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Series: Vernon Series in Philosophy of Religion

Film, Philosophy and Religion

Edited by William H. U. Anderson, Concordia University of Edmonton in Alberta

ISBN: 978-1-64889-292-9
Availability: Available 4 weeks
$91 £71 €78

Hollywood is a $40 billion annual business, one that is highly influential in culture. If we want to know who we are as individuals and a society, what we believe and what we value, we need to know and understand Hollywood and film. Make no mistake, Hollywood is neither philosophically, politically, nor morally neutral; many studies show how movies “affect” us long before we have thought it through. In other words, Hollywood “smuggles” all kinds of ideas into our minds and hearts without us even knowing it. While Hollywood may be the biggest and most influential in the world, this book will demonstrate the growing international influence of film from India (Bollywood), Nigeria (Nollywood), Zimbabwe (Zollywood) and Turkey (no nickname yet). ‘Film, Philosophy and Religion’ explicitly and implicitly takes a philosophical approach to analyzing film theoretically and methodologically. The book’s scope goes from the “Horror of Evil in Ridley Scott’s Alien Universe” to “Love That Can Thaw a Frozen Heart: The Philosophy of Love in the Frozen Films” (Disney Princess Narratives). There are topic and film-specific chapters that take a theological approach, and others that explore ideas like Affect, Axiology, Art Reflecting the Artist and Transcendence (Spirituality) of Film. Hermeneutics also have a central role in the book, including films based on biblical texts that act as interpretations of the texts and fill in the blanks (albeit speculatively). Chapters also explore the philosophy of aesthetics and film realism which end with theology, while other chapters explore the incompatibility of science with religion, with a chapter on the timely topic of rape in Turkish film. The diverse perspectives from theist to atheist—and everything in-between—are sure to spark thinking and generate talking points that provide something for everyone in an accessible format. It will be of great interest to university students and professors, scholars, seminaries, and the general public.

Traditional Islamic Ethics: The Concept of Virtue and its Implications for Contemporary Human Rights

Irfaan Jaffer

June 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-038-3
Availability: In stock
182pp. ¦ $49 £36 €41

"Traditional Islamic Ethics: The Concept of Virtue and its Implications for Contemporary Human Rights" concentrates on the subject of Islam and modernity and Islam and human rights, a topic that has become popular and relevant with the rise of globalization and the interest in Islamic extremism and human rights. This book distinguishes itself by operating within the framework of the traditional school of thought or ‘Islamic Traditionalism’. In doing so, it draws on Islam’s 1400-year-old spiritual and intellectual tradition and its understanding of ethics and virtue, along with truth, justice, freedom, and equality. This book argues that Islam’s pre-modern approach is indispensable in creating an organic and integral human rights model for Muslims. The first section argues that the current understanding and implementation of international human rights needs to be more flexible and inclusive if it truly aims to be universal in scope; this is because ‘The Universal Declaration’ and its offshoots are still underpinned by secular-liberal principles, and therefore, are at odds with other cultural traditions. To this end, this section critically explores popular human rights histories and contemporary ethical theories that attempt to justify human rights. The second section of this book provides a general overview on the subject of ‘Islam and Human Rights’. After explaining some of the main problems, this section examines various solutions offered by Muslim academics and scholars, focusing on four different types of Muslim responses to modernity and human rights: liberal, progressive, traditional, and fundamentalist. It concludes that there are ‘spaces of convergence’ between modern-liberal ethics and traditional Islamic virtue ethics while maintaining that there are also fundamental differences and that these differences should be welcomed by human rights theorists and advocates. The book’s intended audience is primarily post-graduate students and professional academics in the fields of Human Rights, Ethical Philosophy, and Islamic Studies (modern Islamic thought, Sufism, Islamic theology, Islamic Philosophy, and Traditionalism). It will also appeal to anyone interested in the subject of Islam and modernity in general and Islam and human rights in particular.

