American Academy of Religion Conference: A Virtual Exhibit

Please enjoy this Virtual Book Exhibit and receive a 30% discount on the books listed below using the discount code S23XAAR and is good 11/18/23 through 12/21/23.

cover for Interiority and Law: Bahya ibn Paquda and the Concept of Inner Commandments | Omer Michaelis
Interiority and Law
Bahya ibn Paquda and the Concept of Inner Commandments
Omer Michaelis

Interiority and Law presents a groundbreaking reassessment of a medieval Jewish classic, Baḥya ibn Paquda's Guide to the Duties of the Hearts. Michaelis reads this work anew as a revolutionary intervention in Jewish law, or halakha. Overturning perceptions of Baḥya as the shaper of an ethical-religious form of life that exceeds halakha, Michaelis offers a pioneering historical and conceptual analysis of the category of "inner commandments" developed by Baḥya. Interiority and Law reveals that Baḥya's main effort revolved around establishing a new legal formation—namely, the "duties of the hearts"—which would deal entirely with human interiority. Michaelis takes up the implications of Baḥya's radical innovation, examining his unique mystical model of proximity to God, which he based on an increasingly growing fulfillment of the inner commandments. With an integrative approach that puts Baḥya in dialogue with other medieval Muslim and Jewish religious thinkers, this work offers a fresh perspective on our understanding of the interconnectedness of the dynamic, neighboring religious traditions of Judaism and Islam. Contributing to conversations in the history of religion, Jewish studies, and medieval studies on interiority and mysticism, this book reveals Baḥya as a revolutionary and demanding thinker of Jewish law.

cover for Sufi Civilities: Religious Authority and Political Change in Afghanistan | Annika Schmeding
Sufi Civilities
Religious Authority and Political Change in Afghanistan
Annika Schmeding

Despite its pervasive reputation as a place of religious extremes and war, Afghanistan has a complex and varied religious landscape where elements from a broad spectrum of religious belief vie for a place in society. It is also one of the birthplaces of a widely practiced variant of Islam: Sufism. Contemporary analysts suggest that Sufism is on the decline due to war and the ideological hardening that results from societies in conflict. However, in Sufi Civilities, Annika Schmeding argues that this is far from a truthful depiction. Members of Sufi communities have worked as resistance fighters, aid workers, business people, actors, professors, and daily workers in creative and ingenious ways to keep and renew their networks of community support. Based on long-term ethnographic field research among multiple Sufi communities in different urban areas of Afghanistan, the book examines navigational strategies employed by Sufi leaders over the past four decades to weather periods of instability and persecution, showing how they adapted to changing conditions in novel ways that crafted Sufism as a force in the civil sphere. This book offers a rare on-the-ground view into how Sufi leaders react to moments of transition within a highly insecure environment, and how humanity shines through the darkness during times of turmoil.

cover for My Body, Their Baby: A Progressive Christian Vision for Surrogacy | Grace Y. Kao
My Body, Their Baby
A Progressive Christian Vision for Surrogacy
Grace Y. Kao

Drawing on her own experience as a surrogate mother, Grace Y. Kao assesses the ethics of surrogacy from a feminist and progressive Christian perspective, concluding that certain kinds of surrogacy arrangements can be morally permissible—and should even be embraced. While the use of assisted reproductive technology has brought joy to countless families, surrogacy remains the most controversial path to parenthood. My Body, Their Baby helps readers sort through objections to this way of bringing children into the world. Candidly reflecting on carrying a baby for her childless friends and informed by the reproductive justice framework developed by women of color activists, Kao highlights the importance of experience in feminist methodology and Christian ethics. She shows what surrogacy is like from the perspective of women becoming pregnant for others, parents who have opted for surrogacy (including queer couples), and the surrogate-born children themselves. Developing a constructive framework of ethical norms and principles to guide the formation of surrogacy relationships, Kao ultimately offers a vision for surrogacy that celebrates the reproductive generosity and solidarity displayed through the sharing of traditionally maternal roles.

