Bringing in the Sheaves
By Richard Coles
After a life of sex and drugs and the Communards - brilliantly recounted in the highly acclaimed first volume of his memoirs FATHOMLESS RICHES - the Reverend Richard Coles went on to devote his life to God and Christianity. He is also a much-loved broadcaster, presenting SATURDAY LIVE on Radio 4 and giving us regular reason to PAUSE FOR THOUGHT on Radio 2. What is life like for the parson in Britain today? For centuries the Church calendar - and the Church minister - gave character and personality to British life. Today, however, as the shape of the year has become less distinct and faith no longer as privileged or persuasive, that figure has become far more marginal. In BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES, Reverend Coles answers this question. From his ordination during the season of Petertide, through Advent and Christmas to Lent and Easter, he gives us a unique insight into his daily experience in the ministry, with all the joy, drama, difficulty and humour which life - and indeed death - serves up in varying measures. Written with extraordinary charm and erudition, BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES features a multitude of characters and events from parish life against a backdrop of the Christian calendar.
The Age of Nothing
By Peter Watson
The closing months of 2008 saw the world's nations united in financial uncertainty. Amid endless reports of collapsing stock markets, failed banks, fiscal fraud and snowballing unemployment, THE AGE OF NOTHING offers a compelling insight into the demise of capitalism and the beginning of a new era.Peter Watson's scintillating thesis argues that the unprecedented credit crunch of 2008 was the result of a fundamental change in the fabric of society - one that became truly visible only as it reached its culmination.In a commanding narrative, Watson provides a historical perspective on the shift in our attitudes towards capitalism, while exploring the philosophical roots that underpin it. Of central importance in Watson's theory is Nietzsche's warning regarding mankind's responsibility for 'the death of God' - and the consequences thereof. Nietzsche's views on the frailty of human values in a world bereft of religious faith were echoed by writers including Tolstoy, Marx and Kandinsky - and his chilling message went on to resonate with thinkers throughout the 20th century. When Max Weber called the modern world 'disenchanted', and argued that society must choose to create a new value system based on knowledge or else surrender and embrace a religious faith, he was the latest in a long line of intellectuals attempting to address the problem Nietzsche had laid bare.With the arrival of THE AGE OF NOTHING, the line continues. The work fills a crucial gap in our intellectual history and serves as a comprehensive study of society's current predicament - as well as a timely answer to the question of what to do next.
By A Cohen
"While there is now no lack of books which regale the English reader with selections from the Talmud, tales from the Talmud and wise sayings of the Rabbis, there is no work which attempts a comprehensive survey of the doctrine of this important branch of Jewish literature. To supply that want is the task undertaken in the present volume. Its aim is to provide a summary of the teachings of the Talmud on Religion, Ethics, Folk-lore, and Jurisprudence."The Rev. Dr. A. Cohen, 1931
The Quest For God
By Paul Johnson
A leading historian examines his faith in God, in the light of the historical evidence and his own personal experiences.
The Catholic Church
By Hans Küng
A landmark short history of the Catholic Church by the world's greatest living Christian theologian and historian.Hans Kung describes the history of the Roman Catholic Church from its origins in St Paul's Rome, through the disputes of the medieval era to the modern world. He examines the historic tension in the Church between pluralism and exclusivity; how the role of the Pope has changed; the motivations of the great reforming pontiffs; the evolving functions of the bishops and cardinals; the church's enthusiasm for missionary activity; the origins of the Marian cult; and how the shock waves of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation can still be felt today. The book concludes with a searching assessment of how the Catholic faith confronts the immense challenges - from science, from the empowerment of women, from those seeking reform of the Church's strictures against abortion and contraception - in the new millennium.'The sweep is vast and the tale told with pace and passion' Financial Times
How Jesus Became Christian
By Barrie Wilson
How the early Christians rewrote history, turning a Jewish teacher and messiah into a 'Christian' man-deity, bringing eternal life to all who believeWe often forget the undeniable fact that Jesus was Jewish. He lived and died a Jew, teaching the religion of his forbears and living by the Torah. After his death there was a 'Jesus movement' led by Jesus' brother James in Jerusalem and a 'Christ movement' led by Paul (who never met Jesus) in the Diaspora. The Christ movement deliberately sought to replace and destroy the Jesus movement.The battles of the Jewish community against the Romans, and the chaos after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70, helped Paul and his party to seduce Jesus' followers away from the strictures of Judaism. Having killed off the historical Jesus, the new Christians turned the religion away from a traditional emphasis on behaviour into the most successful personality cult in recorded history.
