300 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books

New Books in Religion New Books Network

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 3.5 • 6 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books

    Aaron Koller, "Unbinding Isaac: The Significance of the Akedah for Modern Jewish Thought" (Jewish Publication Society, 2020)

    Aaron Koller, "Unbinding Isaac: The Significance of the Akedah for Modern Jewish Thought" (Jewish Publication Society, 2020)

    In Unbinding Isaac: The Significance of the Akedah for Modern Jewish Thought (Jewish Publication Society, 2020), Aaron Koller, professor of Near Eastern and Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University, provides a compelling contemporary perspective on one of the Bible's most famous and difficult texts, the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac. By plumbing the depths of commentaries both ancient and modern, Koller breaks new scholarly ground and reaches convincing ethical conclusions derived from a close reading of both the text and the more influential of its numerous interpretations. Koller provides the reader with a heightened understanding of the roles that the Akedah has played, and the roles it must now play, in Jewish thought and theology.
    David Gottlieb, a member of the teaching faculty at Spertus Institute in Chicago, received his PhD in the History of Judaism from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2018. He is the author of Second Slayings: The Binding of Isaac and the Formation of Jewish Memory (Gorgias Press, 2019).
     
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr
    E. Bazzano and M. Hermansen, "Varieties of American Sufism" (SUNY Press, 2020)

    E. Bazzano and M. Hermansen, "Varieties of American Sufism" (SUNY Press, 2020)

    Sufism in America is now a developed sub-field of study that exists at the intersection of Islamic Studies, American religions, and popular spirituality. Varieties of American Sufism: Islam, Sufi Orders, and Authority in a Time of Transition (State University of New York Press 2020) an edited volume by Elliott Bazzano (Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Le Moyne College) and Marcia Hermansen (Professor of Theology and Director of Islamic World Studies at Loyola University Chicago), captures these complex varieties of Sufism in America. The edited volume is organized around different case studies of Sufi communities in America, which are based on ethnographic studies completed by the contributors to the volume. Some of the Sufi communities discussed include the Inayati Order, the Golden Sufi Center, Mevlevi Order of America, Alami Tariqa, Ansari Qadiri Rifa‘i Tariqa, and the Tijani Order.
    Throughout the different chapters various themes emerge, some of which include questions of charismatic authority in an era of transition, as well as gender and racial dynamics amongst individual American Sufi communities. Through these dynamic discussions, the collective chapters de-center easy categories of Sufi communities in America, be they understood or framed as “hippie” or non-Islamic to Islamic ones by scholars and/or practitioners of Sufism. The volumes’ focus on lived and embodied realities of various Sufi communities and the amplification of voices of American Sufis themselves (such as through oral histories) is a fresh and insightful contribution to the growing field of Sufism in America. The book will be of interest to those who write and think about contemporary Sufism, American Islam, American religions and popular spirituality.
    Shobhana Xavier is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Queen’s University. Her research areas are on contemporary Sufism in North America and South Asia. She is the author of Sacred Spaces and Transnational Networks in American Sufism (Bloombsury Press, 2018) and a co-author of Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2017). More details about her research and scholarship may be found here and here. She may be reached at shobhana.xavier@queensu.ca
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 54 min
    Majid Daneshgar, "Studying the Qur’an in the Muslim Academy" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Majid Daneshgar, "Studying the Qur’an in the Muslim Academy" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    “Consider the works of the renowned Nobel-prize-winning African American writer, literary and social critic, and activist Toni Morrison (b. 1931),” writes Majid Daneshgar. “Hers—like Said’s—are popular in the West and cover most of the principal themes covered by Orientalism, including otherness, outsider-ship, exploitation and cultural colonialism and imperialism. Yet … one would be hard-pressed to find, for instance, even a free publisher’s copy of Morrison’s essay The Origin of Others, in translation or not, on the bookshelf of one of the Muslim academy’s experts on Islam or history, or politics, or sociology.”
    With this provocative introductory passage to set the stage for his book, Studying the Qur’an in the Muslim Academy (Oxford University Press), Majid Daneshgar invites his readers on a journey exploring how the Muslim academy—that is, academic institutions in the Muslim-majority world—teaches Islamic Studies, with an emphasis on the Qur’an.
    Through his personal experience and scholarly endeavors spanning Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, Daneshgar illuminates how Qur’anic and Islamic Studies in the Muslim academy are inevitably circumscribed and delimited by political and polemical agendas—with special attention paid to how Edward Said’s Orientalism is marshaled toward these effort—thus offering only selective readings of the Qur’anic text and wider Islamic source material.
    In addition, he also shows how such agendas even color intra-Muslim engagement across sectarian and national lines. Daneshgar offers alternative approaches—drawing from both theory and philology—and argues that bringing theories and methods from both the Western academy and the Muslim academy into more constructive dialogue with each other will advance—not hinder—intellectual and public engagement with Islam and the Qur’an. In our increasingly global and interconnected world, we can settle for no less.
    Majid Daneshgar, Ph.D. is a Research Associate at the Orientalisches Seminar, University of Freiburg, Germany.
    Asad Dandia is a graduate student of Islamic Studies at Columbia University.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 40 min
    Ezra Cappell and Jessica Lang, "Off the Derech: Leaving Orthodox Judaism" (SUNY Press, 2020)

