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New Books in Religion Podcast by Marshall Poe

New Books in Religion Podcast

by Marshall Poe

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Interviews with Scholars of Religion about their New Books.


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Joseph Lumbard, “The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary” (HarperOne, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Mar 24, 2017


The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (HarperOne, 2015) represents years of effort from a team of dedicated translators and editors (Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Joseph Lumbard, Maria Dakake, Caner Dagli, and Mohammad Rustom).…

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Sarah Hammerschlag, “Broken Tablets: Levinas, Derrida, and the Literary Afterlife of Religion” (Columbia UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Mar 20, 2017


In Broken Tablets: Levinas, Derrida, and the Literary Afterlife of Religion (Columbia University Press, 2016), Sarah Hammerschlag, Associate Professor of Religion and Literature at the University of Chicago Divinity School, explores the admiring and at times oppositional philosophical kinship…

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Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez, “The Valiant Woman: The Virgin Mary in Nineteenth-Century American Culture” (UNC Press, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Mar 16, 2017


When people think of the Virgin Mary in terms of American religious history, there is a tendency to focus on opposition. For instance, Catholic devotion to Mary on the one side, and Protestant critique of that devotion on the other…

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Richard Weikart, “Hitler’s Religion: The Twisted Beliefs that Drove the Third Reich” (Regnery History, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Mar 14, 2017


Trying to figure out what Hitler “really” thought about anything is difficult because he was–among many other things–a clever, opportunistic politician and a very prolix one at that. Over the course of his 20+ career he gave thousands of speeches,…

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Molly Worthen, “Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Mar 14, 2017


Beginning with a network of reformed figures that orbited around Billy Graham, from J. Howard Pew’s money to Carl Henry’s passion for cultural esteem, Molly Worthen’s Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, 2014)…

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Jordan D. Rosenblum, “The Jewish Dietary Laws in the Ancient World” (Cambridge UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Mar 09, 2017


In The Jewish Dietary Laws in the Ancient World Jordan D. Rosenblum explores how cultures critique and defend their religious food practices. In particular he focuses on how ancient Jews defended the kosher laws, or kashrut, and how ancient Greek,…

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Paul Harvey, “Bounds of Their Habitation: Race and Religion in American History” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Mar 07, 2017


Paul Harvey is a professor of history at the University of Colorado. His book Bounds of Their Habitation: Race and Religion in American History (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017) provides an accessible and expansive narrative of the relationship between race, religion…

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Benjamin Schonthal, “Buddhism, Politics and the Limits of the Law: The Pyrrhic Constitutionalism of Sri Lanka” (Cambridge UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Mar 03, 2017


In his recent monograph, Buddhism, Politics and the Limits of Law: The Pyrrhic Constitutionalism of Sri Lanka (Cambridge University Press, 2016), Benjamin Schonthal examines the relationship between constitutional law and religious conflict in Sri Lanka during the twentieth and twenty-first…

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Steven Dilday, “The Exegetical Labors of the Reverend Matthew Poole” (Master Poole Publishing, 2017)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Mar 02, 2017


Matthew Poole (1624-1679) was an English Nonconformist theologian educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge; he held the rectory of St Michael le Querne in London from 1649 to 1662. Poole is principally associated with the work Synopsis Criticorum Biblicorum (5 vols.…

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Benjamin Schreier, “The Impossible Jew: Identity and the Reconstruction of Jewish American Literary History” (NYU Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Feb 27, 2017


What is Jewish about Jewish American literature? While the imaginative possibilities are numerous many scholars approach literary products with an established notion of a Jewish identity before they reach their subjects. This is one of the central concerns for Benjamin

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David Rohl, “Exodus: Myth or History? (Thinking Man Media, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Feb 27, 2017


Archaeologists and scholars of the ancient Near East regularly make statements to the effect that there is absolutely no archaeological evidence for many events of the Bible, including Israel’s sojourn in Egypt, the Exodus out of Egypt, and the conquest…

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Kerry Pimblott, “Faith in Black Power: Religion, Race, and Resistance in Cairo, Illinois” (U. Press of Kentucky, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Feb 21, 2017


When you think of black power, do you think about churches and religious institutions, or do you relate them more to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s? How do the social justice struggles of the past relate…

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Piotr Kosicki, “Vatican II Behind the Iron Curtain” (Catholic Univ. of America Press, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Feb 01, 2017


Many historians have documented the Second Vatican Council yet virtually no attention has been devoted to the Catholics who found themselves living behind an iron curtain at the end of the 1940s. Piotr Kosicki’s edited volume, Vatican II Behind the

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Nathan Hofer, “The Popularisation of Sufism in Ayyubid and Mamluk Egypt, 1173-1325” (Edinburgh UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jan 27, 2017


Medieval Egypt had a rapid influx of Sufis, which has previously been explained through reactionary models of analysis. It was argued that the widespread popularity of Sufism was marked by a public adoption of practices that satisfied the masses in…

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Joshua Guthman, “Strangers Below: Primitive Baptists and American Culture” (UNC Press, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Jan 25, 2017


Before the Bible Belt fastened itself across the South, competing factions of evangelicals fought over the faith’s future, and a contrarian sect, self-named the Primitive Baptists, made its stand. In Strangers Below: Primitive Baptists and American Culture (University of…

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David Willgren, “The Formation of the ‘Book’ of Psalms” (Mohr Siebeck, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jan 20, 2017


How was the ‘Book’ of Psalms formed, and why? The first question relates to the diachronic growth of the collection, while the second relates to issues of purpose–to what end are psalms being juxtaposed in a collection? On this show,…

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Erik W. Davis, “Deathpower: Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia” (Columbia UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jan 20, 2017


In his recent monograph, Deathpower: Buddhism’s Ritual Imagination in Cambodia (Columbia University Press, 2015), Erik W. Davis explores funerary ritual in contemporary Cambodian Buddhism and the way in which Buddhist monks manage death such that its negative power is harnessed…

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Alan J. Levinovitz, “The Limits of Religious Tolerance” (Amherst College Press, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Jan 14, 2017


The Pope said that Donald Trump wasn’t much of a Christian if all he can think about is building walls. Trump replied that it was “disgraceful” for a any leader, even the Pope, “to question another man’s religion or faith.”…

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Matthew Pehl, “The Making of Working-Class Religion” (U. Illinois Press, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jan 13, 2017


Matthew Pehl is an associate professor of history at Augustana University. His book, The Making of Working-Class Religion (University of Illinois Press, 2016), gives us a rich and deep study of working class religion in Detroit beginning with the growth…

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Ellie Schainker, “Confessions of the Shtetl: Converts from Judaism in Imperial Russia, 1817-1906” (Stanford UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jan 10, 2017


In Confessions of the Shtetl: Converts from Judaism in Imperial Russia, 1817-1906 (Stanford University Press, 2016), Ellie Schainker, the Arthur Blank Family Foundation Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Emory University, complicates the traditional narrative of Jewish…

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Fr. Gary Selin, “Priestly Celibacy: Theological Foundations” (Catholic UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Jan 05, 2017


One of the particular markers of the Latin rite of the Catholic Church is priestly celibacy. How did this discipline develop there? Why did it develop? What does it mean? Since it is a discipline that can be changed, should…

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David W. Stowe, “Song of Exile: The Enduring Mystery of Psalm 137” (Oxford UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Dec 29, 2016


On today’s program we will be speaking with David W. Stowe about his recent book Song of Exile: The Enduring Mystery of Psalm 137 (Oxford University Press, 2016). Song of Exile weaves together the 2,500-year history of one of the…

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Sylvester Johnson, “African American Religions, 1500-2000: Colonialism, Democracy, and Freedom” (Cambridge UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Dec 29, 2016


When and where do African American religions begin? Sylvester Johnson, Associate Professor of African American Studies and Religious Studies at Northwestern University, disrupts the traditional temporal and geographical boundaries in the academic study of black religion in the Americas…

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Jan Kiely and J. Brooks Jessup, eds., “Recovering Buddhism in Modern China” (Columbia UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Dec 23, 2016


The essays in Jan Kiely and J. Brooks Jessup’s new edited volume, Recovering Buddhism in Modern China (Columbia University Press, 2016), collectively make a compelling argument that Buddhism and Buddhists played important roles in the modern transformations of China from…

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Amir Hussain, “Muslims and the Making of America” (Baylor UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Dec 23, 2016


Muslims and the Making of America (Baylor University Press, 2016) offers a succinct and gripping account of Muslim presence in the United States. The book gives attention to the contemporary moment and also reaches as far back as the days…

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Noah Salomon, “For Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan’s Islamic State (Princeton UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Dec 17, 2016


In popular discourse today, few concepts are more sensationalized and maliciously caricatured than that of the Islamic State. In his fascinating new book For Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan’s Islamic State (Princeton University Press, 2016), Noah Salomon

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Victor Taki, “Tsar and Sultan: Russian Encounters with the Ottoman Empire” (I.B. Taurus, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Dec 14, 2016


Victor Taki’s Tsar and Sultan: Russian Encounters with the Ottoman Empire (I.B. Taurus, 2016) invites the reader to explore the captivating story of the relationship of the Russian and Ottoman Empires in the 19th century, and highlights the role the…

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Michael Brown, “The Irish Enlightenment” (Harvard UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Dec 13, 2016


Traditionally histories of the Enlightenment era exclude Ireland in the belief that the movement left little impression on developments. In The Irish Enlightenment (Harvard University Press, 2016), Michael Brown challenges this assumption, demonstrating how the ideas and themes of the…

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Dov Weiss, “Pious Irreverence: Confronting God in Rabbinic Judaism” (U. Pennsylvania Press, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Dec 12, 2016


Judaism is often described as a religion that tolerates, even celebrates arguments with God. Unlike Christianity and Islam, it is said, Judaism endorses a tradition of protest as first expressed in the biblical stories of Abraham, Job, and Jeremiah. In…

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Gretchen Buggeln, “The Suburban Church: Modernism and Community in Postwar America” (U. Minnesota Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Dec 10, 2016


After World War II, America’s religious denominations spent billions on church architecture as they spread into the suburbs. Gretchen Buggeln’s latest monograph, The Suburban Church: Modernism and Community in Postwar America (University of Minnesota, 2015), is richly illustrated history of…

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Lena Salaymeh, “Beginnings of Islamic Law: Late Antique Islamicate Legal Traditions” (Cambridge UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Dec 02, 2016


In her brilliant new book Beginnings of Islamic Law: Late Antique Islamicate Legal Traditions (Cambridge University Press, 2016), Lena Salaymeh, Associate Professor of Law at Tel Aviv University, presents a fascinating account of the historical unfolding of Islamic Law…

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Anthony M. Petro, “After the Wrath of God: AIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion” (Oxford UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Dec 02, 2016


Emerging in the 1980s, the AIDS epidemic was not just a public health crisis. It was a moral crisis too, argues Anthony M. Petro in his new book, After the Wrath of God: AIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion (Oxford University…

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Scott Bruce, ed., “The Penguin Book of the Undead: Fifteen Hundred Years of Supernatural Encounters” (Penguin, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Nov 28, 2016


Like so many Americans, I’m a big fan of the undead. I look forward to a night of nail-biting when a new episode of The Walking Dead airs and I get excited when Hollywood gears up for the next big-budget…

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Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle, “The Art of the Bible: Illuminated Manuscripts from the Medieval World” (Thames and Hudson, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Nov 28, 2016


On today’s program, I talk with Scot McKendrick and Kathleen Doyle about their new book, The Art of the Bible Illuminated Manuscripts from the Medieval World, published by Thames and Hudson (and distributed in the United States by W.…

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Federica Goffi, “Time Matter(s): Invention and Reimagination in Built Conservation” (Routledge, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Nov 23, 2016


Assistant Professor Federica Goffi fills a blind spot in current architectural theory and practice with this book, Time Matter(s): Invention and Re-Imagination in Built Conservation: The Unfinished Drawing and Building of St. Peter’s, the Vatican (Routledge, 2013). In proposing a…

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Christian Lange, “Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions” (Cambridge UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Nov 21, 2016