Biblical Exegesis in African Context

Frederick Mawusi Amevenku, Stellenbosch University, South Africa and Isaac Boaheng, University of Free State, South Africa

June 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-176-2
Availability: In stock
135pp. ¦ $37 £27 €31

‘Biblical Exegesis in African Context’ explores how the Church in Africa can affirm its uniqueness in terms of the African identity and experiences, and at the same time, remain faithful to the gospel message. The volume begins with an explanation of exegesis and hermeneutics, and the agenda for the rest of the book is set. The second chapter deals with textual criticism, which is the task of determining the originality of a biblical text. In chapter three, issues related to the context of the text are considered, after which the volume proceeds to examine the various literary forms present in the Bible— prominent among them being— Narrative, Law, Poetry, Prophecy, Wisdom Literature, Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles and Revelation. The authors then dedicate the next chapter to discussions on socio-rhetorical interpretation. The final chapters of the book deal with matters solely related to the context of Africa; this part intends to equip readers to be able to interpret the Bible from African cultural perspectives and then apply the gospel message meaningfully to the life of African Christians. Chapter seven deals with the emergence and historical development of African Biblical Studies (ABS), noting its relevance and how Africans can benefit from it. The main contention of the chapter is that Africans will better understand and apply God’s word to their lives if they read the Scriptures in an African way. The volume then explores how African languages can be used to derive the meaning of scripture and apply it to real-life situations. Here, the authors contribute to the development of MTBH by developing a methodological framework for this interpretative tool. The next chapter of the volume deals with mother-tongue theologizing in Ghana. The final chapter considers the legitimacy of female leadership in the Church within the African context through the examination of two Pauline texts. This volume will be of interest to undergraduate and graduate seminary students, students of Biblical Interpretation in religions departments, as well as practicing pastors.

Finding Peaks and Valleys in a Flat World

Goodness, Truth, and Meaning in the Midst of Today’s Mad Chase for Prosperity and Instant Feedback

Mark Ellingsen, Interdenominational Theological Center

November 2020 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-108-3
Availability: In stock
90pp. ¦ $29 £22 €25

The flat world of our globalized economic order—with its information technology mandating the need for the labor force to compete globally—has led to turmoil, injustice, and growing unhappiness in our everyday lives. We need a way to find some mountaintops and fulfillment in our flat world, to have a sense that some moments can have eternal significance. Søren Kierkegaard, forerunner of Existentialism, provides us with a vision of life to help us cope and give us joy. Along the way, we’ll see how a lot of his insights connect with cutting-edge findings on brain research about the biological dynamics of joy and fulfillment. Finding Peaks and Valleys in a Flat World will be of interest to undergraduate Philosophy and Religion students as well as Kierkegaard specialists. It will also be a good reference work for people interested in social analyses and theologians of every denominational affiliation.

Technology and Theology

Edited by William H. U. Anderson, Concordia University of Edmonton in Alberta

August 2020 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-112-0
Availability: In stock
350pp. ¦ $64 £48 €55

Technology is growing at an exponential rate vis-à-vis humanity’s ability to control it. Moreover, the numerous ethical issues that technology raises are also troubling. These statements, however, may be alarmist—since Telus would tell us “The Future is Friendly”. The Modernist vision of the future was utopic, for instance Star Trek of the 1960s. But postmodern views, such as are found in Blade Runner 2049, are dystopic. Theology is in a unique interdisciplinary position to deal with the many issues, pro and con, that technology raises. Even theologians like Origen in the third century and Aquinas in the thirteenth century made forays into Artificial Intelligence and surrounding issues (they just didn’t know it at the time). Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Transhumanism raise questions about what it means to be human. What is consciousness? What is soul? What are life and death? Can technology really save us and give us eternal life? Theology is in a unique position to handle these questions and issues. This book also has practical applications in terms of ecclesiology (church) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic—both in terms of what it means to be a church and in terms of the sacraments or ordinances. Is there such a thing as a “Virtual Church” or must we gather physically to constitute one? Are Baptism and Communion legitimate if one is not physically in a church building but are “online”? This book struggles with these and many other questions which will help the scholar or reader make up their own minds, however tentatively.

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