Ten Theology Books to Watch For – May 2018

May 10, 2018 — 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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The Morals of the Story: Good News About a Good God 

David Baggett /
MaryBeth Baggett

IVP Academic

 

What arguments best affirm the existence of God? Do our moral obligations and choices support a belief in God? For centuries, the moral argument―the affirmation that morality is best explained by the existence of God―has been a powerful apologetic tool. In this volume, husband and wife duo David Baggett and Marybeth Baggett offer a dramatic, refreshing, and even playful reconsideration of the moral argument. Tracing both its historical importance and its ongoing relevance, they contend that the moral argument helps to explain the existence of a good God and contributes to our own ongoing spiritual transformation.

 

 

Christianization and Commonwealth in Early Medieval Europe: A Ritual Interpretation 

Nathan J. Ristuccia

Oxford UP

Christianization and Commonwealth in Early Medieval Europe re-examines the alterations in Western European life that followed widespread conversion to Christianity-the phenomena traditionally termed “Christianization”. It refocuses scholarly paradigms for Christianization around the development of mandatory rituals. One prominent ritual, Rogationtide supplies an ideal case study demonstrating a new paradigm of “Christianization without religion.”

Christianization in the Middle Ages was not a slow process through which a Christian system of religious beliefs and practices replaced an earlier pagan system. In the Middle Ages, religion did not exist in the sense of a fixed system of belief bounded off from other spheres of life. Rather, Christianization was
primarily ritual performance. Being a Christian meant joining a local church community.

After the fall of Rome, mandatory rituals such as Rogationtide arose to separate a Christian commonwealth from the pagans, heretics, and Jews outside it. A Latin West between the polis and the parish had its own institution-the Rogation procession-for organizing local communities. For medieval people, sectarian borders were often flexible and rituals served to demarcate these borders. Rogationtide is an ideal case study of this demarcation, because it was an emotionally powerful feast, which combined pageantry with doctrinal instruction, community formation, social ranking, devotional exercises, and bodily mortification. As a result, rival groups quarrelled over the holiday’s meaning and procedure, sometimes violently, in order to reshape the local order and ban people and practices as
non-Christian.

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