Christian Lange’s Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions (Cambridge University Press, 2015), which was recently awarded the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society’s Book Prize, presents a rich, challenging, and meticulous account of how Muslims have conceptualized the spiritual world across the centuries.…

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Patrick Jory, “Thailand’s Theory of Monarchy: The Vessantara Jataka and the Idea of the Perfect Man” (SUNY Press, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Nov 20, 2016


In Thailand’s Theory of Monarchy: The Vessantara Jataka and the Idea of the Perfect Man (SUNY Press, 2016; in paperback from 2017), Patrick Jory offers a compelling reinterpretation of religious text as political theory. The Vessantara Jataka is one of…

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Benjamin L. Gladd and Matthew S. Harmon, “Making All Things New: Inaugurated Eschatology for the Life of the Church” (Baker Academic, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Nov 15, 2016


Benjamin L. Gladd is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. He completed his Ph.D. from Wheaton College in New Testament in 2008, and teaches courses in Greek, Exegesis, the New Testament, and the Use…

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Donald Berry, “Glory in Romans and the Unified Purpose of God in Redemptive History” (Pickwick Publications, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Nov 13, 2016


In this program, we discuss Glory in Romans and the Unified Purpose of God in Redemptive History (Pickwick Publications, 2016), a revision of Donald Berry’s doctoral dissertation. With this publication, Berry fills in a gap in Pauline studies, setting forth…

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Rupa Viswanath, “The Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India” (Columbia UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Nov 02, 2016


The so called “Pariah Problem” emerged in public consciousness in the 1890s in India as state officials, missionaries and “upper”caste landlords, among others, struggled to understood the situation of Dalits (those subordinated populations once called untouchables). In The Pariah Problem:

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April Dammann, “Corita Kent: Art and Soul: The Biography” (Angel City Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Oct 21, 2016


Sister Mary Corita, IHM (1918-1986), was a beloved artist and teacher whose role as the rebel nun continues to inspire contemporary audiences. Corita joined the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1936 when she was just eighteen years…

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Caroline Winterer, “American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason” (Yale UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Oct 18, 2016


Caroline Winterer is the Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University. American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason (Yale University Press, 2016) gives us a glimpse into how eighteenth-century Americans, as the “first prophets…

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Arie L. Molendijk, “Friedrich Max Muller and the Sacred Books of the East” (Oxford UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Oct 18, 2016


Arie L. Molendijk is Professor of the History of Christianity and Philosophy in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He has written Friedrich Max Muller and the Sacred Books of the East

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Nile Green, “Terrains of Exchange: Religious Economies of Global Islam” (Oxford UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Oct 17, 2016


The historical convergence of European imperialism and technological innovation in communication and travel made multiple social sites of intersection between the local and global possible. Nile Green, Professor of South Asian and Islamic history at UCLA, examines how these…

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Robert Orsi, “History and Presence” (Harvard UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Oct 14, 2016


Beginning with the Catholic doctrine of the literal, embodied presence of Christ, scholar of religion Robert Orsi imagines an alternative to the future of religion that early moderns proclaimed was inevitable. The gods really present, in the Catholic sense, were…

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Jay Green, “Christian Historiography: Five Rival Versions” (Baylor UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Oct 08, 2016


What does it mean to be a Christian historian? Can there be such a thing as Christian history? In his new book, Christian Historiography: Five Rival Versions (Baylor University Press, 2015), Jay Green of Covenant College explores these and other…

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Dale S. Wright, “What is Buddhist Enlightenment?” (Oxford UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Oct 04, 2016


The words “Buddhism” and “enlightenment” are, at least in the West, tightly connected. “Everyone” knows that the goal–or at least one of the goals–of Buddhist practice is “enlightenment.” But what the heck is “enlightenment,” exactly? It’s a tough question, but…

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Rory Dickson, “Living Sufism in North America: Tradition and Transformation” (SUNY Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Oct 03, 2016


Rory Dickson’s Living Sufism in North America: Between Tradition and Transformation (SUNY Press, 2015) is the first monograph in English to focus on Sufism in North America. On this note, Dickson takes a risk by marking himself as a trendsetter…

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Carsten Schapkow, “Role Model and Countermodel: The Golden Age of Iberian Jewry and German Jewish Culture during the Era of Emancipation” (Lexington Books, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Sep 19, 2016


Why were German Jews so fascinated by Iberian Sephardic history? In Role Model and Countermodel: The Golden Age of Iberian Jewry and German Jewish Culture during the Era of Emancipation (Lexington Books, 2015), University of Oklahoma Professor Dr. Carsten Schapkow

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David M. Krueger, “Myths of the Rune Stone: Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America” (U. of Minnesota Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Sep 13, 2016


What do our myths say about us? Why do we choose to believe stories that have been disproven by science? In Myths of the Rune Stone: Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), David M.

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Fleming Rutledge, “The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ” (Eerdmans, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Sep 13, 2016


On this program, I talk with Fleming Rutledge about her new book, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ (Eerdmans, 2015), and the themes and motifs surrounding the topic in the history of biblical interpretation. While theologians and…

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Matthew Pierce, “Twelve Infallible Men: The Imams and the Making of Shiism” (Harvard UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Sep 07, 2016


The story of the martyrdom of Husayn, the prophet Muhammad’s grandson, is recounted annually around the world. More broadly, the communal retelling of the lives of Shia imams has played an important part in shaping Shia identity and practice. Matthew

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Adam Rovner, “In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands Before Israel” (New York UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Sep 05, 2016


In his book, In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands Before Israel (New York University Press, 2014), Adam Rovner, Associate Professor of English and Jewish Literature at the University of Denver, explores the possibilities for Jewish homelands before the…

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Martha Nussbaum, “Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice” (Oxford UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Sep 01, 2016


Anger is among the most familiar phenomena in our moral lives. It is common to think that anger is an appropriate, and sometimes morally required, emotional response to wrongdoing and injustice. In fact, our day-to-day lives are saturated with inducements…

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Benjamin Fagan, “The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation” (U. of Georgia Press, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Aug 30, 2016


In the decades leading up to the Civil War, antebellum African Americans elites turned to the newspaper as a means of translating their belief in black “chosenness” into programs for black liberation. Benjamin Fagan’s The Black Newspaper and the Chosen

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Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, “The Myth of the Cultural Jew: Culture and Law in Jewish Tradition” (Oxford UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Aug 29, 2016


In The Myth of the Cultural Jew: Culture and Law in Jewish Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2015), Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, the Raymond P. Niro Professor of Intellectual Property Law at DePaul University College of Law, applies a cultural analysis…

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Akiko Takenaka, “Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan’s Unending Postwar” (U. of Hawaii Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Aug 24, 2016


Akiko Takenaka’s new book looks carefully at Yasukuni Shrine as a war memorial, examining its role in waging war, honoring the dead, promoting peace, and building a modern national identity. Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory, and Japan’s Unending Postwar (University of…

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Jonathan Garb, “Yearnings of the Soul: Psychological Thought in Modern Kabbalah” (U. of Chicago Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Aug 22, 2016


In Yearnings of the Soul: Psychological Thought in Modern Kabbalah (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Jonathan Garb, the Gershom Scholem Professor in the Department of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explores the rich psychological tradition in…

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Silvia Jonas, “Ineffability and Its Metaphysics: The Unspeakable in Art, Religion, and Philosophy” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Aug 15, 2016


There is a long history in philosophy, art and religion of claims about the ineffable from The One in Plotinus to Kant’s noumena or thing-in-itself to Wittgenstein’s famous remark at the end of Tractatus that “whereof one cannot speak, thereof…

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Paul M. Cobb, “The Race for Paradise: An Islamic History of the Crusades” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jul 25, 2016


The Crusades loom large in contemporary popular consciousness. However, our public understanding has largely been informed from a western perspective, despite the fact that there is a rich textual tradition recording its history in Muslim sources. Paul M. Cobb,…

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Mark R. E. Meulenbeld, “Demonic Warfare: Daoism, Territorial Networks, and the History of a Ming Novel” (U. of Hawaii Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jul 25, 2016


Mark R. E. Meulenbeld’s new book looks closely at the relationship between vernacular novels and vernacular rituals in Ming China. Focusing on a particular novel called Canonization of the Gods (Fengshen yanyi), and on a particular set of…

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Peter Harrison, “The Territories of Science and Religion” (U. of Chicago Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Jul 21, 2016


Contemporary debates would lead you to believe that science and religion are eternally at odds with each other. In The Territories of Science and Religion (University of Chicago Press, 2014), Peter Harrison,Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities…

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Aisha Geissinger, “Gender and the Construction of Exegetical Authority: A Rereading of the Classical Genre of Qur’an Commentary (Brill, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jul 12, 2016


Aisha Geissinger’s monograph, Gender and the Construction of Exegetical Authority: A Rereading of the Classical Genre of Qur’an Commentary (Brill, 2015), contributes to the growing field of intersections between gender studies and Qur’anic studies. Unlike some recent studies that have…

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Elizabeth Hurd, “Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion” (Princeton UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jun 27, 2016


Among the most frequent demands made of Islam and Muslims today is to become more moderate. But what counts as moderate and who will decide so are questions with less than obvious answers. In her timely and politically urgent new…

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Joseph Lam, “Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew Bible: Metaphor, Culture, and the Making of a Religious Concept” (Oxford UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Jun 26, 2016


On this program, I spoke with Joseph Lam about his book, Patterns of Sin in the Hebrew Bible: Metaphor, Culture, and the Making of a Religious Concept (Oxford University Press, 2016). Joseph Lam is an assistant professor in the Department…

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Sandow Birk, “American Qur’an” (Liveright, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Jun 15, 2016


Could the Qur’an–understood, according to Muslims, as the verbatim word of God in Arabic–acquire a nationality? Specifically, could it be American? And written in English? Contemporary visual artist Sandow Birk’s American Qur’an (Liveright, 2015) raises these questions and many more.…

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Saskia Coenen Snyder, “Building a Public Judaism” (Harvard UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jun 13, 2016


In Building a Public Judaism: Synagogues and Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Harvard University Press, 2013), Saskia Coenen Snyder, Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, uses buildings to tell a story; specifically, a story about…

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Jon D. Levenson, “The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism” (Princeton UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Jun 09, 2016


In The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism (Princeton University Press, 2016), Jon D. Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University, explores the origin and development of the idea…

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Richard B. Hays, “Reading Backwards: Figural Christology and the Fourfold Gospel Witness” (Baylor UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jun 06, 2016


Richard B. Hays is the George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. Internationally recognized for his work on the letters of Paul and on New Testament ethics, he has written many scholarly books that bridge the…

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Charles Keith, “Catholic Vietnam: A Church from Empire to Nation” (U of California Press, 2012)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jun 06, 2016


The relationship between religion, imperialism, and national identity can be quite complex. At the same time, nationalist readings of history, particularly when they are combined with other ideological perspectives, can easily provide reductionist narratives that do not due full justice…

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Jason Bivins, “Spirits Rejoice! Jazz and American Religion” (Oxford UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, May 31, 2016


Jazz is often dubbed the greatest American original art form. This claim might be difficult to contend. But a close exploration of the folks who created, listened, and participated in jazz environments can also tell us lot about the religious…

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Dianne Ashton, “Hanukkah in America: A History” (New York UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, May 31, 2016


In Hanukkah in America: A History (New York University Press, 2013), Dianne Ashton, professor of Religion Studies at Rowan University, delves into the history of Hanukkah in the United States to illuminate how successive generations of American Jews used…

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Adam Ferziger, “Beyond Sectarianism: The Realignment of American Orthodox Judaism” (Wayne State UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, May 28, 2016


In Beyond Sectarianism: The Realignment of American Orthodox Judaism (Wayne State University Press, 2015), Adam Ferziger, S.R. Hirsch Chair for Research of the Torah with Derekh Erez Movement at Bar-Ilan University, traces the evolution of Orthodox Judaism in the…

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Jonathon S. Kahn and Vincent W. Lloyd, editors, “Race And Secularism in America” (Columbia UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, May 28, 2016


