In this controversial book, philosopher and psychoanalyst Jon Mills argues that God does not exist; and more provocatively, that God cannot exist as anything but an idea. Put concisely, God is a psychological creation signifying ultimate ideality. Mills argues that the idea or conception of God is the manifestation of humanity’s denial and response to natural deprivation; a self-relation to an internalized idealized object, the idealization of imagined value. After demonstrating the lack of any empirical evidence and the logical impossibility of God, Mills explains the psychological motivations underlying humanity’s need to invent a supreme being. In a highly nuanced analysis of unconscious processes informing the psychology of belief and institutionalized social ideology, he concludes that belief in God is the failure to accept our impending death and mourn natural absence for the delusion of divine presence. As an alternative to theistic faith, he offers a secular spirituality that emphasizes the quality of lived experience, the primacy of feeling and value inquiry, ethical self-consciousness, aesthetic and ecological sensibility, and authentic relationality toward self, other, and world as the pursuit of a beautiful soul in search of the numinous. Inventing God will be of interest to academics, scholars, lay audiences and students of religious studies, the humanities, philosophy, and psychoanalysis, among other disciplines. It will also appeal to psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and mental health professionals focusing on the integration of humanities and psychoanalysis.
Most scholars believe that the numerous similarities between the Covenant Code (Exodus 20:23-23:19) and Mesopotamian law collections, especially the Laws of Hammurabi, which date to around 1750 BCE, are due to oral tradition that extended from the second to the first millennium. This book offers a fundamentally new understanding of the Covenant Code, arguing that it depends directly and primarily upon the Laws of Hammurabi and that the use of this source text occurred during the Neo-Assyrian period, sometime between 740-640 BCE, when Mesopotamia exerted strong and continuous political and cultural influence over the kingdoms of Israel and Judah and a time when the Laws of Hammurabi were actively copied in Mesopotamia as a literary-canonical text. The study offers significant new evidence demonstrating that a model of literary dependence is the only viable explanation for the work. It further examines the compositional logic used in transforming the source text to produce the Covenant Code, thus providing a commentary to the biblical composition from the new theoretical perspective. This analysis shows that the Covenant Code is primarily a creative academic work rather than a repository of laws practiced by Israelites or Judeans over the course of their history. The Covenant Code, too, is an ideological work, which transformed a paradigmatic and prestigious legal text of Israel's and Judah's imperial overlords into a statement symbolically countering foreign hegemony. The study goes further to study the relationship of the Covenant Code to the narrative of the book of Exodus and explores how this may relate to the development of the Pentateuch as a whole.
From the dawn of writing in Sumer to the sunset of the Islamic empire, Founding Gods, Inventing Nations traces four thousand years of speculation on the origins of civilization. Investigating a vast range of primary sources, some of which are translated here for the first time, and focusing on the dynamic influence of the Greek, Roman, and Arab conquests of the Near East, William McCants looks at the ways the conquerors and those they conquered reshaped their myths of civilization's origins in response to the social and political consequences of empire. The Greek and Roman conquests brought with them a learned culture that competed with that of native elites. The conquering Arabs, in contrast, had no learned culture, which led to three hundred years of Muslim competition over the cultural orientation of Islam, a contest reflected in the culture myths of that time. What we know today as Islamic culture is the product of this contest, whose protagonists drew heavily on the lore of non-Arab and pagan antiquity. McCants argues that authors in all three periods did not write about civilization's origins solely out of pure antiquarian interest--they also sought to address the social and political tensions of the day. The strategies they employed and the postcolonial dilemmas they confronted provide invaluable context for understanding how authors today use myth and history to locate themselves in the confusing aftermath of empire.
