• Humanities & Social Sciences
      November 2012

      The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus

      The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra

      by Adam C. English

      With his rosy cheeks and matching red suit—and ever-present elf and reindeer companions—Santa Claus may be the most identifiable of fantastical characters. But what do we really know of jolly old Saint Nicholas, "patron saint" of Christmastime? Ask about the human behind the suit, and the tale we know so well quickly fades into myth and folklore.In The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus, religious historian Adam English tells the true and compelling tale of Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra. Around the fourth century in what is now Turkey, a boy of humble circumstance became a man revered for his many virtues. Chief among them was dealing generously with his possessions, once lifting an entire family out of poverty with a single--and secret--gift of gold, so legend tells. Yet he was much more than virtuous. As English reveals, Saint Nicholas was of integral influence in events that would significantly impact the history and development of the Christian church, including the Council of Nicaea, the destruction of the temple to Artemis in Myra, and a miraculous rescue of three falsely accused military officers. And Nicholas became the patron saint of children and sailors, merchants and thieves, as well as France, Russia, Greece, and myriad others.Weaving together the best historical and archaeological evidence available with the folklore and legends handed down through generations, English creates a stunning image of this much venerated Christian saint. With prose as enjoyable as it is informative, he shows why the life--and death--of Nicholas of Myra so radically influenced the formation of Western history and Christian thought, and did so in ways many have never realized. ; 1. Finding St. Nicholas2. Out of a Dying World Comes a Light3. Three Gifts and One Election4. The Work of Victory5. Riots, Beheadings, and Other Near Misfortunes6. Death Is Only the BeginningNotesRecommended ReadingsIndex

    • Islam
      October 2016

      Muslims and the Making of America

      by Amir Hussain

      "There has never been an America without Muslims"—so begins Amir Hussain, one of the most important scholars and teachers of Islam in America. Hussain, who is himself an American Muslim, contends that Muslims played an essential role in the creation and cultivation of the United States. Memories of 9/11 and the rise of global terrorism fuel concerns about American Muslims. The fear of American Muslims in part stems from the stereotype that all followers of Islam are violent extremists who want to overturn the American way of life. Inherent to this stereotype is the popular misconception that Islam is a new religion to America. In Muslims and the Making of America Hussain directly addresses both of these stereotypes. Far from undermining America, Islam and American Muslims have been, and continue to be, important threads in the fabric of American life. Hussain chronicles the history of Islam in America to underscore the valuable cultural influence of Muslims on American life. He then rivets attention on music, sports, and culture as key areas in which Muslims have shaped and transformed American identity. America, Hussain concludes, would not exist as it does today without the essential contributions made by its Muslim citizens. ; Introduction: The American Ideal and Islam1. Islam in America: A Short History2. Blues for Allah: Music3. The Greatest: Sports4. American Mosques: CultureConclusion: The Poetry of Ordinary American Muslim Lives

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      August 2018

      Interpretations of Jihad in South Asia

      An Intellectual History

      by Tariq Rahman

      In the wake of radical Islamist terrorist attacks described as jihad worldwide and in South Asia, it is imperative that there should be a book-length study of this idea in this part of the world. The focus of the study is the idea of jihad with its changing interpretations mostly those available in exegetical literature of key figures in South Asia. The hermeneutic devices used to understand the meaning of the Quranic verses and the Prophetic traditions relating to jihad will be the focus of this study. The main thrust of the study is to understand how interpretations of jihad vary. It is seen as being both defensive and aggressive by traditionalists; only defensive and mainly about moral improvement by progressive Muslims; and being insurrectionist, aggressive, eternal and justifying violence against civilians by radical Islamists. One purpose of the book is to understand how the radical interpretation came to South Asia. The book also explains how theories about jihad are influenced by the political and social circumstances of the period and how these insights feed into practice legitimizing militant movements called jihad for that period.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      October 2018