Jonathon S. Kahn is an associate professor of religion at Vassar College. He is co-editor with Vincent W. Lloyd of a collection of essays entitled Race and Secularism in America (Columbia University Press, 2016). Eleven scholars forward the argument that…

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Todd Endelman, “Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversion and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History” (Princeton UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, May 23, 2016


In Leaving the Jewish Fold: Conversion and Radical Assimilation in Modern Jewish History (Princeton University Press, 2015), Todd Endelman looks across three centuries and on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to examine the history of Jews who decided to…

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Stephen L. Field, “The Duke of Zhou Changes: A Study and Annotated Translation of the Zhouyi” (Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, May 20, 2016


Stephen L. Field‘s new translation and study of the Zhouyi offers an inspiring and fresh take that importantly differs from previous translators approaches to the text. The Duke of Zhou Changes: A Study and Annotated Translation of the Zhouyi

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Mel Scult, “The Radical American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan” (Indiana UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, May 16, 2016


In The Radical American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan (Indiana University Press, 2013), Mel Scult, professor emeritus at Brooklyn College, explores the ways in which Mordecai Kaplan, the only rabbi to have been excommunicated by the Orthodox rabbinical establishment…

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Lynn Davidman, “Becoming Un-Orthodox: Stories of Ex-Hasidic Jews” (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, May 12, 2016


In Becoming Un-Orthodox: Stories of Ex-Hasidic Jews (Oxford University Press, 2015), Lynn Davidman, Robert M. Beren Distinguished Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at the University of Kansas, utilizes interviews with more than forty individuals who have left their Hasidic…

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Asma Afsaruddin, “Contemporary Issues in Islam” (Edinburgh UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, May 04, 2016


As the title of the monograph suggests, Contemporary Issues in Islam (Edinburgh University Press, 2015) by Asma Afsaruddin, guides the reader through an organized and compelling narrative of reflections on hot-button topics in the modern world. The monograph offers…

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Gary A. Anderson, “Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition” (Yale University Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, May 02, 2016


In Charity: The Place of the Poor in the Biblical Tradition (Yale University Press, 2013), Gary A. Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Notre Dame, explores the theological underpinnings of alms-giving, or charity. Anderson looks…

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Birgit Meyer, “Sensational Movies: Video, Vision, and Christianity in Ghana” (U of California Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Apr 30, 2016


Anthropologist Birgit Meyer‘s most recent book, Sensational Movies: Video, Vision, and Christianity in Ghana (University of California Press, 2015), explores the dynamic process of popular video filmmaking in Ghana as a new medium for the imagination that interweaves technological,…

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Eric Dietrich, “Excellent Beauty: The Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World” (Columbia UP, )

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Apr 15, 2016


Although there are many deep criticisms of a scientific view of humanity and the world, a persistent theme is that the scientific worldview eliminates mystery, and in particular, the wonders and mysteries of the world’s religions. In Excellent Beauty: The

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Bland and Strawn, “Christianity and Psychoanalysis: A New Conversation” (IntraVarsity Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Apr 12, 2016


Despite remaining neutral on his personal religious beliefs, Freud’s commitment to empiricism and his determination in relegating psychoanalysis to a scientifically valid position has had a lasting impact. In some sense, its created a taboo against theological considerations. This taboo,? …

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Daniel M. Horwitz, “A Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism Reader” (The Jewish Publication Society, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Apr 12, 2016


Ever wonder what Kabbalah is really about? Or how you might have a close relationship with God? Is cleaving to God an expectation that might have been medieval but no longer is sought?? Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Horwitz ‘s new…

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Seth Kimmel, “Parables of Coercion: Conversion and Knowledge at the End of Islamic Spain” (U of Chicago Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Apr 08, 2016


In his path clearing new book, Parables of Coercion: Conversion and Knowledge at the End of Islamic Spain (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Seth Kimmel, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University, presents a fascinating…

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Marc B. Shapiro, “Changing the Immutable: How Orthodox Judaism Rewrites Its History” (Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Apr 03, 2016


In Changing the Immutable: How Orthodox Judaism Rewrites Its History (The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2015), Marc B. Shapiro, the Weinberg Chair of Judaic Studies at the University of Scranton, explores how segments of the Orthodox Jewish world…

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Heather Kopelson, “Faithful Bodies: Performing Religion and Race in the Puritan Atlantic” (NYU Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Apr 03, 2016


Heather Miyano Kopelson explores how religion, primarily expressed through bodily action, contributed to colonial notions of difference in her recent book Faithful Bodies: Performing Religion and Race in the Puritan Atlantic (NYU Press, 2014). She examines the religious rituals of…

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Brennan W. Breed, “Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History” (Indiana UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Apr 01, 2016


Modern Biblical Studies usually begins from an assumption that there is an established original text and clear exegetical genres that extend from the original. Reception History is structured around the premise that they are investigating how individuals and communities have…

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Daniel K. Williams, “Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade” (Oxford UP, 2016)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Apr 01, 2016


Daniel K. Williams is an associate professor of history at the University of West Georgia. His book, Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement Before Roe v. Wade (Oxford University Press, 2016) offers the origins of the pro-life movement not…

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Erik Hammerstrom, “The Science of Chinese Buddhism: Early Twentieth-Century Engagements” (Columbia UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Mar 30, 2016


Erik J. Hammerstrom‘s new book looks carefully at “what Chinese Buddhists thought about science in the first part of the twentieth century” by exploring what they wrote in articles and monographs devoted to the topic in the 1920s and…

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Heather Vacek, “Madness: American Protestant Responses to Mental Illness” (Baylor UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Mar 30, 2016


Should the member of a Christian congregation be injured in a car accident, that person will likely be the subject of public prayers and hospitality. But if that same person suffers a mental breakdown, reactions will likely be much more…

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Pamela D. Winfield, “Icons and Iconoclasm in Japanese Buddhism: Kukai and Dogen on the Art of Enlightenment” (Oxford UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Mar 29, 2016


What role do images play in the enlightenment experience? Can Buddha images, calligraphy, mandalas, and portraits function as nodes of access for a practitioner’s experience of enlightenment? Or are these visual representations a distraction from what ultimately matters? Pamela D.

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Caroline E. Light, “That Pride of Race and Character: The Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South” (NYU Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Mar 29, 2016


In? That Pride of Race and Character: The Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South (NYU Press, 2014),? Caroline E. Light,? Lecturer on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University, examines the American Jewish tradition…

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Kenneth Garden, “The First Islamic Reviver: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and his Revival of the Religious Sciences” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Mar 21, 2016


Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 1111) is one of the most famous Muslim thinkers in history. His autobiographical account, The Deliverer from Error, tells us of his spiritual crisis and transformative experience of journeying, which lead to his subsequent life…

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Daniella Doron, “Jewish Youth and Identity in Postwar France: Rebuilding Family and Nation” (Indiana UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Mar 21, 2016


In Jewish Youth and Identity in Postwar France: Rebuilding Family and Nation (Indiana UP, 2015), Daniella Doron, Lecturer in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Monash University, looks at the post-WWII effort to rehabilitate Jewish children and to reconstruct Jewish…

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John D. Wilsey, “American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea” (IVP Academic, 2015).

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Mar 18, 2016


John D. Wilsey, assistant professor of history and Christian apologetics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His book American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea (IVP Academic, 2015) is a work of historical political theology and…

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Dan J. Puckett, “In the Shadow of Hitler: Alabama’s Jews, the Second World War, and the Holocaust” (U of Alabama Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Mar 14, 2016


In his book, In the Shadow of Hitler: Alabama’s Jews, the Second World War, and the Holocaust (University of Alabama Press, 2014),? Dan J. Puckett, Associate Professor of History at Troy University, traces how Alabama’s Jews overcame community divisions…

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Benjamin D. Sommer, “Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition” (Yale UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Mar 06, 2016


In? Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Tradition (Yale University Press, 2015),? Benjamin D. Sommer, Professor of Bible at The Jewish Theological Seminary, describes a “participatory theory of revelation,” which views the Bible as the result of…

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Eileen M. Kane, “Russian Hajj: Empire and the Pilgrimage to Mecca” (Cornell University Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Mar 04, 2016


In her gripping new book Russian Hajj: Empire and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Cornell University Press, 2015), Eileen M. Kane, Associate Professor of History at Connecticut College, presents a compelling narrative of the Russian empire’s patronage of the Hajj…

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Deirdre de la Cruz, “Mother Figured: Marian Apparitions and the Making of a Filipino Universal” (U of Chicago Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Mar 02, 2016


There is no female religious figure so widely known and revered as the Virgin Mary. Filipino Catholics are especially drawn to Mama Mary and have a strong belief in her power, including her ability to appear to her followers. In…

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Theodore Sasson, “The New American Zionism” (NYU Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Feb 29, 2016


In The New American Zionism (New York University Press, 2014; paperback 2015), Theodore Sasson, Professor of Jewish Studies at Middlebury College and Visiting Research Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University, challenges the conventional view of declining American Jewish support…

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Mark R. Stoll, “Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism” (Oxford UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Feb 22, 2016


Mark R. Stoll is associate professor of history and Director of Environmental Studies at Texas Tech University. His book Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism (Oxford University Press, 2015) offers a history of environmentalism emerging…

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Shai Held, “Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence” (Indiana UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Feb 16, 2016


In Abraham Joshua Heschel: The Call of Transcendence (Indiana University Press, 2013), Shai Held, Co-Founder, Dean and Chair in Jewish Thought at Mechon Hadar, offers a sympathetic, yet critical, examination of the thought of this influential mid-twentieth century theologian,…

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Aviya Kushner, “The Grammar of God: A Journey into the Words and Worlds of the Bible” (Spiegel and Grau, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Feb 16, 2016


Aviya Kushner grew up in a Hebrew-speaking family, reading the Bible in the original Hebrew and debating its meaning over the dinner table. She knew much of it by heart–and was later surprised when, while getting her MFA from the…

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Kishwar Rizvi, “The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East” (UNC Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Feb 08, 2016


In her excellent new book The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East (UNC Press, 2015), Kishwar Rizvi, Associate Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, interrogates the interaction of history, memory, and…

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Keren R. McGinity, “Marrying Out: Jewish Men, Intermarriage, and Fatherhood” (Indiana UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Feb 08, 2016


In Marrying Out: Jewish Men, Intermarriage, and Fatherhood (Indiana University Press, 2014), Keren R. McGinity, founding director of the Love and Tradition Institute and a Research Associate at Brandeis University, seeks to challenge the common assumption that when American…

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Tam Ngo and Justine B. Quijada, eds., “Atheist Secularism and its Discontents: A Study of Religion and Communism in Eurasia” (Palgrave, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Feb 03, 2016


Secularism has emerged as a central category of twenty-first century political thought and critical theory. Following the lead of anthropologist Talal Asad, there is a growing literature that traces the complicated relationship between state policies on religion and emergent epistemologies…

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Anita Weiss, “Interpreting Islam, Modernity, and Women’s Rights in Pakistan” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jan 26, 2016


Pakistan is often caricatured and stereotyped as a volatile nuclear country on the precipice of disaster. Such depictions are often especially acerbic when comes to the issue of Women’s rights in the country. In her important new book, Interpreting Islam,

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Adam J. Powell, “Irenaeus, Joseph Smith and God-Making Heresy” (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jan 22, 2016


At first glance, second-century bishop Irenaeus of Lyon and Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints don’t seem to have much in common. After all, Irenaeus saw himself as defending orthodoxy against innovation,…

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Heather Blair, “Real and Imagined: The Peak of Gold in Heian Japan” (Harvard U Asia Center, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Jan 20, 2016


In her recent monograph, Real and Imagined: The Peak of Gold in Heian Japan (Harvard University Asia Center, 2015), Heather Blair explores the religious and institutional history of Kinpusen, a mountain in central Japan that served as both a pilgrimage…

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Patrick Bowen, “A History of Conversion to Islam in the United States, Vol 1: White American Muslims before 1975” (Brill, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jan 12, 2016


In the current political moment there is widespread anti-Muslim rhetoric and it would be easy to conclude that a large portion of white Americans see Islam at odds with American values. But a longer view of history reveals a long-standing…

