Fundamentalism is seen as the major threat to world peace, a conclusion impossible to ignore since the events in New York on September 11 2001. This book investigates fundamentalism's historical, social, religious, political, and ideological roots, and tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomenon.
Since the end of the Cold War fundamentalism has been seen as the major threat to world peace and prosperity, a concern that was exacerbated by the events of 9/11, and the 'War against Terrorism'. But what does 'fundamentalism' really mean? Since it was coined by American Protestant evangelicals in the 1920s, the word has expanded its meaning to include radical conservatives or ideological purists in many spheres of activity, not all of them religious. Modern applications of fundamentalism include Islamist radicals in the Muslim world, the militant Israeli settlers who oppose them as well as Sikh, Hindu and even Buddhist nationalists who seek to justify their political agendas by reference to divine edicts or religious tradition. This exciting new book tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this fascinating subject.
Malise Ruthven tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomenon - one that eludes sim today, a conclusion impossible to ignore since the events in New York on September 11 2001. But what does 'fundamentalism' really mean? Since it was coined by American Protestant evangelicals in the 1920s, the use of the term 'fundamentalist' has expanded to include a diverse range of radical conservatives and ideological purists, not all religious. Fundamentalism could now mean both militant Israeli settlers as well as the Islamist radicals who oppose them, it can mean Christians, Hindus, animal liberationists, and even Buddhist nationalists. Ruthven investigates fundamentalism's historical, social, religious, political, and ideological roots, and tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomenon - one that eludes simple definition, yet urgently needs to be understood. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The Sikh religion has a following of over 20 million people worldwide and is one of the largest religions in the world. However, events such as the verbal and physical attacks on Sikhs just after September 11 indicated that Sikhs were being mistaken for Muslims, and suggests that the raising of sufficient and appropriate awareness about Sikhism still needs to be addressed. This book will introduce newcomers to the meaning of Sikhism, and its practices, rituals, and festivals. The key threads in the fascinating history of the religion will be highlighted, from the Gurus and the development of the Sikh look, to martyrdom and militarization in the 17th and 18th Centuries and the diaspora. Eleanor Nesbitt brings the subject completely up to date with an examination of gender and caste, referring to contemporary film, such as Bend It Like Beckham, and media reports. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Jesus turned water into wine, Mohammad split the moon into two, and Buddha walked and spoke immediately upon birth. According to recent statistics, even in the present age of advanced science and technology, most people believe in miracles. In fact, newspapers and television regularly report alleged miracles, such as recoveries from incurable diseases, extremely unlikely coincidences, and religious signs and messages on unexpected objects. In this book the award-winning author and philosopher Yujin Nagasawa addresses some of our most fundamental questions concerning miracles. What exactly is a miracle? What types of miracles are believed in the world's great religions? What do recent scientific findings tell us about miracles? Can we rationally believe that miracles have really taken place? Can there be acts that are more religiously significant than miracles? Drawing on a vast variety of fascinating examples from across the major religions, Nagasawa discusses the lively debate on miracles that ranges from reported miracles in ancient scriptures in the East and West to cutting-edge scientific research on belief formation. Throughout, he drives us to ask ourselves if and how we can still believe in in miracles in the twenty-first century. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
A clear and accessible introduction to the political creeds and doctrines that have dominated and shaped world politics. The fifth edition has been thoroughly updated throughout and now has more on the influence of globalization on ideology and a new-look page design to aid student learning.