      Westerweel Group: Non-Conformist Resistance against Nazi-Germany

      A Joint Rescue Effort of Dutch Idealists and Dutch-German Zionists

      by Hans Schippers

      The book about the Westerweel Group tells the fascinating story about the cooperation of some ten non-conformist Dutch socialists and a group of Palestine Pioneers who mostly had arrived in the Netherlands from Germany and Austria the late thirties. With the help of Joop Westerweel, the headmaster of a Rotterdam Montessori School, they found hiding places in the Netherlands. Later on, an escape route to France via Belgium was worked out. Posing as Atlantic Wall workers, the pioneers found their way to the south of France. With the help of the Armée Juive, a French Jewish resistance organization, some 70 pioneers reached Spain at the beginning of 1944. From here they went to Palestine. Finding and maintaining the escape route cost the members of the Westerweel Group dear. With some exceptions, all members of the group were arrested by the Germans. Joop Westerweel was executed in August 1944. Other members, both in the Netherlands and France, were send to German concentration camps, where some perished.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      August 2018

      Moses und Homer

      Griechen, Juden, Deutsche: Eine andere Geschichte der deutschen Kultur

      by Bernd Witte

      Das Buch befragt die deutsche Literatur- und Geistesgeschichte nach der Verdrängung der jüdischen Tradition und markiert die Lücken, die durch die Vertreibung der geistigen Repräsentanten des Judentums aus dem deutschen Sprachraum gerissen worden sind. Als in Deutschland gegen Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts uneingeschränkte Bewunderung für das antike Griechentum aufkam, wurde gleichzeitig das sich gerade der europäischen Aufklärung öffnende Judentum auf dem Schauplatz der Religionskritik vehement bekämpft. In diesem Kontext ist der aggressive Antijudaismus zu verstehen, mit dem sich Goethe und Schiller gegen die Sinai-Offenbarung und deren legendären Mittler Moses wandten. Beginnend mit Winckelmann hat die deutsche Klassik einen neuen Legitimationsdiskurs geschaffen, der unter Rückgriff auf den antiken Polytheismus das ‚produktive Individuum‘ und die ‚wachsende Natur‘ zu seinen zentralen Kategorien machte und damit den geltenden Monotheismus zu verdrängen suchte. Im Gegensatz dazu suchten Mendelssohn und Heine die Position einer deutsch-jüdischen Moderne zu etablieren. Das Buch verfolgt, wie der ‚Weltanschauungskampf‘ gegen den Monotheismus zum ‚völkischen‘ Antisemitismus des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts führte und in der Shoa mündete, was die Verdrängung der jüdischen Tradition aus dem kulturellen Gedächtnis der Deutschen zur Folge hatte.

    • Historical fiction
      June 2013

      Across Great Divides

      by Monique Roy

      Across Great Divides is a timeless story of the upheavals of war, the power of family, and the resiliency of human spirit. When Hitler came to power in 1933, one Jewish family refused to be destroyed and defied the Nazis only to come up against another struggle—confronting apartheid in South Africa. The novel chronicles the story of Eva and Inge, two identical twin sisters growing up in Nazi Germany. As Jews, life becomes increasingly difficult for them and their family under the Nazi regime. After witnessing the horrors of Kristallnacht, they realize they must leave their beloved homeland if they hope to survive. They travel to Antwerp, Belgium, and then on to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, chasing the diamond trade in hopes of finding work for their father, a diamond merchant. Finally, they find a home in beautiful South Africa and begin to settle down. But just as things begin to feel safe, their new home becomes caught up in it’s own battles of bigotry and hate under the National Party’s demand for an apartheid South Africa. Eva and Inge wonder if they will ever be allowed to live in peace, though they cling to the hope for a better day when there will be “an understanding of the past, compassion for all humanity, and …hope and courage to move forward across great divides.” Worldwide rights are available for this novel. I would like to sell Across Great Divides in Europe, Africa and Asia. The readership for Across Great Divides are history buffs, both female and male, and all ages, from late teens through adult.

    • Literary Fiction

      Shadow of the Piper

      by L. P. Hoffman

      The Pied Piper still plays his tune, and in his shadow, many fall. When a disturbed teenager arrives at the Pittsburgh Rescue Mission, Cali turns things upside down by claiming to know “secrets” about a young evangelist’s shadowy past. The deranged girl lures Jesse Berry across the country only to slip away after they reach their destination. Hamlin, Montana, is not the quaint mining town it appears to be. Something sinister moves below the surface—the youth are at risk—and someone there wants Jesse dead. A few years back I was doing a book signing at a local book store. It was that day that I learned about a horrific quadruple murder that shocked my community. As the details emerged about the murderer’s involvement in the occult, I was reminded that these activities are perpetuated by a culture of secrets. It is my heart’s desire to reach those lured into this lifestyle. Why? Because I was once one of them and I know the collateral damage it can cause. Shadow of the Piper won Gold in Foreward Reviews 2013 IndieFab Book of the Year Awards for Adult Fiction-Religious and was named a Finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Contest for two categories—General Fiction/Novel (under 80,000 words) and Second Novel.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      May 2018