    Ezra Cappell and Jessica Lang, "Off the Derech: Leaving Orthodox Judaism" (SUNY Press, 2020)

    Off the Derech: Leaving Orthodox Judaism (SUNY Press, 2020), edited by Ezra Cappell and Jessica Lang, combines powerful first-person accounts with incisive scholarly analysis to understand the phenomenon of ultra-Orthodox Jews who leave their insular communities and venture into the wider world.
    In recent years, many formerly ultra-Orthodox Jews have documented leaving their communities in published stories, films, and memoirs. This movement is often identified as “off the derech” (OTD), or off the path, with the idea that the “path” is paved by Jewish law, rituals, and practices found within their birth communities. This volume tells the powerful stories of people abandoning their religious communities and embarking on uncertain journeys toward new lives and identities within mainstream society. Off the Derech is divided into two parts: stories and analysis. The first includes original selections from contemporary American and global authors writing about their OTD experiences. The second features chapters by scholars representing such diverse fields as literature, history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, religion, and gender studies. The interdisciplinary lenses provide a range of methodologies by which readers can better understand this significant phenomenon within contemporary Jewish society.
    Today I talked to: Ezra Cappell, Professor of Jewish Studies and English and Director of the Perlmutter Fellows Program at the College of Charleston; Jessica Lang, a Professor of English and Jewish Studies at Baruch College, CUNY; Jericho Vincent, a writer and lecturer; Frieda Vizel, a specialized tour guide in Jewish Brooklyn.
    Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 41 min
    Steven Heine, "Readings of Dōgen's 'Treasury of the True Dharma Eye'"(Columbia UP, 2020)

    Steven Heine, "Readings of Dōgen's 'Treasury of the True Dharma Eye'"(Columbia UP, 2020)

    The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Shōbōgenzō) is the masterwork of Dōgen (1200–1253), founder of the Sōtō Zen Buddhist sect in Kamakura-era Japan. It is one of the most important Zen Buddhist collections, composed during a period of remarkable religious diversity and experimentation. The text is complex and compelling, famed for its eloquent yet perplexing manner of expressing the core precepts of Zen teachings and practice.
    Readings of Dōgen's "Treasury of the True Dharma Eye" (Columbia University Press) is a comprehensive introduction to this essential Zen text, offering a textual, historical, literary, and philosophical examination of Dōgen’s treatise. Steven Heine explores the religious and cultural context in which the Treasury was composed and provides a detailed study of the various versions of the medieval text that have been compiled over the centuries.
    He includes nuanced readings of Dōgen’s use of inventive rhetorical flourishes and the range of East Asian Buddhist textual and cultural influences that shaped the work. Heine explicates the philosophical implications of Dōgen’s views on contemplative experience and attaining and sustaining enlightenment, showing the depth of his distinctive understanding of spiritual awakening.
    Readings of Dōgen’s Treasury of the True Dharma Eye will give students and other readers a full understanding of this fundamental work of world religious literature.
    Steven Heine is professor of religious studies and history and director of Asian studies at Florida International University.
    Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He is a Fulbright scholar and was a visiting professor of Religion at Northwestern University, the Shalom Hartman Institute and Harvard Divinity School. His books are Sexuality and the Body in New Religious Zionist Discourse (English/Hebrew and The Male Body in Jewish Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodoxy (Hebrew). He can be reached at: Yakir1212englander@gmail.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 56 min
    Yehoshua November, "Two Worlds Exist" (Orison Books, 2016)

    Yehoshua November, "Two Worlds Exist" (Orison Books, 2016)

    Yehoshua November's second poetry collection, Two Worlds Exist (Orison Books), movingly examines the harmonies and dissonances involved in practicing an ancient religious tradition in contemporary America.
    November's beautiful and profound meditations on work and family life, and the intersections of the sacred and the secular, invite the reader--regardless of background--to imaginatively inhabit a life of religious devotion in the midst of our society's commotion.
    Yehoshua November's first poetry collection, God's Optimism, won the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award and was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize.
    Dr. Yakir Englander is the National Director of Leadership programs at the Israeli-American Council. He also teaches at the AJR. He is a Fulbright scholar and was a visiting professor of Religion at Northwestern University, the Shalom Hartman Institute and Harvard Divinity School. His books are Sexuality and the Body in New Religious Zionist Discourse (English/Hebrew and The Male Body in Jewish Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodoxy (Hebrew). He can be reached at: Yakir1212englander@gmail.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 56 min

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

James Ettaman ,

too much poor sound in some conversations

Many interesting discussions- but why is the sound quality so poor in some of the phone interviews? It sounds like they were recorded from low quality VoIP lines on a noisy cell phone connection. Surely in an age of digital communications it shouldn't be so hard to record a phone conversation that doesn't sound like its coming through a distortion system muffled through a blanket.

Top Podcasts In Religion & Spirituality

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by New Books Network