Defining 'magic' is a maddening task. Over the last century numerous philosophers, anthropologists, historians, and theologians have attempted to pin down its essential meaning, sometimes analysing it in such complex and abstruse depth that it all but loses its sense altogether. For this reason, many people often shy away from providing a detailed definition, assuming it is generally understood as the human control of supernatural forces. 'Magic' continues to pervade the popular imagination and idiom. People feel comfortable with its contemporary multiple meanings, unaware of the controversy, conflict, and debate its definition has caused over two and a half millennia. In common usage today 'magic' is uttered in reference to the supernatural, superstition, illusion, trickery, religious miracles, fantasies, and as a simple superlative. The literary confection known as 'magical realism' has considerable appeal and many modern scientists have ironically incorporated the word into their vocabulary, with their 'magic acid', 'magic bullets' and 'magic angles'. Since the so-called European Enlightenment magic has often been seen as a marker of primitivism, of a benighted earlier stage of human development. Yet across the modern globalized world hundreds of millions continue to resort to magic - and also to fear it. Magic provides explanations and remedies for those living in extreme poverty and without access to alternatives. In the industrial West, with its state welfare systems, religious fundamentalists decry the continued moral threat posed by magic. Under the guise of neo-Paganism, its practice has become a religion in itself. Magic continues to be a truly global issue. This Very Short Introduction does not attempt to provide a concluding definition of magic: it is beyond simple definition. Instead it explores the many ways in which magic, as an idea and a practice, has been understood and employed over the millennia. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Beginning with a handful of members in 1830, the church that Joseph Smith founded has grown into a world-wide organization with over 12 million adherents, playing prominent roles in politics, sports, entertainment, and business. Yet they are an oddity. They are considered wholesome, conservative, and friendly on one hand, and clannish, weird, and self-righteous on the other. Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction explains who Mormons are: what they believe and how they live their lives. Written by Richard Lyman Bushman, an eminent historian and practicing Mormon, this compact, informative volume ranges from the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the contentious issues of contemporary Mormonism. Bushman argues that Joseph Smith still serves as the Mormons' Moses. Their everyday religious lives are still rooted in his conceptions of true Christianity. They seek revelation to solve life's problems just as he did. They believe the authority to seal families together for eternity was restored through him. They understand their lives as part of a spiritual journey that started in a "council in heaven" before the world began just as he taught. Bushman's account also describes the tensions and sorrows of Mormon life. How are Mormons to hold on to their children in a world of declining moral standards and rampant disbelief? How do rational, educated Mormons stand up to criticisms of their faith? How do single Mormons fare in a church that emphasizes family life? The book also examines polygamy, the various Mormon scriptures, and the renegade fundamentalists who tarnish the LDS image when in fact they're not members. In a time when Mormons such as Mitt Romney and Harry Reid are playing prominent roles in American society, this engaging introduction enables readers to judge for themselves how Mormon teachings shape the character of believers. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
This Very Short Introduction explores the significance of the Koran both in the modern world and in traditional Muslim culture. Michael Cook provides a lucid and direct account of the Koran as codex, as scripture, as liturgy, and as the embodiment of truth, and examines its means of formation and dissemination. He also discusses issues of interpretation for certain key verses, demonstrating that fecundity of the text for readers throughout the world.
Bridging the vital concepts of classical political thought and the language of everyday modern political discourse, this comprehensive ready-reference handbook explains the central ideas and recurring themes that inform the Western political tradition.
We have all wondered about the meaning of life. But is there an answer? Terry Eagleton takes a stimulating look at this most compelling of questions, and suggests that the problem of the meaning of life arose with modernity. He looks at the cultural and philosophical reasons for this, and examines the meaninglessness that appears to plague our times. After surveying a variety of possible candidates, Eagleton suggests his own surprising conclusion.
This prestigious Companion offers the most comprehensive survey todate of the study of religion. Featuring a team of internationalcontributors, and edited by one of the most widely respectedscholars in the field, The Blackwell Companion to the Study ofReligion provides an interdisciplinary and authoritative guideto the subject. Examines the main approaches to the study of religion:anthropology, the comparative method, economics, literature,philosophy, psychology, sociology, and theology. Also covers a diverse range of topical issues, such as thebody, fundamentalism, magic, and new religious movements Consists of 24 essays written by an outstanding team ofinternational scholars Reviews, within each chapter, an outline of a particularsubfield and traces its development up to the present day Debates how the discipline may look in the future Represents all the major issues, methods and positions in thefield
A guide to to religious fundamentalism both in the U.S. and abroad reviews the major issues, provides primary source documents, discusses how to research the issue, and offers an annotated bibliography of resources.
In what ways can psychoanalysis, as both a theoretical body and a clinical practice contribute to an understanding of the salient social and political problems of our time? This engaged and generous collection of essays with contributions from internationally renowned academics, writers, filmmakers and psychoanalysts, explores the historical, social and emotional factors underpinning the development of extreme forms of hatred and distrust of the other. In the process of a sustained interdisciplinary interrogation, psychoanalysis's strength emerges not in its capacity to provide any lasting solution to socio-political uncertainties, but rather in its capacity to tolerate ambivalence. This collection will be of value to scholars, postgraduate and undergraduate students in the field of the history of ideas, literature, postcolonial studies, psychology and psychoanalysis. It can also be enjoyed by the general reader interested in the psychology of extreme belief.
The collapse of the Argentinian economy, the rise of the far right, 9/11, suicide bombings in the Middle East, campaigns against multiculturalism, anti-abortion terrorism, the militia movement in America, teaching creationism in schools, riots at Miss World: what ties these seemingly unrelated phenomena together?. All are products of a fundamentalist mentality, determined to crush all opposing ideas. Belief in these kinds of universal theories was, until recently, assumed to be in decline. Stuart Sim argues that this is far from true.