      Portraying the Land

      Hebrew Maps of the Land of Israel from Rashi to the Early 20th Century

      by Rehav Rubin

      The book presents and discusses a large corpus of Jewish maps of the Holy Land that were drawn by Jewish scholars from the 11th to the 20th century, and thus fills a significant lacuna both in the history of cartography and in Jewish studies. The maps depict the biblical borders of the Holy Land, the allotments of the tribes, and the forty years of wanderings in the desert. Most of these maps are in Hebrew although there are several in Yiddish, Ladino and in European languages. The book focuses on four aspects: it presents an up-to-date corpus of known maps of various types and genres; it suggests a classification of these maps according to their source, shape and content; it presents and analyses the main topics that were depicted in the maps; and it puts the maps in their historical and cultural contexts, both within the Jewish world and the sphere of European cartography of their time. The book is an innovative contribution to the fields of history of cartography and Jewish studies. It is written for both professional readers and the general public. The Hebrew edition (2014), won the Izhak Ben-Zvi Prize.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      September 2018

      Sceptical Paths

      Scepticisms from Antiquity through Early Modern Period and Beyond

      by Giuseppe Veltri, Racheli Haliva, Stephan Franz Schmid, Emidio Spinelli

      The series Studies and Texts in Scepticism contains monographs, translations, and collected essays exploring scepticism in its dual manifestation as a purely philosophical tradition and as a set of sceptical strategies, concepts, and attitudes in the cultural field - especially in religions, perhaps most notably in Judaism. In such cultural contexts scepticism manifests as a critical attitude towards different dimensions and systems of secular or revealed knowledge and towards religious and political authorities. It is not merely an intellectual or theoretical worldview, but a critical form of life that expresses itself in such diverse phenomena as religion, literature, and society. Further book series of the Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies are Jewish Thought, Philosophy, and Religion and the Yearbook of the Maimonides Centre for Advances Studies.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      August 2018

      Clothing Sacred Scriptures

      Book Art and Book Religion in Christian, Islamic and Jewish Cultures

      by Barbara Schellewald, David Ganz

      According to a longstanding interpretation, book religions are agents of textuality and logocentrism. This volume inverts the traditional perspective: its focus is on the strong dependency between scripture and aesthetics, holy books and material artworks, sacred texts and ritual performances. The contributions, written by a group of international specialists in Western, Byzantine, Islamic and Jewish Art, are committed to a comparative and transcultural approach. The authors reflect upon the different strategies of »clothing« sacred texts with precious materials and elaborate forms. They show how the pretypographic cultures of the Middle Ages used book ornaments as media for building a close relation between the divine words and their human audience. By exploring how art shapes the religious practice of books, and how the religious use of books shapes the evolution of artistic practices this book contributes to a new understanding of the deep nexus between sacred scripture and art.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      May 2018

      Reden und Schriften zum Zionismus

      by Max Nordau, Karin Tebben, Friederike Mayer-Lindenberg, Ralf Mende

      Max Nordau (1849–1923), Arzt, Schriftsteller und Kulturkritiker, geboren in Pest als Sohn des Rabbiners Gabriel Südfeld, begegnet Anfang der 90er Jahre Theodor Herzl, dessen Bemühungen um die Gründung eines Judenstaates er vorbehaltlos unterstützt. Rasch wird Nordau neben Herzl zu einer Führungsperson der Zionistischen Bewegung: Auf dem I. Zionistenkongress 1897 ist er einer der maßgeblichen Initiatoren des Basler Programms, das eine gesicherte Heimstätte für alle Juden fordert. Immer wieder tritt er als brillanter, oft provokativ agierender Redner auf und erweist sich, vielfach angefochten, als unerschrockener Vordenker, Kämpfer und Mahner auf dem Weg der Juden zu einem eigenen Staat. Mit den in diesem Band erstmals umfassend präsentierten und ausführlich kommentierten Reden und Schriften Nordaus wird die Grundlage geschaffen zu einer historiographischen Würdigung eines Zionisten der ersten Stunde.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      August 2018

