Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community

Religion related

Sarah M. Pike, “Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community”
Ronnie J. Rombs, “Saint Augustine and the Fall of the Soul: Beyond O’Connell and His Critics”
William V. Dych, “Karl Rahner”
J.M. Holmes, “Text in a Whirlwind: A Critique of Four Exegetical Devices at 1 Timothy 2.9-15”
Kieran O’Mahony, “Pauline Persuasion: A Sounding in 2 Corinthians 8-9”

Sarah M. Pike, “Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community”

English | 2001 | ISBN: 0520220862 | PDF | pages: 318 | 3.8 mb

Recent decades have seen a revival of paganism, and every summer people gather across the United States to celebrate this increasingly popular religion. Sarah Pike’s engrossing ethnography is the outcome of five years attending neo-pagan festivals, interviewing participants, and sometimes taking part in their ceremonies. Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves incorporates her personal experience and insightful scholarly work concerning ritual, sacred space, self-identity, and narrative. The result is a compelling portrait of this frequently misunderstood religious movement.
Neo-paganism began emerging as a new religious movement in the late 1960s. In addition to bringing together followers for self-exploration and participation in group rituals, festivals might offer workshops on subjects such as astrology, tarot, mythology, herbal lore, and African drumming. But while they provide a sense of community for followers, Neo-Pagan festivals often provoke criticism from a variety of sources—among them conservative Christians, Native Americans, New Age spokespersons, and media representatives covering stories of rumored “Satanism” or “witchcraft.”
Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves explores larger issues in the United States regarding the postmodern self, utopian communities, cultural improvisation, and contemporary spirituality. Pike’s accessible writing style and her nonsensationalistic approach do much to demystify neo-paganism and its followers.

Ronnie J. Rombs, “Saint Augustine and the Fall of the Soul: Beyond O’Connell and His Critics”

2006 | pages: 257 | ISBN: 081321436X | PDF | 0,9 mb

Augustine’s understanding of the origin of the soul and the nature of its fall looms as one of the most important and controversial questions among Augustinian scholars since Robert J. O’Connell first began publishing on the topic. O’Connell argued that Augustine embraced Plotinus’s doctrine that the soul existed before the body and only fell into bodily life as the result of sin. Such a position, however, is fundamentally incompatible with Christian anthropology: bodily life is intrinsically corrupted; physical existence is regrettable. The supposition that the most influential Christian theologian after St. Paul maintained such a position generated sharp division between scholars who were convinced by O’Connell and those who were not. A scholarly consensus on the subject has not yet developed.
Saint Augustine and the Fall of the Soul: Beyond O’Connell and His Critics provides first a critical examination of O’Connell’s theses in a readable summary of his work that spanned over thirty years. Secondly, a diachronic study of Augustine’s writings traces the development of his understanding of the soul’s fall, mapping the limits of Plotinus’s influence.
The study recognizes the extent to which Augustine embraced Plotinus’s ontology and anthropology and the point at which he abandoned Plotinus. The young Augustine was significantly influenced by Plotinus, and there is substantial evidence that he held a Plotinian doctrine of the soul’s fall. But as the anthropological implications that follow from the Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo became apparent to him, Augustine departed from Plotinus. Augustine ultimately took the soul’s fall to be a moral lapse, retaining Plotinus’s imagery vocabulary as a way of expressing a psychology of sin, not an ontological fall.
Augustinian scholars and students in theology and patristics will find the text an invaluable resource on the topic.
Ronnie J. Rombs is assistant professor of theology at St. Joseph Seminary College in Louisiana. He is the coeditor of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
“This book deals with an important issue, one that Robert J. O’Connell made his life’s work in his study of Augustine. He believed that the theme of the fallen soul is at the center of Augustine’s thought, and Ronnie J. Rombs correctly adds that this is because of the importance of salvation to Augustine. The study is well written–complex, flexible, and subtle. There is no similar book in the field.”–Eugene TeSelle, Professor Emeritus, Vanderbilt University
“Rombs makes a major contribution to Augustinian studies by his endeavor to clarify O’Connell’s position and to qualify it, especially by distinguishing the cosmogenic, ontological, and psychological/moral senses of the fall of the soul.”–Roland J. Teske, S.J., Marquette University
“[A]ny student of Augustine will find this work illuminating for its analysis of O’Connell’s legacy and for Rombs’ own sifting through much of the fourth- and fifth-century questions on the human soul and then showing how Augustine came to understand the nature of the soul, its origin, and its sanctification in Christ.” – David Meconi, S.J., Theological Studies
“Rombs’ little book is divided into two parts. The first provides an invaluable service to students in its lucid and sympathetic account of the development of O’Connell’s important and rolling arguments that, while often tortured, seemed to sweep everything in front of them. For this alone the book is worth having. But then, in the second half, Rombs goes much further and joins the many critics of O’Connell who have argued for a less uncompromisingly Plotinian understanding of Augustine’s work. Here he moves the scholarly argument forward at least one notch.” – Colin Starnes, Philosophy in Review
“Ronnie Rombs has written

William V. Dych, “Karl Rahner”

2000 | pages: 177 | ISBN: 0826450776 | PDF | 7,8 mb

Karl Rahner (1904-1984) has been called the most important and influential Roman Catholic thinker of the twentieth century. He was a major influence at the Second Vatican Council, and his extensive writings have inspired generations of modern students of theology. Dych provides a concise introduction to Rahner’s theological interests and covers his thinking from his student days to the time of his death.
Rahner’s writings are numerous and complex, but this volume provides a sure and accessible guide to his legacy.
In addition, Dych attempts to connect Rahner’s main theological teachings with those of Vatican II and with the teachings found in the Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. In so doing, Dych places Rahner in the context of modern Catholic doctrine and the ongoing experience of Christians anxious to explore the mysteries of God and creation.

J.M. Holmes, “Text in a Whirlwind: A Critique of Four Exegetical Devices at 1 Timothy 2.9-15”

2000 | pages: 403 | ISBN: 1841271217 | PDF | 19,4 mb

Holmes examines four exegetical devices employed by all sides in the debate on 1 Tim. 2.9-15, proposing that together they create a ‘whirlwind’ effect which obscures the text’s meaning. She concludes that (1) the immediate context is general, not ecclesial; (2) background often reconstructed from passages elsewhere in the Pastorals is misleading; (3) comparison with 1 Cor. 14.34-35 can similarly mislead; and (4) the conjunction gar (‘for’) has been allowed unduly to dominate interpretation. The writer of the letter, it is argued, has been misunderstood since very early in the Christian era, his intention having been simply to moderate women’s everyday behaviour in ways that parallel the behaviour he requires of men.

Kieran O’Mahony, “Pauline Persuasion: A Sounding in 2 Corinthians 8-9”

2001 | pages: 209 | ISBN: 1841271497 | PDF | 9,3 mb

This is a book about the use of classical rhetoric in reading Paul. It begins with a useful review of the various strategies, and, in the light of the issues that emerge, it describes a rhetorical method which is then tested on 2 Corinthians 8-9. Here, the advice of the classical rhetorical manuals for constructing a text is used-in reverse order-so as to uncover the persuasive strategy being used by Paul in this case. This technique leads to a quite new reading of the two chapters, which O’Mahony then proceeds to test against the standard work in the field by Hans Dieter Betz.