Secrets of the Lost Symbol
By Dan Burstein, Arne de Keijzer, Sean Barrett, Sean Barrett
Delve into a whole new world of secret societies, ancient mysteries, hidden symbols, new-age philosophy and cutting-edge science... Discover: the role the Freemasons played in US history; the 'real' Katherine Solomon; the true background of the 'Ancient Mysteries'; the reality of Noetic science and much more...Presenting ideas from world renowned historians, code-breakers, symbologists, theologians, philosophers and scientists, Burstein and de Keijzer break through the web of conspiracies, mythologies, encrypted signs and alternate histories.SECRETS OF THE LOST SYMBOL is a must-read for anyone who wants to separate reality, speculation, fact and fiction in Dan Brown's global phenomenon.Read by Sean Barrett(p) 2010 Orion Publishing Group
Secrets of Mary Magdalene
By Dan Burstein
A dazzling look at the most elusive figure in Christ's lifeMary Magdalene was a key figure in Christ's life. She was present at his Crucifixion and she was also the first person to see him resurrected. According to Dan Brown's multi-million selling THE DA VINCI CODE, she was also his wife and the mother of his children. In the Gospels, she is described as an outcast and a harlot. This may be due to the disciples' jealousy of Jesus' love for Mary and the closeness of his relationship with her that was not replicated in his relationships with them. In SECRETS OF MARY MAGDALENE, Dan Burstein explodes the myths and analyses who Mary Magdalene was, the true nature of her relationship with Christ and her role in the Christian faith. Did Mary write her own Gospel? If so, what did it say? Where did she come from? Was she Jewish? How did she live? So many questions exist about this lady, Google can find mention of her on 1,740,000 sites in 0.3 seconds. This book will find the answers.
The Greeks And Greek Love
By James Davidson
A radical reappraisal of homosexuality in Ancient Greece, by a young historian described as 'the best thing to happen to ancient history for decades' (Andrew Roberts, MAIL ON SUNDAY)Kenneth Dover's 1978 GREEK HOMOSEXUALITY remains the most recent single-volume treatment of the subject as a whole. Drawing on fifteen years of ensuing research, James Davidson rejects Dover's excessively theoretical approach, using a wide variety of sources unknown to him - court cases, romantic novels, satirical plays and poems - to present a view of the subject that, in contrast to Dover and to Foucault, stresses the humanity of the ancient Greeks, and how they lived their loves and pleasures, rather than their moral codes and the theorising of philosophers.Homosexuality in Ancient Greece remains a central area of debate in the classics, in ancient history and lesbian and gay studies. Greek civilisation centrally underpins our own, providing a basis of so much of the west's culture and philosophy, yet the Greeks were more tolerant of homosexuality than virtually any other culture, certainly than the western civilisations that followed. The extent to which Greek attitudes to sexuality and in particular their privileging of 'Greek Love' were comparable and different to our own underlies the continuing debate over the formation of sexuality and the much wider question of the roles of nature and nurture in the formation of human behaviour and personality.
God Is Not Great
By Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens
In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which the heavens are replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix.Read by the author.(p) 2008 Orion Publishing Group
Why make the earth, the solar system, our galaxy and all the rest when the Garden of Eden was all that was wanted? And then there's lifespan. During long periods of human history, the life expectancy of men was a mere 22 years and children were lucky to toddle, let alone grow up. Why the waste? And shouldn't we sue God for sinus blockages, hernias, appendix flare-ups and piles, not to mention bad backs?Using all sorts of examples from the natural and scientific world Robyn Williams takes on the stalking monster of fundamentalist religion and creationism in a short, wicked and witty debunk of intelligent design. This is a book to infuriate the Christian fundamentalists and amuse the rest of us.
By Karen Armstrong
One of the world's foremost commentators on religious affairs on the history (and destiny) of the world's most misunderstood religion.In the public mind, Islam is a religion of extremes: it is the world's fastest growing faith; more than three-quarters of the world's refugees are Islamic; it has produced government by authoritarian monarchies in Saudi Arabia and ultra-republicans in Iran. Whether we are reading about civil war in Algeria or Afghanistan, the struggle for the soul of Turkey, or political turmoil in Pakistan or Malaysia, the Islamic context permeates all these situations.Karen Armstrong's elegant and concise book traces how Islam grew from the other religions of the book, Judaism and Christianity; introduces us to the character of Muhammed; and demonstrates that for much of its history, the religion has been a force for enlightenment that promoted liberties for women and allowed the arts and sciences to flourish.ISLAM shows how this progressive legacy is today often set aside as the faith struggles to come to terms with the economic and political weakness of most of its believers and with the forces of modernity itself.
A new edition of one of the world's most important and influential booksThe Koran, the holy scripture of Islam, is the record of Muhammad's oral teaching delivered between the years immediately preceding the Hegira in AD 622 and the Prophet's death in AD 632.It has exerted untold influence upon the history of mankind. Apart from its specifically religious content, inspiring the triumphant arms of Islam throughout vast areas of Asia, Africa and southern Europe, it was the starting point of a new literary and philosophical movement which powerfully affected the most cultivated minds among both Christians and Jews in the Middle Ages; and the movement inaugurated has resulted in some of the finest products of genius and learning.Alan Jones has restored the traditional ordering of the Suras, enabling the reader to trace the development of the Prophet's mind from the early flush of inspiration to his later roles of warrior, politician and founder of an empire.