Category Archives: Religion and Theology

Sarah Bachelard’s Resurrection and Moral Imagination reviewed in The Tablet by Philip McCosker

Resurrection and the Moral ImaginationSarah Bachelard’s book Resurrection and Moral Imagination was recently reviewed in The Tablet by Philip McCosker. An edited extract of the review appears below, or you can read the full review online on The Tablet’s website.

It is staggering how little good recent theo­logical writing on the Resurrection there is. You might expect that the pivotal element of the Christian Gospel would have been the focus of theologians’ attention for centuries; you would be disappointed…

Very rarely has the Resurrection been treated as theologically revealing in its own right. There are some notable exceptions: Rowan Williams, James Alison, Anthony Kelly CSsR, and most recently, Brian Robinette’s brilliant Grammars of Resurrection.

But now we have Australian philosopher-­theologian Sarah Bachelard’s excellent Resurrection and Moral Imagination which boldly and astutely builds on all these theologians to forge an ethical vision from that most Christian of doctrines. It will be of interest to ­anyone concerned with the question of how to live in our world, whether religious or secular.

Bachelard’s game-changing vision is quite different from that of her fellow Anglican moral theologian Oliver O’Donovan’s earlier Resurrection and Moral Order. For O’Donovan, ethics must be founded on the Resurrection because it vindicates the created order and its morality; for Bachelard, the Resurrection gives a new world from which to act, and that world can be perceived even without explicit religious belonging…

…Bachelard has interesting and nourishing things to say about desire, sacrifice, secularisation, the need for the Church and theology to  attend to the messiness of real life. Her prose is refreshing and crystal clear, deceptively simple, open, conciliatory, non-fluffy and imaginative. Her focus on practice is astute and the engagement with the secular timely. This book is a major contribution to theological ethics and deserves sustained engagement.

About the Author:  Reverend Dr Sarah Bachelard is an Anglican priest and theologian based in Canberra, Australia. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University, with special interests in philosophy, ethics and spirituality, and is the author of Experiencing God in a Time of Crisis (Convivium, 2012). She is the leader and founder of Benedictus Contemplative Church, an ecumenical worshipping community with a practice of silent meditation at its heart, and is a member of the World Community for Christian Meditation.

Other reviews:

‘Far more than a discrete proposition, the resurrection of Jesus entails an imaginative world to be inhabited and cultivated-a world that would transform our moral stances by reframing the horizons and desires that shape and often distort our views of transcendence, self and neighbor, and death. Sarah Bachelard’s Resurrection and Moral Imagination powerfully evokes such a world, yet does so by showing how the distinctive features of Christian imagination open up to and are deepened by sustained conversation across philosophical and theological boundaries. While skillfully conducting this conversation, Bachelard’s own keen insights provide the reader with a rich sense of the Christian’s resurrection ethic as a wisdom ethic.’    Brian Robinette, Boston College, USA

‘More than any other book I have read, Resurrection and Moral Imagination brings the kind of moral philosophy first developed in the English-speaking world by Iris Murdoch, into critical dialogue with theology. In prose of enviable simplicity, with sensitivity, depth and sometimes startling originality, Bachelard explores the ways each needs the other.’   Raimond Gaita, University of Melbourne, Australia

‘Innovative, lucid and sensitive, this is a genuinely fresh look at what is distinctive about the Christian moral vision, worked out in conversation with a variety of sympathetic but more secular voices, including Rai Gaita and Iris Murdoch. Sarah Bachelard is a really significant new voice in theological ethics.’   Rowan Williams, Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK

Full information about Resurrection and Moral Imagination is on our website

Launching the Ashgate Studies in Pilgrimage Series

Posted by Hattie Wilson, Marketing Executive

Pilgrimage Politics and Place Making in Eastern EuropeThe Ashgate Studies in Pilgrimage Series will be unveiled later this month with two volumes, Muslim and Catholic Pilgrimage Practices by Albertus Bagus Laksana and Pilgrimage, Politics and Place-Making in Eastern Europe by John Eade and Mario Katic.