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Sean McCloud, “American Possessions: Fighting Demons in the Contemporary United States” (Oxford UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jan 05, 2016


Exorcisms and demons. In his new book American Possessions: Fighting Demons in the Contemporary United States (Oxford University Press, 2015), Sean McCloud argues that not only have such phenomena been on the rise in the last 30 or so years,…

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James A. Benn, “Tea in China: A Religious and Cultural History” (U of Hawaii Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jan 04, 2016


James A. Benn‘s new book is a history of tea as a religious and cultural commodity in China before it became a global commodity in the nineteenth century. Focusing on the Tang and Song dynasties (with brief extensions earlier…

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Heath W. Carter, “Union Made: Working People and the Rise of Social Christianity in Chicago” (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Dec 26, 2015


Heath W. Carter‘s new book Union Made: Working People and the Rise of Social Christianity in Chicago (Oxford University Press, 2015) offers a bold interpretation of the origins of the American Social Gospel by highlighting the role of labor…

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Marcia C. Inhorn, “The New Arab Man: Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and Islam in the Middle East” (Princeton UP, 2012)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Dec 18, 2015


Winner of the 2015 American Anthropological Associations Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology and the 2014 JMEWS Book Award of the Association for Middle East Womens Studies, The New Arab Man: Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and

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Janet Gyatso, Being Human in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet (Columbia University Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Dec 18, 2015


Janet Gyatso‘s new book is a masterfully researched, compellingly written, and gorgeously illustrated history of medicine in early modern Tibet that looks carefully at the relationships between medicine and religion in this context. Being Human in a Buddhist World:

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Zeki Saritoprak, “Islam’s Jesus” (University of Florida Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Dec 17, 2015


In Islam’s Jesus (University of Florida Press, 2015), Zeki Saritoprak explores an old topic from a fresh perspective. The status of Jesus in Islam has been of interest for centuries, and relates to both Christianity and Islam, but the level…

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Alice J. Kang, “Bargaining for Women’s Rights: Activism in an Aspiring Muslim Democracy” (U of Minnesota Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Dec 16, 2015


Alice J. Kang has written Bargaining for Women’s Rights: Activism in an Aspiring Muslim Democracy (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). Kang is assistant professor of political science and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Much attention is paid to…

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Ted Merwin, “Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli” (NYU Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Dec 14, 2015


In Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli (New York University Press, 2015), Ted Merwin, Associate Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies at Dickinson College, serves up the first full-length history of the New York Jewish…

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Christine Hong, “Identity, Youth, and Gender in the Korean American Church” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Dec 12, 2015


In her new book, Identity, Youth, and Gender in the Korean American Church (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Dr. Christine Hong explores the lives of female Korean American Mainline Christian adolescents. Hong’s work, an exercise in feminist ethnography and practical theology, focuses…

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Erica Weiss, “Conscientious Objectors in Israel: Citizenship, Sacrifice, Trials of Fealty” (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Dec 10, 2015


In Conscientious Objectors in Israel: Citizenship, Sacrifice, Trials of Fealty (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), Erica Weiss, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University, examines the lives and choices Israeli conscientious objectors, those…

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Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett, “Carolina Israelite: How Harry Golden Made Us Care about Jews, the South, and Civil Rights” (UNC Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Dec 09, 2015


In Carolina Israelite: How Harry Golden Made Us Care about Jews, the South, and Civil Rights (The University of North Carolina Press, 2015), Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett, a writer and former journalist, introduces us to the larger-than-life personality Harry Golden.…

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Ranen Omer-Sherman, “Imagining the Kibbutz: Visions of Utopia in Literature and Film” (Penn State UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Dec 08, 2015


In Imagining the Kibbutz: Visions of Utopia in Literature and Film (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015), Ranen Omer-Sherman, a professor at the University of Louisville, looks at literary and cinematic representations of the kibbutz, what he calls the…

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Peter van der Veer, “The Modern Spirit of Asia: The Spiritual and the Secular in China and India” Princeton University Press, 2013

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Dec 07, 2015


What are the differences between religion, magic, and spirituality? Over time, these categories have been articulated in a variety of ways across differing cultures. However, many assume that the multiple understandings are merely derivative of western assertions about secular modernity.…

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Saba Mahmood, “Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report” (Princeton UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Dec 07, 2015


It is commonly thought that violence, injustice, and discrimination against religious minorities, especially in the Middle East, are a product of religious fundamentalism and myopia. Concomitantly, it is often argued, that more of secularism and less of religion represents the…

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Mark A. Smith, “Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics” (University of Chicago Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Dec 07, 2015


Mark A. Smith is the author of Secular Faith: Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Smith is professor of political science at the University of Washington. The provocative central thesis of this book is…

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Leah Garrett, “Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel” (Northwestern UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Dec 03, 2015


Finalist, 2015 National Jewish Book Award In her new book Young Lions: How Jewish Authors Reinvented the American War Novel (Northwestern University Press, 2015), Leah Garrett, the Loti Smorgon (Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture at Monash University…

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Glenn Dynner, “Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Dec 01, 2015


In Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland (Oxford UP, 2014), Glenn Dynner, Professor of Religion at Sarah Lawrence College, explores the world of Jewish-run taverns in nineteenth-century Eastern Europe. Jews had to fend off…

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Ilan Zvi Baron, “Obligation in Exile: The Jewish Diaspora, Israel and Critique” (Edinburgh UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Nov 19, 2015


In Obligation in Exile: The Jewish Diaspora, Israel and Critique (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), Ilan Baron, Lecturer in International Political Theory in the School of Government and International Affairs and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Jewish…

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Naser Ghobadzadeh, “Religious Secularity: A Theological Challenge to the Islamic State” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Nov 18, 2015


While “fundamentalism” and “authoritarian secularism” are commonly perceived as the two mutually exclusive paradigms available to Muslim majority countries Naser Ghobadzadeh‘s new book Religious Secularity: A Theological Challenge to the Islamic State (Oxford UP, 2014) highlights the recent political…

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Paul L. Heck, “Skepticism in Classical Islam: Moments of Confusion” (Routledge, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Nov 15, 2015


Skepticism is a familiar term to many of us conjuring up notions of doubt, uncertainty, and perhaps even unbelief. Yet, Skepticism did not always have such a narrow meaning. In fact Skepticism has helped formulate a number of important religious…

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Karen Bauer, “Gender Hierarchy in the Qur’an: Medieval Interpretations, Modern Responses” (Cambridge UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Nov 12, 2015


In Gender Hierarchy in the Qur’an: Medieval Interpretations, Modern Responses (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Dr. Karen Bauer tackles one of the foremost hot-button questions of the day: What is the role of gender in the Qur’an? Dr. Bauer’s adroit study…

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Anderson Blanton, “Hittin’ the Prayer Bones: Materiality of Spirit in the Pentecostal South” (UNC Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Nov 12, 2015


Anderson Blanton‘s Hittin’ the Prayer Bones: Materiality of Spirit in the Pentecostal South (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), illuminates how prayer, faith, and healing are intertwined with technologies of sound reproduction and material culture in the charismatic Christian…

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Kenneth L. Marcus, “The Definition of Anti-Semitism” (Oxford UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Nov 12, 2015


In The Definition of Anti-Semitism (Oxford University Press, 2015), Kenneth L. Marcus, the President and General Counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, explains what it is at stake in how we define anti-Semitism.…

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Maria Heim, “The Forerunner of All Things: Buddhaghosa on Mind, Intention and Agency” (Oxford UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Nov 08, 2015


Buddhaghosa, a fifth-century Pali Buddhist scholar or group of scholars, is the most influential commentator in Theravada Buddhist tradition, who has in many respects created the set of ideas we now associate with Theravada Buddhism today. Maria Heim‘s new…

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Aaron W. Hughes, “Rethinking Jewish Philosophy: Beyond Particularism and Universalism” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Nov 05, 2015


In Rethinking Jewish Philosophy: Beyond Particularism and Universalism (Oxford University Press, 2014), Aaron W. Hughes, the Philip S. Bernstein Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Rochester, explores that paradox he sees at the heart of Jewish philosophy.…

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Mark S. M. Scott, “Pathways in Theodicy: An Introduction to the Problem of Evil ” (Fortress Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Nov 03, 2015


In his new book, Pathways in Theodicy: An Introduction to the Problem of Evil (Fortress Press, 2015), Dr. Mark S. M. Scott explores how people, largely within the Christian tradition, deal with the problem of evil and suffering. In clear…

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Cecile E. Kuznitz, “YIVO and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture: Scholarship for the Yiddish Nation” (Cambridge UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 29, 2015


In YIVO and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture: Scholarship for the Yiddish Nation (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Cecile E. Kuznitz, Associate Professor of Jewish History and Director of Jewish Studies at Bard College, offers the first book-length history…

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Claire McLisky, et al., “Emotions and Christian Missions: Historical Perspectives” (Palgrave McMillan, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Oct 28, 2015


Published by Palgrave in 2015, Emotions and Christian Missions: Historical Perspectives brings together scholars from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England, the US, Germany, and Denmark. Through a set of wide-ranging essays, the authors collectively tackle a major question: how…

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Azizah al-Hibri, “The Islamic Worldview: Islamic Jurisprudence” (ABA Books, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Oct 27, 2015


How can a perspective on Islamic law and jurisprudence be constructed responding to the lives and practices of diasporic Muslims while remaining deeply grounded in the foundational texts of the religion? In The Islamic Worldview: Islamic Jurisprudence–An American Muslim Perspective,

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Jeffery S. Gurock, “The Holocaust Averted: An Alternate History of American Jewry, 1938-1967” (Rutgers UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 22, 2015


In The Holocaust Averted: An Alternate History of American Jewry, 1938-1967 (Rutgers University Press, 2015), Jeffrey S. Gurock, the Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, imagines an alternate history of American Jewry had there been…

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Jon Birger, “Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game” (Workman Publishing Company, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 15, 2015


In Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game (Workman Publishing Company, 2015), Jon Birger, an award-winning journalist and contributor to Fortune magazine, explores the social implications of dating markets with a shortage of college-educated men. Birger argues that…

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Annie Blazer, “Playing for God: Evangelical Women and the Unintended Consequences of Sports Ministry” (NYU Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 08, 2015


In her new book, Playing for God: Evangelical Women and the Unintended Consequences of Sports Ministry (NYU Press, 2015), Annie Blazer shows through archival research and participant-observation how the paradigm of sports ministry transformed from one centered on celebrity male…

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Lila Corwin Berman, “Metropolitan Jews: Politics, Race, and Religion in Postwar Detroit” (U of Chicago, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 08, 2015


In Metropolitan Jews: Politics, Race, and Religion in Postwar Detroit (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Lila Corwin Berman, Associate Professor of History, Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History, and Director of the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History…

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Derek J. Penslar, “Jews and the Military: A History” (Princeton UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 01, 2015


In Jews and the Military: A History (Princeton University Press, 2015), Derek J. Penslar, the Stanley Lewis Professor of Israel Studies at the University of Oxford and the Samuel Zacks Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto,…

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Debra Majeed, “Polygyny: What it Means When African American Muslim Women Share Their Husbands” (UP of Florida, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Sep 30, 2015


In her wonderful new book Polygyny: What it Means When African American Muslim Women Share Their Husbands (University Press of Florida, 2015), Debra Majeed, Professor of Religious Studies at Beloit College, provides an analytically robust and moving account of…

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Sarah H. Jacoby, “Love and Liberation: Autobiographical Writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Sera Khandro” (Columbia UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Sep 26, 2015


Sarah H. Jacoby‘s recent monograph, Love and Liberation: Autobiographical Writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Sera Khandro (Columbia University Press, 2014), focuses on the extraordinary life and times of the Tibetan laywoman Sera Khandro and uses her story to…

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Amanda Lucia, “Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace” (University of California Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Sep 26, 2015


Waiting several hours in line for a hug is well worth it for thousands of people, the devotees of the Guru, Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi. In Reflections of Amma: Devotees in a Global Embrace (University of California Press, 2014), Amanda Lucia

