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
See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
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A commonly held impression is that Pope Francis is a compassionate shepherd and determined leader but that he lacks the intellectual depth of his recent predecessors. Massimo Borghesi’s The Mind of Pope Francis: Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s Intellectual Journey dismantles that image.
Borghesi recounts and analyzes, for the first time, Bergoglio’s intellectual formation, exploring the philosophical, theological, and spiritual principles that support the profound vision at the heart of this pope’s teaching and ministry. Central to that vision is the church as a coincidentia oppositorum, holding together what might seem to be opposing and irreconcilable realities. Among his guiding lights have been the Jesuit saints, Ignatius and Peter Faber; philosophers Gaston Fessard, Romano Guardini, and Alberto Methol Ferrer; and theologians Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar.
Recognizing how these various strands have come together to shape the mind and heart of Jorge Mario Bergoglio offers essential insights into who he is and the way he is leading the church. Notably, this groundbreaking book is informed by four interviews provided to the author, via audio recordings, by the pope himself on his own intellectual formation, major portions of which are published here for the first time.
Contemporary Christians interact with art very differently than Christians of centuries past. Christian art was never intended for mere enjoyment, but was used to express the most important features of Christian faith and to suggest models for Christian practices. In The Art of Christian Reflection, art historian Heidi Hornik reconnects art to ethics, beauty to behavior, and form to function in classical artwork.
Over eighty different pieces of art―paintings, sculptures, and architecture―are the subject of Hornik’s careful analysis and commentary, which highlights the ethical implications inherent to each work. Specifically, Hornik explores how art may foster Christian virtues such as forgiveness, patience, and generosity. Hornik also discusses art’s influence on moral issues such as racism, prisons, violence, poverty, and environmentalism as well as historic Christian praxes such as prayer, work, Bible study, and worship.
The Art of Christian Reflection paints the church’s art as not only a courageous witness to the truth and reality of the gospel, but as an act of discipleship. It reveals the ethics of works not associated with the church but of value to contemporary Christians. Art can lead the faithful who reflect on it to become not only “hearers” and “seers” of the Word―but “doers” as well.
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