David Shervington, the assistant editor for the Religion and Theology list who has worked on bringing the series to fruition, is delighted to welcome series editors Simon Coleman, Dee Dyas, John Eade and Jas’ Elsner to our publishing programme.

“We have been excited to see the response from the academic community. Our aim is for the series to become an important focal point for the academic study of pilgrimage and to gather together the work of new and established scholars across the disciplines.”

Muslim and Catholic Pilgrimage PracticesThe first of the two books to launch, Muslim and Catholic Pilgrimage Practices, offers crucial insights into some of the most challenging questions in Muslim-Christian encounters and reveals the importance of shared pilgrimage tradition among Muslims and Catholics in South Central Java. This book is a comparative theological and phenomenological work on the topic of local pilgrimage that combines local sources in the vernacular and wider Muslim and Christian theological traditions.

Pilgrimage, Politics and Place-Making in Eastern Europe will also introduce the Pilgrimage Studies series. This book brings together scholars from eastern and south-eastern Europe to explore the crossing of borders in terms of the relationship between pilgrimage and politics, and the role which this plays in the process of both sacred and secular place-making.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal for the series, please email David Shervington, Prof. Simon Coleman, Prof. John Eade, Dr Dee Dyas and Dr Jas’ Elsner.

Find out more about our new Ashgate Studies in Pilgrimage Series

Richard L. Greaves Award Honourable Mention for Tim Cooper’s book: John Owen, Richard Baxter and the Formation of Nonconformity

Posted by Bethany Whalley, Marketing Executive

The Nonconformist church leader and theologian, John Owen (1616-1683), and the Puritan church leader, poet and theologian Richard Baxter (1615-1691) had much in common, but their differing experiences of the English Civil War drew them into a long debate fuelled by mutual dislike.

Author Tim Cooper uses this relationship in his book John Owen, Richard Baxter and the Formation of Nonconformity (Ashgate, 2011) to explore the shaping of nonconformity during the Restoration. He makes the argument that individual experience and fraught private relationships had the power to determine the future of much wider movements – and sometimes hamper their progress.

John Owen Richard Baxter and the formation of nonconformityThe book recently received an ‘Honourable Mention’ in the Richard L. Greaves Award 2013, awarded by the International John Bunyan Society for an outstanding book-length work of scholarship devoted to the history, literature, thought, practices and legacy of Anglophone Protestantism to 1700.

‘This is a dramatic and highly readable account of a poisonous feud between two thin-skinned giants of evangelical protestantism. This dual study not only gives us many new insights into the beliefs and actions of Baxter and Owen but (without taking sides) significantly deepens our understanding of the stress fractures within puritanism that led to the defeat of its hopes and expectations.’   John Morrill, University of Cambridge, UK

Tim CooperAbout the Author: Tim Cooper is Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

More about the Richard L. Greaves Award

More about John Owen, Richard Baxter and the Formation of Nonconformity

Ashgate Studies in Evangelicalism – a call for proposals

David Ceri JonesThis is a guest post from David Ceri Jones, Aberystwyth University

It with great pleasure and excitement that I can announce the launch of the ‘Ashgate Studies in Evangelicalism’, a brand new academic monograph series, to be edited by Andrew Atherstone (Wycliffe Hall, Oxford) and myself.

Our vision for the series is that it will quickly become the natural home for monographs and other works on every aspect of the history and theology of the global evangelical movement from its beginnings in the 1730s until the present day. The first two volumes which will launch the series are already commissioned. There will an Ashgate Research Companion on the History of Evangelicalism, containing over twenty chapters covering most aspects of the evangelical movement, summarising existing research, and flagging up those areas where the light of serious historical research has yet to shine. It will hopefully be a book that summarises the current state of the discipline.

