, offering a closely reasoned challenge to the dominant Western discourse of secular liberalism.

Publication Date: 30/01/2020
ISBN: 9780227177006
Pages: 196pp
RRP: £65.00 (HB) £20.00 (PB published 30/07/2020)
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Meditation and Piety in the Far East

By  Karl Ludwig Reichelt

Find peace at this turbulent time…

The result of more than forty years of intimate contact with the ‘religious elite’ of the Far East, Dr. Reichelt’s book is a study of a too-often remote and unknown world.

For the western reader this study reveals the life of the East Asia religious communities, their sanctuaries, sacred writings and daily discipline. These non-Christian religions present a massive front of tradition and dogma, which so far the Christian faith has rarely penetrated.

Publication date: 26/02/2004
ISBN: 9780227172353
Pages: 172pp
RRP: £21.75 (PB)
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Accommodation and Acceptance:
An Exploration of Interfaith Relations

 By Ambrose Mong

Mutual understanding has never been more important…

“With his trademark scholarly rigor and intellectual honesty Ambrose Mong explores one of the most challenging issues facing Christianity in Asia today. For him, accommodation and acceptance of Asian religious pluralism is not an option for Christianity but an imperative for its mission. Mong masterfully shows how Christian faith needs to be reconceptualized in its encounter with Asian religions, from Christology to ecclesiology to Trinitarian theology. This book is a must-read not only for Asian Christians but also, and one may argue especially, for Western Christians.”     

– Professor Peter C. Phan, Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University

A study of the rhetorical techniques employed by the passion narrative in the Gospel of Luke, and the light they shed on Luke’s themes and narrative sources.

Publication date: 31/12/2015
ISBN: 9780227175187
Pages: 288pp
RRP: £25.00 (PB)
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Jesus and the Cross:
Necessity, Meaning, and Atonement

 By Peter Laughlin

Why crucifixion?

“Authenticity in articulating the redemptive meaning of Jesus’s death is at the heart of this book. The question is: what were Jesus of Nazareth’s aims in undergoing death? Theologies of the atonement generally bypass this question, thus accentuating a split between history and theology. Laughlin’s achievement is to have shown how a critical realist presentation of the Jesus of history can play a crucial role in developing an atonement theology faithful to Jesus’s own intentions.”

– Raymond Canning, Professor of Theology, Australian Catholic University, Canberra

A novel investigation of the meaning of atonement centered on the often-neglected question of Jesus’s intention in submitting to his crucifixion.

Publication date: 26/03/2015
ISBN: 9780227174968
Pages: 286pp
RRP: £20.50 (PB)
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Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period

By John Curtis

Brand New!

The eight essays published in this volume make a valuable contribution to the study of ancient Iran. Covering a diverse range of subjects and written by leading experts in the field, they illuminate aspects of the arts, architecture, and culture of Persia from the Achaemenid to the Sassanian period (c. 550 BC to 600 AD).

– Michael Roaf, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology, University of Munich

A collection of essays in memory of the curator and scholar Terence Mitchell, exploring the history and archaeology of Ancient Persia.

Publication date: 30/01/2020
ISBN: 9780227177051
Pages: 232pp
RRP: £65.00 (HB)
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Paul’s Non-Violent Gospel:
The Theological Politics of Peace in Paul’s Life and Letters 

By Jeremy Gabrielson

Some calm amidst the storm…

“In Paul’s Non-Violent Gospel, Jeremy Gabrielson asks new questions regarding Paul’s theological commitments and, in the process, discovers new theological resources within Paul’s worldview. This important and challenging work deserves wide consideration.”

– Bruce W. Longenecker, W.W. Melton Chair of Religion, Baylor University

An insightful study of Paul’s commitment to peace and non-violence, exploring the personal, theological and political aspects of his thought.

Publication Date: 28/08/2014
ISBN: 9780227174654
Pages: 216pp
RRP: £17.00 (PB)
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Towards Reconciliation:
Understanding Violence and the sacred after René Girard
 

By Paul Gifford

Brand new!

Allow Paul Gifford to walk you through René Girard’s theories.