Paper $30.00 9781503635975
Cloth $90.00 9781503610262
cover for The Unknowable in Early Modern Thought: Natural Philosophy and the Poetics of the Ineffable | Kevin Killeen
The Unknowable in Early Modern Thought
Natural Philosophy and the Poetics of the Ineffable
Kevin Killeen

Early modern thought was haunted by the unknowable character of the fallen world. The sometimes brilliant and sometimes baffling fusion of theological and scientific ideas in the era, as well as some of its greatest literature, responds to this sense that humans encountered only an incomplete reality. Ranging from Paradise Lost to thinkers in and around the Royal Society and commentary on the Book of Job, The Unknowable in Early Modern Thought explores how the era of the scientific revolution was in part paralyzed by and in part energized by the paradox it encountered in thinking about the elusive nature of God and the unfathomable nature of the natural world. Looking at writers with scientific, literary and theological interests, from the shoemaker mystic, Jacob Boehme to John Milton, from Robert Boyle to Margaret Cavendish, and from Thomas Browne to the fiery prophet, Anna Trapnel, Kevin Killeen shows how seventeenth-century writings redeployed the rich resources of the ineffable and the apophatic—what cannot be said, except in negative terms—to think about natural philosophy and the enigmas of the natural world.

cover for The Philosophical Pathos of Susan Taubes: Between Nihilism and Hope | Elliot R. Wolfson
The Philosophical Pathos of Susan Taubes
Between Nihilism and Hope
Elliot R. Wolfson

The Philosophical Pathos of Susan Taubes offers a detailed analysis of an extraordinary figure in the twentieth-century history of Jewish thought, Western philosophy, and the study of religion. Drawing on close readings of Susan Taubes's writings, including her correspondence with Jacob Taubes, scholarly essays, literary compositions, and poems, Elliot R. Wolfson plumbs the depths of the tragic sensibility that shaped her worldview, hovering between the poles of nihilism and hope. By placing Susan Taubes in dialogue with a host of other seminal thinkers, Wolfson illumines how she presciently explored the hypernomian status of Jewish ritual and belief after the Holocaust; the theopolitical challenges of Zionism and the dangers of ethnonationalism; the antitheological theology and gnostic repercussions of Heideggerian thought; the mystical atheism and apophaticism of tragedy in Simone Weil; and the understanding of poetry as the means to face the faceless and to confront the silence of death in the temporal overcoming of time through time. Wolfson delves into the abyss that molded Susan Taubes's mytheological thinking, making a powerful case for the continued relevance of her work to the study of philosophy and religion today.

cover for Dust on the Throne: The Search for Buddhism in Modern India | Douglas Ober
Dust on the Throne
The Search for Buddhism in Modern India
Douglas Ober

Received wisdom has it that Buddhism disappeared from India, the land of its birth, between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, long forgotten until British colonial scholars re-discovered it in the early 1800s. Its full-fledged revival, so the story goes, only occurred in 1956, when the Indian civil rights pioneer Dr. B.R. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism along with half a million of his Dalit (formerly "untouchable") followers. This, however, is only part of the story. Dust on the Throne reframes discussions about the place of Buddhism in the subcontinent from the early nineteenth century onwards, uncovering the integral, yet unacknowledged, role that Indians played in the making of modern global Buddhism in the century prior to Ambedkar's conversion, and the numerous ways that Buddhism gave powerful shape to modern Indian history. Through an extensive examination of disparate materials held at archives and temples across South Asia, Douglas Ober explores Buddhist religious dynamics in an age of expanding colonial empires, intra-Asian connectivity, and the histories of Buddhism produced by nineteenth and twentieth century Indian thinkers. While Buddhism in contemporary India is often disparaged as being little more than tattered manuscripts and crumbling ruins, this book opens new avenues for understanding its substantial socio-political impact and intellectual legacy.

Paper $32.00 9781503635036
Cloth $95.00 9781503635029
cover for A Revolutionary Faith: Liberation Theology Between Public Religion and Public Reason | Raúl E. Zegarra
A Revolutionary Faith
Liberation Theology Between Public Religion and Public Reason
Raúl E. Zegarra

Religious commitments can be a powerful engine for progressive social change, and in this new book, Raúl E. Zegarra examines the process of articulation of religious beliefs and political concerns that takes place in religious organizing and activism. Focusing on the example of Latin American liberation theology and the work of Peruvian theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez, Zegarra shows how liberation theology advocates have been able to produce a new balance between faith and politics that advances an agenda of progressive social change without reducing politics to faith or faith to politics. Drawing from theologian David Tracy's method of critical correlation, the book focuses on key historical, philosophical, and theological shifts that have allowed liberation theologians to produce a new interpretation of the relationship between faith and politics in the Christian tradition, especially when issues of social justice are at stake. The book further approaches liberation theology's contributions to theorizing social justice through an unconventional path: a critical dialogue with the work of philosopher John Rawls. This dialogue, as Zegarra contends, allows us to see more clearly the contributions of liberation theology to the cause of progressive social change. Ultimately the book stands between "public religion" and "public reason," offering something of a blueprint for theological innovation and for how to remain committed to one's faith while respecting and defending the core values of democracy.

