Archive for March, 2008

The Odyssey

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

homer.jpgBy Homer

Translation by Robert Fagles

Homer’s account of the adventures of Odysseus has stood at the center of classical literature for centuries. It is a sweeping story of a great warrior who wanders the world, but also an intensely domestic tale of a loving husband’s struggle to protect an enduring union with his faithful wife. Meticulously studied and commented upon by innumerable scholars, The Odyssey remains, nonetheless, a uniquely personal literary experience, startling each new generation of readers with its excitement, its drama, and its remarkably contemporary hero. (Description from barnesandnoble.com) Call number: PA4025 .A5 .F34 1996

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A History of Sin: Its Evolution to Today and Beyond

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

sin.jpgBy John Portmann

In this book, Portmann argues that especially since 9/11, the reality of sin has made a strong comeback. Even liberal Christians such as Bishop Sprong have to take the pervasiveness of personal evil doing seriously. The book starts off in the present and then loops back into the past to outline the key moments in the history of sin from the Ancient Greeks and Israelites through Jesus and Paul to Augustine and Dante and then back to the present day. (Description from barnesandnoble.com) Call number: BT715 .P66 2007

Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

faith.jpgBy Steven Waldman

The culture wars have distorted the dramatic story of how Americans came to worship freely. Many activists on the right maintain that the United States was founded as a “Christian nation.” Many on the left contend that the Founders were secular or Deist and that the First Amendment was designed to boldly separate church and state throughout the land. None of these claims are true, argues Beliefnet editor in chief Steven Waldman. With refreshing objectivity, Waldman narrates the real story of how our nation’s Founders forged a new approach to religious liberty, a revolutionary formula that promoted faith . . . by leaving it alone.

This fast-paced narrative begins with earlier settlers’ stunningly unsuccessful efforts to create a Christian paradise, and concludes with the presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison, during which the men who had devised lofty principles regarding the proper relationship between church and state struggled to practice what they’d preached. We see how religion helped cause, and fuel, the Revolutionary War, and how the surprising alliance between Enlightenment philosophers such as Jefferson and Madison and evangelical Christians resulted in separation of church and state.

As the drama unfolds, Founding Faith vividly describes the religious development of five Founders. Benjamin Franklin melded the morality-focused Puritan theology of his youth and the reason-based Enlightenment philosophy of

his adulthood. John Adams’s pungent views on religion–hatred of the Church of England and Roman Catholics–stoked his revolutionary fervor and shaped his political strategy. George Washington cameto view religious tolerance as a military necessity. Thomas Jefferson pursued a dramatic quest to “rescue” Jesus, in part by editing the Bible. Finally, it was James Madison–the tactical leader of the battle for religious freedom–who crafted an integrated vision of how to prevent tyranny while encouraging religious vibrancy.

The spiritual custody battle over the Founding Fathers and the role of religion in America continues today. Waldman provocatively argues that neither side in the culture war has accurately depicted the true origins of the First Amendment. He sets the record straight, revealing the real history of religious freedom to be dramatic, unexpected, paradoxical, and inspiring. (Description from barnesandnoble.com) Call number: BL640 .W35 2008

Liberty of Conscience: in Defense of America’s Tradition of Religious Equality

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

liberty.jpgBy Martha C. Nussbaum

From one of America’s most distinguished moral philosophers, a sweeping historically based argument that equal respect for all citizens is the bedrock of America’s tradition of religious freedom.

In one of the great triumphs of the colonial and Revolutionary periods, the founders of the future United States overcame religious intolerance in favor of a constitutional order dedicated to fair treatment for people’s deeply held conscientious beliefs. It granted equal liberty of conscience to all and took a firm stand against religious establishment. This respect for religious difference, acclaimed scholar Martha Nussbaum writes, formed our democracy.

Yet today there are signs that this legacy is misunderstood. The prominence of a particular type of Christianity in our public life suggests the unequal worth of citizens who hold different religious beliefs, or no beliefs. Other people, meanwhile, seek to curtail the influence of religion in public life in a way that is itself unbalanced and unfair. Such partisan efforts, Nussbaum argues, violate the spirit of our Constitution.

Liberty of Conscience is a historical and conceptual study of the American tradition of religious freedom. Weaving together political history, philosophical ideas, and key constitutional cases, this is a rich chronicle of an ideal of equality that has always been central to our history but is now in serious danger. (Description from barnesandnoble.com) Call number: BL640 .N87 2008

Preparing for the Worst: a Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Family from Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and other Catastrophes

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

preparing.jpgBy James Schaeffer- Jones

Americans are regularly bombarded with reports of disaster and tragedy in the daily news. Catastrophes like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, violent crimes, and terrorism are so common and routine that many of us have become numb to the stories. Without a heightened awareness, focused concern, and effective planning, we have lost the edge that can save lives.

Do you know what you should do to protect your family during a disaster? Does your neighbor have the knowledge required to survive a catastrophic event? Part of the solution is rooted in common sense, but much more depends upon effectively applying learned survival skills. Americans need a helpful reference tool–a “Swiss army knife” for handling today’s threats. This book is that tool.

A former U.S. Marine and Desert Storm veteran, Schaefer-Jones has experienced calamity firsthand. He is also a concerned husband and the father of three young children. While considering how he would personally handle a disastrous event close to home, he came to realize that a comprehensive “how-to” guide was not available–until now.

Preparing for the Worst details best practices in antiterrorism tactics and preparing for disaster. This book is for typical American families, business travelers, corporate executive management personnel, emergency first responders, school administrators, and local government officials responsible for public safety and emergency management. (Description from barnesandnoble.com) Call number: T55.3.H3 .S33 2007

The Evolving Brain: The Known and the Unknown

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

brain.jpgBy R Grant Steen

The human brain is arguably the most complex object in the universe. With about 100 billion neurons, each of which makes perhaps 10,000 synapses, our incredible central processing unit is capable of roughly 1,000 trillion interconnections.

What do scientists know about how this amazingly complex organ functions? Is it even possible to unravel all of its mysteries? In this comprehensive book on the science of the brain, distinguished neurophysiologist R. Grant Steen provides us with a crash course on how the brain works. As a researcher on the forefront of brain studies, Dr. Steen explores the latest findings on a host of topics: · Consciousness, unconsciousness, and brain death
· Learning, memory, and role of genes
· Motivation, aggression, and the range of emotions
· The plasticity of the growing brain
· Mental illness and treatment He also delves into such stimulating questions as: Where does creativity come from? What is personality? Can we distinguish between the brain and the mind? Impressive in breadth and depth, yet written with clarity in an engaging, non-technical style, this fascinating tour of the brain provides the general reader with the latest information on one of the most intriguing and burgeoning areas of scientific research. No topic has more meaning or relevance than using our brains to understand the working of our own minds. (Description from barnesandnoble.com) Call number: QP376 .S7635 2007

The Oxford History of Christian Worship

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

worship.jpgBy Geoffrey Wainwright

The Oxford History of Christian Worship is a comprehensive and authoritative history of the origins and development of Christian worship to the present day. Backed by an international roster of experts as contributors, this new book will examine the liturgical traditions of Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant, and Pentecostal traditions throughout history and across the world. With 240 photographs and 10 maps, the full geographical spread of Christianity is covered, including Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, East Asia, and the Pacific. Following contemporary trends in scholarship, it will cover social and cultural contexts, material culture and the arts.

Written to be accessible to the educated layperson, this unique and beautiful volume will also appeal to clergy and liturgists and more generally to students and scholars of the liturgy, Christian theology, church history, and world history. (Description from banresandnoble.com) Call number: BV15 .O95 2006