“The most stimulating and enlightening book I have read for ages, opening up René Girard in a compelling way.  Here is a wonderfully lucid exploration of the dark side of human civilisation, and a challenge to confront the lure of sacred violence while we still have time.”

– Angela Tilby, Canon Emeritus, Christ Church, Oxford.

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.

Publication date: 26/03/2020
ISBN: 9780227177082
Pages: 163pp
RRP: £65.00 (HB); £20.00 (PB published 24/09/2020)
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Way Back To God:
The Spiritual Theology of Saint Bonaventure 

By Douglas Dales

Go back in time…

Bonaventure was a great pastor and preacher, and also a very effective teacher. His writing shows clarity and conviction, and his authority arose from his profound grasp of Scripture and patristic monastic tradition. The force behind how he wrote sprang from his keen sense of the significance of Francis and Clare and all that flowed from them, not least into his own spiritual life and experience as a person of deep contemplative and mystical prayer.

Publication Date: 25/04/2019
ISBN: 9780227176931
Pages: 240pp
RRP: £65.00 (HB) £25.00 (PB published 31/10/2019)
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Bonus Bok

Upcoming title

Notes From a Wayward Son:
A Miscellany

By Andrew Walker

“Andrew Walker inhabits the life of the mind with rare clarity and insight. He probes and tests the dynamics of contemporary Christianity with innumerable shafts of constructive insight, making sense of theological, sociological, and cultural dynamics. He has the intellectual gifts to understand Christians with whom he cannot fully agree in ways that help them and those unlike them better understand themselves. Andrew’s contribution to the academy and the church is profound and admirable.”

– Rob Warner, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Plymouth Marjon University

This ‘miscellany’ puts readers around the table with a teacher who has provided the church with wisdom and passion, allowing us to hear an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about the relationship between the gospel and culture.

Publication Date: 30/04/2020
ISBN: 9780227177099
Pages: 363pp
Price: £65.00 (HB) £25 (PB)
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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.

New in January

Society and God

Culture and Creed from a Philosophical Standpoint

By William Charton

Out on 30th January

Where should God be in thinking about society, or society in thinking about God? This book shows how philosophy can help non-philosophers with these questions. It shows that intelligence is the product, not the source, of society and language, and the rationality of individuals is inevitably conditioned by the distinctive customs and beliefs of their societies.
Addressing the idea that religion can impede the smooth running of society, it argues that the Western concept of religion is taken from Christianity and cannot usefully be extended to non-European cultures. But any society will be threatened by a sub-society with customs conflicting with those of the whole in which it exists, and Jews, Christians and Muslims have sometimes formed such sub-societies.
Charlton proceeds to consider how our dependence upon society fits with traditional beliefs about creation, salvation and life after death, and offers a synthesis that is new without being unorthodox. He indicates where Christian customs concerning birth, death, sex and education conflict with those of secular liberalism and considers which culture, Christian or secular liberal, has the better chance of prevailing in a globalised world.

Available for pre-order https://www.jamesclarke.co/title/society-and-god/category/forthcoming-titles

Studies in Ancient Persia and The Achaemenid Period

by John Curtis

Out on 30th January

An important collection of eight essays on Ancient Persia (Iran) in the periods of the Achaemenid Empire (539-330 BC), when the Persians established control over the whole of the Ancient Near East, and later the Sasanian Empire. It will be of interest to historians, archaeologists and biblical scholars. Paul Collins writes about stone relief carvings from Persepolis; John Curtis and Christopher Walker illuminate the Achaemenid period in Babylon; Terence Mitchell, Alan Millard and Shahrokh Razmjou draw attention to neglected aspects of biblical archaeology and the books of Daniel and Isaiah; and Mahnaz Moazami and Prudence Harper explore the Sasanian period in Iran (AD 250-650) when Zoroastrianism became the state religion.

Available for pre-order https://www.jamesclarke.co/title/studies-in-ancient-persia/category/forthcoming-titles

Way Back to God

With the recent release of the paperback edition of Way Back to God by Douglas Dales, we thought we’d share with you a little of what its all about. Douglas Dales has published many books titles with us about St Bonaventure, and this latest volume does not disappoint. Way Back to God is a comprehensive conspectus and study of how Bonaventure taught Christian theology and applied it to spiritual life. Here is a taster from the introduction.