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Kimberly Arkin, “Rhinestones, Religion, and the Republic: Fashioning Jewishness in France” (Stanford UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Sep 24, 2015


In Fictions of Conversion: Jews, Christians, and Cultures of Change in Early Modern England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), Jeffrey S. Shoulson, the Doris and Simon Konover Chair in Judaic Studies and the Director of the Center for Judaic…

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Guy Burak, “The Second Formation of Islamic Law: The Hanafi School in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire” (Cambridge UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Sep 23, 2015


The Second Formation of Islamic Law: The Hanafi School in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Cambridge UP, 2015) is a new contribution to the study of Islam and more specifically to the history of Islamic Law and its development. Guy

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Gerard Russell, “Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East” (Basic Books, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Sep 21, 2015


In this interview Gerard Russell talks about his vivid and timely new book Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East (Basic Books, 2014). Russell’s experience as a British diplomat in a rapidly changing region…

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Michael L. Satlow, “How the Bible Became Holy” (Yale UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Sep 17, 2015


In How the Bible Became Holy (Yale University Press, 2014), Michael L. Satlow, a professor of religious studies and Judaic studies at Brown University, explores how an ancient collection of obscure writing became, over the course of centuries, “holy.”…

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Christopher R. Duncan, “Violence and Vengeance: Religious Conflict and Its Aftermath in Eastern Indonesia” (Cornell UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Sep 15, 2015


Researching the communal killings that occurred in North Maluku, Indonesia during 1999 and 2000, Christopher Duncan was struck by how participants “experienced the violence as a religious conflict and continue to remember it that way”, yet outsiders–among them academics, journalists,…

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Lois Lee, “Recognizing the Non-religious: Reimagining the Secular” (Oxford UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Sep 14, 2015


What does non-religion mean? In a new book Recognizing the Non-Religious: Reimagining the Secular (Oxford University Press, 2015), Lois Lee, one of the editors of Secularism and Non-Religion, interrogates the role of non-religion in society, to better…

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Liora R. Halperin, “Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920-1948” (Yale UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Sep 10, 2015


In Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920-1948 (Yale University Press, 2015), Liora R. Halperin, an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder,…

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Aysha Hidayatullah, “Feminist Edges of the Qur’an” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Sep 09, 2015


What are some of the key features and characteristics of the Muslim feminist Qur’an exegetical tradition and what are some of the tensions and ambiguities found in that tradition? Those are the central questions addressed by Aysha Hidayatullah, Associate…

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Jeffrey S. Shoulson, “Fictions of Conversion: Jews, Christians, and Cultures of Change in Early Modern England” (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Sep 03, 2015


In Fictions of Conversion: Jews, Christians, and Cultures of Change in Early Modern England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), Jeffrey S. Shoulson, the Doris and Simon Konover Chair in Judaic Studies and the Director of the Center for Judaic…

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Darren Middleton, “Rastafari and the Arts: An Introduction” (Routledge, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Aug 31, 2015


While many are familiar with the call for ‘One Love’ from the music of Bob Marley they more than likely know little about the tradition that this message is rooted in. In Rastafari and the Arts: An Introduction (Routledge, 2015),…

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Kelly J. Whitmer, “The Halle Orphanage as Scientific Community: Observation, Eclecticism, and Pietism in the Early Enlightenment” (U of Chicago Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Aug 30, 2015


Kelly J. Whitmer‘s new book offers a history of science set in the Halle Orphanage, a building that was founded in the middle of the 1690s in the Prussian city of Halle by a group of German Lutherans known…

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Ignacio M. Garcia, “Chicano While Mormon: Activism, War, and Keeping the Faith” (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Aug 25, 2015


Identities are complicated things. Often contradictory and rarely easily understood, identities emerge early in ones life and are shaped continually through daily social relations as we seek to make sense of the world and our place in it. To some,…

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Kecia Ali, “The Lives of Muhammad” (Harvard UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Aug 25, 2015


Muhammad is remembered in a multitude of ways, by both Muslims and non-Muslims. And through each retelling we learn a great deal not only about Muhammad but about the social milieu of the authors. In The Lives of Muhammad (Harvard…

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Kattie Oxx, “The Nativist Movement in America: Religious Conflict in the Nineteenth Century” (Routledge, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Aug 10, 2015


Narratives of American history are often centered around the idea of oppression and liberation, with groups such as ethnic minorities, women, and workers struggling with, and (at least to some degree) overcoming prejudice. Perhaps because of American understandings of their…

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Bruce B. Lawrence, “Who is Allah?” (UNC Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Aug 10, 2015


In his lyrical and brilliant new book Who is Allah? (UNC Press, 2015), the legendary scholar of Islam Bruce B. Lawrence, Professor Emeritus of Religion at Duke University, wrestles with the question of Who is Allah? through a dazzling…

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Craig Martin, “Capitalizing Religion: Ideology and the Opiate of the Bourgeoisie” (Bloomsbury, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Aug 04, 2015


Whether you need help being more focused at work, are having a spiritual crisis, or want to understand how you can change your inner self for the better, the popular self-help and spiritual well-being market has got you covered. In…

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James Gelvin, “The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know” (Oxford UP, 2012)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Aug 03, 2015


Professor James Gelvin joins host Jonathan Judaken to discuss the Arab Uprisings, democratization in the Middle-East and Northern Africa, ISIS, al-Qaeda, terrorism, and America’s role imposing neo-liberal economic policies in the Middle East that have strongly shaped the political economy…

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Venkat Dhulipala, “Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India” (Cambridge UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Aug 01, 2015


In the historiography on South Asian Islam, the creation of Pakistan is often approached as the manifestation of a vague loosely formulated idea that accidentally emerged as a nation-state in 1947. In his magisterial new book Creating a New Medina:

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Kirsteen Kim and Sebastian C. H. Kim, “A History of Korean Christianity” (Cambridge UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Jul 26, 2015


Korea presents a fascinating chapter in the history of Christianity. For instance, the first continuous Christian community in the peninsula was founded by Koreans themselves without any missionaries coming into the country. In their new book, A History of Korean

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John H. Walton, “The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate” (IVP Academic, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jul 24, 2015


For centuries the story of Adam and Eve has resonated richly through the corridors of art, literature, and theology. But, for most modern readers, taking it at face value is incongruous. New insights from anthropology and population genetics–let alone evolutional…

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Emran El-Badawi, “The Qur’an and the Aramaic Gospel Traditions” (Routledge, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jul 17, 2015


The Qur’an and the Aramaic Gospel Traditions (Routledge, 2013) written by Emran El-Badawi, professor and director of the Arab Studies program at the University of Houston, is a recent addition to the field of research on the Qur’an and…

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Winnifred F. Sullivan, “A Ministry of Presence: Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care and the Law” (University of Chicago Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Jul 12, 2015


As patterns of religiosity have changed in the United States, chaplains have come to occupy an increasingly important place in the nation’s public institutions, especially its prisons, hospitals and military. In her newest book, A Ministry of Presence: Chaplaincy, Spiritual

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Kocku von Stuckrad, “The Scientification of Religion: An Historical Study of Discursive Change, 1800-2000” (De Gruyter, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jul 06, 2015


Science and religion are often paired as diametric opposites. However, the boundaries of these two fields were not always as clear as they seem to be today. In The Scientification of Religion: An Historical Study of Discursive Change, 1800-2000 (De…

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Iain W. Provan, “Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters” (Baylor UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jul 06, 2015


The Old Testament is often maligned as an outmoded and even dangerous text. Best-selling authors like Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong, and Derrick Jensen are prime examples of those who find the Old Testament to be problematic to modern sensibilities. In…

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Ebrahim Moosa, “What is a Madrasa?” (U of North Carolina Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jul 03, 2015


Recent years have witnessed a spate of journalistic and popular writings on the looming threat to civilization that lurks in traditional Islamic seminaries or madrasas that litter the physical and intellectual landscape of the Muslim world. In his riveting new…

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Joyce B. Flueckiger, “When the World Becomes Female: Guises of a South Indian Goddess” (Indiana UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jul 03, 2015


Joyce B. Flueckiger‘s new bookWhen the World Becomes Female: Guises of a South Indian Goddess (Indiana University Press, 2013) is a rich and colorful analysis of the goddess Gangamma’s festival and her devotees. During the festival men take…

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Kevin Vallier, “Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation” (Routledge, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Jul 01, 2015


In a liberal democracy, citizens share political power as equals. This means that they must decide laws and policies collectively. Yet they disagree about fundamental questions regarding the value, purpose, and meaning of life. What role should their convictions concerning…

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Gil Anidjar, “Blood: A Critique of Christianity” (Columbia UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Jun 28, 2015


Blood. It is more than a thing and more than a metaphor. It is an effective concept, an element, with which, and through which, Christianity becomes what it is. Western Christianity – if there is such a thing as “Christianity”…

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Steven E. Kemper, “Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World” (U of Chicago Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Jun 27, 2015


In his recent book, Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Steven E. Kemper examines the Sinhala layman Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) and argues that this figure has been misunderstood by both Sinhala…

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James Laine, “Meta-Religion: Religion and Power in World History” (U of California Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jun 23, 2015


Most world religions textbooks follow a structure and conceptual framework that mirrors the modern discourse of world religions as distinct entities reducible to certain defining characteristics. In his provocative and brilliant new book Meta-Religion: Religion and Power in World History

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Ted A. Smith, “Weird John Brown: Divine Violence and the Limits of Ethics” (Stanford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jun 23, 2015


People living in the modern west generally have no problem criticizing religiously-justified violence. It’s therefore always interesting when I discuss John Brown, a man who legitimized anti-slavery violence Biblically. My most recent batch of students sought to resolve this tension…

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Mark S. Wagner, “Jews and Islamic Law in Early 20th-Century Yemen” (Indiana UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Jun 20, 2015


During the early twentieth century, Yemeni Jews operated within a legal structure that defined them as dhimmi, that is, non-Muslims living as a protected population under the sovereignty of an Islamic state. In exchange for the payment of a…

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Helen de Cruz and Johan de Smedt, “A Natural History of Natural Theology” (MIT Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jun 15, 2015


Buy This Book In A Natural History of Natural Theology: The Cognitive Science of Theology and Philosophy of Religion (MIT Press, 2015), Helen de Cruz of the VU University Amsterdam and Johan de Smedt of Ghent University examine how the…

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Shulem Deen, “All Who Go Do Not Return: A Memoir” (Graywolf Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Jun 14, 2015


Winner of the 2015 National Jewish Book Award, Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice At fourteen, young? Shulem Deen, a Hassid in Boro Park, New York, lost his loving father. How was he to deal with the enormous gap in…

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Tenzin Chogyel (trans. Kurtis R. Schaeffer), “The Life of the Buddha” (Penguin Books, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jun 08, 2015


Kurtis R. Schaeffer‘s new translation of Tenzin Chogyel’s The Life of the Buddha(Penguin Books, 2015) is a boon for teachers, researchers, and eager readers alike. Composed in the middle of the eighteenth century, The Life of the Buddha

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Marion Holmes Katz, “Women in the Mosque: A History of Legal Thought and Social Practice” Columbia University Press, 2014

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jun 02, 2015


Recently, there have been various debates within the Muslim community over women’s mosque attendance. While contemporary questions of modern society structure current conversations, this question, ‘may a Muslim woman go to the mosque,’ is not a new one. In Women

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Kevin O’Neill, “Secure the Soul: Christian Piety and Gang Prevention in Guatemala” (U of California Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jun 02, 2015


Kevin O’Neill‘s fascinating book Secure the Soul: Christian Piety and Gang Prevention in Guatemala (University of California Press, 2015) traces the efforts of multi-million dollar programs aimed at state security through gang prevention in Guatemala. O’Neill is most interested…

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Joseph Webster, “The Anthropology of Protestantism: Faith and Crisis among Scottish Fishermen” (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, May 29, 2015


In The Anthropology of Protestantism:Faith and Crisis among Scottish Fishermen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), anthropologist Joseph Webster takes readers deep into the lives of fishermen in Gamrie, a village perched above the sea in northeastern Scotland. It’s a place of great…

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Tom McLeish, “Faith and Wisdom in Science” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, May 22, 2015


