Ten Theology Books to Watch For – July 2017

July 5, 2017 — Leave a comment

 

Here are a some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:

* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology

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If I Give My Soul: Faith Behind Bars in Rio de Janeiro

Andrew Johnson

Oxford UP

Pentecostal Christianity is flourishing inside the prisons of Rio de Janeiro. To find out why, Andrew Johnson dug deep into the prisons themselves. He began by spending two weeks living in a Brazilian prison as if he were an inmate: sleeping in the same cells as the inmates, eating the same food, and participating in the men’s daily routines as if he were incarcerated. And he returned many times afterward to observe prison churches’ worship services, which were led by inmates who had been voted into positions of leadership by their fellow prisoners. He accompanied Pentecostal volunteers when they visited cells that were controlled by Rio’s most dominant criminal gang to lead worship services, provide health care, and deliver other social services to the inmates. Why does this faith resonate so profoundly with the incarcerated? Pentecostalism, argues Johnson, is the “faith of the killable people” and offers ex-criminals and gang members the opportunity to positively reinvent their public personas. If I Give My Soul is a deeply personal look at the relationship between the margins of Brazilian society and the Pentecostal faith, both behind bars and in the favelas, Rio de Janeiro’s peripheral neighborhoods. Based on his intimate relationships with the figures in this book, Johnson makes a passionate case that Pentecostal practice behind bars is an act of political radicalism as much as a spiritual experience.

 

Mimetic Theory and Biblical Interpretation: Reclaiming the Good News of the Gospel

Michael Hardin

Cascade Books

For close to two thousand years, Christian theology has been captivated by a sacrificial rendering of the Gospel that renders God as retributive, arbitrary, and Janus-faced. In the past fifty years a non-sacrificial way of perceiving the Gospel, God, and the mission and message of Jesus has challenged this sacrificial hegemony. Now what began as a trickle in the 1960s has burst the dam and the Gospel is on a collision course with Christianity. What are some of the implications of this moment? What is the integral cohesion in a non-sacrificial theology, ethics, and spirituality? What does Christian doctrine look like if ones removes retributive economies of exchange?

 

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