From ‘Introduction’, Way Back to God (Cambridge: James Clarke and Co Ltd, 2019), pp. 1-3. Paperback edition now available.

St Bonaventure was born around the year 1217 in Bagnoregio, which is near Orvieto in Italy. He was educated at the University of Paris, where he also taught alongside his friend, St Thomas Aquinas, for some years until 1257 when he was made Minister General of the Franciscans. This engaged him in a relentless labour of teaching and preaching, travelling on foot across the length and breadth of Europe to supervise the growing Franciscan movement. His commitment to this vocation prevented him from accepting the post of Archbishop of York in 1265, but in 1273 he was commanded by Pope Gregory X to become a cardinal and bishop. Bonaventure joined the pope at the second Council of Lyons, where he died on 15th July 1274.

As the leader of the Franciscans during a difficult period in their history, Bonaventure was regarded by many as virtually the second founder of the movement. Certainly all that he taught and wrote was intended to put the memory and legacy of Francis of Assisi on a firm biblical and doctrinal footing. Bonaventure was also concerned to raise the standards of learning and preaching among the Franciscans, in order to advance the mission of the gospel and also to protect the growing movement from criticism. He brought all his expertise and experience as an academic teacher of theology in Paris to bear upon the formation and nurture of those now in his pastoral care.

Bonaventure was unusual in that his mind was both sharply analytical and eloquently poetic in its expression. He also had a formidable memory, especially of Scripture, and there is nothing that he teaches that is not rooted in the Bible. He distilled the wisdom of many who had gone before him, both his immediate mentors in Paris, and the great teachers of the Western Church, beginning with Augustine, whose theology was the paramount influence on Bonaventure’s own. Many rich strands of teaching flow like tributaries into Bonaventure’s thought, notably that of Gregory the Great, Anselm, Bernard of Clairvaux, and the Victorine theologians; also the writings of Dionysius, recently translated afresh into Latin, which exercised a distinctive influence on how Bonaventure structured his thought. To some extent, therefore, he was conveying the wealth of this spiritual tradition to his Franciscan hearers; but at the same time he was transposing and transforming it, as the detailed references in the Latin edition of his writings, and also in the new English translations, make clear. Bonaventure was in every way a brilliant communicator and this is most evident in the many sermons that he composed and circulated as models for use in Franciscan preaching and ministry, and also in his masterly and extensive Commentary on St Luke’s Gospel.

Bonaventure is the most consistently Christ-centred of theologians, and the spiritual goal of Christian theology is never out of his sight. He did not regard the study of theology as an end in itself, let alone a simply academic exercise; nor did he consider it on a par with philosophy. He believed instead what Irenaeus had actually declared many centuries before him: that ‘the vision of God is the life of man, and the glory of God is the living man.’ Christian theology is concerned with the redemption and transformation of human nature by the Spirit of Christ, who became man so that human beings might become divine in him. Bonaventure is rightly regarded as a supreme mystical theologian, in the sense that he believed and taught that experience of the transforming love of Christ is at the heart of all Christian thought and prayer. This love constrains a person, as it did in the case of Francis, to the point of their participating spiritually in the redeeming suffering of the crucified Christ. Then the glory of God descends to transfigure a person, deifying him or her, and revealing that the soul is indeed made in the image and likeness of God and has a profound affinity with Him. Bonaventure believed strongly that human beings are called to become by grace partakers of the divine nature in union with Christ.

Bonaventure took to heart and taught assiduously that, in the words of Augustine at the beginning of his Confessions, ‘God has made us for Himself, and our hearts are empty and restless until they find their rest in Him.’ The loving call of Christ is to enable a willing return to God and this is the meaning of Christian life, thought and prayer; for Bonaventure, love always transcended learning. It is the work of reason to come to understand Christ, who is the truth, by faith as well as by thought, and so to come to perceive more deeply what is revealed by divine revelation in the Bible and mediated through the sacraments of the Church. Bonaventure had a very positive expectation of what could be accomplished by the Holy Spirit in human nature. He himself embodied the truth that he taught, being very well loved as an outstanding Christian in his own lifetime and thereafter….

