1,114 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books

New Books in Religion New Books Network

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 3.0 • 3 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books

    Brad Vermurlen, "Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Brad Vermurlen, "Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Since the turn of the millennium, American Evangelical Protestantism has seen a swell of interest in Calvinist theology. Variously described as the New Calvinism or Neo-Reformed Christianity, the latter half of the first decade saw a resurgence of Reformed theology, especially among younger Evangelicals. Brad Vermurlen presents an insightful sociological study of this resurgence of reformed Christianity, interpreted through the lens of strategic action field theory in his new book Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, 2020). Using a field theoretic model to analyze data collected through ethnographic observation, interviews with Christian leaders, and digital and print content analysis, Vermurlen explains how New Calvinist Christian leaders positioned themselves within the broader field of American Evangelicalism and solidified their movement within a variety of precipitating causes and game-like maneuvers. In the end, Reformed Resurgence offers a lucid account of how a conservative religious movement can survive, and even thrive, in a hyper-modern, secularizing society. To find out more about Brad Vermurlen, visit http://bradvermurlen.com/ 
    Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.
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    • 48 min
    Stuart Ray Sarbacker, "Tracing the Path of Yoga: The History and Philosophy of Indian Mind-Body Discipline" (SUNY Press, 2021)

    Stuart Ray Sarbacker, "Tracing the Path of Yoga: The History and Philosophy of Indian Mind-Body Discipline" (SUNY Press, 2021)

    Clear, accessible, and meticulously annotated, Tracing the Path of Yoga: The History and Philosophy of Indian Mind-Body Discipline (SUNY Press, 2021) offers a comprehensive survey of the history and philosophy of yoga that will be invaluable to both specialists and to nonspecialists seeking a deeper understanding of this fascinating subject. Stuart Ray Sarbacker argues that yoga can be understood first and foremost as a discipline of mind and body that is represented in its narrative and philosophical literature as resulting in both numinous and cessative accomplishments that correspond, respectively, to the attainment of this-worldly power and otherworldly liberation. Sarbacker demonstrates how the yogic quest for perfection as such is situated within the concrete realities of human life, intersecting with issues of politics, economics, class, gender, and sexuality, as well as reflecting larger Indic religious and philosophical ideals.
    Dr. Sarbacker also recently presented his work at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies at their Online Yoga Weekend School.
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    • 55 min
    Katharine Massam, "A Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia" (ANU Press, 2020)

    Katharine Massam, "A Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia" (ANU Press, 2020)

    Katharine Massam's A Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia (ANU Press, 2020) is the first book detailing the Benedictine women who worked at New Norcia, examining their life in the Western Australian mission town. From the founding of a grand school intended for ‘nativas’, through to their house in the Kimberley-region, and the recruiting via a network of villages near Burgos in the north of Spain, this is a complex international history. A Bridge Between gathers a powerful, fragmented story from the margins of the archive, recalling the Aboriginal women who joined the community in the 1950s and the compelling reunion of missionaries and former students in 2001. By tracing the all-but-forgotten story of the community of Benedictine women who were central to the experience of the mission for many Aboriginal families in the twentieth century, this book lays a foundation for further work.
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    • 1 hr 7 min
    Gopal K. Gupta, "Maya in the Bhagavata Purana: Human Suffering and Divine Play" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Gopal K. Gupta, "Maya in the Bhagavata Purana: Human Suffering and Divine Play" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    The idea of Maya pervades Indian philosophy. It is enigmatic, multivalent, and foundational, with its oldest referents found in the Rig Veda. Maya in the Bhagavata Purana: Human Suffering and Divine Play (Oxford UP, 2020) explores Maya's rich conceptual history, and then focuses on the highly developed theology of Maya found in the Sanskrit Bhagavata Purana, one of the most important Hindu sacred texts. Gopal K. Gupta examines Maya's role in the Bhagavata's narratives, paying special attention to its relationship with other key concepts in the text, such as human suffering (duhkha), devotion (bhakti), and divine play (lila). In the Bhagavata, Maya is often identified as the divine feminine, and has a far-reaching influence. For example, Maya is both the world and the means by which God creates the world, as well as the facilitator of God's play, paradoxically revealing him to his devotees by concealing his majesty. While Vedanta philosophy typically sees Maya as a negative force, the Bhagavata affirms that Maya also has a positive role, as Maya is ultimately meant to draw living beings toward Krishna and intensify their devotion to him.
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    • 52 min
    Ari Y. Kelman, "Shout to the Lord: Making Worship Music in Evangelical America" (NYU Press, 2018)

    Ari Y. Kelman, "Shout to the Lord: Making Worship Music in Evangelical America" (NYU Press, 2018)

    How do songwriters, worship leaders, and music industry professionals collaborate to make music that can become prayer? Ari Y. Kelman explores this question in his excellent study, Shout to the Lord: Making Worship Music in Evangelical America (New York University Press, 2018). Presenting years of research through fieldwork, case studies, and interviews with more than 75 people involved in the production of the complex artifact that is the worship song, Kelman adroitly illuminates the tensions and values that propel this influential creative process. The confluence of popular music forms with liturgical participation has introduced a variety of paradoxes, and this research gives us a glimpse into how many of the leading voices in this movement conceptualize and navigate these competing concerns. Shout to the Lord provides readers with an expert example of the study of modern religion, and deserves the attention of both readers interested in the current developments of popular religion in the United States and also practitioners and participants across a wide spectrum of contemporary Evangelical worship. 
    Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.
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    • 45 min
    Tanya Lurhmann, "How God Becomes Real: Kindling the Presence of Invisible Others" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Tanya Lurhmann, "How God Becomes Real: Kindling the Presence of Invisible Others" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Today I interview Tanya Lurhmann about her new book, How God Becomes Real: Kindling the Presence of Invisible Others (Princeton University Press, 2020). Lurhmann is the Watkins University Professor at Stanford University, where she teaches psychology and anthropology. And her work is fascinating. She’s interested in what seems like an impossible question: how it is that people from vastly different religious and spiritual traditions experience their gods and their spirits as real? She goes about answering this question in a very straightforward way. Well, asks Lurhmann, what do their believers do and what do they learn to do such that they might turn to you and say, “Oh yes, God is real. I just had coffee with God this morning.” Lurhmann’s book is keenly argued and lucidly written, which is to say Lurhmann is not just a brilliant scholar but also an engaging writer and speaker, which makes her book and Lurhmann herself all the more of a pleasure to encounter.
    Eric LeMay is on the creative writing faculty at Ohio University. His work ranges from food writing to electronic literature. He is the author of three books, most recently In Praise of Nothing: Essay, Memoir, and Experiments (Emergency Press, 2014). He can be reached at eric@ericlemay.org.
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    • 59 min

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