Paper $28.00 9781503635586
Cloth $80.00 9781503635371
cover for The Jews of Summer: Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America | Sandra Fox
The Jews of Summer
Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America
Sandra Fox

In the decades directly following the Holocaust, American Jewish leaders anxiously debated how to preserve and produce what they considered authentic Jewish culture, fearful that growing affluence and suburbanization threatened the future of Jewish life. Many communal educators and rabbis contended that without educational interventions, Judaism as they understood it would disappear altogether. They pinned their hopes on residential summer camps for Jewish youth: institutions that sprang up across the U.S. in the postwar decades as places for children and teenagers to socialize, recreate, and experience Jewish culture. Adults' fears, hopes, and dreams about the Jewish future inflected every element of camp life, from the languages they taught to what was encouraged romantically and permitted sexually. But adult plans did not constitute everything that occurred at camp: children and teenagers also shaped these sleepaway camps to mirror their own desires and interests and decided whether to accept or resist the ideas and ideologies their camp leaders promoted. Focusing on the lived experience of campers and camp counselors, The Jews of Summer demonstrates how a cultural crisis birthed a rite of passage that remains a significant influence in American Jewish life.

Paper $28.00 9781503633889
Cloth $90.00 9781503632936
cover for Jewish Culture between Canon and Heresy:  | David Biale
Jewish Culture between Canon and Heresy
David Biale

This career-spanning anthology from prominent Jewish historian David Biale brings over a dozen of his key essays together for the first time. These pieces, written between 1974 and 2016, are all representative of a method Biale calls "counter-history": "the discovery of vital forces precisely in what others considered marginal, disreputable and irrational." The themes that have preoccupied Biale throughout the course of his distinguished career—in particular power, sexuality, blood, and secular Jewish thought—span the periods of the Bible, late antiquity, and the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. Exemplary essays in this volume argue for the dialectical relationship between modernity and its precursors in the older tradition, working together to "brush history against the grain" in order to provide a sweeping look at the history of the Jewish people. This volume of work by one of the boldest and most intellectually omnivorous Jewish thinkers of our time will be essential reading for scholars and students of Jewish studies.

Paper $30.00 9781503634343
Cloth $90.00 9781503634336
cover for Diary of a Black Jewish Messiah: The Sixteenth-Century Journey of David Reubeni through Africa, the Middle East, and Europe | Alan Verskin
Diary of a Black Jewish Messiah
The Sixteenth-Century Journey of David Reubeni through Africa, the Middle East, and Europe
Alan Verskin

In 1524, a man named David Reubeni appeared in Venice, claiming to be the ambassador of a powerful Jewish kingdom deep in the heart of Arabia. In this era of fierce rivalry between great powers, voyages of fantastic discovery, and brutal conquest of new lands, people throughout the Mediterranean saw the signs of an impending apocalypse and envisioned a coming war that would end with a decisive Christian or Islamic victory. With his army of hardy desert warriors from lost Israelite tribes, Reubeni pledged to deliver the Jews to the Holy Land by force and restore their pride and autonomy. He would spend a decade shuttling between European rulers in Italy, Portugal, Spain, and France, seeking weaponry in exchange for the support of his hitherto unknown but mighty Jewish kingdom. Many, however, believed him to favor the relatively tolerant Ottomans over the persecutorial Christian regimes. Reubeni was hailed as a messiah by many wealthy Jews and Iberia's oppressed conversos, but his grand ambitions were halted in Regensburg when the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, turned him over to the Inquisition and, in 1538, he was likely burned at the stake. Diary of a Black Jewish Messiah is the first English translation of Reubeni's Hebrew-language diary, detailing his travels and personal travails. Written in a Hebrew drawn from everyday speech, entirely unlike other literary works of the period, Reubeni's diary reveals both the dramatic desperation of Renaissance Jewish communities and the struggles of the diplomat, trickster, and dreamer who wanted to save them.

Paper $28.00 9781503634435
Cloth $85.00 9781503634428