Much of the public debate about the relationship between science and theology has been antagonistic or adversarial. Proponents on both sides argue that their respective claims are contradictory–that the claims of science trump and even discredit the claims of religion…

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Andrew Kim, “An Introduction to Catholic Ethics Since Vatican II” (Cambridge UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, May 22, 2015


Dealing with moral issues in a fair and balanced way is never easy. This is especially true since many contemporary moral questions are of such a highly personal nature. However, in his book An Introduction to Catholic Ethics Since Vatican

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Asma Sayeed, “Women and the Transmission of Religious Knowledge in Islam” (Cambridge UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, May 22, 2015


Studies on the subject of women’s participation in religious and intellectual life in Islam have been few.Women and the Transmission of Religious Knowledge in Islam (Cambridge University Press, 2013)byAsma Sayeed, professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures…

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Kevin M. Kruse, “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America” (Basic Books, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, May 22, 2015


Kevin M. Kruse is professor of history at Princeton University and author of One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (Basic Books, 2015). Kruse argues that the idea that America was always a “Christian nation” dates from? …

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Andrea Jain, “Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, May 13, 2015


Is yoga religious? This question has not only been asked recently by the broader public but also posed in the courts. Many argue that of course it is. The story of yoga in the popular imagination is often narrated as…

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F. M. Gocek, “Denial of Violence: Ottoman Past, Turkish Present, and Collective Violence against the Armenians” (Oxford UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, May 11, 2015


Adolf Hitler famously (and probably) said in a speech to his military leaders “Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?” This remark is generally taken to suggest that future generations won’t remember current atrocities, so there’s…

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John K. Nelson, “Experimental Buddhism: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan” (U of Hawaii Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, May 07, 2015


In his recent book, Experimental Buddhism: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 2013), John K. Nelson delves into the historical circumstances that have led to the declining fortunes of Japanese Buddhism and explores recent and ongoing…

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Michael Birkel, “Qur’an in Conversation” (Baylor UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, May 06, 2015


Michael Birkel‘s Qur’an in Conversation (Baylor University Press, 2014) challenges its readers to think deeply about the Qur’an. The book will likely leave the reader with many answers but also many questions. By drawing on academic scholars, imams, lawyers,…

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Amy Kittelstrom, “The Religion of Democracy: Seven Liberals and the American Moral Tradition” (Penguin Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, May 05, 2015


Amy Kittelstrom is an associate professor of history at Sonoma State University. In her book The Religion of Democracy: Seven Liberals and the American Moral Tradition (Penguin Press, 2015), Kittelstrom gives us profiles of seven individual and their circle. They…

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Simon C. Kim, “Memory and Honor” (Liturgical Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, May 05, 2015


The intersection between ethnic and religious identities can be both complex and rich, particularly when dealing with a community that still has deep roots in the immigrant experience. In his book,? Memory and Honor: Cultural and Generational Ministry with Korean

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Stuart Young, “Conceiving the Indian Buddhist Patriarchs in China” (U of Hawaii Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Apr 25, 2015


In Conceiving the Indian Buddhist Patriarchs in China (University of Hawai’i Press, 2015), Stuart Young examines Chinese hagiographic representations of three Indian Buddhist patriarchs–Asvaghosa (Maming), Nagarjuna (Longshu), and Aryadeva (Sheng tipo)–from the early fifth to late tenth centuries, and explores…

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Albert L. Park, “Building a Heaven on Earth: Religion, Activism, and Protest in Japanese Occupied Korea” (U of Hawaii Press, )

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Apr 24, 2015


Christians, like other religious people, have to manage the relationship between their belief in supernatural forces and an afterlife on one side, and how those beliefs impact their daily life on the other. This was especially difficult for Korean Protestant…

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Jamal Elias, “Aisha’s Cushion” (Harvard UP, 2012)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Apr 23, 2015


In his remarkable new book Aisha’s Cushion: Religious Art, Practice, and Perception in Islam (Harvard University Press, 2012), Jamal Elias, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, presents a magisterial study of Muslim attitudes towards visual culture,…

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Kurtis R. Schaeffer, et al. “The Tibetan History Reader/Sources of Tibetan Tradition” (Columbia UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Apr 11, 2015


Two new books have recently been published that will change the way we can study and teach Tibetan studies, and Gray Tuttle and Kurtis Schaeffer were kind enough to talk with me recently about them. The Tibetan History Reader (Columbia…

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Lital Levy, “Poetic Trespass: Writing Between Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine” (Princeton UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Apr 06, 2015


Since the beginning of the 20th century, Jewish settlement in Palestine and the revival of Hebrew as a national language have profoundly impacted the relationship between Arabic and Hebrew. In a highly contentious political environment, the two languages have been…

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Tremper Longman III, “Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary” (IVP Academic, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Apr 06, 2015


The Psalms have given voice to the prayers and petitions of generations of Jews and Christians alike. They represent the deepest longings of kings and desperate men, the righteous and the penitent, all “seeking the face of God” (27:8 and…

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M. Brett Wilson, “Translating the Qur’an in an Age of Nationalism: Print Culture and Modern Islam in Turkey” Oxford University Press, 2014

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Apr 06, 2015


Muslim debates regarding the translation of the Qur’an are very old. However, during the modern period they became heated because local communities around the globe were rethinking their relationship to scripture in new social and political settings. M. Brett Wilson

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Paula Kane, “Sister Thorn and Catholic Mysticism in Modern America” (UNC Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Mar 31, 2015


Sister Thorn and Catholic Mysticism in Modern America (UNC Press, 2013) is a detailed journey into the life of Margaret Reilly, an American Irish-Catholic from New York who entered the Convent of the Good Shepherd in 1921, taking the name…

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Emily Anderson, “Christianity and Imperialism in Modern Japan: Empire for God” (Bloomsbury, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Mar 27, 2015


When one thinks of the connection of religion and imperialism in Japan, one automatically thinks first of Shintoism and second of Buddhism. Christianity does not usually figure into that story. However, Emily Anderson, in her new book Christianity and

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Emily Alice Katz, “Bringing Zion Home: Israel in American Jewish Culture, 1948-1967” (SUNY Press, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Mar 26, 2015


World War Two and the establishment of the State of Israel significantly altered American Jewish attitudes toward Zionism. American Jews supported Israel during times of conflict, like the 1948 war. However, it was not until 1967 that Israel rose to…

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Raymond Farrin, “Structure and Qur’anic Interpretation” (White Cloud Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Mar 23, 2015


Interest in the structure of the Qur’an has its beginnings in the ninthcentury CE with Muslim scholars. Since that time, Muslim and Western scholars have debated the coherence of the Qur’an’s structure. Raymond Farrin, professor of Arabic at the…

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Agnieszka Helman-Wazny, “The Archaeology of Tibetan Books” (Brill, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Mar 21, 2015


In Archaeology of Tibetan Books (Brill, 2014), Agnieszka Helman-Wazny explores the varieties of artistic expression, materials, and tools that have shaped Tibetan books over the millennia. Digging into the history of the bookmaking craft, the author approaches these ancient texts…

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Tanya Storch, “The History of Chinese Buddhist Bibliography: Censorship and Transformation of the Tripitaka (Cambria, 2014),

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Mar 18, 2015


Tanya Storch‘s recent book, The History of Chinese Buddhist Bibliography: Censorship and Transformation of the Tripitaka (Cambria, 2014), focuses on the development of Chinese Buddhist catalogs from their first appearance in the third century to the eighth century, when…

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Mark Dennis and Darren Middleton, eds., “Approaching Silence: New Perspectives on Shusaku Endo’s Classic Novel” (Bloomsbury, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Mar 15, 2015


What does it mean to be a martyr? What does it mean to be an apostate? How should we understand people who choose one or the other? These are the questions asked by Shusaku Endo in his novel Silence,…

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Rick Strassman, “DMT and the Soul of Prophecy” (Park Street Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Mar 15, 2015


DMT and the Soul of Prophecy:A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible (Park Street Press, 2014) asks a number of provocative questions about drugs, consciousness, prophecy, and the Hebrew Bible–with attention to how a particular chemical can…

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Alicia Turner, “Saving Buddhism: The Impermanence of Religion in Colonial Burma” (U Hawaii Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Mar 13, 2015


In Saving Buddhism: The Impermanence of Religion in Colonial Burma (University of Hawaii Press, 2014), Alicia Turner tells the story of how Burmese Buddhists reimagined their lives, their religious practice and politics in the period of 1890 to 1920, following…

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Kelly James Clark, “Religion and the Sciences of Origins” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Mar 10, 2015


Kelly James Clark acknowledges that for many people in the contemporary West it can seem as though scientists, from Darwin and Dawkins, have succeeded in disproving religion: God is simply not a convincing scientific hypothesis. Written in a readable and…

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Hasia Diner, “Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way” (Yale University Press, 2015).

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Mar 10, 2015


The period from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries witnessed a mass migration which carried millions of Jews from central and eastern Europe, north Africa, and the Ottoman Empire to new lands. Hasia Diner’s new book, Roads Taken:

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Sophia Rose Arjana, “Muslims in the Western Imagination” (Oxford UP, 2015)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Mar 10, 2015


In Muslims in the Western Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2015), Sophia Rose Arjana explores a variety of creative productions–including art, literature, film–in order to tell a story not about how Muslims construct their own identities but rather about how Western…

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Cabeiri Robinson, “Body of Victim, Body of Warrior: Refugee Families and the Making of Kashmiri Jihadists” (University of California Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Feb 19, 2015


The idea of jihad is among the most keenly discussed yet one of the least understood concepts in Islam. In her brilliant new book Body of Victim, Body of Warrior: Refugee Families and the Making of Kashmiri Jihadists (University of…

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Neilesh Bose, “Recasting the Region: Language, Culture, and Islam in Colonial Bengal” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Feb 18, 2015


In his new book Recasting the Region: Language, Culture, and Islam in Colonial Bengal (Oxford University Press, 2014),Neilesh Bose analyses the trajectories of Muslim Bengali politics in the first half of the twentieth century.The literary and cultural history…

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Kutter Callaway, “Scoring Transcendence: Contemporary Film Music as Religious Experience” (Baylor UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Feb 16, 2015


For many people, filmgoing is a moment to submerge themselves in a new world of meaning and experience a different reality. While film is prominently defined by its ‘moving images’ these alone are not usually able to fully move a…

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Meir Shahar and John Kieschnick, “India in the Chinese Imagination” (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Feb 11, 2015


In India in the Chinese Imagination: Myth, Religion, and Thought (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), eleven scholars (including editors John Kieschnick and Meir Shahar) examine the Chinese reception of Indian ideas and myth, and address Chinese attempts to recreate…

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Matthew Stanley, “Huxley’s Church and Maxwell’s Demon: From Theistic Science to Naturalistic Science” (U of Chicago Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Feb 10, 2015


“Show me how it doos.” Such were the words of a young James Clerk “Dafty” Maxwell (1831-79), an inquisitive child prone to punning who grew into a renowned physicist known for his work on electromagnetism. After learning to juggle and…

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Erskine Clarke, “By the Rivers of Water: A Nineteenth Century Atlantic Odyssey” (Basic Books, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Feb 09, 2015


Jane Bayard Wilson and John Leighton Wilson were unlikely African missionaries, coming as they did from privileged slaveholding families in Georgia and South Carolina, respectively. Yet in 1834 they embarked on a nearly twenty-year adventure as Christian missionaries to two…

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Charlotte Eubanks, “Miracles of Book and Body: Buddhist Textual Culture and Medieval Japan (U of California Press, 2011)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Feb 06, 2015


In? Miracles of Book and Body: Buddhist Textual Culture and Medieval Japan? (University of California Press, 2011), Charlotte Eubanks examines the relationship between Mah????y????na Buddhist s???«tras and the human body, using Japanese tale literature (setsuwa) as a lens…

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John Renard, “Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader” (U of California Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Feb 06, 2015


Islamic theology is generally understood or approached in terms of its systematic or speculative forms. In Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader (University of California Press, 2014), John Renard, Professor of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University, has…