Paperback version now available

See also from Douglas Dales:

Divine Remaking St. Bonaventure the Gospel of Luke, an introduction to the thought and writings of the Franciscan theologian St. Bonaventure, through his insightful commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke.

“This crucial personal testimony to Francis, who died in 1226 when Bonaventure was still a child, underpinned his vocation and labours as a Franciscan theologian and spiritual writer. In due time it would lead him to accept in 1257 the leadership of the entire Franciscan movement. In his shorter liturgical Life of St Francis, the Legenda Minor, Bonaventure declared that it was his mother’s prayer and vow that led to the miracle of his healing.4 He died on 15 July 1274, while attending as a cardinal the second Council of Lyons.”

Book launch: ‘Polis, Ontology, Ecclesial Event’ edited by Sotiris Mitralexis

We are pleased to announce the book launch of Polis, Ontology, Ecclesial Event: Engaging with Christos Yannaras’ Thought edited by Sotiris Mitralexis, a selection of essays celebrating the contribution of the Greek Orthodox theologian Christos Yannaras to theology, philosophy and political theory.

 

Polis, Ontology, Ecclesial Event: Engaging with Christos Yannaras’ Thought

Polis, Ontology, Ecclesial Event 9780227176696Christos Yannaras (born 1935 in Athens, Greece) has been proclaimed “without doubt the most important living Greek Orthodox theologian” (Andrew Louth), “contemporary Greece’s greatest thinker” (Olivier Clément), “one of the most significant Christian philosophers in Europe” (Rowan Williams).

However, until recently the English-speaking scholar did not have first-hand access to the main bulk of his work: in spite of the relatively early English translation of his The Freedom of Morality (1984), most of his books appeared in English fairly recently – such as Person and Eros (2007), Orthodoxy and the West (2006), Relational Ontology (2011) or The Schism in Philosophy (2015). In this volume, chapters shall examine numerous aspects of Yannaras’ contributions to Orthodox theology, philosophy and political thought, based on his relational ontology of the person, later popularised in the Anglophone sphere by John Zizioulas. From political theology to Heidegger and the philosophy of language, from Yannaras’ critique of religion to the patristic grounding of the theology of the person and from Orthodoxy to the West, this volume comprises a panorama of Christos Yannaras’ transdisciplinary contributions.

The Author
Sotiris Mitralexis is Seeger Fellow at Princeton University, Assistant Professor of philosophy at the City University of Istanbul and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Winchester. He holds a doctorate in Philosophy from the Freie Universitat Berlin, a doctorate in Theology from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and a degree in Classics from the University of Athens. He has taught philosophy in Istanbul, Athens and Berlin.

Associate Editors
Andreas Andreopoulos
Pui Him Ip
Isidoros Katsos
Dionysios Skliris

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The Human Icon

The Human Icon: A Comparative Study of Hindu and Orthodox Christian Beliefs
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Guns and GospelGuns and Gospel: Imperialism and Evangelism in China
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Subversive Meals

Subversive Meals: An Analysis of the Lord’s Supper under Roman Domination during the First Century
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Nationhood, Providence, and WitnessNationhood, Providence, and Witness: Israel in Modern Theology and Social Theory
By Carys Moseley

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Ecclesiology and the Scriptural Narrative of 1 Peter

Ecclesiology and the Scriptural Narrative of 1 Peter
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Perfecting PerfectionPerfecting Perfection: Essays in Honour of Henry D. Rack
Edited by Robert Webster

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An Ethiopian Reading of the Bible

An Ethiopian Reading of the Bible: Biblical Interpretation of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church
By Keon-Sang An

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The Literary Construction of the Other in the Acts of the Apostles

 

The Literary Construction of the Other in the Acts of the Apostles: Charismatics, the Jews, and Women
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Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul

Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul: Reflections on the Work of Douglas Campbell
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