A first monograph has also been accepted for publication. More details of that book will follow in due course.

So if you have a recently completely doctoral thesis, or a completed manuscript of a work on any aspect of the history or theology of the global evangelical movement then please get in touch.

Further details of the series can be found on the Ashgate webpage, here:

Visit David Ceri’s blog

Visit Andrew Atherstone’s blog

Ashgate launches new book series — Contemporary Theological Explorations in Christian Mysticism

Posted by Luana Life, Marketing Co-ordinator

The first 2 books in the Contemporary Theological Explorations in Christian Mysticism series, Exploring Lost Dimensions in Christian Mysticism and Christian Mysticism and Incarnational Theology, are now available! Both titles are edited by Louise Nelstrop and Simon D. Podmore.

Christian Mysticism and Incarnational Theology  Exploring Lost Dimensions

Series co-editor, Patricia Z. Beckman, has this to say about the series:

"We're seeing a phenomenal rise in interest in Christian mysticism in our time. Perhaps it isn't exaggerating to say this may be the most widespread interest since other peak episodes in Christian history like the European medieval or Eastern early periods. Why?

Christians are hungry for direct experience, full embodied commitment to a God of fierce beauty and love. They're eager to engage in deep study and devotional practices to further that relationship with God. And they realize that this mystical element has always been a part of their traditions—Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, alike. So in a sense, the increased interest in mysticism mirrors much mystical teaching itself—through it people seek to experience what has always been there, freely offered.

I hope this series will connect people with the breadth and depth of Christian mysticism so that they can fully engage the transformation of an integrated Christian life. I hope they will meet mystery here. This is recovery of important historical moments, theoretical insights, and even newly discovered figures, but importantly, it is also new application to contemporary life, all with expert guides who have immersed themselves in the rich traditions of Christian mysticism. It is very good scholarship attuned to real human needs and desires. As such, the series too mirrors and aspires to the very mysticism it engages."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Interested in learning more? Visit the Contemporary Theological Explorations in Christian Mysticism series page.

Interested in submitting a book proposal? Visit www.ashgate.com/authors

A new title in the Ashgate Methodist Studies series: Methodists and their Missionary Societies 1760-1900 by John Pritchard

‘There has long been a need for a concise and comprehensive account of British Methodism’s engagement in world mission. John Pritchard’s volume admirably meets that need and will be essential reading for any student of Methodism.’   Brian E Beck, former President and Secretary of the Methodist Conference

Methodists and their Missionary Societies 1760-1900, together with a companion volume on the 20th century, offers an account of the overseas mission activity of British and Irish Methodists, its roots and fruits.  Pritchard explores many aspects of mission, ranging from Labrador to New Zealand, from open air preaching to political engagement, from the isolation of early pioneers to the creation of self-governing churches. Tracing the nineteenth-century missionary work of the Churches with Wesleyan roots which went on to unite in 1932, Pritchard explores the shifting theologies and attitudes of missionaries who crossed cultural and geographical frontiers as well as those at home who sent and supported them.

Available in Hardback edition for £60

Get 20% discount when you enter the code C13HPW20 in the box marked Promotional Code in stage one of the basket at www.ashgate.com Valid until 31st October 2013.

About the Author: John Pritchard was the General Secretary, Methodist Church Overseas Division (MMS) from 1991 to 1996, having previously served as its Africa Secretary. He had been a missionary with the Methodist Church in Cote d’Ivoire – then a District of the British Methodist Conference – from 1966 to 1975, and was Secretary of the committee which drafted its constitution as an autonomous Church. In the 1970s he edited Urban Africa, a quarterly magazine published by the All Africa Conference of Churches. He chaired the interdenominational Friends of the Church in China for six years from 2000 and convened the Methodist Missionary History Project from its inception in 1994.

More about the Ashgate Methodist Studies series

Interested in publishing your research in pilgrimage studies?