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Emma Anderson, “The Death and Afterlife of the North American Martyrs” (Harvard UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Feb 02, 2015


Martyrdom, writes Emma Anderson, is anything but random. In beautiful prose and spectacular historical detail, The Death and Afterlife of the North American Martyrs (Harvard University Press, 2013), takes readers on a journey of more than 300 years, exploring…

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Christopher Shannon and Christopher Blum, “The Past as Pilgrimage” (Christendom Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Feb 02, 2015


Scholars studying the history of Christianity are used to writing about different Christian traditions. But what does it mean to write from within a particular Christian tradition? How can a Christian be a historian who does academically respectable work while…

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Isra Yazicioglu, “Understanding Qur’anic Miracle Stories in the Modern Age” (Penn State UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jan 23, 2015


In Understanding Qur’anic Miracle Stories in the Modern Age (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2013), Isra Yazicioglu draws connections between an array of scholars, from different time periods and cultures, in order to make sense of miracles and miracle stories in…

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Carol E. Harrison, “Romantic Catholics: France’s Postrevolutionary Generation in Search of a Modern Faith” (Cornell UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jan 23, 2015


Since the political left and right first arose during the French Revolution, Catholics have been categorized as either conservatives or liberals, and most Catholics of the French nineteenth century are assumed to have been conservatives. In? Romantic Catholics: France’s Postrevolutionary

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R. Keller Kimbrough, “Wondrous Brutal Fictions: Eight Buddhist Tales from the Early Japanese Puppet Theater” (Columbia UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jan 23, 2015


In his recent book, Wondrous Brutal Fictions: Eight Buddhist Tales from the Early Japanese Puppet Theater (Columbia University Press, 2013), R. Keller Kimbrough provides us with eight beautifully translated sekky???? and ko-j????ruri.…

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Joseph Laycock, “The Seer of Bayside: Veronica Lueken and the Struggle to Define Catholicism” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jan 19, 2015


In understanding a tradition what is the relationship between the ‘center’ and the ‘periphery’? How do the lived religious lives of practitioners contest or affirm authority? In The Seer of Bayside: Veronica Lueken and the Struggle to Define Catholicism (Oxford…

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Gene Luen Yang, “Boxers & Saints” (First Second, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Jan 08, 2015


I love picking up a historical monograph in which the footnotes count for a quarter or more of the total pages. Most students don’t share this strange love of mine. I’m therefore always trying to figure out ways to bring…

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Erik Braun, “The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw” (University of Chicago Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Jan 08, 2015


Erik Braun‘s recent book, The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw (University of Chicago Press, 2013), examines the spread of Burmese Buddhist meditation practices during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the social,…

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Matt Tomlinson, “Ritual Textuality: Pattern and Motion in Performance” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jan 06, 2015


Religious ritual has been a staple of anthropological study. In his latest monograph, Ritual Textuality: Pattern and Motion in Performance (Oxford University Press 2014), cultural anthropologist Matt Tomlinson takes up the topic anew through a set of four case studies…

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Jacob Dalton, “The Taming of the Demons: Violence and Liberation in Tibetan Buddhism” (Yale University Press, 2011)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Dec 25, 2014


Jacob Dalton‘s recent book, The Taming of the Demons: Violence and Liberation in Tibetan Buddhism (Yale University Press, 2011), examines violence (both symbolic and otherwise) in Tibetan Buddhism.?  Dalton focuses in particular on the age of fragmentation (here 842-986…

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James Mace Ward, “Priest, Politician, Collaborator: Jozef Tiso and the Making of Fascist Slovakia” (Cornell UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Dec 25, 2014


In his biography of Jozef Tiso, Catholic priest and president of independent Slovakia (1939-1944), James Ward provides a deeper understanding of a man who has been both honored and vilified since his execution as a Nazi collaborator in 1947. Priest,

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Kavita Datla, “The Language of Secular Islam: Urdu Nationalism and Colonial India”

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Dec 24, 2014


In her brilliant new book, The Language of Secular Islam: Urdu Nationalism and Colonial India (University of Hawaii Press, 2013),Kavita Datla, Associate Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College, explores the interaction of language, nationalism, and secularism…

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Matthew A. Sutton, “American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism” (Harvard UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Dec 17, 2014


Matthew Avery Sutton is the author of three books: Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America (2007), Jerry Falwell and the Rise of the Religious Right: A Brief History with Documents (2012), and, most recently, American Apocalypse: A

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Michael Hawkins, “Making Moros: Imperial Historicism and American Military Rule in the Philippines’ Muslim South” (NIU Press, 2012)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Dec 12, 2014


For many Muslim communities particular religious identities were formulated or hardened within colonial realities. These types of cultural encounters were structural for the various Muslim tribes in the southern Philippine islands of Mindanao and Sulu during the turn of the…

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Timothy Michael Law, “When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible” (Oxford UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Dec 10, 2014


When a contemporary reader opens up their Bible they may be unaware of the long historical process that created the pages within. One of the key components in this history is the Septuagint, the Greek translation of Hebrew scriptures between…

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Ernest P. Young, “Ecclesiastical Colony: China’s Catholic Church and the French Religious Protectorate” (Oxford UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Dec 08, 2014


In theory, Christian missionaries plan only on working in a country until an indigenous leadership can take over management of the church. Theory is one thing, but practice is quite another, as Dr. Ernest P. Young shows in his fascinating…

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Yaacov Ariel, “An Unusual Relationship: Evangelical Christians and Jews” (NYU Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Dec 04, 2014


“In no other instance,” notes Yaacov Ariel, professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “have members of one community of faith considered another group to hold a special role in the divine course of…

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Todd H. Weir, “Secularism and Religion in Nineteenth-Century Germany” (Cambridge UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Dec 01, 2014


If you look up the word “secular” in just about about any English-language dictionary, you’ll find that the word denotes, among other things, something that is not religious. This “not-religious-ness” would seem to be the modern essence of the word.…

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Pamela Klassen, “Spirits of Protestantism: Medicine, Healing, and Liberal Christianity” (University of California Press, 2011)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Nov 21, 2014


Liberal Protestants are often dismissed as reflecting nothing more than a therapeutic culture or viewed as a measuring rod for the decline of Christian orthodoxy. Rarely have they been the subjects of anthropological inquiry. Pamela Klassen, Professor of Religion…

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Sahar Amer, “What is Veiling?” (UNC Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Nov 18, 2014


There are few concepts commonly associated with Islam and Muslims today that evoke more anxiety, phobia, and paranoia than the veil, commonly translated as the hijab. Seen by many as the most quintessential symbol of the alleged Muslim oppression of…

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Vahid Brown and Don Rassler, “Fountainhead of Jihad: The Haqqani Nexus, 1973-2012” (Oxford UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Nov 14, 2014


Vahid Brown and Don Rassler‘s Fountainhead of Jihad: The Haqqani Nexus, 1973-2012 (Oxford University Press, 2013) is a meticulously researched and remarkably detailed exposition of the Haqqani network’s growth and ongoing importance among Pakistani militant organizations. Beginning with an…

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Clark Chilson, “Secrecy’s Power: Covert Shin Buddhists in Japan and Contradictions of Concealment” (University of Hawaii Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Nov 11, 2014


Clark Chilson‘s new book, Secrecy’s Power: Covert Shin Buddhists in Japan and Contradictions of Concealment (University of Hawai’i Press, 2014) examines secret groups of Shin (i.e., True Pure Land Buddhist) practitioners from the thirteenth century onward, but focuses primarily…

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Edward E. Andrews, “Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World” (Harvard UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Nov 07, 2014


Often when we think of missions to Native Americans or people of African descent, we think of white missionaries. In his book Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World (Harvard University Press, 2013), Dr. Edward E.

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Michael Cook, “Ancient Religions, Modern Politics: The Islamic Case in Comparative Perspective” (Princeton UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Nov 05, 2014


Michael Cook, a widely-respected historian and scholar of Islam begins his book with a question that everyone seems to be asking these days: is Islam uniquely violent or uniquely political? Why does Islam seem to play a larger role…

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Amy Evrard, “The Moroccan Women’s Rights Movement” (Syracuse University Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 30, 2014


Amy Evrard‘s first book, The Moroccan Women’s Rights Movement (Syracuse University Press, 2014), examines women’s attempts to change their patriarchal society via their movement for equality and rights. At the center of Evrard’s book is the 2004 reform of…

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Jonathan A. C. Brown, “Misquoting Muhammad” (Oneworld Publications, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 30, 2014


Many people have described Muslims modernities as being fundamentally disrupted by individual and civilizational encounters with western society. Wether rejecting or accepting alternative modes of thinking Muslims have responded to these new challenges with increasing regularity for over 200 years.? …

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Paul Copp, “The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism” (Columbia UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Oct 27, 2014


Paul Copp‘s new book, The Body Incantatory: Spells and the Ritual Imagination in Medieval Chinese Buddhism (Columbia University Press, 2014), focuses on Chinese interpretations and uses of two written dharani during the last few centuries of the first millennium.…

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Amanullah De Sondy, “The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities” (Bloomsbury, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Oct 27, 2014


What gets to count as Islam? In the current political climate this question is being repeated in a variety of contexts. The tapestry of various Islamic identities is revealed in an investigation of gender. In The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities

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Sarah Bowen Savant, “The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran: Tradition, Memory, and Conversion” (Cambridge UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 16, 2014


Sarah Bowen Savant, Associate Professor at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations at the Aga Khan University in London, addresses important questions about conversion among Persian peoples from the ninth to eleventh? century CE in her work…

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Chun-fang Yu, “Passing the Light: The Incense Light Community and Buddhist Nuns in Contemporary Taiwan” (U of Hawaii Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Oct 14, 2014


Chan-fang Yu‘s new book,? Passing the Light: The Incense Light Community and Buddhist Nuns in Contemporary Taiwan(University of Hawaii Press, 2013), focuses on a community of nuns in Taiwan founded in the early 1980s, and discusses the appearance…

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Anthony Santaro, “Exile & Embrace: Contemporary Religious Discourses on the Death Penalty” (Northeastern UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Oct 14, 2014


The death penalty is a subject that can easily inflame emotions. However, in his book,? Exile & Embrace: Contemporary Religious Discourses on the Death Penalty (Northeastern University Press, 2013), Dr. Anthony Santoro does an amazing job of objectively presenting opposition…

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Donald Holbrook, “The Al-Qaeda Doctrine: The Framing and Evolution of the Leadership’s Public Discourse” (Bloomsbury, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Oct 03, 2014


Donald Holbrook‘sThe Al-Qaeda Doctrine: The Framing and Evolution of the Leadership’s Public Discourse (Bloomsbury, 2014)represents a significant scholarly contribution to the study of Al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism more broadly. Through a remarkably exhaustive, longitudinal study of over 260…

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Mariam al-Attar, “Islamic Ethics: Divine Command Theory in Arabo-Islamic Thought” (Routledge, 2010)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 02, 2014


Mariam al-Attar,Islamic Ethics: Divine Command Theory in Arabo-Islamic Thought? (Routledge, 2010) ? explores the meaning, origin and development of “Divine Command Theory” in Islamic thought. In the process, al-Attar underscores the philosophical bases of religious fundamentalism that hinder social development…

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Iqbal Sevea, “The Political Philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal: Islam and Nationalism in Late Colonial India” (Cambridge UP, 2012)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Oct 02, 2014


The towering Indian Muslim poet and intellectual Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938) is among the most contested figures in the intellectual and political history of modern Islam. Heralded by some as the father of Pakistan and by others as a champion…

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Nabil Matar, “Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam: The Originall and Progress of Mahometanism” (Columbia UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Sep 18, 2014


In Henry Stubbe and the Beginnings of Islam: The Originall and Progress of Mahometanism (Columbia University Press, 2014), Nabil Matar masterfully edits an important piece of scholarship from seventeenth-century England by scholar and physician, Henry Stubbe (1632-76). Matar also gives…

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Rebecca Rossen, “Dancing Jewish: Jewish Identity in American Modern and Postmodern Dance” (Oxford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Sep 13, 2014