      Seder Eliyahu

      A Narratological Reading

      by Constanza Cordoni

      The book is concerned with a so called ethical midrash, Seder Eliyahu (also known as Tanna debe Eliyahu), a post-talmudic work probably composed in the ninth century. It provides a survey of the research on this late midrash followed by five studies of different aspects related to what is designated as the work’s narratology. These include a discussion of the problem of the apparent pseudo-epigraphy of the work and of the multiple voices of the text; a description of the various narrative types which the work, itself as a whole of non-narrative character, makes use of; a detailed treatment of Seder Eliyahu’s parables and most characteristic first person narratives (an extremely unusual form of narrative discourse in rabbinic literature); as well as a final chapter dedicated to selected women stories in this late midrash. As it emerges from the survey in chapter 1 such a narratologically informed study of Seder Eliyahu represents a new approach in the research on a work that is clearly the product of a time of transition in Jewish literature.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      September 2018

      Zionism, the German Empire, and Africa

      Jewish Metamorphoses and the Colors of Difference

      by Axel Stähler

      Zionism, the German Empire, and Africa explores the impact on the self-perception and culture of early Zionism of contemporary constructions of racial difference and of the experience of colonialism in imperial Germany. More specifically, interrogating in a comparative analysis material ranging from mainstream satirical magazines and cartoons to literary, aesthetic, and journalistic texts, advertisements, postcards and photographs, monuments and campaign medals, ethnographic exhibitions and publications, popular entertainment, political speeches, and parliamentary reports, the book situates the short-lived but influential Zionist satirical magazine Schlemiel (1903–07) in an extensive network of nodal clusters of varying and shifting significance and with differently developed strains of cohesion or juncture that roughly encompasses the three decades from 1890 to 1920.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      October 2018

      Beyond the Babylonian Trauma

      Theories of Language and Modern Culture in the German-Jewish Context

      by Gerald Hartung

      Hartung works out both the linguistic and philosophy of language setting as well as socio-political and cultural implications of the radical critique of language developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by philosophers as diverse as Steinthal, Cohen, Simmel or Cassirer. He argues that the theories pleaded for a plurality of linguistic and cultural forms as well as for a new logic beyond the traditional nature/culture partition.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      October 2018

      Sharing and Hiding Religious Knowledge In Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

      by Mladen Popović, Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta, Clare Elena Wilde

      Few studies focus on the modes of knowledge transmission (or concealment), or the trends of continuity or change from the Ancient to the Late Antique worlds. In Antiquity, knowledge was cherished as a scarce good, cultivated through the close teacher-student relationship and often preserved in the closed circle of the initated. From Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform texts to a Shi'ite Islamic tradition, this volume explores how and why knowledge was shared or concealed by diverse communities in a range of Ancient and Late Antique cultural contexts. From caves by the Dead Sea to Alexandria, both normative and heterodox approaches to knowledge in Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities are explored. Biblical and qur'anic passages, as well as gnostic, rabbinic and esoteric Islamic approaches are discussed. In this volume, a range of scholars from Assyrian studies to Jewish, Christian and Islamic studies examine diverse approaches to, and modes of, knowledge transmission and concealment, shedding new light on both the interconnectedness, as well as the unique aspects, of the monotheistic faiths, and their relationship to the ancient civilisations of the Fertile Crescent.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      September 2018

      Uncovering Ancient Editing

      Documented Evidence of Changes in Joshua 24 and Related Texts

      by Ville Mäkipelto

      The Hebrew Bible is a product of ancient editing, but to what degree can this editing be uncovered? “Uncovering Ancient Editing” argues that divergent textual witnesses of the same text, so-called documented evidence, should be the starting point for such an endeavor. The book presents a fresh analysis of Josh 24 and related texts as a test case for refining our knowledge of how scribes edited texts. Josh 24 is envisioned as a gradually growing Persian period text, whose editorial history can be reconstructed with the help of documented evidence preserved in the MT, LXX, and other ancient sources. This study has major implications for both the study of the book of Joshua and text-historical methodology in general.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      August 2019

