David Gushee’s attempt to define and defend the concept of the sacredness of life is a welcome reminder of why it is so important that we not take for granted the protections that surround our lives and the lives of others.
Candida Moss unravels a common misperception: that Christianity faced murderous government-sanctioned persecution for its first three centuries, a period in which “the blood of the martyrs” supplied seed for the growing church. Grounded in ten years of research on martyr traditions, Moss’s basic position will surprise few historians.
By book 10 of his Confessions, Augustine has completed the narration of his long, often tortuous spiritual journey from paganism to Christianity. He has not, however, found a resting place. Having gone through a cathartic conversion, Augustine might now be expected to provide his readers with insights into the nature of the Christian faith and the meaning of life.
Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine, by Khaled Anatolios. This book makes for challenging reading, but its ambition of retrieving the systematic scope of Nicene trinitarianism for contemporary theology rewards the effort.
Richard Gallagher, a board-certified psychiatrist and professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College, was skeptical when a priest/exorcist asked his opinion of a woman diagnosed with demonic possession. In time Gallagher’s scientific habits of observation led him to believe that in rare cases, the only explanation for bizarre behavior is that it’s the work of evil spirits. Over the past 25 years he has consulted with hundreds of ministers, helping them to distinguish between mental illness and demonic possession. Gallagher, a practicing Catholic, is working on a book about demonic possession in the United States (Washington Post, July 1).