Posted by Luana Life, Marketing Coordinator

We are seeking book proposals for two new series!

Once relatively neglected, pilgrimage has become an increasingly prominent topic of study over the last few decades. Its study is inevitably inter-disciplinary, and extends across a growing range of scholarly fields, including religion, anthropology, geography, history, literary studies, art history, archaeology, sociology, heritage and tourism studies. This process shows no sign of abating—indeed, it looks set to continue to expand. Our series comprise:

Ashgate Studies in Pilgrimage

This new series seeks to expand scholarly conversations in pilgrimage, including themes as diverse as pilgrimage within national and post-national frames, pilgrimage-writing, materialities of pilgrimage, digi-pilgrimage and secular pilgrimage.

Series Editors: Simon Coleman, University of Toronto, Canada; Dee Dyas, University of York, UK; John Eade, University of Roehampton UK and University College London, UK; and Jas’ Elsner, University of Oxford and Unviersity of Chicago

Compostela International Studies in Pilgrimage History and Culture

This series deals with the universal phenomenon of pilgrimage, understood in a wide sense, making available the latest research sponsored by the IEGPS. It focuses on historical, cultural, political and religious aspects of the subject, prioritizing multidisciplinary and diverse approaches and analyses, with volumes covering historical periods from the medieval to the modern and a world-wide geographical range.

Series Editor: Antón M. Pazos, IEGPS, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

To learn more about these series, please visit the series pages on our website:

Ashgate Studies in Pilgrimage

Compostela International Studies in Pilgrimage History and Culture

Stories from the Street: A theology of homelessness – on Facebook

Stories from the Street by David Nixon has its own Facebook page, with information on the launch for the book taking place in Exeter on the 8th April. Why not take a look?

nixon_gen 55 cover.QXD_stories from the streetStories from the Street is a theological exploration of interviews with men and women who have experienced homelessness at some stage in their lives. David Nixon suggests that stories are not only a vehicle for creating human transformation but one of God’s chosen means of effecting change. Short biographies of twelve characters are examined under themes including: crises in health and relationships, self-harm and suicide, anger and pain, God and the Bible.

Expanding the existing literature of contextual theology, this book provides an alternative focus to a church-shaped mission by advocating with, and for, a very marginal group; suggesting that their experiences have much to teach the church. Churches are perceived as being active in terms of pastoral work, but reluctant to ask more profound questions about why homelessness exists at all. A theology of homelessness suggests not just a God of the homeless, but a homeless God, who shares stories and provides hope.

About the Author: Revd Dr David Nixon is an Anglican Parish Priest in Plymouth. His interest in social exclusion/inclusion began during a curacy in the same city, working with charities and local organisations concerned with housing, homelessness and community development. As a part-time research fellow at Exeter University, he also worked with the No Outsiders research team investigating education and sexualities in primary schools, and has published widely in academic journals in this area.

Reviews:

‘For any person, homelessness is complex and never a single issue. David Nixon has listened and analysed people’s stories and made good sense from them. His wise and insightful use of their stories and his analysis is the best sort of Practical Theology from which we can all learn.  It will help Christians meet and respond to the needs of homeless people.’ Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, UK

‘This is a fascinating and important study.  It is an exercise in listening to the voices of those who are rarely heard.  Written with clarity and elegance, it is a life-changing exploration of the narratives of faith and the journey of life.  This is a pioneering text, which will interest American scholars who are seeking to connect a liberationist perspective with the journeys of those who struggle in a prosperous nation.  There is nothing quite like this remarkable book.’ Very Revd Dr Ian Markham, Virginia Theological Seminary, USA

‘What sense can Christians make of the experience of homelessness? Listening to homeless people’s stories David Nixon invites us to understand them in the light of Scripture and of the ongoing Christian call for social justice. What emerges is a chapter in British liberation theology which calls us not simply to empathise but to change the way we think about homelessness.’ Professor Tim Gorringe, University of Exeter, UK