      Abraham Abulafia's Esotericism

      Secrets and Doubt

      by Moshe Idel

      This book focuses on Abraham Abulafia's esoteric thought in relation to Maimonides, Maimonideans, and Islamic thought in the line of Leo Strauss' theory of the history of philosophy. A survey of Abulafia's sources leads into an analysis of the esoteric meaning on the famous parable of the three rings, considering also the possible connection between this parable, which Abdulafia inserted into a book dedicated to his student, the 13th century rabbi Nathan the wise, and the Lessing's Play "Nathan the Wise." The book also examines Abulafia's universalistic understanding of the nature of the Bible, the Hebrew language, and the people of Israel (or the Sinaic revelation). The universal aspects of Abulafia’s thought have been put in relief against the more widespread Kabbalistic views which are predominantly particularistic. A number of texts have also been identified here for the first time as authored by Abulafia.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      October 2018

      Jüdische Expatriates in China und Hong Kong nach 1976

      Religiöse Dynamik im Zeichen der Expat-Migration

      by Alina Pătru

      Die Arbeit bietet die erste umfangreiche, empirisch fundierte Religionsgeschichtsschreibung der jüdischen Gemeinden in China und Hong Kong nach der Kulturrevolution. Zahlreiche Synagogen entstehen, das jüdisch-religiöse Leben pluralisiert und partikularisiert sich wie vorher noch nie, trotz chinesischer Vorsicht gegenüber ausländischen Religionen und geschichtlicher Ereignisse wie der Übergabe Hong Kongs an die VR China. Zugleich ist das Werk auch die erste religionswissenschaftliche Beschäftigung mit Religion und Expatriates, m.a.W. mit Religion unter den Bedingungen kurzfristiger, nicht auf Integration hin ausgerichteter Migration. Die aufgeführten religiösen Transformationen beweisen, dass die religiöse Einstellung der Menschen in der Ferne eine Eigendynamik entwickelt und sich nicht nur als Nebenwirkung im Prozess der Verfolgung anderer Zielsetzungen wie die Integration oder der Kampf um staatliche Anerkennung verändert. Die Ergebnisse werfen auch allgemein ein neues Licht auf diasporabezogene Prozesse und erweitern klassische Konzepte wie ‚Heimat‘ oder ‚diasporisches Bewusstsein‘.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      July 2018

      Imagery Techniques in Modern Jewish Mysticism

      by Daniel Reiser

      This book investigates mystical-psychological techniques in twentieth century hasidism. My research demonstrates that in contrast to the prevalent academic position, which asserts that late hasidism was a retrogressive movement, fixated on preservation and lacking innovation, in this period there was a pivotal development in hasidism. After defining mysticism as the ‘empowerment’ of the experience of divine presence and aspiration for ecstatic-mystical prophecy – I show that such mystical phenomena existed in late hasidism and that imagery techniques were especially used for realizing these mystical experiences. By examining several mystics I prove that these imagery exercises have the characteristics of a full screenplay, a type of ‘waking dream’ or feature film. Imagery techniques, by facilitating ‘empowerment’ and being the foundation of prophecy, are mystical techniques par excellence. I determine that these developments did not occur within a cultural vacuum but rather parallel simultaneous development in Europe. The purpose of this book is to illuminate this remarkable era of Eastern European hasidism and expand the current field of research for future investigation.

    • Humanities & Social Sciences
      August 2018

      Alienated Wisdom

      Enquiry into Jewish Philosophy and Scepticism

      by Giuseppe Veltri

      The present study addresses problems of an epistemological nature which hinge on the question of how to define Jewish thought. It will take its start in an ancient question, that of the relationship between Jewish culture, Greek philosophy, and then Greco-Roman (and Christian) thought in connection with the query into the history and genealogy of wisdom and knowledge. Our journey into the history of the denomination ‘Jewish philosophy’ will include a leg that will lead us to certain declarations of political, moral, and scientific principles, and then on to the birth of what is called philosophia perennis or, in Christian circles, prisca theologia. Our subject of inquiry will thus be the birth of the concept of Jewish philosophy, Jewish theology and Jewish philosophy of religion. A special emphasis will fall on the topic treated in the last part of this study: Jewish scepticism, a theme that involves a philosophical attitude founded on dialectical "enquiry", as the etymology of the Greek word skepsis properly means.

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