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
The Cosmic Serpent
By Jeremy Narby
Whilst living amongst Peruvian Indians, anthropologist Jeremy Narby learned of their phenomenal knowledge of plants and biochemical interactions, gained under the influence of the hallucinogen ayahuasca. Despite his initial scepticism, Narby found himself engaged in an increasingly obsessive quest. He researched cutting-edge scholarship in subjects as diverse as molecular biology, shamanism, neurology and mythology, which led him inexorably to the conclusion that the Indians' claims were literally true: to a consciousness prepared with drugs, biochemical knowledge could indeed be transmitted, through DNA itself.