As Christopher Columbus surveyed lush New World landscapes, he eventually concluded that he had rediscovered the biblical garden from which God expelled Adam and Eve. Reading the paradisiacal rhetoric of Columbus, John Smith, and other explorers, English immigrants sailed for North America full of hope. However, the rocky soil and cold winters of New England quickly persuaded Puritan and Quaker colonists to convert their search for a physical paradise into a quest for Eden's less tangible perfections: temperate physiologies, intellectual enlightenment, linguistic purity, and harmonious social relations. Scholars have long acknowledged explorers' willingness to characterize the North American terrain in edenic terms, but Inventing Eden pushes beyond this geographical optimism to uncover the influence of Genesis on the iconic artifacts, traditions, and social movements that shaped seventeenth- and eighteenth-century American culture. Harvard Yard, the Bay Psalm Book, and the Quaker use of antiquated pronouns like thee and thou: these are products of a seventeenth-century desire for Eden. So, too, are the evangelical emphasis of the Great Awakening, the doctrine of natural law popularized by the Declaration of Independence, and the first United States judicial decision abolishing slavery. From public nudity to Freemasonry, a belief in Eden affected every sphere of public life in colonial New England and, eventually, the new nation. Spanning two centuries and surveying the work of English and colonial thinkers from William Shakespeare and John Milton to Anne Hutchinson and Benjamin Franklin, Inventing Eden is the history of an idea that shaped American literature, identity, and culture.
One of the most challenging problems in the history of Western ideas stems from the emergence of Modernity out of the preceding period of the Latin Middle Ages. This volume develops and extends the insights of the noted scholar Thomas M. Izbicki into the so-called medieval/modern divide. The contributors include a wide array of eminent international scholars from the fields of History, Theology, Philosophy, and Political Science, all of whom explore how medieval ideas framed and shaped the thought of later centuries. This sometimes involved the evolution of intellectual principles associated with the definition and imposition of religious orthodoxy. Also addressed is the Great Schism in the Roman Church that set into question the foundations of ecclesiology. In the same era, philosophical and theoretical innovations reexamined conventional beliefs about metaphysics, epistemology and political life, perhaps best encapsulated by the fifteenth-century philosopher, theologian and political theorist Nicholas of Cusa.
This text presents an account of the evangelical revival known as the Great Awakening. It demonstrates that the 'awakening' was invented by 18th-century evangelicals who were religious promoters. It shows how these people told and retold their account to themselves, their followers and opponents.
Author: Fred H Paulus Professor of Law Affilliated Professor of History and Director of the Center for Religion Law and Democracy Steven K Green
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Among the most enduring themes in American history is the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. A pervasive narrative in everything from school textbooks to political commentary, it is central to the way in which many Americans perceive the historical legacy of their nation. Yet, as Steven K. Green shows in this illuminating new book, it is little more than a myth. In Inventing a Christian America, Green, a leading historian of religion and politics, explores the historical record that is purported to support the popular belief in America's religious founding and status as a Christian nation. He demonstrates that, like all myths, these claims are based on historical "facts" that have been colored by the interpretive narratives that have been imposed upon them. In tracing the evolution of these claims and the evidence levied in support of them from the founding of the New England colonies, through the American Revolution, and to the present day, he investigates how they became leading narratives in the country's collective identity. Three critical moments in American history shaped and continue to drive the myth of a Christian America: the Puritan founding of New England, the American Revolution and the forging of a new nation, and the early years of the nineteenth century, when a second generation of Americans sought to redefine and reconcile the memory of the founding to match their religious and patriotic aspirations. Seeking to shed light not only on the veracity of these ideas but on the reasons they endure, Green ultimately shows that the notion of America's religious founding is a myth not merely in the colloquial sense, but also in a deeper sense, as a shared story that gives deeper meaning to our collective national identity. Offering a fresh look at one of the most common and contested claims in American history, Inventing a Christian America is an enlightening read for anyone interested in the story of-and the debate over-America's founding.
Although the cry for justice in human society is an important theme in the Bible, in many church and academic circles action for and discourse about social justice is carried on without a thorough exploration of this theme in Scripture. This volume brings together chapters by experts in the various sections of the Old and New Testaments to give a full spectrum of what the Bible has to say about social justice, and to point to ways forward for Christians seeking to think and act in harmony with God in pursuing social justice in the world today.
A harmonious collection of spiritual prose and poems, to seek the rational choice for a better way, to ask whether we are warriors or submitters, troublemakers or peacemakers, wicked regretful or blessed thankful.