History of Religion General
The Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture
The Arts of Intimacy
Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0300106092

Named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement, this lavishly illustrated work explores the vibrant interaction among different and sometimes opposing cultures, and how their contacts with one another transformed them all. It chronicles the tumultuous history of Castile in the wake of the Christian capture of the Islamic city of Tulaytula, now Toledo, in the eleventh century and traces the development of Castilian culture as it was forged in the new intimacy of Christians with the Muslims and Jews they had overcome.


The authors paint a portrait of the culture through its arts, architecture, poetry and prose, uniquely combining literary and visual arts. Concentrating on the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the book reveals the extent to which Castilian identity is deeply rooted in the experience of confrontation, interaction, and at times union with Hebrew and Arabic cultures during the first centuries of its creation. Abundantly illustrated, the volume serves as a splendid souvenir of southern Spain; beautifully written, it illuminates a culture deeply enriched by others.

Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion
Strange Gods
A Secular History of Conversion
Hardcover      ISBN: 0375423753

In a groundbreaking historical work that addresses religious conversion in the West from an uncompromisingly secular perspective, Susan Jacoby challenges the conventional narrative of conversion as a purely spiritual journey. From the transformation on the road to Damascus of the Jew Saul into the Christian evangelist Paul to a twenty-first-century "religious marketplace" in which half of Americans have changed faiths at least once, nothing has been more important in the struggle for reason than the right to believe in the God of one's choice or to reject belief in God altogether.

Focusing on the long, tense convergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--each claiming possession of absolute truth--Jacoby examines conversions within a social and economic framework that includes theocratic coercion (unto torture and death) and the more friendly persuasion of political advantage, economic opportunism, and interreligious marriage. Moving through time, continents, and cultures--the triumph of Christianity over paganism in late antiquity, the Spanish Inquisition, John Calvin's dour theocracy, Southern plantations where African slaves had to accept their masters' religion--the narrative is punctuated by portraits of individual converts embodying the sacred and profane. The cast includes Augustine of Hippo; John Donne; the German Jew Edith Stein, whose conversion to Catholicism did not save her from Auschwitz; boxing champion Muhammad Ali; and former President George W. Bush. The story also encompasses conversions to rigid secular ideologies, notably Stalinist Communism, with their own truth claims.

Finally, Jacoby offers a powerful case for religious choice as a product of the secular Enlightenment. In a forthright and unsettling conclusion linking the present with the most violent parts of the West's religious past, she reminds us that in the absence of Enlightenment values, radical Islamists are persecuting Christians, many other Muslims, and atheists in ways that recall the worst of the Middle Ages.

(With 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations.)
God: A Human History
God
A Human History
Hardcover      ISBN: 055339472x
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanity's quest to make sense of the divine in this concise and fascinating history of our understanding of God.

In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large.

In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship, Aslan narrates the history of religion as a remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions. According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, "Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we're believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves."

But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature--our compassion, our thirst for justice--but all that is bad in it: our greed, our bigotry, our penchant for violence. All these qualities inform our religions, cultures, and governments.

More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality. Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will challenge the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.

Praise for God

"Timely, riveting, enlightening and necessary."--HuffPost

"Tantalizing . . . Driven by Reza] Aslan's grace and curiosity, God . . . helps us pan out from our troubled times, while asking us to consider a more expansive view of the divine in contemporary life."--The Seattle Times

"A fascinating exploration of the interaction of our humanity and God."--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

" Aslan's] slim, yet ambitious book is] the story of how humans have created God with a capital G, and it's thoroughly mind-blowing."--Los Angeles Review of Books

"Aslan is a born storyteller, and there is much to enjoy in this intelligent survey."--San Francisco Chronicle
Genghis Khan and the Quest for God: How the World's Greatest Conqueror Gave Us Religious Freedom
Genghis Khan and the Quest for God
How the World's Greatest Conqueror Gave Us Religious Freedom
Paperback      ISBN: 0735221170
A landmark biography by the New York Times bestselling author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World that reveals how Genghis harnessed the power of religion to rule the largest empire the world has ever known.

Throughout history the world's greatest conquerors have made their mark not just on the battlefield, but in the societies they have transformed. Genghis Khan conquered by arms and bravery, but he ruled by commerce and religion. He created the world's greatest trading network and drastically lowered taxes for merchants, but he knew that if his empire was going to last, he would need something stronger and more binding than trade. He needed religion. And so, unlike the Christian, Taoist and Muslim conquerors who came before him, he gave his subjects freedom of religion. Genghis lived in the 13th century, but he struggled with many of the same problems we face today: How should one balance religious freedom with the need to reign in fanatics? Can one compel rival religions - driven by deep seated hatred--to live together in peace?

A celebrated anthropologist whose bestselling Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World radically transformed our understanding of the Mongols and their legacy, Jack Weatherford has spent eighteen years exploring areas of Mongolia closed until the fall of the Soviet Union and researching The Secret History of the Mongols, an astonishing document written in code that was only recently discovered. He pored through archives and found groundbreaking evidence of Genghis's influence on the founding fathers and his essential impact on Thomas Jefferson. Genghis Khan and the Quest for God is a masterpiece of erudition and insight, his most personal and resonant work.
Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World
Protestants
The Faith That Made the Modern World
Paperback      ISBN: 0735222827
On the 500th anniversary of Luther's theses, a landmark history of the revolutionary faith that shaped the modern world.