‘Stories from the Street not only provides a fascinating insight into the lives of people who are often overlooked, but understands that they also have a contribution to make. The theological reflections should remind the Church about where its real focus lies – not just in caring for the dispossessed but in questioning why they are dispossessed in the first place.’ Ben Bradshaw, MP

Future Archbishop of Canterbury to Contribute Foreword to Ashgate Volume

The conference Towards a Theology of Church Growth is to be held on 12-13 September, at St John’s College, part of the University of Durham. A book emanating from the conference will be published by Ashgate in 2014, edited by David Goodhew and with a foreword by the Rt. Revd Justin Welby.

” The team involved in this conference have done ground-breaking work and it will be very worth the commitment to attend.”   the Rt. Revd Justin Welby

Leading figures from across the spectrum of Anglicanism will speak at the conference – including Professor Alister McGrath, Rev Dr Graham Tomlin, Miranda Threlfall-Holmes and Sr Benedicta Ward. Further key scholars – such as C. Kavin Rowe of Duke and Ashley Null of Huboldt University, Berlin will be contributing simply to the volume. The volume will provide detailed discussion of the concept of church growth, recognising where it needs nuance, but also showing how it is rooted in the Biblical texts, systematic theology and church history.

More about the book and the conference ‘Towards a Theology of Church Growth’

Church growth in BritainFollow the Centre for Chruch Growth on twitter – @CCGR_Durham

On facebook: www.facebook.com/ChurchGrowthResearch

Also edited by David Goodhew: Church Growth in Britain: 1980 to the Present

New Series launching – Intensities: Contemporary Continental Philosophy of Religion

Posted by Hattie Wilson, Marketing Executive

December sees the launch of our new series in the field of Philosophy of Religion. Intensities: Contemporary Continental Philosophy of Religion engages with radical interpretations and applications of the continental  ‘canon’ from Kant to Darrida and beyond, but there are also significant areas of departure from that tradition.

A key area of focus is the emergence of new ‘realist’ and materialist schools of thought whose potential contribution to philosophy of religion is at an early stage. Rooted in a vibrant tradition of thinking about religion, whilst positioning itself at the cutting edge of emerging agendas, this series has a clear focus on continental and post-continental philosophy of religion and complements Ashgate’s British Society for Philosophy of Religion series with its more analytic approach.

The Intensities series launches with the publication of two dual edition volumes.

The first book, appropriately named Intensities: Philosophy, Religion and the Affirmation of Life, is edited by the series editor Steven Shakespeare and Katherine Sarah Moody.  The book captures the current religious and philosophical thought and its relevance to social, cultural political and religious dilemmas about why and how to live. This book has unique arguments, which taken together means the book does not sit easily within either secular philosophical or theological approaches. It includes contributions from Pamela Sue Anderson, Brian Sudlow, John Reader, Alison Martin, John D. Caputo, Neil Turnbull, Kenneth Jason Wardley, Lorenz Moises J. Festin, Don Cupitt and Philip Goodchild.

Re-visioning Gender in Philosophy of Religion: Reason, Love and Epistemic Locatedness by Pamela Sue Anderson is the second title to launch the Intensities series. Anderson unearths the ways that the myths of Christian Patriarchy historically prohibited women from writing and thinking their own ideas, and draws out the significant threats of how gendering the philosophy of religion has been practiced in order to re-vision gender for philosophy today.

Intensities: Philosophy, Religion and the Affirmation of Life and Re-visioning Gender in Philosophy of Religion: Reason, Love and Epistemic Locatedness are both available in Hardback and Paperback editions from December.

Coming in this series in 2013: Heidegger on Death by George Pattison

About the series: Intensities: Contemporary Continental Philosophy of Religion is edited by Steven Shakespeare and Patrice Haynes, both at Liverpool Hope University. Full information about the series is available on the Ashgate website.