How does an author craft a work that speaks across the boundaries of dance studies, Jewish studies and gender studies? What does it mean for dance to function as a site for probing complex questions of racial, ethnic and cultural…

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Albert Park and David Yoo, eds., “Encountering Modernity: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America” (University of Hawaii Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Sep 10, 2014


Modernity and religion have often been seen as fundamentally at odds. However, the articles in? Encountering Modernity: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America? (University of Hawaii Press, 2014 ), edited by Albert L. Park and David K. Yoo,…

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Jolyon Thomas, “Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan” (University Of Hawai’i Press, 2012)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Sep 06, 2014


The worlds of cinema and illustrated fiction are replete with exciting data for the historian of religion. Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan (University Of Hawai’i Press, 2012), by author Jolyon Thomas, sets up a…

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William Chittick, “Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God” (Yale UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Sep 02, 2014


Where does love come from and where will it lead us? Throughout the years various answers have been given to these questions. In Divine Love: Islamic Literature and the Path to God (Yale University Press, 2013), William Chittick, professor…

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Samuel Scheffler, “Death and the Afterlife” (Oxford UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Sep 01, 2014


Our moral lives are constructed out of projects, goals, aims, and relationships or various kinds. The pursuit of these projects, and the nurturing of certain relationships, play central role in giving our lives their meaning and value. This much is…

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Ovamir Anjum, “Politics, Law, and Community in Islamic Thought: The Taymiyyan Moment” (Cambridge UP, 2012)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Aug 22, 2014


In Politics, Law, and Community in Islamic Thought: The Taymiyyan Moment (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Ovamir Anjum explores a timely topic, even though his focus is hundreds of years in the past. In order to present his topic Professor Anjum…

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Matthew Hedstrom, “The Rise of Liberal Religion: Book Culture and American Spirituality in the Twentieth Century” Oxford University Press, 2012

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Aug 08, 2014


Expressions of religious belief through popular media are a regular occurrence in our contemporary age. But the circulation and negotiation of religious identities in public contexts has a fairly long history in American culture. Matthew Hedstrom, Professor of Religious…

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Shabana Mir, “Muslim American Women on Campus: Undergraduate Social Life and Identity” (UNC, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Aug 04, 2014


In the post 9/11 era in which Muslims in America have increasingly felt under the surveillance of the state, media, and the larger society, how have female Muslim students on US college campuses imagined, performed, and negotiated their religious lives…

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John P. Turner, “Inquisition in Early Islam” (I.B. Tauris, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Jul 23, 2014


Scholars of Islam and historians have frequently pointed to the Mi??????na, translated as ‘trial’ or ‘test,’ as a crossroad in the landscape of Islamic history. Professor John P. Turner of Colby College is among those who challenge the long…

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Kevin Schilbrack, “Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jul 18, 2014


Very often evaluative questions about cultural phenomena are avoided for more descriptive or explanatory goals when approaching religions. Traditionally, this set of concerns has been left to philosophers of religion. In Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto (Wiley-Blackwell,…

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Ari Joskowicz, “The Modernity of Others: Jewish Anti-Catholicism in Germany and France” (Stanford UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jul 15, 2014


In 1873, the German scientist Rudolf Virchow declared in Parliament that liberals were locked in a Kulturkampf, a “culture war” with the forces of Catholicism, which he viewed as the chief hindrance to progress and modernity. Over the past…

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Craig Martin, “Subverting Aristotle: Religion, History, and Philosophy in Early Modern Science” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jul 14, 2014


Craig Martin‘s new book carefully traces religious arguments for and against Aristotelianism from the eleventh through the eighteenth centuries. Based on a close reading of a staggering array of primary sources, Subverting Aristotle: Religion, History, and Philosophy in Early

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Brian A. Catlos, “Muslims of Medieval Latin Christendom, c.1050-1614” (Cambridge UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jul 08, 2014


In the current political climate it might be easy to assume that Muslims in the ‘West’ have always been viewed in a negative light. However, when we examine the historical relationship between Muslims and their non-Muslim neighbors we find a…

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Jacqueline E. Whitt, “Bringing God to Men: American Military Chaplains and the Vietnam War” (University of North Carolina Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Jul 05, 2014


In this original and innovative study of the American military chaplaincy, Jacqueline E. Whitt examines the institution’s challenges and struggles in the post-World War II era, with the Vietnam War acting as the fulcrum for existential change in its identity…

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William Arnal and Russell T. McCutcheon, “The Sacred Is the Profane: The Political Nature of Religion” (Oxford UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jun 27, 2014


What brings us together as scholars in Religious Studies? Are the various social phenomena commonly grouped together as religion really that similar? The Sacred Is the Profane: The Political Nature of “Religion” (Oxford University Press, 2012) adds to this ongoing…

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Luke E. Harlow, “Religion, Race, and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880” (Cambridge UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Jun 26, 2014


Luke E. Harlow, Religion, Race and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880 (Cambridge University Press, 2014) examines the role of religion, and more specifically, conservative evangelical Protestant theology, in the struggle over slavery and abolition in a crucial period…

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Rachel Rinaldo, “Mobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia” (Oxford UP, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Jun 23, 2014


Are Islam and feminism inherently at odds? Is there a contradiction between piety and gender justice? This is the guiding theme for Rachel Rinaldo, professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, in her book Mobilizing Piety: Islam and

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J. Matthias Determann, “Historiography in Saudi Arabia: Globalization and the State in the Middle East” (Tauris, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Jun 20, 2014


Saudi Arabia is, for most Westerners, a mysterious place. It’s home to one of the most conservative forms of Islam around and ruled by one of the least democratic regimes in the world. Yet it’s a great friend of the…

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Thomas McFaul and Al Brunsting, “God is Here to Stay: Science, Evolution, and Belief in God” (Wipf and Stock, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Jun 19, 2014


The book discussed in this interview is God is Here to Stay: Science, Evolution, and Belief in God (Wipf and Stock, 2014)? by Thomas McFaul and Al Brunsting, two authors with very different backgrounds. McFaul is a college professor specializing…

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James Carter, “Heart of Buddha, Heart of China: The Life of Tanxu, a Twentieth-Century Monk” (Oxford UP, 2011)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Jun 11, 2014


Jay Carter‘s new book follows the life of one man as a way of opening a window into the lived history of twentieth-century China. Heart of Buddha, Heart of China: The Life of Tanxu, a Twentieth-Century Monk (Oxford University…

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Hugh Talat Halman, “Where The Two Seas Meet” (Fons Vitae, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jun 10, 2014


In Where The Two Seas Meet (Fons Vitae, 2013), Hugh Talat Halman unpacks one of the most provocative narratives in the Islamic tradition. In the 18th? chapter of the Qur’an, Surat al-Kahf (The Cave), a mysterious figure named Khidr (the…

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Isaac Weiner, “Religion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism” (NYU Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sun, Jun 08, 2014


In 2004, the traditionally Polish-Catholic community of Hamtramck Michigan became the site of a debate over the Muslim call to prayer.?  Members of the Hamtramck community engaged in a contest about the appropriateness of sound and its intrusion into public…

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Marci A. Hamilton, “God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law” (Cambridge UP, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Jun 07, 2014


The constitution guarantees Americans freedom of religious practice and freedom from government interference in the same same. But what does religious liberty mean in practice? Does it mean that the government must permit any religious practice, even one that’s nominally…

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Mark Levene, “The Crisis of Genocide” (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Jun 03, 2014


I imagine one of the greatest compliments an author of an historical monograph can receive is to hear that his or her book changed the way a subject is taught. I will do just that after reading Mark Levene‘s…

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Najam Haider, “The Origins of the Sh???«??????a: Identity, Ritual, and Sacred Space in Eighth-Century K???«fa” (Cambridge UP, 2011)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, May 23, 2014


When did groups in K???«fa begin forming unique identities leading to the development of Imam???« Sh???«??????ism and Zayd???« Sh???«??????ism? Najam Haider, professor of Religion at Barnard College of Columbia University, answers this question in his book, The Origins of

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Marwa Elshakry, “Reading Darwin in Arabic, 1860-1950” (University of Chicago Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, May 23, 2014


The work of Charles Darwin, together with the writing of associated scholars of society and its organs and organisms, had a particularly global reach in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Marwa Elshakry‘s new book offers a fascinating…

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M. Gail Hamner, “Imaging Religion in Film: The Politics of Nostalgia” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, May 19, 2014


When we watch film various visual elements direct our understanding of the narrative and its meaning. The subjective position of each viewer informs their reading of images in a multitude of ways. From this perspective, religion can be imaged in…

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Sean Anthony, “Crucifixion and Death as Spectacle” (American Oriental Society, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, May 12, 2014


Crucifixion is one of the most widely envisioned symbols in history. So much so, that for a contemporary reader the notion almost immediately plants an image of Jesus on the cross. Sean Anthony, Assistant Professor of History at the…

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Sa’diyya Shaikh, “Sufi Narratives of Intimacy: Ibn ????Arabi, Gender and Sexuality” (University of North Carolina Press, 2012)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Apr 29, 2014


Many Muslim debates regarding women are solely situated in legal or political frameworks. For example, we often find this tendency in conversations about women’s leadership in the mosque or the politics of veiling. Sa’diyya Shaikh, Professor of Religious Studies…

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Vincent Goossaert and David A. Palmer, “The Religious Question in Modern China” University of Chicago Press, 2011

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Apr 28, 2014


Social phenomena that some people like to call ‘religion’ has long shaped Chinese culture. In the twentieth century, defining the boundaries of what constitutes ‘religion’ has been central to the construction of a modern nation. In this far reaching book,…

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Laura Silver, “Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food” (Brandeis University Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Apr 26, 2014


Something nice and filling for you here! Laura Silver‘s book? Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food(Brandeis University Press, 2014) concerns itself not only with the round — or is it square? — savory pastry brought to…

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Greta Christina, “Coming out Atheist: How to do it, How to Help Each Other, and Why” (Pitchstone Publishing, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Wed, Apr 23, 2014


Coming out atheist isn’t always easy, ? but Greta Christina, atheist activist and blogger, has tips to make it easier for those who struggle. ? After scouring hundreds of coming-out-atheist stories, she comes to the conclusion that difficult as it may…

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Zareena Grewal, “Islam is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority” (NYU Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Apr 15, 2014


Zareena Grewal‘s? monograph? Islam is a Foreign Country: American Muslims and the Global Crisis of Authority (NYU Press, 2013), seamlessly interweaves ethnographic research with an in-depth historical perspective in order to yield an unparalleled account of American Muslims and…

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Steven L. Jacobs, “Lemkin on Genocide” (Lexington Books, 2012)

Author: Marshall Poe
Sat, Apr 12, 2014


It’s hard to overestimate the role of Raphael Lemkin in calling the world’s attention to the crime of genocide.?  But for decades his name languished, as scholars and the broader public devoted their time and attention to other people and…

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John Cornwell, “The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession” (Basic Books, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Tue, Apr 08, 2014


I’ve never been in a confessional box, but I’ve seen a lot of them in films. And if the depiction of them in films is in any way a reflection of popular attitudes toward confession, then I can say with…

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Nathan Schneider. “God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet” (University of California Press, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Mon, Apr 07, 2014


Nathan Schneider‘s monograph, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet (University of California Press, 2013), explores the timeless challenge of how to explain God. Are such explanations rational? Why are some attempts…

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Lincoln Harvey, “A Brief Theology of Sport” (SCM Press, 2014)

Author: Marshall Poe
Fri, Apr 04, 2014


Does God care who wins the game? According to a recent survey, plenty of American fans think so. The Public Religion Research Institute found that a quarter of fans said that they had prayed to God for a favorable outcome…

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Kathleen D. Singh, “The Grace in Dying: A Message of Hope, Comfort and Spiritual Transformation” (HarperOne, 2013)

Author: Marshall Poe
Thu, Apr 03, 2014


In this brilliantly conceived and beautifully written book, Kathleen Dowling Singh illuminates the profound psychological and spiritual transformations experiences by the dying as the natural process of death reconnects them with the source of their being. Examining the end of…

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