"Ryrie writes that his aim 'is to persuade you that we cannot understand the modern age without understanding the dynamic history of Protestant Christianity.' To which I reply: Mission accomplished."
-Jon Meacham, author of American Lion and Thomas Jefferson

Five hundred years ago a stubborn German monk challenged the Pope with a radical vision of what Christianity could be. The revolution he set in motion toppled governments, upended social norms and transformed millions of people's understanding of their relationship with God. In this dazzling history, Alec Ryrie makes the case that we owe many of the rights and freedoms we have cause to take for granted--from free speech to limited government--to our Protestant roots.

Fired up by their faith, Protestants have embarked on courageous journeys into the unknown like many rebels and refugees who made their way to our shores. Protestants created America and defined its special brand of entrepreneurial diligence. Some turned to their bibles to justify bold acts of political opposition, others to spurn orthodoxies and insight on their God-given rights. Above all Protestants have fought for their beliefs, establishing a tradition of principled opposition and civil disobedience that is as alive today as it was 500 years ago. In this engrossing and magisterial work, Alec Ryrie makes the case that whether or not you are yourself a Protestant, you live in a world shaped by Protestants.
God: A Human History
God
A Human History
Paperback      ISBN: 0553394746
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanity's quest to make sense of the divine in this concise and fascinating history of our understanding of God.

In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large.

In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship, Aslan narrates the history of religion as a remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions. According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, "Whether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether we're believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves."

But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human nature--our compassion, our thirst for justice--but all that is bad in it: our greed, our bigotry, our penchant for violence. All these qualities inform our religions, cultures, and governments.

More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality. Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will challenge the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.

Praise for God

"Timely, riveting, enlightening and necessary."--HuffPost

"Tantalizing . . . Driven by Reza] Aslan's grace and curiosity, God . . . helps us pan out from our troubled times, while asking us to consider a more expansive view of the divine in contemporary life."--The Seattle Times

"A fascinating exploration of the interaction of our humanity and God."--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

" Aslan's] slim, yet ambitious book is] the story of how humans have created God with a capital G, and it's thoroughly mind-blowing."--Los Angeles Review of Books

"Aslan is a born storyteller, and there is much to enjoy in this intelligent survey."--San Francisco Chronicle
The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions
The Great Transformation
The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions
Paperback      ISBN: 0385721242

From Karen Armstrong, the bestselling author of A History of God and The Spiral Staircase, comes this extraordinary investigation of a critical moment in the evolution of religious thought.
In the ninth century BCE, events in four regions of the civilized world led to the rise of religious traditions that have endured to the present day--development of Confucianism and Daoism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India, monotheism in Israel, and philosophical rationalism in Greece. Armstrong, one of our most prominent religious scholars, examines how these traditions began in response to the violence of their time. Studying figures as diverse as the Buddha and Socrates, Confucius and Jeremiah, Armstrong reveals how these still enduring philosophies can help address our contemporary problems.

The Great Shift: Encountering God in Biblical Times
The Great Shift
Encountering God in Biblical Times
Paperback      ISBN: 1328505928
A world-renowned scholar reveals how a pivotal transformation in spiritual experience during the biblical era made us who we are today

A great mystery lies at the heart of the Bible. Early on, people seem to live in a world entirely foreign to our own. God appears to Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and others; God buttonholes Moses and Isaiah and Jeremiah and tells them what to say. Then comes the Great Shift, and Israelites stop seeing God or hearing the divine voice. Instead, later Israelites are "in search of God," reaching out to a distant, omniscient deity in prayers, as people have done ever since. What brought about this change?
The answers come from ancient texts, archaeology and anthropology, and even modern neuroscience. They concern the origins of the modern sense of self and the birth of a worldview that has been ours ever since. James Kugel, whose strong religious faith shines through his scientific reckoning with the Bible and the ancient world, has written a masterwork that will be of interest to believers and nonbelievers alike, a profound meditation on encountering God, then and now.
Killing Jesus: A History
Killing Jesus
A History
Hardcover      ISBN: 0805098542

Millions of readers have thrilled to bestselling authors Bill O'Reilly and historian Martin Dugard's Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln, page-turning works of nonfiction that have changed the way we read history.

Now the iconic anchor of The O'Reilly Factor details the events leading up to the murder of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth. Nearly two thousand years after this beloved and controversial young revolutionary was brutally killed by Roman soldiers, more than 2.2 billion human beings attempt to follow his teachings and believe he is God. Killing Jesus will take readers inside Jesus's life, recounting the seismic political and historical events that made his death inevitable - and changed the world forever.

Protestant Reformation (Revised)
Protestant Reformation (Revised)
Paperback      ISBN: 0061148474

Originally published more than forty years ago, this important collection brings together the works and writings of the revolutionary minds behind the Protestant Reformation--and it remains a major resource for teachers, students, and history buffs alike. Over the decades, however, modern scholarship has shed new light on this tumultuous period, raising probing questions and providing new connections that have radically changed our understanding and outlook.

With this newly revised and updated edition of this essential work--now including texts written by women as well as entries dealing with popular religion--modern viewpoints are cogently addressed, while the scholarly integrity that has made this book a revered classic has been scrupulously maintained. Throughout, Hans J. Hillerbrand's basic assumption remains consistent: religion--no matter how dependent on societal forces--must be seen as the pivotal element in the story of the sixteenth century.